Now that you have a great quality wooden or bamboo cutting board (see our previous article here), we want to teach you how to clean, sanitize, and care for your new cutting board. Keep in mind, wood and bamboo cutting boards do require a bit more maintenance and hand-washing than plastic, but when properly cared for, one wood cutting board can last a lifetime. Let’s look at how to clean them first:
Cutting Board Cleaning Directions
- Scrape off and rinse off any remaining food with hot water.
- Spray cutting board with Branch Basics All-Purpose or Bathroom Spray.
- Let sit a couple of minutes.
- Scrub with a cleaning brush.
- Rinse with hot water.
- Dry off with cloth and set in a place where air can circulate to dry it out.
Many of us keep a plastic cutting board around for raw meats, fish, and seafood because they can be thrown in the dishwasher. However, as discussed in the previous article on choosing the best cutting board, several studies confirm plastic cutting boards harbor more bacteria and germs than wood.
Plus, Research has shown that just spraying a sanitizer or a disinfectant directly on your cutting board does not take care of all germs. Only proper use of soap or a product with surfactant—like Branch Basics—removes them all. Thus, choosing a wood cutting board and following the basic cleaning directions above is a safe and effective method of removing germs from raw proteins.
Non-Toxic DisinfectING DIRECTIONS
Study shows that Vinegar and 3% Hydrogen Peroxide used in combination (in separate bottles) are more effective at killing germs than chlorine bleach or any commercially available cleaner.
- Branch Basics All-Purpose or Bathroom Cleaner
- Split Fiber Microfiber
- Distilled White Vinegar (5% acidity)
- A Spray Bottle For The Vinegar (Or A Spray Nozzle For The Bottle If It Will Fit)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution—brown bottle)
- A Spray Nozzle For The Brown Bottle Of Peroxide
*Keep these materials in separate bottles. DO NOT MIX.
The Cleaning and Disinfecting Process:
- Clean cutting board surface with a microfiber and Branch Basics or soap and water to remove dirt, grease and grime. Since dirt and grease interfere with germ killing abilities of sanitizers and disinfectants, they should first be removed with soap and water.
- Rinse with hot water. *Note: just these first two steps can completely remove germs, but if you’re still concerned continue with the following steps:
- Spray the surface with either the vinegar or peroxide (order doesn’t matter). Let sit for 5-30 minutes. Wipe with a microfiber.
- Repeat the same step with the other bottle.
Oiling Your Wood Cutting Board
While it’s not essential, wood and bamboo cutting boards do benefit from monthly applications of oil. This process conditions the wood, helps it “recover” from scratches, prevents water and mold build-up, improves appearance, prevents odors, and extends the longevity of your board. While mineral oil is “the standard” recommendation, we recommend using a non-petroleum-based oil that won’t go rancid, like coconut. You can also purchase a premade oil conditioning blend from Urthware.
- Saturate a cloth with coconut oil or your oil/conditioning blend.
- Rub liberally into your board.
- Let sit 5-6 hours.
- Wipe off any excess.
- Repeat about once per month.
*Note: vegetable oils, including olive oil, should not be used as they can quickly go rancid and ruin your board.
3 Ways to Refresh Your Wood or Bamboo Cutting Board
Following these 3 tips will keep your cutting board mold-free, stain-free, and odor-free, naturally.
- White Vinegar Once Per Week for Preventing Mold: Spray vinegar on the board and let it set for 10 minutes before rinsing.
- Baking Soda for Stubborn Stains: Sprinkle baking soda over the offensive spot and rub with a cloth, brush, or sponge dipped in hot water.
- Lemon Juice for Deodorizing: Cut a lemon in half and scrub it around the entire surface. The ascorbic acid in the lemon oxidizes organic materials that are the cause of smells and stains. The natural lemon oil also forces any soluble materials to be removed as well.
We hope this article series has helped answer all your questions about how to choose the best, non-toxic cutting board (and keep it clean) for your healthy home. And remember, with proper care just two cutting boards—one for fruits and vegetables and one for meats/fish—can last a lifetime.
- Articles on Dr. Susan Sumner’s original research work appeared in the scientific news journal, “Science News,” in issues that were published on August 29, 1996, and on August 8, 1998.