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How To Clean Japanese Wooden Sake Ware

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My husband loves the “Mokkiri style”- the unique traditional serving way of Japanese Sake (I talk about it in this post,) so he bought Hinoki wood Masu sake cups in Japan. I really love drinking Sake out a little Hinoki sake cup, but one day, it was cracked into two while washing it!

Do you have the same situation?

It’s good to bring the Masu Sake Cup home, but how should I clean it?
If you have such a question, I become a guide on how to maintain wooden sake ware.

It is said that “wooden products are alive” because have the features of controlling humidity as if they were breathing even after being processed.

Master the maintenance basics of wooden sake ware, take care of them to enjoy better Japanese Sake for a long time.

What’s The Wooden Sake Ware?

First of all, there are several kinds of sake ware to drink Japanese Sake.

Commonly known as the staple sake ware are…

  1. Tokkuri (carafe) + Ochoko (cups)
  2. Guinomi (cups)
  3. Masu (cups)

Generally, those sake ware are made of ceramics or glasses, there are ones made of cast-iron or woods.

Tokkuri Carafe And Ochoko cups

Tokkuri is a Japanese carafe for Sake and often sold in a set with smaller cups called Ochoko.
Mostly are ceramic-made, glass-made is also often used for a cold Sake.
Of course, there are wooden Tokkuri carafe and wooden Ochoko cups for Sake connoisseurs.

Guinomi Cups

guinomi cup, Japanese sake cup, Hinoki,

The Guinomi cup is the sake cup which is bigger than Ochoko. Generally speaking, the name of “Guinimi” is the reason that “because you can drink Sake more than Ochoko”- “Gui” comes from the Japanese expression “Guigui”, which literally means “Glup”.

Commonly, it is used in casual situations such as at home.

It’s little bit difficult authentic “Guinomi Cup”

Masu Cups

Masu Sake cup is a traditional square Sakeware made of wood or plastic which has often been used as a lucky charm at celebrations since ancient times.

Wooden Masu cups are preferred among Japanese sake connoisseurs because their woody scents enhance Sake flavor.

The popular woods for Masu cups are “Japanese cedar” and “Japanese Hinoki Cypress”. Both are so compatible with sake that they are used in barrel sake.

More details??? Read this post next!

The Overview Of Wooden Sake ware

As I said, Hinoki cypress and Japanse cedar are the common materials for Masu sake cups. You can enjoy the unique woody scent with sake. Therefore, we want to care about how to not diminish their precious scents while cleaning.

Made Of Japanese Cedar

The Japanese cedar is light, easy to process, and grows fast, so it has been widely used in daily essentials in Japan.

A good aroma goes well with Japanse Sake.

Made Of Hinoki Cypress

The Hinoki cypress is known as luxury wood and has a variety of benefits -antibacterial and insect repellent. Hinoki is often used in kitchen essentials such as lunch boxes, cutting boards, and sushi tools. As well as bathroom accessories and essential oils, Hinoki aroma gives a relaxing and different taste to Japanese Sake as a sake ware.

Hinoki cypress is resistant to dirt and water, so it is relatively easy to clean.

How To Clean Wooden Sake ware

Wooden sake ware absorbs the moisture and smell of the Sake. Wipe them with a wet towel before use. This step prevents moisture and smells transfer.

After using, clean them and dry them in a well-ventilated place. If moisture remains, it can cause mold and darkening, so let them dry thoroughly.

Please refrain from using the dishwasher/dryer.

How To Wash

Wash wooden sake ware only with running water. Hinoki and Japanese cedar have antibacterial properties, so basically, no dish soap is required.

Do not use hot water or a dishwasher.
Those diminish wooden aromas.

Also, refrain from washing with water for a long time or soaking in water, which causes warping or cracking.

You may be a little nervous to wash them with only water. Use salt or baking soda instead of dish soap. Scrub gently with salt or baking soda.

Dry Well

Wooden products dislike direct sunlight since ultraviolet rays damage them and shorten their life. It may also cause discoloration. Wipe them with a dry cloth immediately after rinsing, and let them dry well in a well-vented area avoiding direct sunlight.

Rotate the drying position especially attached with a dish drying mat since the mold is likely to grow.

It is better to use a glass drying rack or colander so that you can avoid touching them on the mat.

Other Tips For Japanese Wooden Sake Ware

The Storage Tip

After being dried enough, wrap it in wrapping paper or a paper bag and then store wooden sake ware in a well-ventilated place out of direct sunlight. Avoid putting it in a plastic bag as it may cause mold and resin.

About Resin

The resin contained in wood, which is also the source of fragrance, may sometimes ooze out from Japanese wooden products, it is natural and harmless. If you are concerned about it, wipe it off with rubbing alcohol to spread over the entire product.

My Masu Cup Start Leaking!

Especially the wooden Masu cup that has not been used for a while may leak Sake, which the ware is too dry. (when the wood dries, it is shrunken.) In case it happens, soak it in the water for a while. The wood swells, and the leak likely stops.

Last Thoughts

It’s really sad if your favorite wooden sake ware is destroyed, isn’t it?

The wooden ware will last long under proper maintenance.

Wipe them with a wet towel before using them.

Rinse well with running water, and dry them well evenly.

Keep in the mind these simple steps and enjoy the Japanese Sake with a woody aroma.

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