How to Care for a Wooden Salad Bowl

Michelle Nati

Wooden food bowls are a popular addition to any table and bring a pop of color to the foods served in them. Commonly used for serving dishes like salads, wooden food bowls require specific cleaning, seasoning and maintenance steps that differ from those of any other dishes you may own.

How to Care for a Wooden Salad Bowl

Wooden food bowls are a lovely addition to any table, but washing and maintaining them differs from that of any other serving dishes you have. There are specific step-by-step ways to keep your Woodenware USA and hand-hewn wooden bowls clean and useful for years to come.

How to Clean Wooden Food Bowls

Extremes in temperature and water are bad news for wooden bowls, but you can still otherwise clean them like any other dishes you have. Don't soak a wooden bowl for an extended period as it can cause the wood to warp or split. Instead, give it a quick wash with warm water, mild dish detergent and a nylon scrubber sponge to remove any food residue. Don't use a scouring pad on wood as it may scratch the surface. After washing, let your wooden bowl air dry or use a towel to expedite the drying process. Never put wooden food bowls in the dishwasher as they can get damaged or dry out.

Sanitizing Wooden Food Bowls

Wood is porous and can harbor bacteria from food particles. To control bacterial growth, mix a 1-to-5 ratio of vinegar and water, pour the mix into the bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Dump the solution, rinse and dry the bowl. As an alternative, you can use a spray bottle to spritz your bowl with an equal mix of white vinegar and water.

Lemons are also a known antibacterial and will enhance the taste and smell of whatever is inside your salad bowl or other wooden food bowls. Cut the fruit in half and squeeze as you rub the lemon in the direction of the bowl's grain. Drain any excess lemon juice before use.

Seasoning Wooden Food Bowls

To keep your bowl from drying out and cracking, to keep its color vibrant and to stop excess liquid from seeping into the grain, season it with a mineral oil wood treatment. Apply food-grade mineral oil in the direction of the grain with a microfiber cloth or your fingers. After application, let it dry before storing. Don't use vegetable oils, which can go rancid over time.

Getting Rid of Sticky Residue

A non-maintained wooden salad bowl or other types of wooden food bowls may end up with a sticky buildup on their surface. To clean, preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Place aluminum foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet and place it on the middle rack. Next, put the bowl upside down on the baking sheet and turn the oven off to keep the bowl from burning. Within an hour or two, oils that have collected on the bowl's surface will start to bead and run down onto the baking sheet. Once the bowl is dry, remove it from the oven and wipe it down with a paper towel. If it still feels sticky, repeat the process.