By now you have probably read that plastic cutting boards are no longer considered more sanitary than their wooden counterparts. For plastic cutting boards the general recommendation is that they should be put in the dishwasher. Wooden cutting boards may require some care.
Follow these guidelines to make your wooden board last for years!
- Never Soak a Wooden Cutting Board
Wood expands when in contact with water. Soaking the board is likely to cause the wood to expand unevenly – resulting in a warping. The instability of a warped cutting board is considered a kitchen hazard, and it is not recommended to continue using it after it is warped.
- Never Put It In Your Dishwasher
Experts don’t recommend using a dishwasher for your wooden cutting board, especially not running it through the soak cycle! Again, it may result in a warped cutting board.
- Dry It Thoroughly After Hand Washing
Plenty of hot, soapy water is enough for regular cleaning of your board. Make sure you wash all sides (even if you didn’t use them), and dry it with a clean, absorbent microfiber towel after. Leave your board standing upright to ‘air it out’ overnight and ensure it smells fresh.
- Deep Clean and Deodorize it
With time, all that garlic and onion you chopped for making french onion soup will eventually soak into your wood and leave an odor. It can only be described as not so fresh. Every month or so, you need to give it a deeper clean. All you will need is a lemon, some coarse salt (Kosher is recommended), and baking soda.
After washing with soap as you do regularly, sprinkle with baking soda and salt generously. You may choose to leave it in the baking soda for 30 minutes to an hour (if it’s especially stinky). Then cut the lemon in half and use it to scrub the cutting board. The salt will help exfoliate the wood, and the baking soda will deodorize it. The lemon cleans it and leaves a pleasant scent. Rinse the cutting board,and dry it well.
- Moisturizing for Your Cutting Board
It may sound bizarre but it is an old trick – you should moisturize your wooden cutting board at the very least once every two months. Using a food safe mineral oil, apply an even coat on the entire board. Be generous, and make sure you coat every groove or crevice. Leave the board soaking in the oil overnight to dry. If you’re in a hurry, a few hours will do. If you use your board more often, you should probably consider doing this more often.
- Give it a Cream Finish
After all that work, you probably want to seal all the moisture in, to make the effect last longer. Mix equal parts beeswax and mineral oil to make a finishing cream. With gloved hands, use a cloth (preferably microfiber) to rub a thin layer on the entire board. Let it sit overnight, and you can use your wooden cutting board the next day.
It may be a laborious task, but the results are spectacular. A properly cared for cutting board will last you for years.