A good butcher block is a valuable addition to any kitchen. Not only does it provide a sturdy surface for cutting meats and vegetables, but it also adds an aesthetic appeal to your cooking space. However, to ensure that your butcher block lasts for many years, it is essential to clean and maintain it properly. From removing stains to preventing moisture damage, there are numerous tips and tricks that can help you maximize the life of your butcher block. In this article, we will explore some of the best practices for cleaning and maintaining your butcher block. Whether you are a seasoned home cook or a professional chef, these tips will help you keep your butcher block in top condition for years to come. So, let's get started and learn how to care for your butcher block like a pro!

Benefits of  A Butcher Block Island in the Kitchen

Butcher blocks are a popular choice for many households for several reasons. Firstly, they are durable and can withstand heavy use in the kitchen. Secondly, they have a natural look that adds warmth and charm to any kitchen. Additionally, they provide a reliable surface for chopping and cutting, which is essential for preparing meals. Butcher blocks are also versatile and can be used as serving platters or as a decorative piece in your kitchen.

Types Of Butcher Block Surfaces

Not all butcher block is designed to be chopped on so first and foremost know what type of finish the butcher block came with originally. Some have simple mineral oil or butcher block conditioner while others have a more permanent wood sealer which is not designed to be cut on. In this post we will be going over the recommended maintenance of a butcher block that is finished with mineral oil or butcher block conditioning wax. WARRNING, do not use any of these techniques for butcher block countertops that have been sealed with J. Aaron's Rubio Monocoat or conversion varnish. 

A Big DON'T in Butcher Block Maintenance

Before we dive into the proper cleaning techniques for butcher blocks, let us first discuss a common mistakes that people make in maintaining their butcher blocks which is using harsh chemicals and detergents. These chemicals can strip off the natural oils in the wood, making it dry and brittle. So, let's leave those in the cupboard for this project.

Deep Cleaning Your Butcher Block

After chopping meat it's a good idea to thoroughly clean your butcher block. For this you will need mild soap, warm water, and a soft sponge or cloth. If you have stuck on food feel free to use abrasive sponges but do not use steel wool as small particles of the steel will get into the wood and rust staining the surface. To start, rinse the butcher block with warm water to remove any loose debris or food particles. Then, using a sponge or cloth, apply a small amount of mild soap and scrub the surface of the butcher block. Rinse the butcher block again with warm water and dry it thoroughly with a clean towel. A natural antibacterial solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water can also be use as an extra precaution for meat like chicken. 

Daily Cleaning Of A Butcher Block

For simple daily cleaning a damp rag or sponge is all you need. J. Aaron butcher blocks are engendered to work with water so it's OK to leave it damp and let it air dry. 

Oiling and Sealing Your Butcher Block

Oiling and sealing your butcher block is necessary to keep the wood healthy. Mineral oil is the most commonly used oil for butcher blocks as it is food-safe, inexpensive, and readily available. To oil your butcher block, start by cleaning it thoroughly and letting it dry. Then, apply a generous amount of mineral oil to the surface of the butcher block and let it soak in. We recommend doing it when you're done using for the day letting the oil soak in all night. If any mineral oil remains the next morning simply wipe it away and use as normal. 

How to Remove Stains from Your Butcher Block

Because mineral oil is not a sealer you will get stains from the food you're preparing. For stains, you can make a paste using baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off with warm water and dry the butcher block. Dark stains can occur from setting something made of steel on a wet butcher block. The steel reacts with tannins in the wood making a dark stain. For this use Savogran Wood Bleach. It's available at most home improvement stores and Amazon. Despite the name it won't bleach the wood, just the stain in the wood. 

Tips for Maintaining Your Butcher Block

To ensure that your butcher block lasts for many years, here are some additional tips for maintaining it:

- Avoid placing hot pots and pans directly on the butcher block as it can cause burn marks. By hot we mean directly from the stove. Hot dishes from the microwave are fine.

- Oil your butcher block at least once a month.

- Use a food-grade wax to polish your butcher block and restore its shine. We like Howard Butcher Block Conditioner

Frequently Asked Questions about Butcher Block Maintenance

Q. Can I use vinegar to clean my butcher block?

A. Yes, but only white vinegar and only in a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.

Q. Can I use bleach to remove stains from my butcher block?

A. No, bleach can damage the wood and cause discoloration.

Q. How often should I oil my butcher block?

A. You should oil your butcher block at least once a month or as needed. If it starts to look very dry or light it's probably a good time to add some oil.

Q. Can I use olive oil to oil my butcher block?

A. No, olive oil, walnut oil, canola oil, etc. can become rancid. Stick to mineral oil.


In conclusion, a well-maintained butcher block can last for many years and add a unique touch to your kitchen. By following the proper cleaning and maintenance techniques, you can ensure that your butcher block stays in top condition and provides a reliable surface for chopping and cutting. Remember to avoid harsh chemicals and oil it regularly. With these tips, you can maximize the life of your butcher block and enjoy its benefits for years to come.

To get a quote on a J. Aaron butcher block surface visit our Get A Quote page

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If you prefer to chat with someone we would love to chat with you. Call us at 404-298-4200 etc. 101 for some friendly, no pressure guidance.