The Best Way to Clean and Care for Wood Cutting Boards

Updated On: April 7, 2021
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Although plastic boards have replaced much of the wooden cutting boards, plastic-based items are never safer or healthier than wooden stuff. Also, the feeling of cutting on a grainy texture can only be felt with a wooden board. Plastics can never give the same cutting experience.

In the production process, a piece of wood goes through several tempering stages to become ready to be transformed into a cutting board. The chemical modification is what helps the board to hold its shape even after months of use.

Without having the proper idea on how to clean a wooden cutting board, you can damage the treatment of your wooden board. A raw piece of wood is delicate. It has to go through some chemical bath to achieve the hardness for cutting board.

We’ll talk about some steps you can take to keep your wooden cutting board in the best shape, as well as stay away from the common mistakes that reduce the durability of a wooden cutting board by keeping the wood bond without much damage.

How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board

Cleaning a wooden cutting board is easy, but there are some common mistakes people make that make their boards lose their shape and condition. Let’s talk about some points on how you can wash a wooden cutting board.

Cleaning with Dish Cleaner

Cleaning a wooden cutting board in a dishwasher or soaking it in water is never a good idea. Water changes the wood’s shape from the inside and changes the molecular structure. And as a result, you’ll get a board that’s cracked or bent out of shape.

You can easily clean your wooden cutting board with a commercial dish cleaner. The process is simple: create a mixture of warm water and a washer of your choice. Apply the mixture with a brush or a scrubbing cloth and thoroughly clean the board.

Now, you can clean only one side or both sides if you like. However, it’s best to clean both sides to ensure proper cleanup. A quick wash, if done well, is enough. There’s no need to prolong the cleaning time. More water exposure will damage the wood board and loosen the joining glue.

Once the cleaning is done, wash the board with hot water again. This will ensure there’s no detergent left on the board. Afterward, place it in an upright position to allow the water to drip and dry up quickly.

Cleaning with Vinegar / Lemon

If you don’t like the idea of using chemical-based cleaners and like to choose something healthier, vinegar is the best alternative.

One of the properties of natural white vinegar is that it’s antibacterial. It’s effective as dish soaps and doesn’t involve the chemical compounds that pose a risk to health. You can also use lemon instead. They both work similarly and are highly effective.

Be careful, though. Don’t soak your cutting board in vinegar or lemon mixed water for longer than several minutes. The acidic nature of these will damage the tempering of the woods and will bend the wood out of shape.

One other way you can use lemon is you can spray some lemon water on the cutting board after use. It will deodorize the board.

Using Bleach

If you use your cutting board to cut vegetables and fruits, then you can skip this point. If you cut meat or other animal-based products, it’s necessary that you clean the board with something that’s harsher than regular vinegar or detergent.

Animal protein – meat, body parts contain a variety of pathogens. When you cut meat with your cutting board, even if you wash the board thoroughly with water afterward, it’s highly likely that the pathogens will remain there.

Meat pathogens don’t die off quickly and can cause salmonella (from poultry), E. Coli (from beef), and other diseases if they somehow get inside your body through other foods.

Bleach is a harsh substance and can work much more effectively than vinegar or commercial cleaners. After cutting meat, soak the board in bleach mixed water for some time. The bleach-water mixture should be thin. Few tablespoons of bleach for a gallon of water are generally enough to disinfect.

One thing to note here – bleach will damage your cutting board fast. The less you use it, the better it is for the longevity of your wooden cutting board.

Oil Coating

Although this point is not directly related to cleaning in itself, a good oil coating can help a wooden cutting board stay hydrophobic; meaning water-repelling, and you’ll have to spend less time washing it.

Take a cloth and soak the oil in it. Polish the board on all sides and let the wood soak the oil up. This coating will keep the board somewhat waterproof. And this will make your cutting board look shiny as well as stop wet food particles from entering through the pores of the board.

Use a mineral-based oil for the coating. Cooking oil has a tendency to smell nasty and darken the board. Oil coating will also work as a treatment to the wooden cutting board and help you maintain its shape for a long time.

Final Words

Now that you know how to clean a wooden cutting board, hopefully, you’ll be less confused on the proper procedures of cleaning a wood board in the future.

A good wooden cutting board can last for years if it’s taken well care of. Oil your board from time to time, and don’t let your board soak for long. If you follow the tips mentioned in this guide, then you’ll likely have your board in its best condition for ages.

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