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Mar 10, 2014 08:16 AM

Butcher block care

Just got a lovely heavy maple butcher block cart for the kitchen. Care instructions that came with it suggested mineral or lemon oil to maintain the wood surface. But the lemon oil we bought, intended for wood care, says that it's harmful if swallowed, so concerned about using it for a chopping block. Maybe the potential transfer to any food product is so minimal it's not a concern?

Curious what oils/treatments others use for heavy-duty wood blocks in the kitchen.

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  1. Clean with a bleach solution, wipe a very light coat of canola or veg oil.

    1. Pure tung oil diluted with 6 parts citrus solvent..

      1. You can get food safe mineral oil and/or a combination of bees wax and mineral oil at any big box home improvement store - it is in the paint area, which is the last place you'd look for it.

        I do a heavy mineral oil treatment if the wood is dry. Let that soak in and then a layer of the bee's wax mixture and buff that in.

        1. For wood,

          I use a combination of lemon and (coarse) salt to clean the wood and after that, once in a while, mineral oil.

          1. Food grade mineral oil, obtained from a cutting board manufacturer, is best. Vegetable oils will turn rancid.

            I use Catskill, which is the brand of my board.

            1 Reply
            1. re: GH1618

              You can obtain food grade mineral oil more easily and cheaply by buying it at a pharmacy, where it's still widely sold as a laxative.