Can You Put Wooden Spoons In The Dishwasher?

By Cory White
Can You Put Wooden Spoons In The Dishwasher?

When it comes to kitchen utensils, wooden spoons are a staple in many households. But a common question arises: Can you put wooden spoons in the dishwasher? 

While it is technically possible, washing your wooden spoons in the dishwasher is generally not recommended for the longevity of the utensil. They tend to warp and crack due to the intense heat, moisture, and detergent in the dishwasher.

In this article, I will tackle the dishwasher’s suitability for wooden spoons including its potential risks and considerations, cleaning methods to ensure the longevity and hygiene of your cherished wooden utensils, and signs that tell that it’s time to toss away your trusty wooden spoons. Let’s get started!

The Problem with Wooden Spoons in Dishwashers

It’s important to understand the concerns that come with putting wooden spoons in the dishwasher. The major issue is that the high temperature and humidity inside dishwashers, combined with the harshness of some detergents, can cause significant damage to the wood.

High Temperatures

Dishwashers typically operate at high temperatures to effectively clean and sanitize dishes. Wooden spoons, however, don’t respond well to these conditions and may warp under intense heat.

Moisture Levels

Dishwashers rely heavily on water and moisture. Wooden spoons tend to absorb water, causing them to swell and potentially leading to warping or even cracking when they dry out.

Harsh Detergents

The detergents used in dishwashers can be quite harsh and can cause the wood to dry out and become brittle, potentially leading to cracks or breakage.

Comparisons to Other Materials

different types of spoons

When it comes to handling the rigors of dishwashing, not all materials are created equal. Plastic and stainless steel, for instance, are more dishwasher-friendly compared to wooden utensils.


One of the common materials used in many kitchen utensils is plastic. It’s tough, durable, and generally immune to the hostile environment inside a dishwasher. It can withstand high temperatures and detergent exposure with no significant alterations to its quality or structure.

Stainless Steel

When it comes to resilience, stainless steel is a frontrunner. It’s able to endure the high heat and moisture of a dishwasher cycle without warping, rusting, or losing its shine. It’s one of the most dishwasher-safe materials you can come across in kitchenware.

General Wooden Spoon Care

Caring for your wooden spoons, if done correctly, can ensure they remain serviceable for a long time. Proper cleaning and maintenance procedures are essential:


Always clean your wooden spoons shortly after use to prevent stains or odors. Use warm soapy water, but avoid soaking the spoon for too long as this can cause it to warp or crack.


Never leave your wooden spoons wet, as the retained moisture can lead to the growth of mildew and mold. Always dry them thoroughly after washing, preferably standing upright in a well-ventilated area.


Occasionally, you should condition your wooden spoons with food-grade mineral oil to prevent them from drying out and developing cracks. Just apply a small amount, let it absorb, then wipe off the excess.

Proper Cleaning of Wooden Utensils

Ensuring your wooden utensils are always clean requires a few specific steps. Here’s a brief rundown of this simple, yet effective cleaning routine:

  1. Rinse right after use. The longer food residue remains on the spoon, the harder it will be to remove. Try to rinse your wooden utensils under running water immediately after use to prevent stains and odors.
  2. Wash with mild dish soap. Apply a small amount of mild dish soap to a soft sponge. Gently scrub the wooden spoon to remove any remaining food residue.
  3. Rinse again. Once you’ve scrubbed all areas of the spoon, rinse it under warm water to remove all the soap. Be careful not to soak the spoon for too long or it may warp.
  4. Dry thoroughly. Use a dish towel to pat the spoon dry or let it air-dry in a rack, preferably in an upright position to allow any water to drain off. Ensure wooden utensils are completely dry before storing them to avoid the growth of mold or mildew.
  5. Condition the wood. From time to time, apply some food-grade mineral oil to your spoon. This helps to keep the wood from drying out and cracking.

When to Replace a Wooden Spoon

While it’s true that proper care can prolong the lifespan of your wooden spoon, there inevitably comes a time when it might be best to let it retire. Here are some signs that indicate your spoon may need replacement:


If your wooden spoon starts showing visible cracks, it’s generally a sign that the wood has been overly exposed to moisture and heat, as happens in a dishwasher. Such cracks can harbor bacteria, making the spoon unsafe for use.


Warping is another indication of damage, often occurring due to the wood absorbing water and then drying unevenly. A warped spoon may not perform as effectively and can be challenging to clean.

Changes in Color or Smell 

If your spoon starts to discolor or emit an unpleasant smell, it’s a strong indication that the spoon has been stained by strong ingredients, or worse, has begun to mildew or rot.


To sum up, while wooden spoons may seem dishwasher-friendly, their unique nature makes it best to hand wash these kitchen tools. Compared to other dishwasher-safe materials like stainless steel and plastic, wood can warp, crack, and discolor due to the high heat, moisture, and cleaning agents used in dishwashers. 

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