How do you maintain a wooden cutting board?
The maintenance of a wooden cutting board sometimes raises questions amongst our customers. Because how do you make sure that a beautiful wooden cutting board stays beautiful for years?
Let's start from the beginning: wood is a natural product. This means that it is beautifully drawn by mother nature. It also means that it has some erratic, natural properties. This is because a wooden cutting board works. We don't mean that it necessarily brings food to the table, although it can be used for that, of course. With working wood we mean that it expands and shrinks depending on humidity and temperature. It's alive, as it were. Because of this, cracks and gaps can occur. Besides the fact that these cracks and gaps are not particularly attractive, they can also become an easy hang out for bacteria. Something we want to avoid.
Some people say that a wooden cutting board is not hygienic. This is in fact not true. When you cut, small grooves will be made in the board, and bacteria will collect there. The thing is, that a groove in a plastic cutting board will (partly) close arround the dirt inside the groove. Therefore, when you wash the board, it is not guaranteed that you wash off all the dirt from the grooves. A wooden cutting board does not close arround the dirt, but will open during cleaning. This way, you can be sure you'll wash everything out of the groove. Besides this, the tannin in the wood helps quite a bit, by killing a big part of the bacteria.
Cleaning after use
When you have used a wooden cutting board, it is best to rinse it and wipe it with a dishwasher brush or a cloth. You don't always have to use dishwashing detergent, however this is advised after cutting raw meat, poultry or fish. Make sure you dry the board properly, putting it away wet will usually still cause the wood to work. His work ethic is admirable, but a cutting board can better take it nice and easy. After drying it, preferably store it upright. It is important that the grain of the wood is standing vertically. This greatly reduces the chances at warping.
Can you wash a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher?
A wooden cutting board absolutely doesn't like dishwashers. It is abuse. The board is made super wet and hot in the dishwasher and then cooled down and dried super quickly. That is begging for cracks. Not to mention the corrosive junk that you find the dishwasher detergent…
Oil a wooden cutting board
Besides keeping a wooden cutting board clean, it is also important to keep the wood in top notch condition. We need not go to a running track, a little oil goes a long way. If the wood is saturated with oil, it closes and forms a protective layer on the wood. For oiling a wooden cutting board is best to use an odor-and flavorless oil. Almond or grapeseed oil are good choices. (Note: use of almond oil is not recommended when you have a nut allergy) White mineral oil is also suitable, but we recommend the use of cutting board oil. Do not use olive oil because this will become sticky and gross. Of course, that is not what you want.
When you are going to oil a wooden cutting board, step one is cleaning the board. First rub the board with lemon juice or white vinegar. Sprinkle (sea)salt on top and take a paper towel or a clean dish cloth. Rub the salt and the juice or the vinegar over the shelf and leave it to soak for 15 minutes. This makes the cutting board squeaky clean. Rinse the cutting board and dry it with a cloth or paper towel. It is important that the board is well dried before oiling. The oil will be absorbed better that way.
The board is now ready to be oiled. Drop some of the oil on the shelf and rub it in with a piece of kitchen paper or a clean dish cloth. Give the board plenty of time to absorb the oil very well before you use it again. Repeat the oiling after the rest time, keep going until the board no longer absorbs oil. This means that the board is saturated
The full process which includes the cleaning with acid and salt, is only necessary to do every 2 to 4 months (depending on the frequency of use). In between, you can just oil the board after washing and drying it like you do after daily use. This way, the wood stays in top notch condition, also between the major maintenance moments. Depending on your frequency of use, you do this every other week, or once a month. When the cutting board starts feeling dried out, you know it is time for a new oil layer.
Cutting board for life
If you treat your cutting board regularly with some love, attention and oil, you and your cutting board will have a long, happy relationship.