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A science expert has explained whether it's actually safe to cook with wooden spoons after people discovered how much dirt they can hold inside.

Almost everyone has cooked with a wooden spoon at one time or another, whether using one to stir some pasta sauce or relying on it to whip up a cake mixture ready for the oven.

They're a first-choice for a lot of people and they can last for years, but some users have been left horrified after soaking the spoons in boiling water and seeing dirt and cooking oil seep out of the wood.

TikTokers have shared the dirt coming out of their spoons.

After people took to the internet to share their shock, Australian science communicator Dr Karl decided to address the question of whether wooden spoons are safe in a post on TikTok.

“Ahoy, Dr Karl here with the big question: Is it safe to use wooden spoons... from an infectious disease point of view?” he said in the video, which has now been viewed more than 193,000 times.

“After all in the 1990s, 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 continued.

Dr Karl went on to stress that 'wooden spoons are so lovely', pointing out they don't chip cooking pots, 'don't add flavour' and 'don't overheat'.

However, he continued: “So the bacteria story? Yes, the bacteria do exist.”

That doesn't mean the spoons aren't safe to use, though. Dr Karl continued: “The bacteria will invade the porous surface and they will go underneath the wood, and then, without nutrition, they just simply die."

Dr. Karl admitted the spoons to contain bacteria.

“It’s just does not appear in the medical record that these things are a danger. So stir away.”

Dr Karl's assurance that the spoons are safe to use was met with delight by fans of the utensils, though of course it's still good to make sure the spoons are cleaned properly after being used.

Viewers shared their tips for cleaning the wood, with one writing: “I douse mine with white vinegar after plunging in hot water. I leave the vinegar for 20 minutes, give it a good rinse or soak in clean water - no odours."

Another suggested: "All one has to do is have a pot of boiling water and place the spoon in there for a minute or two, it will clean and sterilise the spoons.”

So it seems that as long as you're giving your spoon a decent clean after use, you don't have to worry about it being a health risk. And remember, just licking the cake batter off it doesn't count.

Featured Image Credit: Dr Karl / TikTok/Facebook

Topics: Health, Food and Drink, TikTok