How do I care for my Mapleware®?

Everyday Care  Hand wash in warm soapy water, rinse, then smooth dry with a lint-free dishtowel. Using a dishwasher is strongly discouraged.

Quick Fix To refinish your tools, gently remove the burr or nicks with fine sandpaper. Rub with medium-grade steel wool. Rinse. Dry. Apply food-grade mineral oil. Rub to polish.
You may, if you wish, maintain the edge of your Mapleware® by sharpening along the grain with a small kitchen knife.

Enjoy Your Tools for a Lifetime To re-establish a smooth surface and maintain the beauty of your tools, once a year polish liberally with food-grade mineral oil and allow to sink in. Rub to a beautiful finish with a lint-free cloth.

Should I polish my Mapleware®?

We protect each piece with a food-grade mineral oil polish that penetrates deeply into the wood, displacing moisture to help prevent cracking and reduce staining. Some residue of surface polish remains on the utensils until first washed at home.

Wood utensils age visibly with time, which many cherish as part of the evolving beauty of wood. If, however, you want to keep yours like new, or if a utensil starts to feel a little rough in the hand, just smooth the wood with fine steel wool, then rub in a bit of our Mapleware Polish® (or any food-grade mineral or light vegetable oil).

Cutting boards, unlike utensils, benefit from seasoning. Regular applications of Mapleware Polish® (or any food-grade oil-and-beeswax polish) especially around the edges, help seal the natural pores in the wood, protecting the cutting board throughout its lifetime.

Can I use my Mapleware® when cooking?

The small amounts of oil used in cooking actually protect the wood, seasoning it to help keep moisture out. But not all our utensils should be used for cooking. Only use the ”Cooking Paddles” for cooking. We also do have 2 bits of advice for all of our utensils:

  • They are wood, so don’t rest utensils on a stove’s elements — high heat applied directly will burn Mapleware®!
  • Don’t let utensils sit for hours in liquid: use a spoon rest (or dish, or countertop).

The Big Dipper and The Serving Scoop benefit from a little extra care. They are susceptible because (like most spoons) the edge of the bowl cuts across the grain, exposing pores of the wood. This allows moisture to enter, where it can swell and retract, potentially causing cracking. Treat the bowl of the tools with a bit of oil after washing and drying, to prevent the wood drying out.

FYI: The Pot Scoop was designed specifically for cooking — the pores of the wood are aligned straight with the contact edge, protecting them from moisture.

What is your return / exchange policy?

All Littledeer products are tested before leaving our shop. On rare occasions, a hairline crack may escape our scrutiny. Using our discretion, we will replace an item within 6 months, with proof of purchase. Submit proof of the damage (a photo), or return the item to us at your expense, and a replacement will be mailed.

Claims for items damaged in transit must be received within 1 week of delivery. Submit proof of the damage (a photo), or return the item to us at your expense, and a replacement will be mailed.

Many of our Canadian retailers will exchange duplicate items received as gifts, or an unused right-handed item for a left-handed one (or vice versa!). Call us to arrange the exchange [toll-free: 1-844-UTENSIL (1-844-883-6745)].

98% of the scant returns we see are due to abnormal use and wear. Some requests pivot on knowing how maple works. Grammy and Gramps, who valued their long-loved hardwood kitchen tools, knew what to expect and how to care for them. That knowledge has become scarcer (plastics have a lot to answer for.).

My utensil turned grey. What happened?

The wood has dried out a little, but is still perfectly good. Revive maple’s luscious tone with a light sanding and a little polish. Maintain its beauty by keeping it out of the dishwasher.

My utensil turned red (or another colour). What happened?

Vividly colored foods may stain. Think: curry, tomato, blueberries. The beauty of Mapleware® is, in part, its natural markings and so-called “flaws” added by time and use. (You will increasingly appreciate this concept as you age!) The colors fade with repeated use and washing.

My utensil chipped! What do I do?

Even hard maple can chip, especially if the tool is weighted and your floor is harder. Become a Littledeer apprentice; pick up some sandpaper and smooth the edge. Big chip? Start with a file, then use sandpaper.

Do you whack stirring spoons on the rim of bowls and pots? Practice chip prevention by tapping utensils high up (at the shoulder), where they are sturdier.

My Sprongs (or Tines) became bent. What do I do?

Sprongs and Tines are made from made of a single piece of wood, which acts like a spring. If they become inadvertently misshapen, soak them in warm water, then stretch them gently over a drinking glass or box (approx. 2.5″ in., or 7.5 cm, diameter) with the blades evenly spaced. Let dry in this position in order to restore the spring.

A few precautions ensure the longevity of these tools:

Treat them regularly with Mapleware Polish®. If rough, sand lightly, then apply polish.

Dry well, or store in an airy location.

Why do many cooks prefer high-quality wood?

  • Wood utensils protect your cookware. Our utensils won’t harm non-stick surfaces, glass, or porcelain.
  • Wood fights bacteria. Wooden cutting boards have proven as sanitary as other materials, even outperforming plastic in some tests.1, 2 Hardwood, including the maple we use for all Littledeer products, curbs bacteria better than soft woods because of its fine grain.3
  • Littledeer Mapleware® will last a lifetime — or longer! — without special treatment.


Cliver, Dean. (aka “The godfather of cutting board food safety”3) University of California, Davis. 1994-1997. Plastic and Wood Cutting Boards. “Wooden boards that had been used and had many knife cuts acted almost the same as new wood, whereas plastic surfaces that were knife-scarred were impossible to clean and disinfect manually.” Accessed March 4, 2017.

University of California at Berkeley, May 1993. The Wellness Letter. “Instead of nurturing bacteria, the wood actually put them out of commission.”

Chapman, Benjamin. (Food Safety Extension Specialist, Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Human Sciences) North Carolina State University. North Carolina State News. Fast Facts about Cutting Boards and Food Safety in Your Kitchen Accessed March 4, 2017.