Tools & Gadget

How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board – Some Useful Tips

How to clean a wooden cutting board

There is no denying that a wooden cutting board is one of the most essential kitchen tools you can have! They are not only useful but also very versatile. They are often used to cut meat or vegetables, and they are even lovely serving plates for cheeses, meats and breads.

It is true to say that wooden cutting boards naturally harbor less bacteria than plastic chopping boards. While they can effectively fight germs, it is best to keep it clean and clean it once in a while. In fact, cleaning wooden cutting boards thoroughly while at the same time ensuring they last a long time can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some great tips to make sure your wooden cutting board stays clean and beautiful. Let’s learn about how to clean a wooden cutting board!

How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board to Keep it Germ-Free

To clean your wooden cutting board, you just need to do the following basics:

  • Cleaning wood cutting boards with dish soap
  • Cleaning wood cutting boards with bleach
  • Cleaning wood cutting boards with vinegar
  • Cleaning a wood cutting board with lemon & salt

Sounds simple right? You will need more than that for your cutting board to last. Let’s make it more clear.

1. Cleaning wood cutting boards with dish soap

It is true to say that the dishwasher is the ideal product for cleaning almost any item in your kitchen. Unfortunately, you should not put a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher! If you do, water can cause the board to crack and warp. Those tiny cracks can then become an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Luckily, you can clean a wooden cutting board by hand with relative ease. All you need is hot water, dish soap, and a brush (or a sponge). Clean your wooden cutting board by rinsing it with hot water and applying soap. Instead of using regular dish soap, you can use antibacterial dish soap! Rub extra hard on any knife marks, scratches or inconsistencies on the cutting board.

It sounds simple, but make sure to properly clean and scrub both sides of the wooden cutting board. Even if you only use one side of the cutting board, do not forget that gravy can seep through the crack and stain the other side. Do not forget to wash each side of the board thoroughly with hot water and dry it with a dry towel.

Cleaning wood cutting board with dish soap
Cleaning wood cutting board with dish soap

2. Using bleach to clean wood cutting boards

In case you want to get rid of all bacteria after using a wooden cutting board to chop raw meat or poultry, add one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water, let your cutting board soak in the solution for a few minutes. Then, rinse, dry, and store it in a dry location.

3. Cleaning wood cutting boards with vinegar

If you prefer using a chemical-free product, all you need to do is mix one part white vinegar with four parts water (hydrogen peroxide can also be substituted for vinegar in this case). After that, soak the cutting board in this solution for a few minutes. Then wash, dry and store it in a dry place.

Cleaning wood cutting boards with vinegar
Cleaning wood cutting boards with vinegar

Even if you soak your cutting board in a chemical-free solution, do not soak it for more than a few minutes to avoid warping the wood.

4. Cleaning a wood cutting board with lemon & salt

Cleaning cutting boards monthly with lemon and salt is a good solution to help maintain them. Prepare sea salt or kosher salt and a lemon and cut it in half. Start by sprinkling salt on the board. Use the lemon with the fleshy side down to scrub the salt down each side of the cutting board. Leave the salt and lemon solution on the sides of the cutting board for about five minutes. Then clean the board with a sponge, rinse and dry.

Cleaning a wood cutting board with lemon & salt
Cleaning a wood cutting board with lemon & salt

How to Maintain Your Wood Cutting Board in the Right Way

To help prevent your cutting board from cracking, drying, and warping, you should oil your cutting board once a month. Fortunately, this only takes a few minutes.

Start by cleaning your cutting board meticulously. You can use the lemon and salt method mentioned above (or any other cleaning method will do). Do not forget to dry the board thoroughly afterwards.

You need to use a product specifically formulated for wooden cutting boards for oiling the cutting board. Some recommended products are Howard Products Cutting Board Oil or even food grade mineral oil. Remember not to use olive or avocado oil.

When oiling your wooden cutting board, use a soft cloth or paper towel to wipe it in a circular motion. Apply a thin layer on both sides of it and let the oil soak for a few hours or even overnight.

Tips to Keep Your Wooden Cutting Board Durable and Beautiful

  • You should choose a cutting board made of hardwood

You should choose cutting boards made of hardwoods such as maple, walnut or cherry. In fact, cutting boards made of softwood are easier to split as you use them. Therefore, bacteria easily grow in the cuts left by the knife. If you choose a cutting board made of harder wood, it will not crack easily. This will keep it looking good for a long time. You can even clean it more easily.

  • Seasoning your cutting board with mineral oil before use

Wood chopsticks are made from natural materials, right? Therefore, when it loses moisture, it can dull, or even split! You can keep a wooden cutting board sealed and seasoned by using a light coating of mineral oil.

Just take some oil and warm it in your hand to spread on the cutting board. Wait a few minutes, then wipe off with a damp cloth. Do not forget to turn the cutting board over and season the other side. Keep in mind that you should not use natural oils, mineral oil will be much more suitable.

