When looking for healthy and ecological kitchen utensils, wooden items immediately come to mind. Pasta sticks, mortars, spatulas, cutting boards … They are used every day in the kitchen. But are they as harmless as we always thought? Beware: wood is a breeding ground for bacteria and can be dangerous for both your health and the environment if not properly maintained. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of these wooden utensils and why it would be wiser to avoid them.

Why should cooking spoons be avoided?

As we all already know, kitchen items are very important for food safety. Therefore, it is important to choose healthy and safe materials. But beware of preserved ideas! Some utensils should not be overused, as they can quickly harm you. Among them we find those that you would never have guessed: Wooden spoons. The chemist Deborah García Bello warns consumers against the constant use of these utensils, especially when cooking meals. Although wood is less harmful than plastic, it still remains a fertile environment for bacteria. Even thorough washing of spatulas never completely eliminates bacteria. Wood is porous by nature,

For the same reason, the British Society of Immunology states that wooden utensils are not recommended for daily use. They can accumulate many types of bacteria and fungi. These communities of microorganisms, which are not always easy to eliminate, form the “biofilm”, that is, a collection of microorganisms that stick together. ” If wooden spoons have a slime-like layer that won’t go away, that’s biofilm. Food safety experts’ worst nightmare! If you have biofilm, you do not need to clean it, it is better to throw it directly into the trash “, explains the chemist.

Are all types of wood in question?

Although there are bactericidal woods such as bamboo, olive and walnut, but even these are not completely safe to use in the kitchen, according to the expert. It makes more sense to rely on other materials such as metal, Teflon, polypropylene and silicone for utensils. “Probably you have used these wooden utensils for many years without ever being exposed to any danger. Maybe nothing has happened to you yet or you have never paid attention, but it is advisable to limit the use of these wooden instruments. Prevention is better than cure! “, concluded the chemist.

How do you take care of your wooden instruments?

Some habits die hard. It is difficult to change utensils when wood has always been part of your culinary routine. We do not suggest completely banning them from the kitchen, but for hygienic reasons it is necessary to have systematic reflexes to take care of this delicate material.

First rule of thumb: clean your utensils after each use. Wash them thoroughly with dish soap or lemon juice. But don’t soak them too long and avoid boiling water, which can crack them. Above all, dry them very carefully by hand: the smallest drop of moisture can attract bacteria. It is necessary to disinfect your wooden items at least once a month, especially cutting boards. To do this, let them soak for half an hour in a solution of water and white vinegar.

Being porous, wood tends to absorb all kinds of odors impregnated with food. To deodorize it, you can rely on the properties of baking soda. Take a bowl and mix a quart of water with a tablespoon of this white powder. Once the paste is formed, spread it on the woody object and leave it for about an hour. Then rinse with clean water and dry well. Finally, the location of your wooden utensils is important. It is necessary to keep them away from any heat source that could deform, break or discolor them.

Why not put wooden utensils in the dishwasher?

When wood is exposed to extreme temperatures (very high or very low) and excessive moisture, it can warp, splinter and eventually break. Wooden items are usually washed manually. If you still insist on cleaning them in the dishwasher, always check the manufacturer’s recommendations to determine if this cleaning is appropriate.

What kind of oil protects wooden utensils?

If you want to extend the life of your wooden utensils, be sure to care for this material, especially its natural fibers, with appropriate oils. Always prefer fatty oils to moisturize it as much as possible, such as olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, flaxseed oil or beeswax. All of these options are 100% food safe. They are readily available in stores and provide long-lasting protection for your wood cookware. Simply pour some on a paper towel and gently wipe the material.