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How to Clean Wood Plates

Corey M. Mackenzie

Wood plates are attractive and, unlike porcelain china, virtually indestructible. Most wood plates can be dropped, smacked against counters or flung through the air without permanent damage. These plates are also easy to keep clean; however, you must follow some rules when cleaning wood dishes.

Heat and moisture can adversely affect any wood, no matter for what use the wood was manufactured. You must hand wash these plates and you will need to sanitize them occasionally, in addition to regular washing.

  1. Fill your kitchen sink about half full of warm water. Add dish detergent and the wood plates.

  2. Start cleaning the plates within five to 10 minutes (don’t let them soak--soaking causes wood to expand, which may create cracks). Scrub the front and back of each plate with a soapy sponge.

  3. Scrub off any stuck-on food particles with a nylon scrubber (avoid using steel wool, as tiny pieces of the metal may embed in the wood). Rinse the plates well under warm running water.

  4. Sanitize wood plates (once a month or after they’ve contacted raw meats or other potentially bacteria-laden sources) by using either hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar or bleach. If you use hydrogen peroxide, you can apply the 3 percent (drug store strength) solution directly to the wood. Allow it to sit for approximately five to 15 minutes and rinse it off. If you use white vinegar, stowecraft.com suggests using a mix of 3 tbsp. vinegar per cup of water. For bleach, use 2 tbsp. per quart of water.

  5. Use a soft clean towel to wipe off excess moisture from the plates. Allow the wood plates to finish drying in a dish drainer.

  6. Tip

    Keep wood plates, cups, cutting boards and other wood dishes looking their best by rubbing food-grade mineral oil on them once every few months.


    Islandwoods.com warns against placing wood plates and other dishes in a dishwasher. The extreme heat is harmful to the dishes; on the drying cycle, the high temperature of a dishwasher may even cause wood to ignite.