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How to clean and care for wooden bowls

Wooden bowls are gorgeous, but you need to know how to clean them if you want them to last in the kitchen. Wood is porous, so it needs different care from the non-porous materials that make up most dinner ware. The first and most important rule in caring for wooden bowls: never let them soak in water. That also means: never put them in the dishwasher.

But it’s pretty simple. Here’s what you need to know:

How to clean a wooden bowl

  • Fill a sink with warm water and a mild dish detergent like Dawn.
  • Dip a dishwashing cloth or sponge in the water.
  • Wash the dish as quickly as you can, removing all visible food particles.
  • STOP! You’ve washed it enough – washing further could let water into the wood fibers, which is how they get damaged with soaking.
  • Rinse it under cold, clear water from the tap.
  • Dry the bowl immediately and as thoroughly as you can with a dishtowel or paper towels. You won’t be able to get it perfectly dry, so put it on a dish rack to dry the rest of the way. It’s important not to put it away before it’s thoroughly dry, so air drying is an important last step. Otherwise, they could mold.
  • Get a dab of food safe mineral oil on a cloth or paper towel and rub it all over the bowl. The right amount of oil will have it glistening, but not shining. If you get too much, just wipe off the excess with a clean paper towel.

That’s it. It sounds like a lot of steps, but once you get the swing of it, it’s actually really easy to do.