  • Do not forget wipe down your cutting board after use

After each time you use the cutting board, wash it. The next part of the article will show you how to do that effectively.

  • Deodorize and spot-treat it once a week

Every time you clean the kitchen, you should also clean the cutting board more with some readily available ingredients. This is especially important if you have noticed it getting a little smelly or stained.

Some ways to clean a wooden cutting board to keep it germ-free
Some ways to clean a wooden cutting board to keep it germ-free
  • Revitalize your wood cutting board

Do not forget that whichever cleaning method you choose, dry your cutting boards with a clean towel and stand them up so they can dry completely. If you put them down immediately, moisture can be trapped underneath.

Wood Cutting Board vs Plastic Cutting Board: Which is Better?

Wooden cutting boards have many outstanding advantages over plastic cutting boards, and that is reflected in the price. You can buy plastic cutting boards for just a few dollars. Meanwhile, a quality wooden cutting board, like the Natural Acacia Wood Cutting Board, can cost upwards of $70 or more.

Bacteria will sit on top of the plastic cutting board instead of being absorbed into the surface. In fact, bacteria often find a place to breed in the little grooves and scars caused by knives. Fortunately, plastic cutting boards are not too difficult to clean. You just need to wash them in the dishwasher or clean them by hand with hot water.

Wood cutting board vs plastic cutting board
Wood cutting board vs plastic cutting board

If you are really worried about bacteria but still want to use plastic cutting boards, it is best to use them only for cutting vegetables and use wooden cutting boards for raw foods. Remember that if your plastic cutting board starts to wear out, buy a new one.

There is no denying that wooden cutting boards are safer to use than plastic. Although the surface of the wood can absorb bacteria, it will soon sink to the bottom layers of the wood and die. Therefore, they do not have the opportunity to stay on the surface and multiply. However, maintaining and cleaning wooden cutting boards is not simple.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to effectively deodorize wooden cutting boards?

Wood surfaces are very susceptible to odors, especially after you’ve used it to chop something like onions or garlic. In that case, wiping the cutting board with white vinegar will effectively remove these unpleasant odors as white vinegar has very little scent itself.

2. How to effectively remove stubborn stains from wooden cutting boards?

The surface of the wooden cutting board is very easy to get small stains. To clean them, simply sprinkle baking soda on the surface of the cutting board and use lemon to rub the stains on the surface. Then, gently wash with a sponge or cloth and dry with a towel. This method also leaves your cutting board smelling great.

You can also use kosher salt to remove stains and odors. True to say that kosher salt is a great natural abrasive and it is pretty gentle!

3. How often should I sanitize a wooden cutting board?

Even if you clean your cutting board after each use, you still need to sanitize your wooden cutting board after each use. By using a bleach solution, you will kill more ingrained germs than using simple soap and water. This is especially important when using a wooden cutting board to slice raw meat, poultry or seafood.

4. When should I change the cutting board?

If you notice that your wooden cutting constantly smells off, has deep cracks as well as visible mold, it is time to buy a new cutting board.

5. Should I wash my wooden cutting board in the dishwasher?

The short answer is No! You should not immerse a wooden cutting board in water as well as run it through the dishwasher. Your board will absorb water and split as it dries.

6. Should I use a wooden cutting board or a plastic cutting board?

There is no denying that wood cutting boards are safer to use than plastic, but cleaning wooden cutting boards seems to be more complicated. So consider carefully! It is your choice.

7. Can I wash a wooden cutting board with soap?

Yes. You can use a little bit of dish soap and warm water to clean your cutting board every day.

8. How should I dry my wooden cutting board?

If your cutting board warps or splits , it is not the fault of your knife skills. The real culprit is Water. Chances are you have dried the board properly after washing. Proper drying of your cutting board prolongs its life and keeps it straight and flat.

As for drying, after you’ve washed your cutting board, immediately wipe it with a dry cloth. Then, place your cutting board upright until it is completely dry.

9. When should I give up?

If your cutting board is cleaned and maintained properly, it could last your entire life.

If deep cuts start to show in the wood, all you need is sandpaper to sand the entire surface of the board. This can take time, but it can help your cutting board get back to its original shape
Sometimes your board can warp despite the best care. You should give it up and get a new one!


Cleaning and maintaining a wooden cutting board is not easy, right? However, if you do it right, it could last your entire life. Hopefully, you have understood how to clean a wooden cutting board after reading this article.

Elizabeth Andjeski

Although Liz has graduated from working "gigs", you will still see her smiling face at our Plated Landscape Dinners in the summer. When she isn’t wearing one of her many Spice hats, she is at home “weeding” in her secret garden, giving a random stranger a ride home, or hanging with her husband Jed and growing daughter, Ava.

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