How to sanitize and restore a wood cutting board

Photo Credit: Sweet C's

There is nothing quite like a rustic wooden cutting board in the kitchen to chop whatever vegetables you need for your recipes. The benefit of wood cutting boards is that with proper care they can last a lifetime. Sometimes they also come in much larger sizes than cutting boards made from other materials. The one issue with wooden cutting boards and any other board out there is that it can get knife cuts in them, which are breeding places for bacteria because cleaning them is challenging. Additionally, over time, wood surfaces can become dull in appearance and dried out causing them to crack. If you are desperate to learn about cleaning and restoring a wood cutting board, so it looks like new, Courtney, the author of Sweet C’s lifestyle blog, has excellent instructions. Her tips include a natural cleaning product so that you can feel safe preparing food on the board afterwards as well.

If you have a lot of grooves on your wooden cutting board, you will either have to follow Courtney’s cleaning instructions to sanitise the board or sand the board down followed by the sanitising steps. The steps you will have to take to bring your wood cutting board back to life will depend entirely on its condition. If the cuts in the board are very deep, sanding the surface will level the surface and limit the area where bacteria can grow. If the cuts are more shallow, the board may not require a sanding to return it to its former state. Once you have determined whether you need to sand or not sand your cutting board, you can set about cleaning it so that it is sanitary once again. If you are concerned about using chemical-based cleaning products, rest assured there are non toxic cleaners that will work just fine to sanitise the surface. Courtney recommends soaking the board in vinegar, which can sanitise surfaces and is a common household and kitchen cleaner because it is food safe and natural. You can soak the board in any vinegar you have, but plain white vinegar or cleaning vinegar make the most sense because they are less expensive than specialty wine vinegar. A specially designed cleaning vinegar will also have a higher acidity level than other vinegar, and therefore, be better at sanitising the surface.

Using vinegar for the home isn’t anything new, but it is one of the best kitchen cleaning tips because it is completely safe for those who come in contact with it. If you have island butcher block countertops, you could even employ Courtney’s cleaning strategies to those. Rather than submerging the counters in vinegar, however, you will have to generously rub it all over the surface and allow it to soak for the designated time and dry out.

The final recommendation that Courtney makes for restoring and maintaining your wooden cutting board is to rub it with a food grade oil, like coconut oil. Although coconut oil is most accessible, you could also apply linseed oil or beeswax, which are both common for cutting board maintenance. The oil should be applied to your cutting board whenever the wood is appearing dull and will prevent the wood from drying out or cracking in the future. Whatever you do, never put your wooden items in the dishwasher, since the soap and heat can damage them. Wooden rolling pins and cutting boards merely require a simple cleaning with a damp cloth to clean them, unless they have come in contact with something where you need to sanitise them further. Thank you to Courtney, the author of Sweet C’s lifestyle blog, for showing us the process of cleaning and restoring a wooden cutting board.

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