The One Important Thing You Should Do to Your Wood Cutting Board

If you are like me, you have several cutting boards. Small ones, thin ones, big ones, wooden ones and plastic ones. There is one at every corner of my kitchen, but the best cutting board is just that – a wooden board.

Hardwoods make excellent cutting boards, but you should maintain them properly. Wooden cutting boards should be kept clean and free of food that can contaminate the surface. Often a good hot soapy scrub is all they need. Allow the hot water to run over the board for quite a while. Experts say that quantity matters when cleaning wood – the more water you put on it, the deeper the clean.

You should also oil the boards to keep them from drying out. After all, they are natural and the natural oils will escape, leaving you with a dry, brittle board. Depending on how often you use wooden utensils, you should oil them as you find time. For some, this can be as often as once a month and for others twice a year.

You can use a mixture of oils from beeswax to coconut oil, but be sure that the oil is food grade and not prone to rancidity. For many, mineral oil is an inexpensive choice. You can find this in most kitchen supply stores.


To begin, clean your board with hot soapy water and allow it to completely dry. Scrub the surface with lemon and salt to kill any remaining bacteria. You can also use vinegar or chlorine to disinfect the surface.

When you are ready to oil the board, take a clean cloth and apply the oil in evenly. The oil should be left on as long as possible. If you apply the oil in the evening, you can do a quick swipe the next morning to remove any excess oils.

Here is what you will need:

  • Wooden cutting board, spoons, or other utensils
  • Clean, soft cloth or paper towel
  • Mineral oil or other food-grade oil or favorite mixture


  1. Start with a clean board and utensils. Clean and disinfect your cutting board with hot soapy water and lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Apply the oil. Apply an even layer of oil over the entire board.
  3. Let it soak in. Leave the oil to soak in, overnight if possible, or for at least a few hours.
  4. Remove the excess. If the board or your spoons feel oily or sticky, buff off any remaining oil with a clean dry cloth or paper towel.

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The One Important Thing You Should Do to Your Wood Cutting Board