You might be tempted to throw the wooden cutting board in the dishwasher, add detergent, hit start and then expect to come back to a sparkling clean board. It would absolutely work if it was a plastic chopping board but unfortunately wood naturally absorbs water which means it will likely expand and crack. Here’s how to keep your board like new:
• Step 1: Wash the Wooden Board
Wooden boards may appear strong but never stick them in the dishwasher as water causes the wood to expand and the heat damages the oil coating which is protecting it, which when combined will make the board lose its even surface.
What you should do instead is use mild soap and warm water to hand wash it for several minutes and ensure you rinse off any particles with running water. Keep in mind how water will damage the board.
Use a microfiber cloth or any other soft material to remove food particles so you avoid any unnecessary scratches and scrapes to the protective surface.
• Step 2: Disinfect with Vinegar
If you use the same wood cutting board for cutting raw meat and then vegetables in that order, make sure to disinfect it or you will get very sick. Put together a mix of vinegar and warm water and apply the solution on the board, rinse it thoroughly with water, and dry it gently with a soft towel. Chlorine bleach and three percent hydrogen peroxide solution can also be used to disinfect wooden boards.
Even though wooden boards can be disinfected, using the same board for both is not a good idea. I recommend having a dedicated board for meats and another for vegetables.
• Step 3: Remove Stains and Odors
After washing and disinfecting or sterilizing the board, gently rub coarse salt or baking soda on the stain using a damp microfiber cloth to remove stains. You can add lemon to the mix to remove odors as well which helps kill the bacteria on the board. Do not use commercial chemicals.
• Step 4: Dry the Wooden Board
Wipe away excess water and clean the board with a dry, soft and clean kitchen towel. Let the board sit on its side so the moisture is drained and air dried. Allow it to sit for a few hours.
Just to get the point across, a wooden cutting board is sensitive to water so so don’t leave it in the sink where it would absorb a lot of water and eventually begin to develop cracks, making the board lose its attractive look.
• Step 5: Lubricate with Oil
Food grade coconut oil should be used to lubricate your board often especially if you use your board regularly. I recommend once a week.
Warm up the coconut oil so that it is warm enough rub the oil evenly with a soft cloth on both sides of the board and also the edges.
Let the board sit on the side again to soak in the coconut oil and wipe off any excess oil after some time.
Keeping your board lubricated helps prevent it from absorbing water and cracking from dryness.
• Step 6: Store in a Cool, Dry Place
Wooden cutting boards should be stored in a cool, dry place, and somewhere that has enough air to circulate the board. Place the board horizontally to maintain its shape and also prevent it from getting warped.