If your butcher block countertop is going to be used as a desktop or for anything other than food preparation, we recommend applying four coats of commercial polyurethane such as Varathane or Duraseal to all surfaces including the top, bottom, and sides. Allow each coat to dry completely and then sand lightly with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper prior to applying the next coat. This will ensure an even, high-gloss finish.
All four corners of the butcher block countertop need to be fastened securely in order to prevent any movement and to keep the corners from bowing. This is especially important in climates that experience changes in humidity. It is important to finish and install your butcher block countertop within one week after receiving to prevent warping.
- After Installation
If your butcher block countertop is going to be used for food preparation, apply mineral oil or peanut oil, wait ½ hour and then wipe off excess oil with a paper towel. If the grain raises slightly after the first oiling, sand the surface lightly with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper and wipe down with a damp cloth. Oil should be applied as needed to reseal the pores.
Varnished butcher block countertops can be cleaned with Murphy’s Oil Soap or with white vinegar and water (1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water). White vinegar is a good antibacterial cleaning agent.
Important cleaning instructions for food preparation: Cleaning a butcher block countertop that is used for food preparation varies with the food that is being prepared. For fruits or vegetables, a damp cloth can be used before and after food preparation. For meat, fish, or dairy products, a damp cloth with water can be used for cleaning the butcher block countertop before food preparation. When food preparation is completed, clean the top with soap and water. A slice of lemon rubbed over the surface or a few drops of grapefruit seed extract on a damp cloth can also be used as a bactericide. Grapefruit seed extract can be found in your local health food store. When cleaning your countertop with soap, it is especially important to ensure that it remains properly sealed to prevent bacterial growth. Allow the butcher block countertop to dry completely before attempting to reseal with mineral or peanut oil.