Cleaning an Old Butcher Block Wood Table

Category Kitchen
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.


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May 19, 2010

What do I put on a butcher block table after I clean it?

By Don from Massapequa Park, NY


December 26, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Clean using about 1/2 cup peroxide, 1 cup water and a tablespoon or so of dish detergent, with a soft to medium brush or a "magic eraser", repeat 'til entire item is clean. If necessary you can up the peroxide. Rinse, wipe dry and allow to dry rather well. Then coat with mineral oil (liberally). Let sit a couple of hours or overnight, then wipe off excess oil. Never use any non-food cleaner, sealer or oil, if the block is for food prep. I've had mine for 30 years, and expect many more years of use. (It is safe to use peroxide, especially when the item is rinsed and air dried.)

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June 29, 2009

I just purchased an old (I am guessing at least 40 years) butcher block wood table. It is worn and very dirty around the edges. I would like to clean it. I am afraid to sand it as I do not want to ruin the finish. Anyone have any suggestions?


Thanks. Ralphed


Clean Wood Table

I just got a old wooden butcher block table that my father made years ago and it had sat in a shed for years. I took warm water with Dawn Dish soap in it and scrubbed it with a medium bristle toothbrush. Mine cleaned up really well. After I let that dry good then I washed it with Murphy's oil soap. That brought out the shine of the cabinet. Hope this helps. Nan from
IA (05/27/2004)

By Nancy

Clean Wood Table

"Real" butcher's blocks years ago used to be scrubbed, along the grain, with sawdust and a wire brush. The sawdust soaked up the blood and fat and the wire brush got all the residue out of the grain. The chopping followed by this scrubbing gave them the usual smooth curved hollow in the top. So if you want an "authentic" finish you could do this.



Jo (05/27/2004)

By Jo Bodey

Cleaning an Old Butcher Block Wood Table

Try bleach. Not only will it get stains out it will disinfect it too. If that doesn't work try some CLR bathroom cleaner. It took apple stains from my chopping block. (06/12/2004)

By Ashley Hamm

Cleaning an Old Butcher Block Wood Table

Go with the grain with a good steel bristle brush. Don't wet it. The ole blocks used to be maple, if your keen on sanding it go for it. Don't use any type of sealer or oil when done. If stained use a high grit with a belt sander with the grain. Take the advice from a butcher. (07/30/2007)


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May 19, 2010

What products can I use to clean old butcher block?

By cleda


Cleaning an Old Butcher Block Wood Table

If it's going to be used to prepare food on you will have to be careful of what cleaners you'd use. I'd use bleach (or bleach in water) to clean it, then give it a thin coating of mineral oil. (others may recommend olive oil, but mineral oil doesn't go rancid like vegetable oils do). (06/29/2009)


By Cyinda

Cleaning an Old Butcher Block Wood Table

I don't like where or how mineral oil is made, or where it comes from. I'd try high oleic safflower oil. It tends to last longer and doesn't seem to rot like other oils. It's great for cooking, as high heat doesn't cause it to be turned into trans fatty acids, which are very bad. (06/30/2009)

By christine M. Thayer

Cleaning an Old Butcher Block Wood Table

I just recently purchased a very old butcher block cart for $5. It was in very good condition structurally speaking, but the top was in very poor condition loaded with stains and very soiled. I washed it with simple dish washing detergent and water and immediately dried it with a dry cloth. I then sanded it going with the grain until all of the stains were gone. I then took a new paint brush and painted olive oil on it. I let it dry and put a 2nd coat on and let it dry. I then buffed it with a cotton dry cloth. It came out beautiful and looks brand new. I sold it for $100. Good luck with yours. (07/01/2009)


By carol

Cleaning an Old Butcher Block Wood Table

Without knowing more about your newly acquired treasure its very difficult to guide you, but here goes. Butcher blocks are meant to be sanded lightly and not to be finished (the food factor). It's made of various woods to form one thick plank or just one type of wood made into a thick plank. What usually happens with bakers and butchers at the end of their day is a good dowsing of bleach, maybe leave it on for a second or 2, just to clean it and kill any bacteria, then rinse and wipe/rub with linseed oil and maybe again if its kinda dry.

If your treasure has been finished then its not for the baker or butcher and it's time to refinish. Your table is kinda old and might need other help ie., rickety, warped, etc. Time to make your treasure a treasureable heirloom. Repair, refinish, and restore.


Your local hardware store will help you with the stripper, again without knowing the type of wood or woods it's kinda hard to guide you, but anything that's thick and that you don't have to leave on for long 20 minutes max. Do another coat if you have to, but do not scrape. Do not use a putty knife, it can leave nicks slashes and gouges which you probably have plenty of (which will leave great old character in the wood) then rinse (with a hose if possible after you wipe of the waste and old finish). Don't do the legs unless really grody. It's very time consuming and can take away from the character and age of the table/wood.

Sand lightly to bring back wood color, then bleach. A little trick is to do the bleaching in the sun (don't leave wet too long, remember less is more) really brings out the color of the wood and rinse again, dry, then refinish either with a water soluble polycyclic or just linseed oil which may need many coats/rubs.

A warning; do not use metal of any type. Your wood is old and may be soft, especially after stripping and cleaning. Dry thoroughly, sawdust like job said is cool and should even fill in any unseen cracks, but no wire. Just use a fine sand paper (wet if possible) for your treasure.

Send us a before and after picture, "wood" love to see it as a treasured heirloom.

Cyn (07/01/2009)


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