Bamboo vs Stainless Steel Utensils: What’s Better for My Kitchen?

Bamboo vs Stainless Steel Utensils for Kitchen

Only recently have bamboo utensils become well known around the world.

While many people use stainless steel utensils, the advantages of bamboo have made them a popular consideration for many households.

This is because they offer some advantages that wood or stainless-steel utensils simply do not offer.

But is bamboo really better than stainless steel?

It pays to know both materials before making your decision as to which is best for your home.

Bamboo Utensils – Pros & Cons

As with any material, there are positives and negatives to using bamboo utensils in your home.

Let’s start with the advantages…

The Good Part

1- Beautiful Design:

The most noticeable advantage of bamboo utensils is their inherent beauty.

They simply look great whether you are using them for dinner or displaying them on a rack.

You’ll be proud to show off your bamboo utensils in the kitchen.

You can even order a custom design if you desire when choosing a company that does that type of work.

2- No Scratches:

If bamboo has one solid attribute above stainless steel, it’s the resistance to scratching.

Stainless steel is relatively easy to scratch while bamboo rarely does because of its softer nature.

This means when applied to metal surfaces, bamboo utensils tend to stay intact.

3- Environmentally Friendly:

Bamboo, much like wood, is a natural resource that is biodegradable.

This means that will not pollute underground water sources when disposed of.

Plus, bamboo grows much faster compared to trees, which means that you can help save the forest when choosing bamboo.

Also, they react well to heat, unlike plastic utensils which may leak out toxins.

4- Resistant to Odors & Stains:

One perceived drawback that is a myth about bamboo utensils is that they stain easily and carry odors collected from food.

However, that is not true as bamboo has a tough surface that does not allow stains to stick or odors to collect.

5- Non-Conductive Material:

Bamboo is far more resistant to conducting compared to stainless steel.

This means that if you leave a bamboo utensil behind in a heated pot, it will still be cool enough to the touch.

They are perfect for soups and risottos that require considerable stirring to get right as your hand stays cool. 

6- Better for Non-Stick Surfaces:

The problem with using metal utensils on non-stick surfaces is that they tend to create scratches.

Bamboo is soft enough to not scratch such surfaces, so they can remain intact and functional for much longer.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bamboo Utensils

The Bad Part

Despite the many advantages of bamboo, there are some issues that you will need to know about.

These may not be deal-breakers, but they should be considered before you make a purchase.

1- Breakable:

The biggest downside is that bamboo is breakable.

Unlike stainless steel which is virtually not breakable under most circumstances, it is possible to break bamboo under certain conditions.

2- Hand Washing:

Bamboo utensils are not dishwasher safe unless noted specifically with the brand that you purchase.

This means that you will need to wash them by hand.

3- Availability:

While bamboo utensils are becoming quite popular, they are not available everywhere.

So, if you order them, it may take longer to arrive assuming they are not in stock.

Plus, they are not as available in local retail stores compared to stainless steel.

Stainless Steel Utensils – Pros & Cons

Stainless steel utensils are by far the most popular material used for utensils and for many good reasons.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Utensils

The Good Part

1- Durable:

It would take quite the impact to break or even bend a stainless steel utensil.

This means that they will last a very long time, often a lifetime and longer with minimal maintenance.

That’s why they make a great investment because such utensils can be passed down from generation to generation.

2- Recyclable Material:

Consider that more than half of the stainless steel utensils being used right now are made from materials that have been recycled.

This means that no new digging took place to mine the materials, it was created from metal scraps that already exist.

Plus, the metal can be recycled again and again so they are never disposed of in the ground.

3- Resists Corrosion:

While iron-based products such as steel will rust easily, stainless steel has a coating that will keep them from rusting.

This means that even when stored in a moist, humid, and hot environment they will continue to resist corrosion and rust.

Plus, the surface will also resist stains, dents, and dings.

4- Cleaning:

Because of its tough surface, stainless steel is easy to wipe and clean.

You can stick them in your dishwasher or wash them by hand, your choice.

They require little in the way of maintenance, but you can occasionally use a stainless steel cleaner to make them look new again if you desire.

5- Heat Transfer:

This is more for cookware than utensils, but stainless steel is an excellent material because it transfers heat so well.

This is why you find cookware made from this product in kitchens around the world.

