Butcher block countertops add a warm and functional style to any kitchen. With the right care, these surfaces can maintain their beauty and functionality for years. Here’s how to effectively maintain your butcher block countertops to ensure they age gracefully alongside your home.

How To Properly Clean

    Regular Cleaning

Daily Clean: To slow the buildup of grime, mix warm water with gentle dish soap. Scrub against the grain for a deep clean, rinse with a clean, damp cloth, and dry thoroughly with a soft towel.

Deep Cleaning

Vinegar Treatment: Apply white vinegar with a dishcloth for deeper cleaning. Let it stand for 15 minutes to utilize its natural antibacterial properties, then rinse and dry as usual.

Conditioning and Maintenance

Regular Conditioning

Initial Treatment: Condition more frequently upon purchase, typically once a week for the first couple of months.

Ongoing Care: Reduce to monthly conditioning once the wood stabilizes. Use quality wood conditioners containing food-grade oils and natural waxes.

    Application of Conditioner

Preparation: Before your first application of oil and wax, lightly sand the countertop to remove any caked-on debris and enhance the wood’s absorbency.

Oiling and Waxing: Apply oil to revive the wood and repel future stains. Beeswax conditions and fills in surface textures and nicks. Always follow the product instructions for specific application frequencies.

How often Should You Refinish?

    Routine Sanding and Oiling

Annual Maintenance: Light sanding followed by oiling should be done annually to maintain the surface and keep it looking fresh.

Complete Refinishing

Every 3-5 Years: Depending on the level of use and your aesthetic preferences, consider a full refinish every few years. This helps repair deeper damage and restore the countertop to like-new condition.

Alternative Care Methods

    Stain Removal

Surface Stains: Use a dough scraper or a razor blade to gently scrape away light surface stains without damaging the wood.

Deeper Stains: For deeper stains, sand the area starting with 180 grit sandpaper followed by 220 grit. Note that sanding will lighten the area, but it can blend in once re-oiled.

    Complete Restoration

Revitalizing Old Butcher Blocks: For a comprehensive refresh, you can sand the entire countertop using coarse, medium, and fine sandpaper to restore it to a like-new appearance.

Magic Eraser

An accidental discovery was using a Magic Eraser to remove surface stains effectively without altering the wood’s natural color.


Butcher block countertops are a significant investment in your kitchen’s functionality and style. Regular cleaning, annual maintenance, and periodic refinishing will protect this investment and enhance its longevity. Whether you are performing routine maintenance or addressing specific issues like stains, the right care will keep your butcher block looking great and performing well for years to come. Remember, the beauty of butcher block comes from both its utility and appearance, making it a cherished feature in any kitchen.