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Despite their name, butcher blocks have actually made themselves right at home in regular people’s houses and kitchens all over the place.

Whether as standalone butcher blocks for cutting and preparing food, or as a butcher block countertop inside a shelf or counter, there’s a lot of needs that these can fulfill in kitchens of any size.

Of course, they also have some…misconceptions about their usage and care that can impact someone’s desire to use one in their own home. Since we’re pretty fond of them here, let’s take a look at these misconceptions and get to the truth of the matter, shall we?

 

The Myth: “Butcher blocks help promote germs!”

The Truth: There’s a lot of concern from people that any surface in the kitchen other than stainless steel or hardened Formica is going to become some kind of wasteland of germs and bacteria, but that’s just not the case. Studies have been done by major universities that show wooden cutting boards are just as safe, if not safer in some cases than plastic countertops or shelf liners when it comes to preventing the growth of dangerous bacteria like E-Coli or salmonella. A lot of people get this impression due to the fact that butcher blocks of old were much harder to clean, but these days that’s generally not the case and there’s plenty of ways to keep your butcher block clean and safe in the long run.

 

The Myth: “Any wooden countertop isn’t as heat resistant.”

The Truth: Considering how easily wood can contribute to a bonfire, it makes sense that people would think this, but it’s not true. While you’ll still want to set down a pad before you put any hot skillets or teapots on a butcher block top, they’re just as safe and heat-resistant as other counter materials, if not more so in a lot of cases. (Engineered stone, for example, has a much harder time standing up to heat than wood does in most cases.)

 

The Myth: “Wood countertops are prone to stains and scratches.”

The Truth: While we can’t sit here and tell you that wooden countertops are somehow magically scratch resistant, the fact of the matter is they’re no more prone to getting scratches or dings than any other kind of countertop. Think about the stuff that leaves marks on standard plastic or marble counters—unfinished ceramic, glass, over-sharpened knives. While these can leave marks on wood, those would leave marks on anything and you just need to be careful not to do anything to your butcher blocks that you wouldn’t do to a different kind of countertop.

 

The same goes for stains. Most butcher blocks are sealed with a special oil that treats the wood to prevent it from losing moisture or cracking, and that helps prevent it from getting marked with water or stained by spills. Clean them like normal (or with a vinegar/baking soda solution if the crud is really on there) and you should have no problem avoiding stains.

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