Choosing to stock your kitchen with bamboo utensils is an amazing way to bring a touch of nature into your home. And to ensure a safe and eco-friendly meal every time you cook. As a natural material, utensils made from bamboo will begin to show some wear with use, and with time, you’ll need to know how to care for bamboo utensils. Luckily, with the right care, cleaning, and a little wood oil, you’ll be amazed at how long your bamboo utensils will last!
How to Clean Bamboo Cooking Utensils
Correct daily care of your bamboo utensils is easy and essential. To keep your cookware in top shape, there are a few simple steps to take with every use.
The Best Way to Clean Bamboo Utensils
The most important part of how to care for bamboo utensils is correct cleaning. To clean your bamboo utensils, wash by hand with warm water and gentle soap. We’d suggest Dr. Bronner's or Meliora Bar Dish Soap as our favorite gentle and eco-friendly option. Use a natural bristle brush to scrub your cookware. Harsh metal or plastic scrubbers aren’t great for the environment. Plus, they can scratch the smooth surface of your bamboo cookware. If you need to get something stubborn off of your bamboo utensils, use a pot scraper to remove any residue. Dry your bamboo utensils with a towel or let air dry. For best results, let your bamboo items fully dry out in the air for a few hours before storing them.
Handwash bamboo utensils for best results
While our bamboo utensils are dishwasher safe, we recommend handwashing them to extend their life. Dishwashing is far less gentle than handwashing and uses high temperatures to sanitize and dry. Other types of laminated or glued bamboo cookware made from several pieces can actually come apart in the dishwasher. Because our utensils are always made from a single piece of bamboo, they won’t. However, due to the drying effects of dishwashing, we’d still recommend handwashing to keep your bamboo kitchen utensils healthy. If your bamboo cookware does end up in the dishwasher, keep it protected with consistent applications of wood oil.
Refrain from soaking bamboo
If you tend to toss dishes in the sink to soak after cooking a meal, find a different spot to keep your bamboo cookware. Soaking bamboo utensils for extended periods of time can cause them to become discolored or to warp in strange ways. Keep your eco-friendly utensils clear of cracks and discoloration by either leaving bamboo utensils on a special rack after cooking or by washing them quickly after use.
Using wood oil on bamboo cookware and cutting boards
Proper everyday care and cleaning of bamboo utensils are the most important ways to keep your eco-friendly bamboo cooking utensils and bamboo cutting boards looking great for years to come. Your utensils are meant to be well-used daily cooking items, so a little extra TLC every now and then is needed. To best preserve your bamboo cookware, supplement your daily care with specially formulated bamboo and wood oil. Applying a finishing wood oil to bamboo utensils rehydrates your bamboo and gives it a barrier to keep moisture out.
What kind of wood oil should you use on bamboo utensils?
Not just any oil is suitable for use as a bamboo and wood oil. Cooking oils like vegetable, olive, coconut, and walnut oil should not be used to treat bamboo. They’ll easily go rancid. This results in bamboo cookware that smells bad. And leaves an unpleasant taste and smell on any food your bamboo kitchen supplies come into contact with. Instead, find a wood oil that’s formulated for use on bamboo products.
Mineral oil is often suggested as the best wood oil to use on bamboo utensils. But the negative impacts of its production process cannot be ignored. As a petroleum by-product, mineral oil has a much larger environmental footprint than all-natural, plant-based alternatives. Instead of petroleum based oil, opt for an eco-friendly wood oil made with natural ingredients like Linseed and Tung oil and beeswax. This will keep your bamboo in great condition. And leave your kitchen free of unsustainable substances.
How to apply wood oil to bamboo utensils
To prevent your bamboo utensils or cutting boards from drying out, apply wood oil monthly. Don’t use your bamboo cookware as frequently? Apply wood oil when your utensils are starting to look dry or after big events.
To oil your utensils, first shake the bottle of wood oil to mix, then pour a capful onto a cloth. Rub into the bamboo using small circular motions. Let the wood oil sit and dry for at least 10 minutes (preferably, overnight). If possible, let freshly oiled bamboo cookware dry as evenly as possible on each side by leaving it standing or propped. One enough time has passed, wipe off any excess wood oil and enjoy rejuvenated bamboo utensils that are as good as new!
Removing stains from bamboo utensils
If you cook with certain foods, your bamboo utensils may show some stains. Turmeric, curry, and beets often stain natural cookware (and any white clothes you’re wearing). To minimize this, clean your bamboo quickly after use with foods that often stain. Keeping your bamboo utensils well oiled will also help them maintain a barrier that keeps stains from permeating. If you do end up with a stubborn stain, here’s what to do.
As quickly as possible once you notice a stain, treat it with lemon juice and baking soda. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl, then mix in about a teaspoon of baking soda. Mix together to make a paste. Use a soft bristle brush or towel to rub the baking soda paste onto the stain with a circular motion for about a minute. For extra tough stains, let sit for an extra minute. Then rinse and re-hydrate bamboo with a coat of finishing oil.
If an older stain isn’t budging with this treatment, use fine-grain sandpaper to gently sand down the area. This will remove the stained wood. Use very light pressure when sanding so you only remove the bamboo that’s needed. After sanding, ensure there are no splinters or uneven areas. Then treat with finishing oil.
While bamboo utensils need a little extra TLC, the result is a long lasting, all-natural kitchen tool. In comparison to plastic cutting boards or utensils, bamboo cookware can be re-finished as it ages. It’s resistant to deep cuts and scratches that often make plastic cutting boards a breeding ground for bacteria. And, it’s forgiving enough to keep your knives sharp for longer. Add to that the eco-friendly benefits of choosing an all natural, renewable material, and it’s easy to see why bamboo utensils and cutting boards have quickly become a staple in many kitchens. Once you learn the basics of how to care for bamboo utensils, it’ll quickly become part of your kitchen routine!