A nice wooden cutting board is both beautiful to look at and super practical for every day use. A wooden cutting board can last you a lifetime, no matter how prolific a cook you are, if you learn how to properly clean and oil it to maintain its beauty and strength over the years. Did you know that wooden cutting boards have been shown to harbor less bacteria on them compared to plastic cutting boards? That’s pretty amazing considering that plastic cutting boards usually go through a much more intense cleaning process than most wooden boards and it’s common practice for people to use harsh cleaners on them like bleach. Wooden cutting boards are also much better for your knives than marble or stone cutting boards, and yet they stand up to so much more abuse than plastic ones, which usually need to be thrown out or recycled and replaced fairly regularly, no matter how careful you are. Basically, a wooden cutting board is a simple thing, but a great thing. 🙂
When it comes to cleaning your wooden cutting board, there are only a few things you need to know.
Always clean your cutting board by hand immediately after use with warm soapy water, and a gentle nylon bristled brush. I always use Ecosense dish soap and this dish brush. Once you’re done lightly scrubbing, dry it off right away and you’re done! Normal cleaning of your cutting board should never take you more than a few seconds. Never put your wooden cutting board in the dishwasher or soak it in water because it will warp or crack before too long under those harsh conditions.
If you think your cutting board needs a bit of a deeper clean, make a mild abrasive paste out of water, baking soda, and salt.
Oiling your board regularly can also go a long way towards protecting it and keeping it happy and healthy. How often you oil your board is really up to you and you can’t really overdo it, but at least once a month or so will give you a good protective layer and keep the wood from drying out. It will also make it quicker and easier to clean after each use!
It’s pretty important that you use the right type of oil on your cutting board. Stay away from regular cooking oils like vegetable oil or olive oil, as these oils can go rancid overtime and you really don’t want your cutting board to impart any unpleasant flavors onto your food. A lot of people will suggest using a basic food-safe mineral oil on your cutting board. Mineral oil is a petroleum-based product that won’t go rancid and a lot of the cutting board oils that you can find are mineral oil-based. There are a lot of people who really love and swear-by a lot of brands that are mineral oil-based, especially this one made with mineral oil and bees wax.
Of course, being me, the idea of using a petroleum product on my food seems a little less than ideal so I like to use this cutting board oil instead. It’s 100% plant-based and is made with refined coconut oil, so it won’t ever go rancid either, but I’m a little more comfortable having it touch my food. I really like that it’s formulated with savoury essential oils as well, so it leaves your cutting board smelling fresh and it helps to remove odors from things like onions and garlic, which I find myself cutting up pretty much constantly. 🙂
This oil works beautifully on my acacia wood cutting board (similar available here) and it really helps to hide cut marks too. Like I said though, there are some really die-hard fans of the other types of cutting board oil product too, so use whichever suits you best!
Once you’ve got your oil of choice, apply a couple of tablespoons of the product to a paper towel and coat your board with a generous amount of the oil on all sides. Leave it to sit and really soak in for a few hours or overnight. That’s it!
I also found that this oil is another one that’s really great on my butcher block counters. I think the way I’ve been using the flax oil still gives me slightly more dramatic results, so I’ll probably keep doing that, but this oil is definitely right up there. I can never use the flax oil on my cutting board because it’s such a delicate oil and will spoil and probably make my food taste funny, so if I needed to choose one oil to do it all, the cutting board oil would be my pick. Plus, like I said, it smells good. That always counts for bonus points in my book. 🙂
What steps do you take to maintain your wooden cutting board?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.