I used to think that cutting boards are all the same. They’re a basic, flat surface to cut on and the only thing they need for maintenance is soap and water. Over time, I learned that they’re not all created equal -plastic cutting boards could harbor bacteria (contrary to some marketing claims that they’re “anti-microbial”)
Out of the three, my favorite is my softwood cutting board. It doesn’t dull up my knife and makes chopping easy and fun. But that ease could change if I don’t properly care for my board. As it turns out, just as I need proper care for my knife, I also need proper care for my wood cutting board. It may seem daunting to care for one extra thing, but the way I see it with any tools: if you take care of it, it will take care of you -and the job it’s supposed to do. It’s a give-and-take relationship.
I bought my wood cutting board from MAC Cutting Boards, which builds, customizes, and specializes in wood chopping boards. They’re an environmentally friendly company that upcycles their materials by using unwanted wood scraps from manufacturers and repurposing them into beautiful kitchen tools and accessories.
I sought advice from Bart McHale, the man behind MAC Cutting Boards, and he was more than happy to give advice about properly caring for my wood cutting board. He was also more than willing to share these tips to Astig Vegan readers.
Top 5 Tips: How to Properly Care For Your Wood Cutting Board
by Bart McHale of MAC Cutting Boards
1. Wash your cutting board often. Don’t be afraid to wash it after every use. Your wood cutting board has a porous surface so it should be cleaned right away. Do not let it sit dirty on the sink or submerged in water.
2. Never wash it in the dishwasher. Your dishwasher could be harsh on your board because of extended exposure of heat and water. It’s best to simply hand wash it with warm water and dishwashing soap.
3.Use lemon and salt to remove lingering smell. If your board has lingering smell of garlic or other strong scents, sprinkle salt on the board then rub with a cut lemon, with the cut side touching the board. Lightly squeeze the lemon as you rub to release its juice. Rinse and air dry.
4. After washing, dry your board vertically. Never lay flat to dry. Leaving wet wood cutting board flat will cause it to warp and change its shape. Warped cutting boards produce an uneven surface and a not-so fun chopping experience.
5. Re-oil wood chopping board every after two weeks. Over time, whether you constantly use it or not, your board could dry up and be susceptible to cracking. The easy and simple solution is to rub mineral oil every after two weeks or once a month. Start with a dollop of mineral oil and rub it all over the board using a paper towel. Add more oil if needed to cover the entire board on both sides. Dry it overnight, or for a few hours, upright.
Check if the wood has fully absorbed the oil. If it has, apply more oil. If the wood no longer soaks it up, remove excess oil using a paper towel and you’re good to go. There’s no such thing as using too much oil so don’t be afraid to keep re-oiling. Do a final rinse and your board will be good as new. Not to mention, it will have that beautiful sheen. You could buy mineral oil at any drug stores, major supermarkets, and online. A little goes a long way so it’s a good investment.
Extra tip: Use sand paper to bring back the smoothness of your cutting board. You could get sand paper at any hardware store.
Many thanks to Bart at MAC Cutting Boards for sharing his knowledge and wisdom. I’m so inspired to take care of the wood cutting board that I used to take for granted. I have developed more reverence to the tools that make my cooking enjoyable and a more rewarding experience. I hope you will too.