Butcher-block kitchen counter-tops are typically made of hardwoods, most commonly maple or oak. There are more expensive hardwoods made into kitchen counter-tops such as cherry, walnut and mahogany, which exude warmth and luxury. Wood counter-tops can also be formed as plank style, but they are more likely to warp because kitchen counters generally come in contact with water and moisture frequently. Wood kitchen counter-tops are very durable and will last a very long time provided they are properly cared for and cleaned correctly.
Wood counter-top Care
Always apply a sealant to the butcher-block counter-tops to help prevent stains.
Wood counter-tops can be sealed with polyurethane or food grade mineral-oil, not both. It is best to seal the wood with polyurethane especially around the sink where the wood will almost certain come in contact with water.
Always wipe up spills immediately. Any liquid sitting on the surface will penetrate the wood and can cause a stain, even water can cause a stain. If water sits on a butcher-block counter-top, over time it will cause a black stain.
Dust your kitchen counter-tops daily to remove dust, crumbs and other bits of dirt.
Do not place hot pots or pans on wood counter-tops because a burn mark will be left behind.
Cleaning Wood Countertops
Wet a rag or sponge in warm and a little dish detergent, wipe down countertops, wipe with a rag or sponge dampened with plain water and dry immediately.
Clean the countertop after each use.
Use a 50-50 mixture of bleach and water to wipe down countertops after cutting raw meat or raw chicken directly on the countertop. Chlorine bleach cleans and disinfects the butcher-block surface.
Removing Stains From butcher-block Countertops
To lighten and possibly remove stains, wipe the stain with a rag dampened with white vinegar.
Lay the vinegar soaked rag over the stain and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Rinse with plain water.
You can also clean stains by cutting a lemon in half and rub the lemon into the stain. This works well for fruit based stains such as blueberries and strawberries.
To remove grease from butcher-block counter tops, use a degreasing dish detergent and warm water with a nylon scrubber to scrub the stain away.
Re-apply food grade mineral-oil after the countertop has dried completely.
Oil Sealing butcher-block Countertops
If you have chosen to oil your countertops, they need to be re-oiled on a regular basis.
If water does not bead up on the countertop, it is time to re-oil.
If the countertops are looking a little rough and dry, re-oil it.
Generally unsealed butcher-block countertops require a new application of food grade mineral-oil every 3 to 4 weeks. If your kitchen gets a lot of use, they countertops will require more frequent coats of oil.
Cutting on butcher-block Countertops
Never cut directly on a butcher-block counter top because it will not only leave scratches, nicks and gouges behind, but the hard woods can also damage knife blades.
To remove nicks, scratches, and gouges, use 220-grit sandpaper and sand out the damage. Be sure to reseal the countertop with polyurethane or food grade mineral-oil after you have finished.
Repairing Wood Countertop Dents
To fix dents in the countertop, place a thick damp towel over the dent, place a hot iron on the dent, wait about 30 seconds, move the iron to see if the dent has raised up enough.
If not, repeat. The steam created by the wet towel and hot iron cause the wood to swell and the dent to raise. It is very important to only place the iron on the dent, not the rest of the countertop. Dents that have splintered wood around them cannot be steamed out.