How to Clean and Care for Butcher Block Countertops

How to Clean and Care for Butcher Block Countertops | GreyDock Blog
Article Intro

Wonder how to care for your butcher block countertops? Read our guide for cleaning, removing stains, and continued maintenance.

Butcher block countertops are a labor of love. Installing them is only the first step—now you’ve got to take proper care of them.

We mentioned that there’s a lot of upkeep in a previous post. So, what exactly goes into butcher block countertop maintenance?

From cleaning to sealing, here’s what you need to know to care for butcher block countertops.

Cleaning Methods

Lemon Juice and Salt

Sprinkle kosher salt on your counter and use half of a lemon to scrub, going with the wood grain. The coarseness of the salt combined with the acidity from the lemon will clear up light stains and disinfect the surface. Need extra cleaning power? Add a little baking soda to the mix.

Clean butcher block counters with a mix of lemon juice and salt. | GreyDock Blog

Soapy Water

For light cleaning needs, a mild mixture of soap and warm water will do the trick. Be sure to wipe away any excess water.

Getting Rid of Stains

Keep fine grit sandpaper handy. It’ll help remove surface stains and other markings (think coffee rings and scuffs) while keeping your counters smooth. You can use a palm sander or just a sheet of sandpaper and some elbow grease.

If the stains are bad, you might need to move on to a more heavy-duty solution.

Sanding and Sealing

If all else fails, you can bring out the big guns and refinish your butcher block countertops. Grab a power sander, some coarse grit sandpaper and get to sanding!

Once everything is nice and smooth, you’ll need to treat your counters. One popular option is Waterlox, a Tung oil-based finish that creates a strong layer between your counters and everyday wear and tear. It’s non-toxic when fully dry, making it a smart choice if you use your counters for food prep.

TIP: Check the sealant’s effectiveness by doing a water test. Sprinkle some water on the counter – if it beads up, the sealant has done its job.

Continued Maintenance

You’ll want to routinely oil your butcher block countertops using food grade mineral oil. Even if you don’t plan to prepare food on your counters, it’s the safest option. Another bonus? Mineral oil is widely available and won’t go rancid.

Use mineral oil to treat your butcher block. It's food-safe and widely available. | GreyDock Blog

If you want something to give your counters that magazine-ready look, use an oil/conditioner blend.

This butcher block conditioner is a mix of mineral oil and natural waxes (like beeswax). It helps create a barrier that keeps the mineral oil in while protecting against damage from everyday use. It’s a popular product among homeowners with butcher block because it simply works!

Use a conditioning product at least once a month to prevent your counters from drying out and cracking.

TIP: Store the towel you use in a Ziploc bag between uses. It’ll absorb some of the conditioner as you spread it, so don’t let any of it go to waste!


These tried and true butcher block maintenance tips will keep your counters looking as new as the first day you go them.

Butcher block is a somewhat forgiving material, so don’t feel bad about a small scratch or stain on your countertops. You can handle it with these tips!

Want more ideas for your kitchen? Follow our Kitchen Inspiration board on Pinterest!

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