Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
ICYMI, everyone on TikTok is having a meltdown about the how clean their wooden spoons are, right now.
Yup, it’s just another regular day on the video sharing app!
A new TikTok trend is suggesting that if you are just washing your spoons under hot water, they may not actually be clean, and people claim to prove it by soaking their spoons in boiling water, which results in a rather disgusting looking brown water.
But is that actually dirt?
Why are people boiling wooden spoons?
TikToker Nicole Jaques is one of the TikTokers who has suggested boiling wooden spoons, and her video is quite compelling.
After 20 minutes, the water her spoons are submerging in turns a murky shade of brown, and she demonstrated the difference by putting two wooden spatulas next to each other to show the change in colour.
Fellow TikToker Lula Jenkins shared similar results on her TikTok channel.
“Holy cr*p I should have done this sooner. Lord help me this was gross,” she said.
And it’s not just a TikTok trend. Australian MasterChef judge Matt Preston even coined the “wooden spoon test” back in 2016, which involves chucking any spoon with a brown residue.
Should you boil your wooden spoons to clean them?
The liquid that appears when you soak a wooden spoon looks pretty grim, we’ll admit that much.
But speaking on the issue, Lisa McManus, editor of America’s Test Kitchen, has cleared up the confusion around this phenomenon.
“We’ve been hearing a lot about boiling your wooden spoons to get them really clean and we just have to say that is not the greatest thing to do for a wooden tool,” she said.
“[Wooden spoons] are a natural material, If you boil it you remove its natural oils, it will absorb water, and as it dries it shrinks and cracks and this will dramatically shorten the lifespan of your tools.”
Should you boil your wooden spoon to clean it? Lisa weighs in. Learn more about our wooden spoon testing and care tips by clicking the link in bio. #woodenspoon #woodenspooncleaning #howto #kitcnenhacks #kitchencleaning #cleaning #cleantok #testkitchen
Okay, so it might not be the best for your spoons, but what about the muddy liquid?
Australian science commentator Dr Karl chipped in with a video of his own, suggesting that people didn’t need to worry about if there was bacteria on their spoon.
“Ahoy, Dr Karl here with the big question: Is it safe to use wooden spoons… from an infectious disease point of view?”
“After the 1990s [and] people being worried about bacteria invading the porous surface, there was a big move away from wooden spoons into spoons made of steel, plastic, nylon or silicon,” he said.
“So the bacteria story? Yes, the bacteria do exist,” he added, but went on to explain they weren’t anything to worry about.
“The bacteria will invade the porous surface and they will go underneath the wood, and then, without nutrition, they just simply die,” he explained. “It’s just does not appear in the medical record that these things are a danger. So stir away.”
Of course, it’s safe to say that before TikTok, very few of us would have thought to boil our spoons, and we’ve lived to tell the tale.
So, we’ll be taking the expert advice and stirring away as normal.
Featured image: Getty