Like your car, cutting boards need maintenance too.
Caring for your cutting board properly is important for maintaining it in tip top condition and keep it performing properly for years to come. Regular cleaning and maintenance means your cutting boards and serving platters will be free from bacteria and will help to prevent your boards from warping and cracking.
After Every Use:
I use this simple three step approach for regular maintenance of my cutting boards after each use:
1. Regular Rinsing
After every use of the cutting board rinse the contaminated board under running hot water. I use a green scouring pad when doing this to encourage any stubborn dirt away from the boards surface. Wipe off any excess water then store the board vertically to dry.
Do not submerge the board in water as this can cause the board to warp and possibly crack after it dries. NEVER wash your wooden cutting board in a dishwasher. If the board is an end grain or butcher block board submerging in water can also weaken the glue joints causing them to fail and split.
2. Removing Stains
For those times when the board becomes stained I get more aggressive with coarse sea salt. Follow the procedure for regular rinsing and make sure the board is dry. Then sprinkle some coarse seas salt (regular coarse salt or baking soda will work just as well), take half a lemon and use it to rub the salt in to the board in the direction of the grain. The lemon adds a nice fragrance. Finally, rinse and dry the board as before.
Occasionally you’ll encounter stubborn odors that cannot be washed away using the previous methods so you may need to resort to using a disinfectant solution to remedy these strong odors. I use white vinegar in a spray bottle to achieve this. Spray the vinegar directly on to the cutting board and rub it in using a clean cloth. This will deodorize and disinfect the board. Finally, rinse and dry the board as before.
Monthly & After Cutting Meat or Poultry:
At least once a month it is probably a good idea to give your cutting boards a good deep cleaning. To do this use a diluted bleach solution. Use about a teaspoon of bleach to a litre of water. Pour the solution over the cutting board and allow it to soak in to the wood fibres for a few minutes. Rinse with hot water and dry.
I also recommend conditioning your cutting boards about once a month. Depending on whether you have a face grain serving board, an edge grain butcher block cutting board or an end grain cutting board will determine the conditioning technique you should use.
For face grain serving boards and edge grain cutting boards I recommend using my own board butter blend of natural beeswax and mineral oil.
If you have an end grain cutting board it is important to keep the fibres well oiled. I recommend using my board oil a blend of mineral oil infused with lemon and rosemary.