I have quite a number of wooden kitchen items at home but I have never thought of applying oil over them to moisturize and protect their surfaces. I always thought that wooden products, being a natural material and subjected to much abuse in my kitchen, are meant to split/turn moldy/breakdown/wear and tear and eventually be replaced due to hygiene reasons.
I was so wrong.
While going through some of the methods to clean and restore my chopping boards, I stumbled upon this post that detailed how to give old wooden salad bowls from the thrift store a total makeover. Another one here. My wooden spatulas and spoons need more than a thorough nightly air dry as maintenance. And they have the potential to outlive me and gain vintage status if I just give them regular TLC sessions with spoon butter, which is nothing more than a mixture of beeswax and a neutral flavor oil. The super brief ingredient list only means that I am going the DIY route instead of buying a big jar that I can’t use up.
There are many recipes out there when you search for “spoon butter recipes” and they are really similar to how I have been making my lotion bars and lip balm. So I am going to make just enough to buff my wooden utensils and use up the leftover as hand moisturizer for the next few days. I hate leftovers that linger for months.
After eliminating mineral oil, and a number of cooking oil that turns rancid easily, I decided to turn to this recipe that uses coconut oil, something that I have been using for my homemade skin care products. According to other sites, walnut oil and olive oil are great choices too. Pick something food grade that you already have in your pantry instead of buying a bottle for a single purpose.
I made a really small initial batch for testing, with just 3g beeswax pellets and 10g coconut oil, since most instructions mention “1 part beeswax/ 3 parts oil.” I have covered almost every wooden items in my drawer except for 3 large chopping boards. If you need more, simply increase the portion of ingredients accordingly, especially for chopping boards. I will give my boards the royal treatment over the weekend and let it cure longer.
I made the spoon butter directly inside a small glass jar that I am storing it with, hardened wax is really messy to clean up. I learned that the hard way after making my beeswax wrap, so I will avoid making it a separate vessel to skip the transferring and pouring steps altogether. For this reason, use a glass jar instead of a plastic one since we will be heating it.
Place the glass jar with beeswax pellets and coconut oil in a pot of water over low heat and let it simmer. Once the beeswax pellets melt (in my warm house, coconut oil is always in liquid state), stir to mix well. I usually hold the bottle by its rim (wear a mitten and be careful) and swirl to mix. Then leave the spoon butter on the kitchen counter and let it set at room temperature.
To use, rub the spoon butter over the clean and dry wood surfaces, either with dry cloth or bare hands. Leave them to sit over night. The next day, wipe away any residual grease that is not absorbed by the surface with a dry cloth.
I always thought my spatula handle feels unfinished and dry. After treatment, the wood grains even start to look more beautiful.
The difference before and after on my bamboo chopping board.
Bamboo toothbrushes getting a treatment too, especially the ones with unfinished surfaces that gets moldy really easily inside the bathroom. See the difference before (below) and after (top). But I can’t seem to find a way to reach the part between the bristles.
Reapply whenever the wooden surfaces start to look or feel dry. I won’t wait until they crack or split anymore.