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How to Properly Care for and Maintain Your Cutting Board

  • By: Kitchen Informant
  • Date: January 23, 2024

How to Properly Care for and Maintain Your Cutting Board: Expert Tips


Cutting boards are an essential tool in any kitchen. They are used to chop, slice and dice food items, and they come in a variety of materials, including plastic, bamboo, and wood.

However, like any other kitchen tool, cutting boards require proper care and maintenance to ensure they remain safe and hygienic to use.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the type of cutting board you own is essential for proper care and maintenance.
  • Proper cleaning techniques, including regular disinfection, are necessary to maintain a cutting board’s hygienic properties.
  • Proper storage and knowing when to replace your cutting board are also important factors in maintaining its longevity.

A cutting board in a white kitchen with sliced lemons on it.


Understanding the type of cutting board you own is the first step in properly caring for it. Each material has its own unique properties and requires different cleaning techniques.

For example, plastic cutting boards are dishwasher safe, whereas wooden cutting boards should never be soaked in water or put in the dishwasher.

Proper cleaning techniques are essential to maintaining a cutting board’s hygienic properties.

Cutting boards should be washed after each use with hot, soapy water and dried thoroughly. Additionally, they should be disinfected regularly with a solution of white vinegar and water or hydrogen peroxide.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure your cutting board remains safe and hygienic for years to come.

Understanding Your Cutting Board

A cutting board with a chef's knife laying on it. with parsley.


A cutting board is an essential kitchen tool that is used to chop, slice, and dice food items. It is available in various materials such as wood, plastic, and bamboo.

Each material has its own set of pros and cons, and it is important to understand the characteristics of each material before choosing the right cutting board for your kitchen.

Wood Cutting Boards


Wooden cutting boards are popular for their durability and natural appearance. They are gentle on knives and do not dull them quickly.

Wood is also naturally antimicrobial, which means it resists the growth of bacteria.

However, they require regular maintenance and care to prevent warping, cracking, and the growth of bacteria.

Plastic Cutting Boards


Plastic cutting boards are lightweight, easy to clean, and inexpensive. They come in a variety of colors, which can help prevent cross-contamination when cutting different types of food.

However, plastic cutting boards are prone to scratches, which can harbor bacteria, and they are not as durable as wooden cutting boards.

Bamboo Cutting Boards


Bamboo cutting boards are eco-friendly, durable, and lightweight. They are also resistant to scratches and do not dull knives quickly.

They require regular oiling to prevent warping and cracking, and they are not as antimicrobial as wooden cutting boards.

In summary, each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to choose the right cutting board for your needs.

Regardless of the material, it is important to clean and maintain your cutting board regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria and prolong its lifespan.

Selection of the Right Cutting Board

A cutting board in a bright, white kitchen with a knife on it.


When it comes to selecting the right cutting board, there are a few factors to consider. The most important factor is the material of the board.

The three most common types of cutting boards are wooden boards, plastic boards, and glass boards. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Wooden Boards


Wooden cutting boards are a popular choice for many home cooks. They are durable, long-lasting, and have a natural beauty that adds warmth to any kitchen.

Wooden boards are also gentle on knives, helping to keep them sharp for longer.

When selecting a wooden cutting board, it is important to choose one that is made from a hardwood, such as maple or oak.

These woods are dense and have a tight grain, which makes them less likely to warp or crack over time. It is also important to choose a board that is thick enough to withstand heavy use.

To maintain a wooden cutting board, it should be washed with hot, soapy water after each use and dried immediately.

It is important to never soak a wooden cutting board in water, as this can cause warping and cracking.

Wooden boards should also be periodically oiled with food-grade mineral oil to keep them from drying out and cracking.

Plastic Boards


Plastic cutting boards are a popular choice for many home cooks because they are lightweight, easy to clean, and affordable.

They are also available in a variety of colors, which can help prevent cross-contamination when cutting different types of food.

When selecting a plastic cutting board, it is important to choose one that is made from a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or a similar material.

These materials are non-porous, which makes them less likely to harbor bacteria. It is also important to choose a board that is thick enough to withstand heavy use.

To maintain a plastic cutting board, it should be washed with hot, soapy water after each use and dried immediately. Plastic boards can also be sanitized by placing them in the dishwasher.

Glass Boards


Glass cutting boards are a popular choice for many home cooks because they are easy to clean and can be used as a serving tray.

However, they are not recommended for heavy use as they can dull knives quickly.

When selecting a glass cutting board, it is important to choose one that is made from tempered glass. This type of glass is more durable and less likely to shatter than regular glass.

To maintain a glass cutting board, it should be washed with hot, soapy water after each use and dried immediately.

Glass boards should not be placed in the dishwasher, as the high heat can cause them to crack or shatter.

The selection of the right cutting board depends on personal preference and intended use. It is important to choose a board that is durable, easy to clean, and gentle on knives. With proper care and maintenance, a cutting board can last for years and provide a safe and sanitary surface for food preparation.

