A butcher block table (or counter) is a solid, wooden table. Originating in butcher shops (hence the name), this has become a popular household item. Butcher block tables and counters are durable and attractive looking. The downside of butcher block is that the wood is so porous it can stain easily. Butcher block can be sanded and refinished to get rid of stains, but that drastic step isn't always necessary.
The simplest way to keep your butcher block table clean is to wipe it down with soap and water after each use. However, this doesn't always happen and you may be left with marks and stains on your beautiful table. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to restore your butcher block. And the good news is, you probably have most of the ingredients needed in your house already.
Wipe down your butcher block table with warm water and liquid dish soap after each use. Be sure to avoid soaking the wood as it will soak in the water. You don't need a whole lot of soap either, just a dab should do.
To sanitize more thoroughly, clean the table with a mixture of white vinegar and water (about a 1:3 vinegar to water ratio). You can also use bleach (diluted, of course) to do this, but I prefer vinegar when it comes to something I eat off of! You can do this is frequently as use demands.
For more difficult stains—a wine stain, for example—a little extra will be needed. As with almost any stain, the faster you act, the more successful the solution is likely to be. Sprinkle the stain with baking soda. Cover the baking soda with lemon juice. The mixture will react and bubble up. Now let it sit for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).
The next morning, wipe up the baking soda and lemon juice. Use the rough side of a sponge, rubbing in a circular motion. Then use a damp cloth to wipe up the remainder.
If your butcher block table seems to have developed a bad smell, first ensure that you wipe down the surface thoroughly with soap and water, making sure there is not leftover food residue. When the butcher block is dry sprinkle the surface with baking soda. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Wipe down with a damp cloth and then clean with vinegar as you would in "Everyday Cleaning" outlined above.
To keep your butcher block table looking beautiful, you should oil it every couple of months. Use mineral oil NOT olive oil or vegetable oil. Use a clean cloth and wipe with the direction of the grain. Let the oil sit overnight. It will soak into the wood and the next morning you can wipe off any excess oil.
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