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Expert warns TikTokers to think twice before participating in a newly popular cleaning trend: 'Cracks may form'

Boiling your wooden utensils might be permissible once or twice per year, but any more than that will ultimately shorten their overall lifespan.

Wood spoons being cleaned

Photo Credit: iStock

Creators on TikTok have encouraged boiling wooden spoons to clean them — but an expert thinks differently.

The scoop

TikToks like this one from Nicole Jaques (@itsnicolejaques) suggest a hack for cleaning wooden utensils: boiling them once a month to rid them of the oils, bacteria, and other substances that lurk within their interior fibers. 

AllRecipes interviewed Brad Bernhart, a representative of Early Wood Designs, to determine the true effects of boiling your wooden utensils.

"When wood absorbs water, it expands," he told AllRecipes. "When wood dries out, it shrinks. Properly oiling or waxing utensils is what keeps this cycle from happening, but in the case of the boiling method, you are forcing the wood to soak up as much water as possible. So, when you dry them afterward, cracks may form."

Bernhart went on to explain that boiling your wooden utensils might be permissible once or twice per year, but any more than that will ultimately shorten the overall lifespan of each utensil.

Bernhart's recommended method of cleaning wooden utensils is just washing them by hand with the rough side of a sponge. He also said that running wooden spoons through the dishwasher isn't an ideal method — it tends to wear down the wood and change the texture, according to AllRecipes.

How it's helping

By washing your wooden utensils by hand and properly caring for them, Bernhart estimated that each item could have an overall lifespan of up to 50 years.

"Most of us have seen one of those old wooden spoons that were used lovingly by our grandparents or even great-grandparents," he said to AllRecipes. "Treat them correctly and your grandchildren will pass them on to their grandchildren."

Beyond sentimental value, maximizing the lifespan of your household items reduces your overall carbon output by reducing your overall waste. By holding onto home goods as long as they remain usable, you stop older items from entering landfills, where they pollute our environment and contribute to the dangerous overheating of our planet. 

Purchasing new home goods also often means consuming and disposing of more unnecessary plastic waste.

What everyone's saying

Facebook users shared their thoughts on the wooden spoon cleaning controversy.

"Wood is a natural antibacterial, so by boiling them, you'll only achieve to ruin them!

You only need to properly clean them with dish soap!" one user said.

"If a wooden spoon can last 50 years and has been handed down through generations … And nobody died … Then I think they were safe to use! You're welcome!" another user wrote.

"Been using wooden spoons my whole life and clean them the same way I clean regular utensils and I've never had an issue," a third user commented.

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