By Erica Young
The wood cutting board is a classic and essential kitchen tool. But with daily use, a cutting board can start to look a little worse for wear. Without proper maintenance it can take on a strange odor, become dried out, and worst of all – be covered in bacteria. Luckily, with a few products that you probably already have on hand, you can make your cutting board sparkling clean again. Here’s how.
1. Daily Rinsing and Washing
After each use, give your cutting board a good rinse, and then scrub with mild detergent. Don’t ever soak a wood or bamboo cutting board in water; it can become warped and cracked. After washing, set it up to dry.
2. Disinfect with Hydrogen Peroxide
Every so often it’s a good idea to go a step above regular washing and deep clean your cutting board. You can disinfect it with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, which you probably already have in your medicine cabinet. Pour the hydrogen peroxide directly on your board and distribute it with a clean cloth. It will fizz while it cleans. Let it do its thing for a few minutes. Then wipe it away with a cloth.
3. Scrub with Baking Soda
To get rid of pesky stains, scrub the board with baking soda or salt. Sprinkle the baking soda all over the board then scrub with a damp, soft-bristled brush. You can also add lemon juice to this step. The acid in the lemon will provide another layer of cleaning power.
4. Get Rid of Odors with Vinegar
Is your cutting board a little stinky? With all the different foods we chop on a cutting board, after a while it can take on an unpleasant odor. To get rid of the smell, fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and give the cutting board a good spritz. The vinegar with neutralize the odor so you won’t have to smell last night’s onions anymore.
5. Condition with Mineral Oil
Now that your cutting board is sparkling clean and odor free, it’s time to condition the wood. It’s a good idea to apply mineral oil to your cutting board once a month to keep it from drying out and cracking. Mineral oil is inexpensive and safe to use on food prep tools like your cutting board or your wooden spoons.
Wipe the mineral oil on the board with a clean cloth, ensuring to cover the whole surface and sides of the board. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then wipe away any excess with a clean cloth.
Many assume plastic cutting boards are more sanitary than wood, but studies have shown that wood or bamboo boards might be safer in the long run. Plastic cutting boards can acquire cut marks and grooves where bacteria hides. Wood or bamboo cutting boards might take a little more maintenance than a plastic board – but they’ll last longer. Plus a few beautiful wood boards leaning on your counter will bring chic style to your kitchen that only classic tools can provide.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Erica Young