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Teak Care

Best Care Practices for your Proteak Products

Prolong the beauty of teak.

With a little care and maintenance, you can extend the life of your beautiful Proteak teak cutting board, counter top, or butcher block several years! Correct treatment is important to guard against germs, mold growth, and splitting on both new and older wooden cooking surfaces.

Seasoning Your New Cutting Surface

Before you use your cutting board or butcher block for the first time, season it to prevent staining or absorption of food odors and bacteria. The wooden surface needs an oil that can be applied repeatedly to fill the wood pores and repel food particles, liquids, and oils. Do not use any vegetable or cooking oils to treat or finish a cutting surface, as these oils can turn rancid.

Proteak recommends using either USP-grade mineral oil.  Mineral oil is an inexpensive food-grade oil that won’t spoil, and can easily be found at the hardware or drug store. Do not confuse this with mineral spirits, which is paint thinner.

Other treatments you can use are coconut oil, walnut oil, almond oil, and beeswax. Coconut oil is highly resistant to rancidity, and does not have to be refrigerated. It is also one of the healthiest oils to cook with! Walnut and almond oils are not strongly recommended because, although they do not turn rancid as quickly as other oils, they will eventually go rancid. Do not use walnut or almond oil if you or anyone in your family has nut allergies. Beeswax is another natural option. Just place ½ teaspoon of beeswax in 1 cup of mineral oil, place in the microwave for 45 seconds, and apply as normal. You can also use beeswax as a top coat, applied with a soft cloth and buffed off.

To apply the treatment, warm the oil slightly and apply with a soft cloth, following the grain direction. For initial seasoning, you will need to apply 4 to 5 coats. Allow each coat to soak in before applying the next. Do not worry about applying too much oil – the more the better! After applying the last coat, wait 4 to 6 hours for the oil to oxidize and harden, then wipe off any excess oil that did not soak in.

Proteak recommends that you oil your cutting surface once every week to two weeks to maintain quality and avoid bacteria and cracks.

Maintaining Your Cutting Surface

All cutting surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Proteak recommends that you use one of the following methods.

  • Hot water and soap – Scrub the board with hot water and soap., then rinse and dry thoroughly. Never submerge cutting boards in a sink of water! Wood is porous and will soak up water, causing the cutting board to crack when it dries.
  • Vinegar – To disinfect and clean your wooden cutting surface, wipe it with full-strength white vinegar after each use. The acetic acid in the vinegar is effective against such harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Vinegar is especially good for people with chemical allergies. Have a spray bottle of undiluted vinegar handy for easy cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide - 3% hydrogen peroxide can also be used as an anti-bacterial agent. To kill germs, use a paper towel to wipe the surface down with vinegar, then use another paper towel to wipe it with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Bleach - You can sanitize both wood and plastic cutting boards with a diluted chlorine bleach or vinegar solution made of one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach in one quart of water or a one-to-five mixture of vinegar to water. Flood the surface with a sanitizing solution and allow it to stand for several minutes, then rinse and air-dry or pat dry with paper towels.

Do not use harsh detergents of any kind.

All teak wood cutting boards, and other food surfaces, should be kept dry when not in use. Resident bacteria do not survive more than a few hours without moisture. Keep moisture of any kind from standing on the block for long periods of time. Be careful not to let moisture collect beneath the board if you leave it on

Use a good steel scraper or spatula often when using the cutting surface. Scraping removes 75% of the moisture that builds up on a wooden cutting board. Never scrub a wooden surface with a steel brush, as this will rough up the finish.

When refinishing a butcher block, you may want to sand the surface of the wood to remove old stains, scratches and marks. An occasional sanding will return a wooden board to a smooth luster. When sanding out knicks and scratches, remember that if you don’t sand the top evenly you will end up with “hills” and “valleys” in the top.

To eliminate garlic, onion, fish, or other smells from your cutting board, use one of the following methods.

  • Coarse salt or baking soda – Rub the surface with course salt or baking soda. Let stand a few minutes and wipe salt or baking soda from the surface, and then rinse. You may need to re-season after rinsing your cutting board or chopping block.
  • Lemon – Another easy technique is to rub fresh lemon juice or rub a cut lemon over the surface of the cutting board to neutralize onion and garlic odors. You may need to re-season after rinsing your cutting board/chopping block.
  • Vinegar – Keep a spray bottle of undiluted vinegar handy for easy cleaning and sanitizing. You may need to re-season after rinsing your cutting board/chopping block.

Other Suggestions

Keep teak and other hardwoods away from extreme humidity or dryness. Temperature extremes can cause the wood to swell and shrink, leading to small cracks or breaks along the grain, along the ends of tops, or along the end of the lamination.

Do not install or place counter tops near excessive heat (such as a stove) without proper insulation between the heat source and the edge of the counter top.

Do not cut off ends, drill holes, make cutouts, or otherwise deface surfaces without refinishing the exposed unfinished wood. Guarantee is void if surfaces are modified.

Do not cut continuously in the same place on your cutting surface. Distribute your cutting over the entire work surface so that it will wear evenly.

Do not use a razor-edged cleaver. This can chip or splinter the wood and produce soft spots. Your cleaver should have a dull sharpened edge for best results.

Turn your cutting board over periodically to allow even usage to both work surfaces.

Do not wash knives, forks, or other utensils on the work surface of your cutting board.

Always clean the block thoroughly after cutting fish or fowl on the work surface.