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  • Writer's pictureColleen

Two Simple Tips for Keeping Your Cutting Board Happy

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Wood cutting boards are a gorgeous addition to any kitchen. Their sturdy construction means that they can often outlast their plastic counterparts, but it doesn’t mean they don’t need a little TLC.

Tip #1: Don’t submerge in water.

Let's say you have a gorgeous new cutting board in your kitchen. Don’t make the same mistake I made after David gifted me with a beautiful, handmade cutting board for Christmas one year, shortly after we got married.

Being a novice to wood cutting boards -- having grown up in an era when plastic cutting boards were lauded in the battle against salmonella -- I knew little-to-nothing about proper board care. As a result, I didn't think twice about leaving my new wooden cutting board to soak in a sink full of water. Imagine my horror when I realized this piece of hand-crafted art had split as a result of my carelessness

A close up of an end-grain wood cutting board with a 1 inch crack extending from one edge toward the center of the board.
16 years later, it is still cracked.. A daily reminder of why water and wood don't mix.

I quickly learned my lesson that soaking and wood cutting boards do not mix. Just wipe your boards down with soapy water, dry them immediately, and go about your day!

Tip #2: Oil that board!

I'll freely admit that this is one that I am not as diligent at doing as I should. But if you really want to extend the life of your board, you should be oiling it with food-grade oil once a month-- or at the most every 2-3 months and/or whenever it loses its luster.

Two end grain cutting boards. Top shows light wear in the center, the bottom is sanded and looks extremely dry.
Lackluster boards.

In this photo, the top board is showing normal wear and tear, and what a board in need of its regular oiling looks like. The majority of the board is still rich in color and there is just a little dryness in the center of the board. The bottom board has been lightly sanded. If your board looks like the bottom board, get that baby some oil ASAP! It is in desperate need!

The most inexpensive oil you can use is mineral oil. You can pick it up at your local drugstore for a few dollars, or order it on Amazon.

We use a blend of mineral oil and beeswax on our boards, but there are a number of cutting board oils and waxes you can use. Some products we have used and can recommend are:

However, there are plenty more oils on the market, so try a few out and see what you like best.

That said? Make sure you are using an oil that is both food-safe AND won't go rancid. You definitely don't want to oil your board with Olive or Canola oil, which are food-safe, because they will go bad and you do NOT want rancid oil on your board.

Give your wood cutting boards a little bit of attention each month, and they will last you a long time!

Two end grain cutting boards, gleaming from a fresh coat of oil.
Oiled and happy boards

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