Proper Cleaning Techniques


To ensure your cutting board remains in top condition, it’s important to clean it regularly. There are two types of cleaning techniques: daily cleaning and deep cleaning.

Daily Cleaning


After each use, the cutting board should be washed with hot, soapy water. Use a non-abrasive sponge or brush to scrub the board thoroughly.

Rinse the board with hot water and dry it with a clean towel or let it air dry.

If the cutting board has been used to cut raw meat, fish, or poultry, it’s important to sanitize it to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

To do this, wash the board with hot, soapy water, then rinse it with a solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.

Let the solution sit on the board for a few minutes, then rinse it off with hot water and dry it with a clean towel or let it air dry.

Deep Cleaning


Over time, cutting boards can develop stains and odors that are difficult to remove with regular cleaning. When this happens, it’s time for a deep clean.

One effective way to deep clean a cutting board is to sprinkle coarse salt over the surface of the board, then rub it with a cut lemon.

The acid in the lemon will help to remove stains and odors. Let the lemon juice sit on the board for a few minutes, then rinse it off with hot water and dry it with a clean towel or let it air dry.

For tougher stains, make a paste with baking soda and water, then apply it to the board and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off with hot water and drying it.

It’s important to note that wooden cutting boards should never be soaked in water or put in the dishwasher, as this can cause warping and splitting. Instead, clean them with hot, soapy water and dry them thoroughly.

By following these proper cleaning techniques, you can ensure that your cutting board remains in top condition and is safe to use for all your food prep needs.

Maintenance Practices

A person's hand no a knife, cutting lime wedges on a wooden cutting board.


Proper maintenance is essential to keep your cutting board in good condition and extend its lifespan.

Here are some maintenance practices to keep in mind:

Oiling Your Board


Wooden cutting boards need to be oiled regularly to prevent them from drying out and cracking. Mineral oil is a popular choice for oiling cutting boards, as it is food-safe and does not go rancid.

Here are the steps to oil your board:

  1. Clean the board thoroughly and let it dry completely.
  2. Apply a generous amount of mineral oil to the board using a clean cloth or paper towel.
  3. Let the oil soak into the wood for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Wipe off any excess oil with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Repeat this process every few months or as needed to keep your board well-oiled.

Sanding Your Board


Over time, your cutting board may develop scratches and knife marks that can harbor bacteria. Sanding the board can help remove these imperfections and keep your board clean.

Here are the steps to sand your board:

  1. Clean the board thoroughly and let it dry completely.
  2. Use a fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit or higher) to sand the surface of the board in the direction of the grain.
  3. Wipe off any dust or debris with a damp cloth.
  4. Apply a coat of mineral oil to the board to reseal the surface.

Repeat this process every few months or as needed to keep your board smooth and free of scratches.

By following these maintenance practices, you can keep your cutting board in top condition and ensure that it lasts for years to come.

Proper Storage

A cutting board on a kitchen counter with oranges on it.


Proper storage of a cutting board is essential to ensure its longevity.

Here are some tips on how to store your cutting board properly:

  • Dry the cutting board completely: Before storing the cutting board, make sure it is completely dry. Moisture can cause the board to warp or crack over time.
  • Store it upright: If possible, store the cutting board upright on its edge. This allows air to circulate around the board, which helps to keep it dry and prevents bacteria growth.
  • Use a designated storage area: Designate a specific area in your kitchen for storing your cutting board. This can be a drawer, a shelf, or a cabinet.

    By keeping your cutting board in a designated area, you can avoid accidentally placing other items on top of it or knocking it over.
  • Don’t stack cutting boards: Avoid stacking cutting boards on top of each other. This can cause them to scratch or warp over time.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause your cutting board to fade or discolor. Store your cutting board in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your cutting board stays in good condition for years to come.

When to Replace Your Cutting Board

A person cutting lemon wedges on a wooden cutting board.


Cutting boards are essential kitchen tools that require proper care and maintenance. However, even with the best care, cutting boards have a limited lifespan.

Over time, wear and tear leaves grooves and knicks in your board, creating a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

As a result, it’s important to know when to replace your cutting board.

Here are some signs that it’s time to replace your cutting board:

Deep Cuts and Grooves


If your cutting board has deep cuts and grooves that are difficult to clean, it’s time to replace it. These cuts and grooves can harbor bacteria that can contaminate your food and make you sick.

Warping and Cracking


Warping and cracking are signs that your cutting board has reached the end of its life. These issues can make your cutting board unstable and unsafe to use.

Stains and Odors


If your cutting board has persistent stains and odors, it’s time to replace it. These issues can be a sign that bacteria has penetrated the surface of the board and can’t be removed with regular cleaning.

Age


Even if your cutting board doesn’t show any signs of wear and tear, it’s a good idea to replace it every few years. This is because cutting boards can become worn and less effective over time.


It’s important to replace your cutting board when it shows signs of wear and tear, warping, cracking, persistent stains and odors, or when it’s simply reached the end of its lifespan.

By replacing your cutting board regularly, you can ensure that you’re using a safe and effective kitchen tool.