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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.

Things You Will Need

  • Dish detergent
  • Bleach
  • Lemon juice
  • Clean sponges
  • Clean towels
  • Metal scraper or spatula

Tip

  • About every two weeks, apply mineral oil or a food preparation surface commercial product. This helps seal the wood and repels stains. Do not use olive or vegetable oils that will turn rancid.

Warning

  • 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.

About the Author

Rose Darling has been writing since 1984, covering entertainment, travel and home-and-family topics. Her articles have appeared in publications in Ohio and New Zealand, as well as online. Darling graduated from Western Illinois University, earning a B.A. with emphasis on anthropology, and is currently completing her master's degree.

Photo Credits

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