The Best Method For Cleaning Gunk Off Your Wood Countertops

Butcher block countertops bring a lovely warmth to your kitchen. However, they're porous and somewhat susceptible to staining, especially for those who use them for food prep. If you're seeking a fantastic method for cleaning wood countertops without synthetic chemicals, a generous sprinkling of salt and some lemon juice can serve as a powerhouse stain lifter.

To use this technique, start off by cutting a lemon in half. Then, concentrating on the gunk, squeeze it onto the affected area and sprinkle a liberal amount of salt. Finally, take the half lemon you squeezed (you can wrap the other half and put it in the fridge unless you're cleaning a large area) and scrub it across the area needing to be cleaned, being sure to pick up plenty of salt in the process.

It's a good idea to let this sit overnight — you might want to let your family know to leave the lemon and salt there. In the morning, rinse the area with water and a microfiber cloth and toss the lemon into the compost bin. Lastly, let the area dry completely. You can then reseal it with some mineral oil to help combat future stains.

Why this is the best method

Wondering why this method works so well? Salt is naturally abrasive. However, unlike a cheap sponge, it won't leave behind microplastic particles while removing grime from your counter. Of course, the acid in lemon can loosen grime and stains, which the salt then helps to scrub away. 

This scrub is also fabulous for effectively deodorizing your wood countertops, and again, we can thank the acids in lemon for their ability to neutralize odors. For instance, a chemical in fish called amines creates an unmistakable fishy odor. Amines react to lemon juice by creating a type of salt that then dissolves, eliminating the scent. Another fantastic benefit of this method is that although lemon doesn't kill bacteria, it has enough antibacterial properties to make it hard for it to survive on the surface. 

Thankfully, keeping butcher block in pristine condition with a lemon-salt scrub and a few other techniques, like sanding and resealing, should be well within the means of most homeowners. The best part is that you probably already have both the ingredients needed for a deodorized, stain-free surface.