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How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board

Spending the extra time to take care of a wooden cutting board can be tedious, but it is well worth it. Follow these steps on how to clean a wooden cutting board, so it lasts for years to come!

Benefits to Using a Wooden Cutting Board

Wooden cutting boards are far less harsh on cutting knives, so your knives will stay sharper longer. Since the knives do not penetrate the wood as easy as plastic, the wood is the best option to prep raw meat.

Plastic is much more porous due to the ease of indentation from sharp knives whiling chopping on this type of board. The plastic will build up with bacteria much quicker compared to a wooden cutting board.

how to clean a wooden cutting board

How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board

If you have been chopping food on your wooden cutting board for months, it is time to give it a disinfecting.
Even if you wash the board thoroughly in soap and water, bacteria can still build up on the board.

So, to disinfect the board first clean the board with soapy water then dry the board completely.

After the board has completely dried, spray the board down with vinegar mixture.

Items Needed:

  • Dish Soap
  • Dish Scrub Brush
  • Vinegar
  • Food Safe Mineral Oil
  • Rag

Disinfect and Deodorize with Vinegar

To make your own disinfecting spray, you will need vinegar, water, and a spray bottle.

I typically keep a few dollar store spray bottles on hand to use just for cleaning purposes.

Mix 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts water into a spray bottle then spray onto the cutting board.

After thoroughly saturating the cutting board with the vinegar spray, allow the board to sit for about 5 minutes.

Once the board has been soak in the vinegar spray for 5 minutes, rinse the board thoroughly then dry the board.

how to clean wood cutting board

Prevent Lingering Food Odors

If you’ve ever chopped an onion then hand washed the board, the board will still have a lingering onion smell.

I didn’t realize that my wood cutting board had the smell of onions until after I sliced an orange on the board.

Instead of the excepted citrusy orange taste, I was greeted with a citrus flavored white onion. Needless to say it was disgusting and I threw the orange in the trash.

This is when I realized I should disinfect the board more often. I now keep a separate cutting board just for slicing fruit, chopping vegetables, and prepping meat.

This might sound obsessive, but I am scarred after tasting that onion flavored orange.

If you have other unwanted odors in your home then you should read these tips.

Benefits of Using White Vinegar

  1. White vinegar will naturally clean the wood cutting board. Using natural cleaning options is always best when you are working with an item that handles food.
  2. The vinegar spray will help remove unwanted odors from the wood cutting board.
  3. Disinfects the board naturally to decrease bacteria growth.

Remove Stains with Baking Soda

To remove unwanted stains from a wood cutting board, first hand wash the board with soap and water.

Then shake a small amount of baking soda onto the board and scrub it with a little water forming a paste.

Gently scrub the stain with the paste to until the stain has been removed.

Wash the board again with soap and water then allow to dry before prepping food on the board.

how to clean a wooden cutting board

Food Safe Mineral Oil

Using food safe mineral oil on a cutting board is highly recommended to prevent the wood from drying out and cracking.

Asides from maintaining the life of a wood cutting board, mineral oil has many other uses in the kitchen.

Mineral oil can be used on wooden kitchen utensils, butcher block, wood salad bowls, and wood furniture.

The oil can also be used on knives, stainless steel, marble, granite, soapstone, garden equipment, and more.

So, the mineral oil will not go to waste even if you give up on your wooden cutting board.

Benefits of Using Oil

  1. Maintains the beauty by moisturizing the wood.
  2. Restores and protects wood.
  3. Prevents the wood from drying out and cracking.
  4. Acts as a sealant to decrease the amount of water that penetrates the wood.
  5. Increases the life of kitchen products.

How to Oil a Wood Cutting Board

To oil a wood cutting board, thoroughly wash and dry the board before applying a food safe mineral oil.

Once the wood has completely dried, slowly pour the oil directly onto the wood to cover the entire surface.

Apply the oil across the surface of the board with your hands or with a clean rag.

Allow the oil the penetrate the wood for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 24 hours for the best results.

If your wood cutting board is older and extremely dry, it is recommended to repeat this process 3 times.

Dry wood will quickly absorb the oil, so continue to follow the mentioned steps until the board looks restored.

Once the food save mineral oil has completely dried, you can start using your wooden cutting board.


Repeat this process every couple of weeks or at least once a month to lengthen the life of your kitchenware. For more cutting board cleaning tips take a look at this detailed post by Real Simple.