How to Clean & Disinfect a Wood Cutting Board

By Marilee Nelson |

How to Clean & Disinfect a Wood Cutting Board

Now that you have a great quality wooden or bamboo cutting board, we want to teach you how to clean, sanitize and care for your new cutting board. 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 wood cutting boards first:

How to Clean Wood Cutting Boards

Use Branch Basics

The Branch Basics Concentrate is a non-toxic alternative to your generic cleaning products. Dilute the concentrate with water to create cleaning sprays that are safe for you and your home. Here’s how we’d use it for cutting boards:

  1. Scrape/rise off all leftover food
  2. Spray Branch Basics directly onto the surface
  3. Allow 2-5 minutes “dwell time"
  4. Wipe surface clean with a microfiber and rise with hot water
Many of us keep a plastic cutting board around for raw meats, fish, and seafood because they can be thrown in the dishwasher. However, several studies confirm plastic cutting boards harbor more bacteria and germs than wood [1].


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.

More of a visual learner? Check out our YouTube tutorial: 

Related Reading: Is Branch Basics a Sanitizer or Disinfectant?

Other Natural Alternatives 

If you’d like to go the DIY route, here are some simple options for cleaning wood cutting boards naturally:  

  • Lemon juice + salt (great for stain removal)
  • White vinegar (odor minimizer + natural disinfectant)
  • Water + baking soda 

Check out our guide on 12 Uses for Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) for more kitchen and home cleaning hacks!

How to Disinfect Wood Cutting Boards

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 [2][3][4][5].

Materials Needed:

  • Branch Basics All-Purpose or Bathroom Cleaner
  • Split Fiber Microfiber
  • Distilled White Vinegar (5% acidity)
  • Spray bottle for vinegar
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution—brown bottle)
  • Spray nozzle for bottle of Peroxide

*Keep these materials in separate bottles.... DO NOT MIX!


The Cleaning and Disinfecting Process:

1. Clean the cutting board to remove germs with Branch Basics or another non-toxic cleaner and preferably a microfiber towel

2. 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

3. Spray the surface with either the vinegar or peroxide. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Wipe with a microfiber.

4. Repeat the same step with the other bottle.

How to Oil Your 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.

  1. Saturate a cloth with coconut oil or your oil/conditioning blend.
  2. Rub liberally into your board.
  3. Let sit 5-6 hours.
  4. Wipe off any excess.
  5. Repeat about once per month.

What is the Best Oil For Wood Cutting Boards? 

While mineral oil is “the standard” recommendation, we recommend using a non-petroleum-based oil that won’t go rancid, like fractionated coconut oil.

*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 Cutting Boards

Following these 3 tips will keep your cutting board mold-free, stain-free, and odor-free, naturally.

  1. White vinegar once per week to prevent mold: Spray vinegar on the board and let it set for 10 minutes before rinsing.
  2. Baking soda for stubborn stains: Sprinkle baking soda over the offensive spot and rub with a cloth, brush, or sponge dipped in hot water.
  3. 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.


  2. 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.
Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.