5 Reasons To Choose Wood Cutting Boards Over Plastic

by Allan Maxwell January 02, 2017

As a maker of handmade wooden cutting boards I often hear "I thought wooden cutting boards encouraged bacteria and are unhygienic" or "I worked in a restaurant and they are required by the health department to use plastic or stainless steel".  Well there's a lot of things written on the internet and not everything is to be believed and sometimes the same goes for our well-intentioned government policy makers.  Anyway, I thought this topic would make an excellent subject to kick off 2017.  So here are my scientific and artistic top 5 Reasons To Choose Wood Cutting Boards Over Plastic.  Proving what many of us already know, Wooden Cutting Boards Rock!


Reason #1: Wood Cutting Boards Kill Bacteria

Well there it is.  The biggie. Right off the bat.  No punches pulled!  Probably best to let the scientists handle this one though... In a paper published by Dean O. Cliver, Ph.d of UC Davis entitled Plastic and Wooden Cutting Boards a number of tests and control studies were performed.  It's most interesting that the paper starts by explaining:

"We began our research comparing plastic and wooden cutting boards after the U.S. Department of Agriculture told us they had no scientific evidence to support their recommendation that plastic, rather than wooden cutting boards be used in home kitchens."

Cliver goes on to discuss how their intention was to initially discover a better way of disinfecting wooden surfaces in the home:

"Our research was first intended to develop means of disinfecting wooden cutting surfaces at home, so that they would be almost as safe as plastics. Our safety concern was that bacteria such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, which might contaminate a work surface when raw meat was being prepared, ought not remain on the surface to contaminate other foods that might be eaten without further cooking. We soon found that disease bacteria such as these were not recoverable from wooden surfaces in a short time after they were applied"

I found another interesting piece on the topic of food safety and cutting boards over at barfblog by Ben Chapman and the discussion on cross contamination is clearly on point and a good cleaning regimen is important if you are using your wooden boards for both meat and produce.  I also understand the recommendation regarding plastic for meat and wooden for everything else.  However, I'd refer back to Cliver and suggest having a separate wooden cutting board for each purpose and I know exactly who can make you one. 

Wooden Cutting Boards Rock!


Reason #2: Wooden Cutting Boards Protect Your Knives

Wooden cutting boards help preserve your knife edge and keep it cutting sharp.  Even the hardest woods typically used on cutting boards such as maple or white oak are kinder to knife edges compared to plastic or glass.  This in turn means less energy is required to cut and chop and the less pressure required to cut results in less score marks on the wood.

End grain cutting boards in particular offer the greatest protection to your knives as the wood grains, structured vertically, like drinking straws are easily pushed apart by the blade as it cuts and then close together again as the blade is removed.

Wooden Cutting Boards Rock!

One Of My Recent Signature End Grain Cutting Boards. Shop Now.


Reason #3: Wooden Cutting Boards Are Environmentally Friendly

If like mine, your wooden cutting boards are made from lumber that comes from sustainably managed local woodlots or a FSC wood supplier not only have you used a material that is organic it is sustainable, biodegradable and renewable.  Now that has to be good for our environment. Right? The same cannot be said for a plastic board.  The choice is easy...

Wooden Cutting Boards Rock!

This Walnut Charcuterie is made from wood provided by a customer and friend. Shop Now.


Reason #4: Wooden Cutting Boards Just Look Better!

Whether you are looking at a regular wooden cutting board, a beautiful combination cutting / charcuterie board or one of my signature end grain cutting boards there's simply no comparison.  It's wooden over plastic every time.  Functional art is a term I hear from customers all the time to describe my boards and that's exactly what I'm trying to achieve.

Wooden Cutting Boards Rock!

Small But Beautiful Maple Cutting Boards & Cheese Boards.  Shop Now.


Reason #5: Local Artisans Appreciate The Support

Unashamedly the #5 Reason Wooden Cutting Boards Rock is because they are often made by local artisans like myself trying to build a small business using sustainable materials in a creative way.  While many of my products are available online I also attend The Lunenburg Farmers' Market weekly throughout the summer months and occasionally during the winter months where I'll usually have lots of one-of-a-kind items that don't make my online store.  I'd love for you to drop by my stall for a chat and to make that personal connection but if that's not possible and you are looking for something not currently on my website why not drop me an email or reach out in the comments below.

Yes, there's no doubt in my mind.  Wooden Cutting Boards Rock!


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Allan Maxwell
Allan Maxwell


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