How to Clean a Wooden Salad Bowl

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A wooden bowl is a practical tool to have in your home. It brings out the vibrant colors of your salad, makes the setting look stylish, and adds warmth to the decor. Knowing how to clean a wooden salad bowl will ensure it will serve you for a long time.

How to Clean a Wooden Salad Bowl

After using your wooden bowl for some time, you may notice that they have build-up or even have lost their shine. They are not like the usual glass bowls or standard dishes that are easy to clean and manage.

Wooden salad bowl with crushed beans

Proper cleaning methods will make your bowl last for years, while improper practices may end up destroying the wood. The following are proper ways to clean your wooden bowl.

Using Dish Soap and Warm Water

For starters, your sink will have to be clean. If there are any dirty utensils, the wooden bowl may pick oil from them. You should not have a lot of water in the sink, the less water you expose it to, the better it is.

For this method, you need:

  1. Dishwashing soap
  2. Warm water
  3. Clean washcloth or a clean, soft sponge
  4. Clean dry cloth
  5. Drying rack
  6. Food grade mineral oil (optional)

A clean washcloth or soft sponge is essential as you avoid getting any oil or unwanted substances on the wooden salad bowl. Toys made of wood will be helpful as well in using a washcloth.

1. Rinse With Warm Water

Rinsing the bowl with warm water removes any food particles and oil in the bowl. Small amounts of oil get absorbed into the wood, and the grease is broken down into small particles when you rinse with warm water by opening the wood’s pores.

Avoid rinsing your bowl withhold as it makes some oils and fats solidify. This will make them stick to the surface of the bowl. When rinsing, do not submerge the bowl in water.

If you have no plans to wash the bowl soon after using it, the best you can do is rinse it.

Wooden salad bowl with spoon

2. Add Soap to a Clean Cloth

Take your clean cloth or soft sponge and add soap to it. Do not apply the soap directly to the wooden bowl. When you rinse with warm water, it makes it more porous and applying soap directly will trap it in the bowl.

At this stage, remember:

  • Before adding the soap ensure the washcloth is wet and sudsy.
  • If you are using a sponge, apply the soap to the soft side as it is the side you are going to use to clean.
  • You are reducing the chances of transferring soap to the open pores by applying it to the soft sponge or the washcloth.

3. Scrub

Thoroughly scrub the inside and the outside of the wooden bowl, similar to cleaning your wooden comb and your salt block. When scrubbing, do not submerge it in water or expose it to a lot of water.

Most bowls are made from wood that will scratch if you use it with the rough side of a sponge or steel wool. If your bowl has any previous scratches, look into how it can be repaired.

4. Rinse Again With Hot Water

Just like in the first step when we rinsed with hot water, do the same after scrubbing. The reason for doing this at this stage is different from the first step. Here, it is because rinsing with hot water will remove the soap easily compared to using cold water.

Rinse it well to prevent it from getting scummy.

5. Dry With Clean Dry Cloth

After rinsing, take the dry clean cloth and use it to wipe away all the water. Pressing the cloth into the wooden bowl adds pressure that draws moisture out. You will not be able to absorb all the moisture from it as wood retains water. Make sure you remove as much of it as you can.

6. Dry on a Drying Rack

After drying the wooden bowl using a clean cloth, set it on the drying rack and do not remove it until it is fully dry. This may mean leaving it overnight to dry. If you do not want to leave it for that long, keep checking on it every few hours.

Disregarding this step and storing it after drying with a piece of cloth prevents it from drying completely. This may end up causing mildew to grow or ruin the bowl. If you do not have a drying rack, let it air dry but put it in a way that does not let water pool inside.

Wooden salad bowl with fruits

7. Apply Mineral Oil

This step is optional; if you are cleaning your wooden bowl and you stop at the previous step, there are no dire consequences. You are going to be eating from this bowl, so it is important you get food grade oil.

Apply a few drops of the food grade mineral oil to a dry piece of cloth. Apply on the inside and outside, and ensure you do not miss any surface. Use a paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Using Salt and Lemon

You may need to deep clean your wooden salad bowl. Deep cleaning does not have to be done after your bowl has dried. You can deep clean after using it approximately three to five times.

Follow the following steps to deep clean your wooden salad bowl.

  1. Pour a teaspoon of coarse salt into the bowl. Table salt will also work just as well.
  2. Slice your lemon in half. If you do not have lemons, lime will do.
  3. Take one-half of the lemon and use it to run all over the bowl.
  4. Depending on the size of your bowl, you may end up using more than one lemon.
  5. When you finish with the inside of the bowl, do the same to the outside of the bowl.
  6. Take a soft sponge and gently scrub the bowl and then rinse with warm water and then dry appropriately.

This method is used for deep cleaning the bowl. You cannot substitute it with cleaning using soap and warm water.

Using Water and Vinegar

You can use salt and vinegar to disinfect your wooden salad bowl. If you use your bowl often disinfecting, every five uses will do. You can disinfect it after more uses if you rarely use it.

Follow the steps below.

  1. In one cup of hot water, add three tablespoons of white vinegar.
  2. Use a clean washcloth to dip in the mixture.
  3. Rub the washcloth all over the bowl, make sure you cover the whole surface.
  4. Wait for approximately five minutes before washing using the standard procedure of water and vinegar.

Additionally, vinegar can also be helpful in cleaning your faux wood blinds.

Using Sandpaper

After years of use, your wooden bowl may develop some build-up. Using fine-grit sandpaper, you may be able to remove most of the build-up. Rub on the affected area of the wood gently using sandpaper.

You may have to lightly sand all of the bowl.

When sanding, ensure you only sand the build-up. If you do it vigorously, you may end up sanding the wood of the bowl. This may end up causing cracks and making the bowl weak in some areas compared to the rest of the bowl.

Maintaining Your Wooden Bowl

Cleaning your wooden salad bowl is one way of making your bowl last for a long time. There are other methods that you can add to ensure that your bowl lasts longer.

Seasoning Your Bowl

Seasoning your wooden bowl will keep it in optimal conditions, especially since you serve food in it. When you purchase it, season it every day for a week. For the next three weeks, season it once every week. For the next five months, season it once every month.

So, how do you season a wooden bowl? Purchase mineral oil that is food quality and soak the bowl in it from approximately half an hour to a few hours. Wipe the oil off and then use it normally.

You can replace the food mineral oil with quality food preservers.


One way to control bacteria growth on your wooden bowl is by sanitizing. Mix white vinegar and water in a ratio of one to one and put it in a spritz bottle. Spray it on the whole surface and wipe the excess off with a paper towel.

Removing Sticky Buildup

You may find that your wooden bowl has become sticky, especially at the bottom. To rectify this, use an oven. Heat it to 275 degrees and place it upside down on the rack.

To prevent the melting residue from dripping into the oven, place an aluminum sheet below it.

After about two hours, you will notice it has stopped dripping and become dry. Remove it from the oven and dry with paper towels. If there is still some build-up, repeat the process.

After all the sticky buildup has been removed, wash it using soap and warm water.


Taking care of your wooden salad bowl is not difficult. The most important part is to clean it well and keep it away from bleach or excessive sunlight. Doing this will enhance optimal performance and durability, and you will be able to keep it in your family for a long time.

This bleach is only applicable to clean in your coffee maker and other kitchen utensils.