Looking to eat your favorite Chinese dishes with a chopstick but wondering whether it’s a good idea? Or did you buy a new and expensive pair of chopsticks recently but they are already starting to warp? There can be many reasons behind it.
One of the most common mistakes is making the chopsticks sit in the water, which accelerates the decaying process. Chopsticks are made out of different types of materials and the ways to care them changes accordingly.
Maintain the Chopsticks to Prolong their Life
While there are different ways to maintain different types of chopsticks, there are some tips that are the same for all. Let’s take a look at them:
1. Cleaning with Hot Water
Soak the chopsticks in lukewarm soapy water for two minutes and clean them thoroughly. Wipe them dry with a soft cotton cloth. Wrap them up in a cloth or paper and store them away. If you have wooden chopsticks, soak them in water for only 30 seconds.
2. Storing in a Dry Area
Exposing the chopsticks to direct sunlight can make them discolored and warp the exteriors. Always store the chopsticks in a dark and dry but well-ventilated place to maintain the colors. The best place to store them is in a special box made for chopsticks, which has vents to keep the air moving.
3. Clean with Lime Juice and Baking Soda
If you ate something very oily with the chopsticks, the chopsticks might appear discolored. Mix one part of baking soda and one part of lime juice with one cup of water. Use cotton to rub the mixture all over the chopsticks. Always move in the direction of the grain. You can also add a couple pinches of rock salt to the mixture to get rid of the stain and retain the original color.
4. Soak in Vinegar
Remove odors by cleaning the chopsticks with water. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and rub the chopsticks with the solution along its grain. You can add a tablespoon of lemon juice to dilute the vinegar smell. If you don’t want to do that, you will have to wait until a couple days to use the chopsticks for the vinegar smell to disappear. But that’s only if you can’t tolerate the smell.
5. Smoothen with Sandpaper
If you notice your chopsticks are starting to splint, throw them away but if you want them you longer, smoothen them out with sandpaper. It is an affordable alternative to buying new ones. Always keep 100, 200, and 400 grit sandpapers in your house or restaurant for a quick fix. While these tips and tricks do extend the lifetime, you can’t use chopsticks forever, especially ones made out of wood or bamboo.
When to Dispose Off the Chopsticks?
It is important for you to know when it is the right time to dispose of the chopsticks. Using them for too long can cause digestive troubles because of splint ingestion. If the chopsticks develop a crack or the paint gets chipped, it is time to replace them.
Replace your old chopsticks with new ones every six months to a year, even though they are in perfectly good conditions and the surface is smooth. Rather than throwing your reusable chopsticks away, you can reuse them. You can lacquer them up and use the chopsticks to train your children to eat with chopsticks. Paint the chopsticks and turn them into bookmarks. If you have a home compost system and you use chopsticks made out of wood or bamboo, you can dispose them there and save the environment.