Cleaning and caring for your board

Wooden cutting boards look great; plus, they’re easy on knives, long-lasting, and if you clean them right, they can part of your kitchen for a long time.

My favorite one is about 45 years old, a hand-me-down from my parents. It’s lasted all these years because my mom took good care of it, and now I do, too.

So, what’s the best way to clean a wooden cutting board? How do you keep it from cracking? Wooden cutting boards do require a little maintenance, but it all pays off. Here are my tips for how to clean, maintain, and condition your wooden board so it’ll last for years!

How to Clean a Wood Cutting Board: Dos and Don’ts

  • Do wash your cutting board by hand. If you’re just slicing bread, you can simply wipe it off, but for moist, sticky, or pungent foods (which is most of them), you’ll need to wash and rinse it.
  • Do use liquid dish soap to wash your cutting board.
  • Do wipe your clean cutting board dry, and let it finish by air-drying on its side.
  • Don’t soak a cutting board. You can submerge it in water, but only for a quick dunk. Soaking can cause the board to warp.
  • Don’t put wooden cutting boards in the dishwasher. The excessive heat and harsh chemicals of the dish detergent will cause the wood to dry out, warp, and/or crack.
  • Don’t use harsh, concentrated cleaners on your cutting board.

More Tips for Cutting Board Care

  • As you prep, wipe the surface of the board frequently with a sponge or dishcloth. This will make cleanup easier when it’s all said and done.
  • Wash your cutting board soon after you’re done using it. This is so liquids, food residue, and odors don’t penetrate the wood. Have you ever sliced an apple only to discover locked-in garlic from the soup you made the day before has ruined your perfect fruit? Frequently wiping the board as you use it will keep this from happening.
  • Sanitize your cutting board after prepping raw meat. Use either straight-up white vinegar or a solution of 1 1/2 teaspoons bleach in 4 cups of water.
  • To freshen up a smelly board (think residual onion vapors), rub a halved lemon over the surface; let it sit for a minute or two, and then wipe off the board.
  • To remove stubborn stains, sprinkle baking soda over a cutting board, rub with a warm, damp cloth, then rinse away any excess baking soda.
  • If there’s caked-on residue, it’s okay to use an abrasive scrubbing padlike this. It shouldn’t scratch your cutting board.

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