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How do I sanitize certain kitchen utensils?

Different spoons, spatulas, things like that.

3 Responses to “How do I sanitize certain kitchen utensils?”

  • Joseph:

    Hot water and dish detergent are usually all you need, and that’s enough to kill food-borne bacteria.

    If you’ve been doing something really strange with these utensils and want to really be thorough, fill your sink with water and add a cup or two of bleach (follow the recommendations on the bleach bottle, and do *not* add dish detergent because it can react with the bleach). Let the utensils soak for about 15 minutes to a half hour, then rinse them and wash them normally. The bleach may cause some discoloration depending on what the utensils are made of, you can’t avoid it. It’s also bad for some types of metal like aluminum, so you may want to test it first.

  • Greatmommy:

    I use bleach and hot water. If you have hard water stains, get some Limeaway. Just wash them good in the hot water and bleach otherwise and rinse well. Even if there’s a little chlorine residue left, it can’t hurt. It’s in our drinking water. Just don’t soak them in bleach for too long a time, that can eat away at some metals. However, if things are made of wood and have been exposed to seriously gross things, toss them, cos rodent urine and stuff like that could sink in. I don’t know if that’s your problem, but I had to live with that for a time. I kept most stuff packed up though!
    I usually get my wooden spoons at a $ store or k-mart for under $5, so I don’t stress it if I have to toss it!

  • Pitonisa:

    These instructions were given for wooden spoons but they can be extended to the other utensils you’ve mentioned:


    1. Analyze just what kind of dirty your utensil is. If you find a wooden spoon floating down the street during a flood, or buried in the yard, just throw away that spoon. There is no process of cleaning that will remove toxins from this utensil. If, however, your spoon has just been behind the fridge for a few days, you can clean it up easily.

    2. Prepare for disinfecting your wooden utensil. When cleaning wood, remember that washing by hand is most thorough and that bleach is your friend.

    3. Place some bleach into a soaking tub (sink, large bowl, dish pan) and fill the remainder with hot water. A good ratio is one part bleach to 20 parts water. Place the utensil in the water.

    4. Allow your utensil to soak for at least an hour. As a rule, you do not want to soak wooden utensils often, but periodically it is important to thoroughly disinfect a utensil, and the initial disinfecting is critical.

    5. Remove the bleach solution and fill the same tub with a mixture of mild detergent, such as dish soap, and hot water.

    6. Wash the utensil by hand, and then allow it to sit in the soapy water for 15 minutes or so. Allow sufficient soaking time to remove any bleach smell on the utensil.

    7. Feel the utensil. If it feels fuzzy, it is probably because the grain of the wood has been raised from the soaking. Simply take a fine grit sandpaper (or even steel wool) and gently smooth the utensil.

    8. Rinse the utensil off again. This time, you can wash it like you would any other utensil in your kitchen. Only follow the above steps if you need to thoroughly disinfect a utensil. Otherwise, wash wood with a gentle detergent and dry it off quickly.

    9. Renew and retain the vibrancy of the wood in your utensil by periodically oiling it. You can use a paper towel or a small piece of clean cloth to administer the oil to the utensil. Use mineral oil, a food safe oil that is commonly used by restaurants to increase the longevity of wooden utensils. Mineral oil is a minor laxative, but even regular use of such small quantities will cause no adverse effects. If you are worried, you can simply allow the oil to soak in and then re-wash the utensil.


    * If a spoon is rancid, don’t try too hard to disinfect it. The cost of a new utensil is generally less than the possible adverse affects of using a contaminated kitchen tool when preparing food.

    * Taking care of your wooden utensils will pay off in the long run. Wooden utensils are among the first cooking utensils, and with proper care they can last a lifetime.

    * Don’t be afraid to allow your utensil to soak for a spell. Because wood is porous, it may take a while for your cleaning solution to thoroughly sanitize the utensil. Do not, however, make a habit of soaking wood utensils, as soaking can shorten their useful lives.

    * Some say that lemon juice is a great way to keep your wooden utensil constantly fresh and sanitized. Use this method only after thoroughly sanitizing with bleach, though.

    * Hard wood utensils are the easiest to sanitize, and they also last the longest. The tight grains in the wood make for a less porous and more rigid construction.

    * Consider using a microwave to both dry out and sanitize a wooden utensil. You can also place a wooden utensil in boiling water to help in the disinfecting process.


    * Wooden utensils are more porous than their plastic or metal counterparts. They are therefore more susceptible to carrying germs and bacteria.

    * Don’t put wooden spoons in the dishwasher, especially not on a regular basis. They may crack. They are also a fire hazard if they fall on the heating element during the drying cycle.

    * Do not use a wooden utensil if any part of the wood is soft or dark and mushy. These characteristics are often associated with rotten wood, and wood in this state will attract and retain germs and bacteria.

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