How to Clean Butcher Block Countertops

Commercially manufactured butcher block was introduced in the 1880s as a sanitary alternative to the traditional use of blocks cut from trees on which to cut meats. Hard maple became a favored surface for its durability and tight wood grains. Modern butcher block is durable and safe for food preparation and is available in sizes from small cutting boards to full-kitchen counter tops.

Counter tops can be made from the same butcher block as a cutting board.
  1. Cleanse butcher block counter tops thoroughly with dish-washing soap and water after each use. Wood absorbs food odors, oils and bacteria from raw meat making it imperative to properly clean.

  2. Mix a mild solution of 1 tbsp. bleach into 1 gallon of warm water. Wash the counter top with a clean sponge, rinse, then wipe dry to further cleanse bacteria.

  3. Wipe stains from a butcher block counter top with lemon juice. Rinse and wipe dry.

  4. Shake salt onto stubborn stains and then rub with the cut edge of half a lemon. Let the salt and lemon sit overnight on the counter top and rinse with water and dry. For tougher stains, try 3-percent hydrogen peroxide mixed with water. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.

  5. Scrape the counter top each evening with a metal spatula or scraper to remove lingering odors or stains.


  • Never allow raw fish, poultry or meat to sit on the counter top for any length of time as the juices will be absorbed into the wood, creating a bacteria-ridden surface.