How to Maintain and Oil a Wood Cutting Board

How to maintain and oil a wood cutting board

If you ask a chef about his most favorite kitchen tool, he will instantly show you his cutting set which includes a kitchen knife and a high-quality cutting board. A good cutting knife is incomplete without a good cutting board.

If you’re a person with good experience in the kitchen, then you probably agree with me that the right kitchen tools can work like a charm.

And because the right tools can make or break your experience, I like to use utensils that are high quality, durable, and easy to use. This means that I use wood cutting boards, wooden spoons, and other high-quality wood utensils.

If you’re like me and use a wooden cutting board, you must take good care of it!

You have to oil it from time to time, applying some TLC once in a  while. If you take care of your wood cutting board, it will serve you well for years to come.

So, today we’re going to show you how to oil your wood cutting board and some maintenance tips to take good care of it.

Plastic Cutting Boards or Wooden Cutting Boards – Which is better?

Some will try to argue about using a plastic cutting board instead of a wooden cutting board. Well, I personally prefer a wooden board, it gives me a chance to take care of my knife’s edge, which I don’t find convenient about a plastic board.

It also looks better as it ages. A wooden cutting board will get knicks, scrapes, and cuts on it and look better than ever. A plastic cutting board will get more and more ugly over time.

Something also to think about is the environment. A plastic cutting board will look worn out and dirty after a while (no matter how often you wash your cutting board) and then the obvious next step is to just throw it out and buy a new one.

While it may be easy to do that, it can be considered wasteful to throw out a cutting board when you’re no longer pleased with it.

Now, what about a wooden cutting board? Some will say that wooden cutting boards are not good, because they take effort, because you have to take care of them.

Well, I say if you love your kitchen and what’s in it, a little effort to keep the tool working properly and safely shouldn’t bother you that much!

If you can maintain your tool, a wooden cutting board or a butcher block will last more than a decade! I’ve seen it! And they get more and more beautiful over time. it gets a more homey and rustic look to it the more you use it.

Is there a health issue?

Are you worried about food or meat contamination on your wooden cutting board? I am!

What about the bacteria that comes from cutting raw meat on wood?

The reality is that if you clean your wooden cutting boards after use then they’re just as safe as plastic.

Plastic is easier because you can just throw it in the dishwasher, but you can still rinse and clean a wood board using hot water and dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar and hot water.

What about maintenance?

Although a wood cutting board can last you a lifetime, it requires maintenance.

Its durability depends on how well you are taking care of it. This means that you oil it, keep it away from unnecessary moisture, promptly remove any excess oil, cream, or other food, wash it after every use, and allow the wood to totally dry before putting it away.

It’s good to use mineral oil (not industrial mineral oil) and wax to shine up the board. More details are given below.

Maintenance Tips

You have to clean your wooden cutting board after every use. You can use a good scrub and hot, soapy water to do so.

Don’t soak your wood board or any wooden kitchen tool in water, it will shorten its life and cause a crack very quickly. Some people also use hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar to clean their wood board in order to keep it safe from bacterial contamination after they cut meat on it.

How often should take care of it?

Now you may ask how often you are supposed to take care of wooden kitchen tools? The answer is, clean it after every time you use it.

And you should give them an oil coating from time to time in order to keep the surface sturdy and keep them from drying up. My suggestion is to do this once a month. Some people do this every week.

How to Oil and maintain

As I said, you have to oil your wooden kitchen tools for better and longer service. Here is what you should know about oiling a cutting board or any other wooden tool.

  • The wooden board itself, or any other tool that you want to oil
  • Soft and clean paper towel or cloth.
  • Mineral or any other food-grade oil and Beeswax.

Wooden Cutting Board Maintenance Steps

First of all, you have to clean the wood. I personally like to use a lemon cut in half and coarse salt but a sponge or brush works just as well.

First, apply the salt over the surface, then rub the lemon over it. Now wipe it and let the board dry up thoroughly.

Once the board is fully dry, now it’s time to apply the oil. Use the clean paper towel or cloth, apply the oil all over the surface and make it an even layer. Let the oil sink into the board. The oil should be a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil.

Let the oil sink in well. Oiling is important because it’s what’s going to give it a layer of protection against bacteria.

I personally rub in the oil in the evening, making sure to wipe off any excess amount with a cloth or towel and allow it to absorb overnight.

Then in the morning I’ll go ahead and store it.

Whatever you do, do NOT put it in the dishwasher, do NOT soak it in any way wet (water or other liquids), and do not use industrial oils.

Benefits of a thoroughly oiled board

Oiling your board well does a few things. It helps keep your knives sharp, allows easier washing of the board later on, keeps bacteria out and your food safe, and doesn’t allow the board to warp (which can happen to wood when it’s constantly moved between dry air and wet liquids).

Regularly maintaining your board well will sure to keep stains off of your cutting board, making cooking easier and more enjoyable.

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3 thoughts on “How to Maintain and Oil a Wood Cutting Board”

  1. There is, however, a health hazard for using a wooden cutting board that has stain and varnish on it. That’s downright idiotic, in fact, the natural anti-microbial capabilities of wood are blocked by the stain and varnish, which doesn’t make sense. Oiling your board makes it much worse!

    You need to get a bare wood version, preferably a very hard wood with ultra tight grain, look for a plain basswood cutting board and/or chopping block, if you can’t find nor afford one, look for maple.

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