Clever Tips to Care for Your Wood Wares

If you have always loved the idea of creating a dining tablescape inspired by the lovely setups you have seen in Kinfolk magazines, you will probably have hoarded a whole lot of wood wares, feeling excited to host your loved ones with them. We cannot agree more that they make great serving bowls for salads, durable dining wares for children and also a wonderful platter for cheese and cold cuts. Plus, wooden utensils would not scratch pots and pans too!

Be it for the aesthetic purpose, a preferred lifestyle or advantages that wood table wares bring, it is undeniable that they would need tender loving care for them to look good, last long and be safe for food usage. Hence, caring for your set of wood wares is something that needs to be done and taken seriously. So read on and find tips that would help you do so without the frills.


Breaking In

Just bought your very first wood ware? It is time to season it and have it prepped for the wonderful things that you are going to do with it. It is necessary to do so, as wood is a material that is prone to expansion and contraction. Preparing your wood pieces would help reduce the chances of them splitting, flaking or crumbling any time soon.

You can start by first ironing any rough patches out with a steel wool. Next, wash your wood ware in warm soapy water, rinse and pat dry with a cloth. Then proceed to coat your bowl or plate with half a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of oil. Vary the amount of salt and oil proportionately with the surface area required to coat on wood ware.

Use a paper towel and gently rub the salt-oil mixture to coat the wood ware.  Leave it on for 10 minutes, then go in with the second piece of kitchen towel and clean up any remaining oil, wiping the surface dry. The wood ware is ready to be used!

Do get yourself a bottle of quality walnut oil for this purpose. It has been proven that vegetable or olive oil can become rancid over time and this would affect the smell and taste of your food. Walnut oil would form a hardened layer, like a clear nail polish, when it comes into contact with the air and seal the surfaces of the wood ware.


Spick & Span

After using your wood wares, you can clean it with soapy water. Use the abrasive side of the washing sponge to gently remove any sticky residue that has coagulated. Do not use all your might to scrub them as you would with a cast-iron piece. Just like your skin, using a large amount of strength may cause your wood ware some serious wear and tear. You may also try applying salt and rubbing along the grain pattern of the wood ware with a cut lemon to remove any stubborn residue. Lime would do the job as well and, similar to lemon, it would help disinfect your dining wares too. No matter what, do not soak wood dining wares in water. It will risk splintering or splitting the wood, ruining it.

Keep in mind to ensure that you have cleaned the wood pieces thoroughly to keep them from getting rancid. If your wood dining wares are stored in cabinets, take them out to air from time to time, to prevent mould from growing.


Shiny & Bright

Just like your skin, after washing and removing dirt, you would need to moisturise and hydrate your wood wares. This would protect your wood wares and have them looking smooth and unblemished. Hence, doing it the same as you would to keep your skin supple, give the wood ware a good coat of walnut oil, leave it on for 30 minutes, then blot off any excess with a paper towel.


Perfect & Flawless

If you have accidentally scratched your wood dining ware, you can remove the ‘scar’ by sanding it down using a light- to medium-grit sandpaper or medium steel wool, to level the marking with the surrounding area.

If you are removing scratches from a bowl, butcher block or board, do consider that the ‘scars’ of honest use and everyday wear and tear add character! Start with a medium-grit sandpaper. Try to follow the grain of the wood when you sand the scratched area, taking care not to go too deeply into the wood. For a superfine finish, use a Scotch Brite pad.


Knock On Wood

Wood items will get stained by things like berries or sauces. Some people view those stains as added character. If you do not care for that idea, simply use a bit of common sense with regards to what you put in your bowls, on your cutting boards or stir with your spoons. If it will stain clothing, it will stain wood.
Also keep in mind that wood is a material that expands and contracts. It will change in the humidity within your house, and with changes in temperature. Avoid rapid and drastic temperature and moisture changes, which can cause the wood to crack. Give these tips a go and enjoy!