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Can You Clean Wooden Spoons in the Dishwasher?

By Lisa McManus Published

Who knew this question would be so divisive? People fall into two camps: definitely or absolutely not.

We asked readers and staffers whether they washed wooden spoons in the dishwasher or by hand—and ignited a real controversy. So we decided to do both and compare the results: Throughout our testing of 13 wooden spoons, we washed them all by hand with a sponge and hot, soapy water. Then, as a final test, we ran them all through a normal dishwasher cycle 10 times. Here’s what we learned.

  • Spoons clearly stayed closer to their original like-new condition when they were washed by hand.
  • After 10 trips through the dishwasher, most spoons looked bleached and felt as dry as driftwood.
  • Any spoons with a shellac-like finish lost most of it after about five dishwasher cycles.
  • If the spoons had been stained with food or had retained odors, the dishwasher cleaned and deodorized them within a cycle or two, while hand-washing didn’t do as thorough a job.

Our takeaways:

  • Wash your wooden spoon by hand if you want to prolong its lifespan.
  • Don’t leave a wooden spoon soaking in water. Because wood absorbs water, repeated swelling and shrinking as the wood dries will encourage cracks to form.
  • To remove lingering odors, wash a wooden spoon with hot, soapy water; scrub it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of water; and rinse it well. In a pinch, run it through the dishwasher once.  
  • To restore the finish and condition of a wooden spoon (as well as a cutting board or a wood-handled knife), try our DIY “spoon butter” made of beeswax and mineral oil. In our tests, wooden tools and boards treated with spoon butter retained some protective coating longer than tools treated with mineral oil alone.

Equipment Review Wooden Spoons

This old-school kitchen tool is sprouting all kinds of new bells and whistles. But do any improve on the classic design?

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.