6- Available:

Unlike bamboo which can be difficult to find in some locations, stainless steel utensils are virtually everywhere in terms of retail stores that sell utensils.

No special orders or long waits are needed because of the availability of stainless steel utensils.

The Bad Part

Despite the considerable advantages, there are a few issues with stainless steel that you will need to consider.

1- Scratches:

Arguably the biggest downside to stainless steel utensils is their vulnerability to scratches.

They will most often scratch when stored together and being handled, so you may want to mix in utensils made from bamboo to limit the scratching potential.

2- Heavy Metals:

While the steel itself is safe, some manufacturers will use metals such as nickel or chromium to coat the surface.

These metals can over time leach into the food that you eat which creates conditions ripe for metal poisoning.

However, they do not apply to all stainless steel utensils.

3- Pricey:

While low-quality stainless steel utensils are quite affordable, the higher-quality versions can be quite expensive compared to bamboo.

If you are looking for elegant, beautiful stainless steel utensils, you can expect to pay more for them.

Bamboo or Stainless-Steel Utensils: Verdict

Overall, the bamboo utensil has an edge over the stainless-steel versions.

This means that if you want utensils that look great, are strong and durable, and will not transfer heat like stainless steel, then bamboo is the answer.

However, you should consider having some stainless-steel utensils as well.

They can be used in situations where bamboo utensils are not well-suited.

By knowing how you prepare and serve meals, having a combination of bamboo and stainless steel may work quite well for your kitchen.

Cleaning and Caring Bamboo Kitchen Tools

How to Care for Your Bamboo Kitchen Tools & Utensils?

It is true that bamboo utensils, despite their many advantages, will need a little extra care and maintenance compared to stainless steel versions.

But with that care, your bamboo utensils will last for a long time.

a) Before Using

When you get your bamboo utensils, they will most likely be untreated.

If you rub food-grade mineral oil into the utensils and then let them dry for 24 hours, you can help keep them from splintering.

Plus, the bamboo utensils will have a smooth finish that will help them last for a long time.

So, before you use your bamboo utensils, give them a rub down with food-grade mineral oil and let them sit for 24 hours.

This will help increase their durability and longevity by avoiding most instances of splintering.

b) Hand Washing

Bamboo utensils do not do well in dishwashers because the intense heat (due to detergent and hot water) will remove their protective coating and cause them to warp.

Soaking bamboo utensils for a long time in the water will also cause them to warp and splinter.

This is why you should wash and rinse your bamboo utensils in the sink fast.

After each use, place the wooden spoons, plates, bowls, cutting board, muddlers, and other utensils under running water and scrape off any food residue.

Then, dry them using a dish towel or set them out to dry, whichever you wish to do.

Just remember to minimize their exposure to water which will help keep them from warping.

c) Removing Stubborn Stains

Despite your diligence, there may be times in which your bamboo utensils get stained to the point where they cannot be easily removed.

When this happens, avoid the temptation to use harsh chemicals as that will only do more damage.

Instead, take the following steps…

1. Coarse Salt:

Rub the salt into the stain using a sponge.

Keep rubbing until the stain is removed and then rinse.

2. Baking Soda:

Rub baking soda into the stain using a sponge.

Let the utensil sit for a few minutes to let the baking soda do its work and then rinse. Repeat if necessary.

d) Removing Odors from Kitchen Tools

While bamboo utensils do not tend to hold odors from food, you can improve their scent by using a combination of salt and lemon juice.

Apply both to the utensils and let them sit for a few hours.

This will allow the combination to penetrate the surface and create a pleasing scent to the utensils.

Also, you can sprinkle baking soda on the utensils and let them sit for a while.

Baking soda eliminates any odor that might be emanating from surfaces.

e) Restoring the Finish of Bamboo Kitchen Tools

While bamboo is tough, the finish can wear away after years of use.

You can restore the finish rather in short order if you follow these steps.

1. Fine Sandpaper:

The easiest way is to use very fine sandpaper on the surface. This will remove any imperfections along with any stains that could not be removed.

2. Warm Water:

While it is never advisable to soak your bamboo utensils, the one exception is when they are flat such as cutting board.

Soak the bamboo cutting board in warm water for a few hours, place it on a flat surface, and place a flat object like a book on top.

This will restore the cutting board to its original shape.

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