Chopsticks can be made out of wood, plastic, or many other materials. If they’re wooden, you can clean them with soap and water, but you can’t let them soak in water or it will affect their quality.
It’s a good idea to learn how to clean a pair of wooden chopsticks before you buy them.
What Types of Wood Are Used to Make Chopsticks?
Wooden chopsticks are usually made out of some type of hardwood, which can include red sandalwood, ebony, chestnut, birch, or snakewood. Hardwoods don’t usually splinter and are dense and durable, which is why they are often used to make chopsticks. Some are made out of teak and other types of wood, but most will come with a set of instructions that tell you specifically how to clean your pair of chopsticks. It’s best to always pay attention to these instructions so you don’t ruin the chopsticks.
Cleaning Wooden Chopsticks
With wooden chopsticks, you can wash them with warm soapy water, then rinse well. Dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel and let them air dry until they are completely dry.
The main thing to remember is never to let the wood soak in water because this can cause the wood to expand or otherwise become defective, depending on what type of wood it is.
If your chopsticks are painted, this recommendation is especially important.
Cleaning Other Types of Wood Chopsticks
If your chopsticks are made out of natural or plain wood, you can still clean them with soap and water, but you should also occasionally coat them with a thin coat of vegetable oil or some other type of cooking oil. When you’re done, wipe off all of the excess oil so the chopsticks aren’t too oily. You don’t have to do this regularly, especially if you don’t use the chopsticks on a daily or weekly basis. If they start to dry out, you might have waited too long.
Keep in mind that some reusable chopsticks are dishwasher-safe and therefore can be washed in the dishwasher along with your other dishes. Always place the chopsticks in the upper rack in a horizontal position and crosswise to the rack wires. This way, the chopsticks won’t fall into the bottom section of the dishwasher and become damaged by the heating coils or spouts down there.
If the chopsticks do not specifically say that they’re dishwasher-safe, never put them in the dishwasher.
Are Wooden Chopsticks Bad for the Environment?
Since trees must be cut down to make wooden chopsticks, it’s best to reuse them so that fewer trees are used. This is also why many of today’s chopsticks are made out of synthetic materials or even bamboo, which are typically used for disposable chopsticks.
Chopsticks are very popular items, and wooden ones are easy to clean and to keep for a very long time. You can even reuse your chopsticks as plant stakes, as stirring sticks for coffee and other drinks, for arts and crafts projects, and so much more.