Do Butcher-Block Countertops Stain

Butcher blocks are fancy-looking countertops that give style and add a touch of elegance to your kitchen. However, buyers are often dubious about their sustainability. By far, the most common question we receive is, “Do butcher-block countertops stain?”

Unfortunately, butcher-block countertops do stain and for a variety of reasons. However, there’s no need to panic. Once you identify the causes and how to avoid them, your countertop should remain spotless for years to come.

In this article, we’ll share some of the most effective ways to remove these pesky stains. If all fails, we’ll walk you through some simple steps to sand your countertop back to perfection.

Let’s get started!

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Why Butcher-Blocks Stain So Easily

Butcher-block countertops are made out of wood. Although wood is a much better choice than granite, marble, or quartz, it has its downsides.

On one hand, wood quietens cutting noises and preserves your knives’ sharpness. On the other hand, it tends to mark and stain very easily.

So, why should you consider installing one? Because it’s so effortless to restore. Additionally, if you take some precautionary steps, you won’t have to worry about staining it in the first place.

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Three Reasons Why Your Countertop Stains

Seeing as they mark and stain easily, wooden countertops require special care. Let’s take a look at the most common reasons why your butcher-block countertop stains.

1. Water Stains

Unfortunately, wood is tremendously sensitive to liquids like fruit juice, wine, or even water.

Butcher-blocks will regularly be subjected to water and other liquids, leaving many stains and messing up your lovely setup.

How to Avoid It

It’s fairly easy to overcome this issue by frequently wiping liquids off the surface as soon as possible. This way, you won’t give them enough time to sit and get absorbed by the wooden surface.

2. Oil Stains

Oil stains are much more stubborn than water stains. The longer you leave it unattended, the harder it’ll be to remove it. The main causes of oil stains are cooking oil, lard or butter, or anything with grease in it.

It’s easy to spot an oil stain. It leaves a greasy patch that can’t be wiped by a paper cloth and usually gets darker the longer you leave it.

How to Avoid It

The best way to avoid these stains is to keep their sources away from your butcher-block countertop entirely. You can also buy a cheap cutting board to take the hit if you happen to spill something with oil in it.

3. Heat Stains

One of the most common mistakes while working on your butcher-block countertop is exposing it to heat. Hot pans and pots can cause heat stains on the wood, which will leave significant stains.

If you keep putting hot objects on the wooden surface for a prolonged time, you might cause burning and cracking, which is extremely difficult, almost impossible, to remove.

How to Avoid It

Heat stains can be avoided by simply using trivets or hot pads anytime you need to place a hot container on your countertop.

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Four Ways to Restore Your Butcher-Block

So you stained your countertop, now what? Here are some tips to remove these annoying stains.

1. Lemon and Salt Mixture

A simple and natural way of removing stains is by using a half-cut lemon dipped in salt. Leave the lemon and salt mixture to sit overnight, then use a sponge to wipe off the stain.

Lemon and salt mixtures work quite well on liquid stains. It’s the first solution that comes to mind, but it might fail with more stubborn stains.

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2. Baking Soda

Baking soda has a long history of removing stains and bad odors. It’s more effective than lemon and salt but requires some patience.

First, you need to make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water. Gently rub the paste with a soft cloth in a circular motion until the stain is removed.

If you’re dealing with an especially difficult stain, you can leave the mixture for an hour before you scrub it off. If the stain is still there, move on to bleach.

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3. Bleach

For more difficult stains, we recommend using a bleaching agent. The solution should contain equal parts of bleach and water. Use a sponge and try to scrub off the stain. Sometimes, you’ll have to let the bleach sit for a couple of hours before the stain is removed.

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4. Sanding Off the Stain

When it comes to restoring your butcher-block countertop, sanding is what we call the cure for all illnesses. If you’ve read this far, then you’ve probably tried the previously mentioned tips, and the stain has persisted.

Fortunately, this method works for all of your countertop’s flaws. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stain, burn, scratch, or dent.

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  • Sanding – First, you need to remove all items on your countertop and use a dry rag or sponge to wipe any dust or liquids on your surface. Then, sand off the defective area (stain, burn, etc.) using 60-grit sandpaper.
    Make sure you remove any remaining marks off the surface and keep in mind that sanding one spot for a long time will create a dip in the wood.
    After that, sand off the entire surface using medium-grit sandpaper, such as 100-grit. Finally, you will need to smoothen the surface with fine 150-grit sandpaper.

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  • Sealing – After all that sanding, you’ll need to clean your surface from all the leftover dust using a dry rag. Sealing your surface is extremely easy. All you’ve got to do is apply your wax-and-oil finish, like a butcher-block conditioner, on the wood. Then, spread the conditioner evenly on your surface with a lint-free cloth.
    You will need to let it sit for 20 minutes. Now, wipe off any remaining sealant that wasn’t absorbed by the wood using a cotton cloth, and there you go!

If you want to make sure your countertop is resistant to stains, reseal the surface whenever the wood looks dry.

Howards Butcher Block Conditioner 12oz


All in all, butcher-block countertops look amazing and they are very practical. However, you can be certain that it’ll stain and look messy at some point.

If you’ve followed our article, you’re now equipped with the necessary knowledge to keep your butcher-block countertop stain-free and good as new.

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