Whether you purchased a wooden cutting board for aesthetic purposes, received one as a wedding gift, or are simply nostalgic and use your grandma’s hand-me down (older truly is better) the chance is your wooden cutting board may be looking a little dingy. Wood naturally fades with time and use. If you are thinking of giving up on your wooden cutting board or getting a plastic one, don’t admit defeat so easily. Your wooden cutting board can easily be revived to its original luster. The solution to your dingy-looking cutting board is likely already sitting in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet. Grab that large jar of coconut oil (or better yet the individual packs from Trader Joe’s) out of your pantry or bathroom cabinet to quickly season and revive your wood cutting board to its original luster. If this use for coconut oil sounds a little weird to you, think about what coconut oil is typically used for. Coconut oil emerged as the new miracle oil a few years ago due to its versatility as a conditioner for hair and skin, a make-up remover, as well as a cooking substitute for butter or olive oil. With a wood cutting board the cleaning we are going for is similar to conditioning a piece of wood furniture with polish. When you consider this, using coconut oil as a wooden cutting board cleaner makes perfect sense.
“Coconut oil emerged as the new miracle oil…”
To clean your wooden cutting board with coconut oil, you will first want to measure out 1 teaspoon of the silky, smooth, miracle oil. Simply lather this amount into the board using your hands, fingers, or a towel. Next, let the oil set and seep into the wood overnight to do its magic. In the morning, you can easily remove any excess oil that did not soak into the wood grain with a towel and it is ready to use. You may be tempted to wash or rinse the board after conditioning it, but no rinsing is needed. Coconut oil has become a common cooking ingredient substituted for butter or vegetable oil in baking, so since we use coconut oil directly in a recipe it is definitely a safe substance you can confidently lather onto your wooden cutting board.
Still skeptical about using coconut oil to clean your wooden cutting board? Let’s consider some of the other cleaning options you have for cleaning your wooden cutting board. You could use mineral oil to clean your wood cutting board. Mineral oil is a liquid by-product that results from refining crude oil. I would not want a crude oil by-product anywhere near a food prep surface like a cutting board. Mineral oil has also been known to contain toxins, especially at the technical grade level, that may cause cancer. To find mineral oil, make a trip to the paint aisle at your local Home Depot it should be near the pain solvents. I am not sure about you, but I would much rather use coconut oil that’s found in the baking aisle at my local grocery store. I also do not have a jar of mineral oil sitting around anywhere in my house, and am unsure of anything else you would use mineral oil for. Mineral oil would be an additional cleaning product I would have to go out and purchase and add to my already full cleaning product cabinet.
You may be wondering why you can’t use any other organic oils that you have in your pantry. After all aren’t all organic oils alike? Other organic oils, like olive oil, actually have fats that can spoil and leave your wooden cutting board with an odor. Finally, we must consider the simple soap and water method. Soap and water is good enough for practically every other piece of dishware in our kitchen. Why should a cutting board be any different? Well friends, it is different because it is not glass or ceramic! It is wood, so it requires a little extra care. Soaking a wood cutting board in water is like going boating in an unsealed boat. Soaking wood in water expands the wood fibers and causes the board to crack (or boat to crack and sink). Not good. Same thing with placing your wooden cutting board in the dishwasher with every other plate and utensil. Don’t do it.
The next natural question about using coconut oil to clean a cutting board would be whether the coconut oil sanitizes your cutting board. After all, let’s be honest we all know that cutting boards need to be properly sanitized, especially after cutting an array of foods or smelly ingredients such as garlic on the same board. Even though coconut oil is known as the miracle oil, it does not have antibacterial qualities. Adding a simple step prior to your coconut oil lather will set your mind (and possibly nose) at ease. To sanitize your cutting board, get rid of odors, and eliminate lingering bacteria simply sprinkle a generous amount of table salt over the surface of the board to cover it. After the board is salted, take half a lemon and use this to massage the salt into the board. You will want to squeeze the lemon while using it as a scrubber. This will help clean the board, while eliminating any lingering odors. Let your sanitized, lemony-fresh, wooden cutting board sit for a couple of minutes and then rinse the cutting board thoroughly with water. After letting the board air dry, polish it with coconut oil as explained earlier. Now your board is not only moisturized from the coconut oil, but you can rest easy knowing it is bacteria and odor-free. This cleaning method is great, because again it only includes ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen cabinet and are already used in cooking.
Clearly, coconut oil is perfect choice for cleaning your wooden cutting board in need of a little tender loving care. At just around $6.00 for a medium sized jar, coconut oil is an economical choice and can be used for several other things after you use it to revive your cutting board. So add this already trusted miracle oil to your cutting board cleaning arsenal and you will be chopping up carrots confidently on your wooden cutting board for your next stir-fry in no time.