The Reason You Should Never Put Wooden Utensils In The Dishwasher

When it comes to kitchen utensils, there seem to be three options that dominate in the kitchen: metal, plastic, and wood. Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so having a few of each may be a wise option. Nothing can throw a cook off their game quicker, though, than not having the right tool for the job. Kitchen utensils don't always come cheap, so it's important that you know how to properly care for them. 

When it comes to stainless steel kitchen tools, the dishwasher is usually the go-to cleaning route to take. You would be wise, however, to hold off on throwing that wooden spoon passed down by your grandmother in the dishwasher. 

The dishwasher can ruin your wooden kitchen tools

Throwing your wooden kitchen utensils and cutting boards in the dishwasher and setting it to "deep clean" might seem like the easy option after a big meal, but please don't. Wood, of course, is an organic matter and this means that it can be damaged by too much exposure to water (via Serious Eats). It's not only the constant blast of hot water that could be harming your prized wooden spoons, but the dishwasher detergent as well. 

Dishwasher detergent and hot water can strip your wood of its oils and cause it to warp and crack (via The Spruce). Ever tried cutting on a crooked cutting board, or stir a pot with a warped and cracked spoon? It's not fun. There are lots of ways to improperly use a dishwasher, and putting wooden kitchen utensils in it is most certainly one of them. 

The best way to clean and care for wooden kitchen utensils

Cleaning your wooden spatulas, spoons, and rolling pins isn't tricky, but it will require doing it yourself rather than relying on modern kitchen technology. All you need is some warm soapy water, a sponge, and a bit of elbow grease. Don't allow your wooden utensils to soak in the water before you clean, as this too can cause the wood to warp. After they're clean, make sure you dry them off with a towel and they should be ready for their next use. 

To ensure that your wooden utensils last as long as possible, it's also a good idea to rub them down with a food-safe mineral oil every so often (via The Kitchn). Tom Silva of This Old House likes to use a mineral oil/beeswax combination to help protect the wood as well as give it a nice sheen. Choosing the correct oil for wooden utensil care is crucial, because something like olive or vegetable oil will eventually turn rancid and could make you sick. 

Caring for you wooden utensils isn't difficult and if done correctly, they should last for many years.