Are Chopsticks Reusable? | How To Clean Chopsticks?
You just finished eating some kimbap at home and now you’re wondering, are these chopsticks reusable? The answer is the same as any eating utensil: yes! However, if you’re familiar with chopsticks then you’ll know there are many different types. Metal, bamboo, wood, and plastic, how can you take proper care of them all? Below, we break down how to wash and clean all kinds of chopsticks for you to reuse. Read on to learn more about are chopsticks reusable?
Are Bamboo Chopsticks Reusable?
Can you reuse bamboo chopsticks? Bamboo chopsticks are some of the best chopsticks you can get. They have a unique feeling and look great on any kitchen table. But, the pros to bamboo chopsticks go beyond impressing dinner guests. Bamboo chopsticks are also really neat because they are not a good surface for bacteria to reproduce on. Compared to wooden chopsticks, bamboo chopsticks are better to have if only for sanitary purposes.
Another benefit of using bamboo chopsticks is that they are sturdy. This means you can use your bamboo chopsticks for a longer period of time. Compared to wooden chopsticks, bamboo chopsticks are a great investment and can be used for a long time.
Now, keeping your bamboo chopsticks reusable is easy. You just need soap and water and then give it a few quick wipes underneath the faucet. All you need is a few seconds and you have a pair of chopsticks that are ready to be used again.
Can You Reuse Wooden Chopsticks?
You can easily find a great-looking pair of wooden chopsticks. If you get a pair from your store, they also last much longer than the ones you may get from a typical Chinese takeout restaurant.
When washing wooden chopsticks, soap and water work just fine. Typically, wooden chopsticks have a waterproof coating, but they do require a little more care. We will detail below the many different ways you can clean and care for your chopsticks.
How To Clean and Care For Your Chopsticks
Cleaning chopsticks can vary in care depending on the chopsticks that you own. However, the easiest chopsticks to clean are metal chopsticks. Metal chopsticks can resist warmer water temperatures and are considered to be more sanitary. Most Korean chopsticks are made of metal.
1. “Dishwasher Safe” Chopsticks
Chances are you have probably seen some chopsticks marked as “dishwasher safe” while you were out looking for your new eating utensils. All this means is that they are safe to use in the dishwasher. If you have a pair of “dishwasher safe” chopsticks, just make sure they are lied down horizontally and place your other dirty dishes in to wash.
2. How To Wash Painted Chopsticks
If you have a pair of painted chopsticks that are not marked as “dishwasher safe,” then the care process needs a little more attention. These chopsticks need to be hand-washed with soap and water. The most important part is to not let them soak for too long. Doing so will cause the wood to expand causing damage to the paint and the chopsticks themselves. Natural chopsticks or chopsticks that are unfinished should also be washed similarly.
Now, there is one secret to keeping these chopsticks in pristine condition. Not all the time, but occasionally, apply a thin layer of cooking oil over the chopsticks. Remove any leftover cooking oil. Doing so will help keep your chopsticks lubricated and functioning smoothly.
3. How To Clean Wooden Chopsticks
Wooden chopsticks can require more care when washing them. When washing wooden chopsticks, you should soak them at most for 30 seconds. After soaking and wiping them down with soap and water, it is important that they be dried afterward. If you want to care for them properly, wrap them in a napkin or cloth before storing them.
4. How To Wash and Care For Your Reusable Chopsticks
- Wash with hot water. First, let your chopsticks sit in warm water for roughly two minutes (remember: 30 seconds maximum if they are wooden chopsticks). Afterward, you should wipe them down thoroughly and remove any oil or food excess with a sponge. Lastly, pat them dry with a napkin or cloth. With a different napkin or piece of cloth, wrap up the chopsticks and store them.
- Be sure to store them in a dry area. You do not want to keep your chopsticks somewhere where the sunlight directly hits them. Chopsticks that come into direct contact with sunlight for an extended period of time can lose their color and even warp. Keep your chopsticks somewhere where it is dark, but also well-ventilated so your chopsticks can keep their original shape and color. There are also boxes made specifically for keeping your chopsticks pristine. These chopstick boxes are made to be ventilated so you have one less thing to worry about when caring for your chopsticks.
- Use lime juice and baking soda. Unfortunately, oily food has a tendency to discolor chopsticks. To keep your chopsticks looking brand new, you only need to use lime juice and baking soda. Simply combine one part of baking soda with one part of lime juice inside a cup of water to create a concoction that can help your chopsticks look pretty. When washing, it is important to not move against the grain and ruin your chopsticks. For a little extra power, add a little bit of rock salt to the lime juice and baking soda mixture to help your chopsticks keep their color.
- Using vinegar. Vinegar is a great way to remove odors around the house and its effects on chopsticks are no different. All you need to do is combine an equal amount of vinegar and water and rub them along it the chopsticks. Apply the vinegar mixture by rubbing in the direction of the grain. Vinegar can also have a bit of a strong smell, so if you are looking to dull the smell a little, all you need to do is add a tablespoon of lemon juice. If you don’t feel like going through with this extra step, then it will take only a few days before the vinegar smell is gone.
- Sandpaper helps: Sometimes, chopsticks have a tendency to have a few strands to splinter off. If you notice this, you only need to use sandpaper and give it a quick sanding. Afterwards, you’ll notice your chopsticks will be as smooth as when you first bought them.
Repurposing Your Chopsticks
While you were using your chopsticks, you probably noticed a lot of attention to detail went into making them. It would be a shame to let all of that craftsmanship go to waste. What can you do? Luckily, there are several ways you can repurpose your chopsticks.
For one, chopsticks are great if you have a garden or a potted plant. Chopsticks can be used in lieu of regular plant stakes and can help your plants grow big and tall. You can also use your pair of chopsticks for any kind of arts and crafts project.
If you do want to dispose of your chopsticks, the natural ones with no painted finish can be thrown together with your yard waste.
Best Reusable Chopsticks
In our opinion, if you are looking for the best pair of reusable chopsticks, then you cannot go wrong with any of the “dishwasher safe” chopsticks. These chopsticks are durable and made to be as sturdy as metal or plastic chopsticks. These chopsticks also come with an extra finish that helps them withstand high water pressure and strong detergents.
Another great long-lasting pair of chopsticks are stainless steel chopsticks. These chopsticks can last for many years as they are more comparable to metals used in traditional western-style eating utensils.
If you are looking for an authentic pair of chopsticks, almost all chopsticks are produced in Asian countries. These reusable pairs of chopsticks are coated with paint or lacquer to help keep them protected and ready for reuse.
If you want both high-quality and authentic chopsticks, some of the best ones you can get are chopsticks marked with “Japanese #1.” These quality chopsticks are is coated with five layers of paint. These layers break down as two layers being coated with primer-sealer. After the primer-sealer, the color is applied in two additional layers. Finally, a clear protective finish is added on last. For chopsticks to earn the seal of “Japanese #1,” this process can take up to 45 days.
If you want a great pair of chopsticks that are also great for the environment, then stainless steel chopsticks are the pair for you to invest in. These chopsticks are not only great for the environment since they don’t require trees or bamboo to be cut down, but will also last decades before wearing out.