How to Care for Butcher Block CountertopsNovember 30, 2020
Butcher block countertops are popular with homeowners for their sleek design and hearty, natural appearance. No other countertop material offers the warmth of butcher block, and it often runs less expensive than marble or granite options.
That said, butcher block is not as strong as its competitor materials, and it requires specific care to stay in good shape. If you’re thinking of committing to butcher block countertops, make sure you familiarize yourself with this guide for butcher block cleaning and care.
When cleaning your butcher block countertops each day, you should focus on using gentle detergents and cleaners. Dish soap is a great choice for butcher block because it cleans up messes without harming the wood. Beware of harsh chemical cleaners, as these can damage the wood over time. If necessary, you can use bleach on butcher block countertops, but make sure to dilute it heavily with water first.
To clean your countertop, use a dough scraper to get food residue off the surface. Clean up any remaining mess with a damp rag, warm water, and dish soap. Your countertop will thank you for continued gentle care and cleaning!
Mineral Oil Treatment
Butcher block requires regular treatment with mineral oil. Purchase oil that’s specifically intended for use on butcher block countertops. This oil contains minerals that keep the wood moist and stain-resistant. You should apply mineral oil weekly for the first month after installing your countertops.
After that, continue to oil the countertops at least every month. Skipping the mineral oil is the #1 problem afflicting butcher block countertops, so don’t forget this crucial step!
Beware of Heat
Heat is the enemy of butcher block, and some homeowners find this out the hard way by setting a hot pan or baking tray on their newly-installed countertop. Hot metal will easily burn and permanently mark a butcher block countertop, so always use a hot pad or a trivet for your pans and trays. Shielding your countertop from excessive heat will keep it in good shape for years to come.
Stains, Scrapes, and Dents
There’s a common misconception that butcher block countertops are just like big cutting boards. This is not the case - similar to cutting boards, butcher block countertops will stain and dent over time if used often for food preparation.
Of course, you can’t prevent every accident in the kitchen, and your countertop is bound to see some wear and tear over the years. Butcher block countertops are no different. Unfortunately, they accumulate stains, scrapes, and dents a bit faster than denser materials like granite. If you’re the type of homeowner who enjoys a rustic look or who changes countertops often, you might not mind a little bit of marking-up. That said, you should still take steps to prevent unnecessary marring.
Regular oiling and cleaning can prevent your countertop from staining, and using a cutting board will help minimize scrapes and dents. Resist the urge to use your butcher block countertops as a cutting board, as this will age them quickly. You can use your countertop to roll out dough or tenderize meat, but beware of using knives directly on the butcher block.
So, what should you do if you happen to get a dent or a stain in your countertop? Butcher block repair usually consists of light sanding and re-oiling.
Pick up a high-grain piece of sandpaper from your local hardware store. You can use a small detail sander or a hand sander to remove the mark. Use the sandpaper to (very gently!) sand out the stain or dent. After you’re finished, liberally re-oil the afflicted area. Keep in mind that there’s not really any other way to remove a stain or a dent from butcher block, so take care to prevent accidents.
When to Replace Your Countertops
How long do butcher block countertops last? Generally, butcher block begins to lose its lustre after about ten years. If you’re looking for a surface that will still look great for much longer than that, you may be better off using a natural stone instead. If you’re set on butcher block, you’ll likely be due for a replacement in about a decade’s time.
Are Butcher Block Countertops Right for Me?
Though they require a bit more up-keep than granite or quartz countertops, butcher block countertops can be the right material for many homeowners. If you like the look of butcher block and are willing to take the time to keep up with the care regime, then you’ll love having butcher block countertops in your home.
Want more advice on choosing and caring for butcher block countertops? Schedule a free, no-obligation design appointment at our Cold Lake showroom. We can talk materials, installations, replacements, and countertop care so that you can decide if butcher block is the best fit for your kitchen.