Care and Maintenance for butcher blocks countertops

A hardwood countertop or kitchen island top finished with a polyurethane-based varnish requires no maintenance at all. Nevertheless, some scratches, cut marks, and other similar damages might be difficult to repair with touch-ups; therefore, extra care is required.

On the other hand, mineral oil finishing needs to be applied periodically. However, in turn, it allows you to fix minor damage quickly, and to renew the surface whenever necessary.

Assuming you followed the instructions regarding finishing before installation, you will need to apply on your hardwood countertop a new coat of oil every month during the first year and once every six months or so ever after.

However, you should be advised that there is no carved in stone set of rules regarding how often you should re-oil your butcher block or hardwood countertop. A lot of external factors could come into play.

Dry winter months, air conditioners, the vicinity of a stove burner, for instance, will cause the wood to dry up faster and, therefore, require a more frequent re-oiling. Thus, the golden rule would be to apply a new coat of oil every time the wood begins losing its “oily shine” and starts looking dry.

For maintenance purposes, you will need to oil the topside and the edges only. As the wood is already saturated, it might take longer for the oil to completely cure, and some excess oil might remain on the top surface.

Sanding the damaged area and re-oiling it can conveniently repair almost any scratch, cut mark, watermark, food stain, or similar damage. Similarly, if you choose to re-shape your solid wood top, you have to subsequently oil carefully all the exposed areas.

Routine cleaning is done with soap and water; do not use cleaning solutions on your hardwood countertop or kitchen island top. The butcher block should be cleaned after each use and at least once a couple of months when not used.

Please be advised that a mineral oil finishing will offer weak protection against harsh chemicals such as bleach or pipe-draining acids. Polyurethane-based varnishes do not have these limitations.