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Wood Cutting Board Care & Maintenance

A wood cutting board is one of the most actively used kitchenware items in your home. In order to keep it looking great, and remain a long lasting accessory in your kitchen, it’s important that you give your cutting board the proper care it requires. 

Hand-Wash Only, never submerge in water

To avoid bacteria, it’s important that you wash your cutting board immediately after use.  Wipe the cutting board with hot soapy water, rinse it with hot water only and just wipe it dry with a clean dish towel. Store the cutting board in an upright position and in a dry area.

Important: Wood cutting boards should never be submerged in water, or washed in the dishwasher, this will cause it to warp and crack.  

 

Disinfect & deodorize using vinegar

We recommend keeping a spray bottle of vinegar handy to disinfect & deodorize your wood cutting board. Acetic acid (white vinegar) is an excellent disinfectant for E. coli, Salmonella and other household bacteria. Spray vinegar on the wood cutting board, let sit for a few minutes and wipe it with a damp clean cloth.

Remove stains & deodorize with baking soda

You can also combine 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of salt and 3 tablespoons hot water to create a non-toxic cleaning agent. Mix these ingredients together to form a paste, and scrub the entire surface of the cutting board. Finally, wipe it with a warm wet cloth and dry with a dish towel.

Clean with coarse salt & lemon

For an all-natural clean, first try dampening the wood cutting board with a warm cloth and sprinkling coarse salt over it. Cut a lemon in half and scour the cut side of the lemon over the board while slightly squeezing the lemon juice out. Let it stand for five minutes and use a scrub brush to remove the excess.

Disinfect using hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen is a powerful oxidizer that is considered harmless in small amounts. To clean your wooden cutting board, pour 3% hydrogen peroxide on the board and spread it using a clean sponge or cloth. Let it stand for five minutes and then wipe with a warm wet sponge or cloth.

Disinfect using diluted chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach is best used if you are attempting to sterilize your wooden cutting board after using it to cut raw meat (including fish or poultry). It is safe to use only a single teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water for the purpose of rinsing the board. Let the bleach take action on the bacteria for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water and dry thoroughly.

 

Refurbishing wood cutting board

It’s hard to avoid knife marks from accumulating on your cutting board over the years. The wonderful thing about a wood board is that it can be returned to its original splendor. All you need is three different grits of sand paper (100, 180 and 240). First sand the board with the coarser 100 grit, then the 180 and finish with the fine 240 grit. Once you are done with sanding, wash the board, let dry and apply oil. See reverse side for the different oils that can be used.

Cut Lightly

When using your wooden cutting board, make sure you pair it with sharp knives that make cutting easy, and apply minimal pressure to avoid creating deep gashes in your wooden cutting board. If your knives are dull, take them in to a professional knife sharpener—you’ll be surprised what a difference sharp knives can make in kitchen prep!

Food Safety Practices

According to U.S. Department of Health & Human Service’s food safety website the main steps to ensuring that your foods are prepared in a safe manner that reduces the risks of getting food poisoning or worse are:

  • Clean—Wash hands and utensils frequently. Wash fruits and veggies.
  • Separate—Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods
  • Cook—Cooked food is safe once it’s been heated to a high enough temperature to kill bacteria
  • Chill—Keep your family safe from food poisoning by refrigerating foods promptly

We recommend visiting the food safety website with your family, and brushing up on your food safety knowledge. Nobody wants a round of food poisoning!

Wood Cutting Board Oil Options

Even with light hand washing, eventually cracks can appear if the board is not oiled regularly. Oiling the wood cutting board frequently will also help repel food particles and prevent the board from becoming stained. Our recommendation for occasional use is to oil the board every two months at least, or once or twice a month if used more frequently. 

It’s important to make sure that the cutting board is clean and dry before applying any of these oils. 

Mineral oil

Mineral oil is the most commonly used option because it is a safe and cost effective way to keep your wood cutting board looking great for years. Food safe mineral oil can be purchase at your local drug store or major retailer. 

Apply the mineral oil using a clean cloth and spread evenly over the board. Let the oil set in for a few hours, or even let it set overnight if you can. Afterward, wipe the excess oil off using a dry cloth. 

Beeswax and mineral oil combo

You can combine mineral oil and beeswax in order to obtain the penetrating qualities of mineral oil, with the sealing qualities of beeswax.

In a small saucepan, measure 1/4 cup of beeswax (chunked for quicker melting) and 1 cup of mineral oil. Stir constantly on low heat until the beeswax is completely dissolved. If temperature is too high, the beeswax will discolor.

Remove the heat and let stand for a minute, then pour in a sealed jar and let cool for a few hours, stirring once or twice every hour to ensure it is well blended. If you skip the stirring, the mixture won’t be as homogenous.

Using a small dollop, rub it on your board with clean fingers or a clean cotton rag until absorbed and let it stand for 5-15 minutes. With a clean cotton cloth, buff in a circular motion until the finish is smooth.

Keep the jar in your pantry until you need to re-oil your boards or wooden spoons. Do not forget to label it!

Coconut oil

If you absolutely require an all-natural solution, and mineral oil alone doesn’t give you the desired results, coconut oil makes a good alternative. It doesn’t go rancid as easily as vegetable oil and allergic reactions are rare.

Taking a chunk and warm between your clean hands and then rubb it directly on the board or melt it for 15 seconds in the microwave and then rubb it on your board will condition it; you will need between a teaspoon and a tablespoon to complete the task. Then, let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Wipe the excess oil off and reapply if needed. The more the wood is dry, the more oil you will need.

You can also add one part beeswax and four parts coconut oil. Place in a small pot, heat on the stovetop on low, melt and mix together. Let it cool slightly, and spread it all over the board. If the oil and beeswax hardens, it will melt in your hand. 

Avoid vegetable or nut-based oil

Do not use vegetable oil on your cutting board for the simple reason that it will spoil and become rancid. This will leave your wood cutting board with an unpleasant smell that will also noticeably change the taste of the food you are preparing.

Nut and seed based oils (linseed “flax”, tung oil, etc) are less prone to the vegetable oil issues, but some people have sensitive allergies and they can react negatively to trace amounts.


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