Butcher Block Care and Maintenance

Category Kitchen
Cleaning and maintaining a butcher block is an essential part of using and prolonging the life of this kitchen cutting surface. This is a page about butcher block care and maintenance.


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November 6, 2004

Butcher blocks and other wooden work surfaces used for food preparation should be cleaned after each use. Use chlorine bleach to kill germs from raw foods such as chicken, fish, and meat. Wash any surface that touches these foods. Then cover the surface for two minutes with a diluted solution of unscented chlorine bleach, rinse thoroughly, and air dry.

By Donna G.

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August 10, 2006

I have inherited an old butcher block from a grocery store that opened in the 30's. My father salvaged it during a remodeling project around 1965. It has a sort of film on the surface that makes it feel tacky. I can clean it with a steel wool pad, but it only takes care of it temporarily and it returns in a few days. Any suggestions?


Kelli from Portland, OR


August 11, 20060 found this helpful

Sand it down and refinish it with a non-toxic finish.

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By carla bledsoe (Guest Post)
August 11, 20060 found this helpful

it sounds like someone put some kind of finish on it that shouldn't be used on wood. some oils do that too. some folks mistakenly think cooking oil is good for cutting boards.
i'd sand it down to clean wood.

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By chml (Guest Post)
August 11, 20060 found this helpful

Years ago I watched a butcher clean a butcher block. He used regular table salt sprinkled on kind of heavy and a rough brush (wire or scrub), and went over them every night at closing time. Good luck.

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By rsg (Guest Post)
September 14, 20060 found this helpful

I dont know but I have an almost idential situation and would love to get feedback from someone who actually worked off a wooden block years ago

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By Recoil Rob (Guest Post)
June 23, 20070 found this helpful

I just found this thread because I just spent the afternoon sanding two old blocks with a belt sander. The stickiness is probably old fat from years of meat cutting.


My blocks smelled like old prosciutto while I was sanding. I have them baking in the sun right now and you can see the oil rising to the surface

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May 17, 2010

I have a very old and heavy butcher block. I would like to use it on the front porch of my old farmhouse. The floor of my kitchen wouldn't hold the weight. Will it hurt the butcher block to be outside?

By Lisa


May 19, 20100 found this helpful

I wouldn't do it. If it is a real butcher block, it is made of wood layers sandwiched together. Excessive moisture from rain and humidity can and will ruin it, causing them to separate. We have one in our kitchen that is about 153 years old. It has been appraised at $500. If I were you, I would see about reinforcing the kitchen floor with a floor jack or support beam from downstairs.

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May 20, 20100 found this helpful

Please don't do it as it would ruin in the weather even if you kept it oiled. That would be a terrible waste.

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June 20, 20110 found this helpful

You didn't say whether your front porch was covered or not if so, by all means oil it good legs and all and cover top with an oil cloth table cloth or piece of plastic and do so. I am sorry about my other post but I miss read it. I do woodworking and I also live in the south where the humidity gets to everything even in the shop. Do the best you can an use it where you can, just cover it outside.


The cost of jacking up her floor would be astronomical and if you don't own the jacks and the know how you could make things worse. One option we did with our old 1800's house was to go under it and put extra supports under it where the heavy piece was going and that worked for us.

The old house is gone now but the part of the floor we fixed like that was about the only part you could walk on when they tore it down. Yes we built a new house. Some folks can't do that and they own theirs but we didn't own ours but now we do.

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March 27, 2012

How do I remove fruit stains from my butcher block? They are from fresh raspberries.

By Denise F


March 28, 20120 found this helpful

Have you scrubbed with fresh lemons?

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August 17, 2010

I just got an old butcher block given to me and I would like to get it back in working condition, if possible. It is an end grain butcher block, two of the seams have separated about an 1/8 of an inch and the top needs to be cleaned and conditioned. Can I get this back to working order and if so how?


By Darren7174


August 20, 20100 found this helpful

I don't really know how you would go about it, but I do know that this sort of thing can be fixed. Why don't you try googling "butcher blocks" + restore or repair, and see what you get.

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March 30, 2014

Is difficult to take care of butcher block outdoors?

By Kevin

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June 30, 2018

You may end up needing to sand the wood surface to remove all the stains, but generally you can renew it, and protect the surface with an edible oil. This is a page about cleaning an old butcher block wood table.

Butcher Block Wood Table with pasta on it.

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