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Three Tips to Care for Your Wood Cutting Board

Updated on January 22, 2016

Wood cutting boards are beautiful. They're traditional. They gentler on your knives than a glass or metal cutting board. Besides, the sound when your knife scrapes across a glass cutting board is torture compared to the smoothness of a wood cutting board.

A good cutting board is any cook's go-to in the kitchen, but they do have to be cared for properly. Otherwise, they'll crack, warp, and dry out. Here we will discuss three tips to keep your wood cutting board in peak condition:

  • How to oil your board
  • How to clean your board
  • When to replace your board

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How to Oil Your Wood Cutting Board

Below is a quality, food-grade mineral oil that is perfect for your wood cutting board!

To clean your wood cutting board, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse your board with vinegar, followed by water. Wood cutting boards, with use, will begin to hold onto food particles and juices. This means bacteria. The acidic nature of the vinegar will basically soak the bacteria out of the wood and help release the food particles.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and scrub it in with a lemon half. This, again, is all about the acidic nature of the lemon in combination with the deep cleaning action of the salt. The lemon will also help your board smell nice again!
  3. Rinse off your board and dry gently with a lint-free towel. Using a lint-free towel will keep from leaving towel particles in the board.
  4. Apply food-grade mineral oil and rub in with a clean towel in the direction of the grain. You should keep applying until the oil doesn't soak into the wood. One way to test this is to sprinkle some water on the board, and if the water doesn't form "beads", then more oil needs to be applied. The oil helps to keep juices and food particles from soaking into the wood. It also helps condition the wood to prevent cracking and warping.

How to Clean Your Wood Cutting Board

Wood cutting boards must be hand-washed. Your dishwasher uses a lot of water and a lot of heat. Exposing your board to the intense environment of the dishwasher will cause your board to dry out, warp, and crack. Your best bet is to hand-wash with hot, soapy water. Follow this up with patting the board dry with a clean towel and allowing it to air-dry overnight.

This is the most gentle method you can use on the wood. This also keeps an excessive amount of water from soaking into the wood. It is important to always clean your board directly after using it. This helps to keep bacteria from growing and your board from smelling, which is prone to happen, especially when cutting raw meat. Cleaning thoroughly, and directly after use, will also keep your next meal from tasting like your last. For example, if you cut onions one night and potatoes the next without cleaning, your potatoes could taste like onions!

When to Replace Your Wood Cutting Board

All good things must come to an end. This includes your beloved wood cutting board. It's time to replace your cutting board when it cracks or warps. You should also replace your board if there are a lot of knife-grooves. These grooves are a perfect environment for moisture, which means a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. This can lead to bad-tasting food and illness.

Wood cutting boards are a beautiful tool to have in the kitchen. Follow these tips to keep the good times going even longer! Do you prefer wood cutting boards over glass, metal, or plastic? Why or why not? How often do you oil your cutting board?


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    • sagolia profile image

      sagolia 2 years ago

      @Blond Logic -- it is DEFINITELY time for new boards! And yup, oiling them is essential for protecting the wood. How often depends on how often they are used, but you can base it on how the board reacts with water. Sprinkle a couple drops, and if they don't "bead up" on the surface, then it is time to scrub down and oil. Good luck!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 years ago from Brazil

      I have three wooden cutting boards which I use daily. Two of them have begun to go black with mold on the edges. We live in the tropics and it it always humid. My husband has sanded them down to remove it but I think it is probably time for new ones.

      I never thought about oiling them.