You might not think that a slab of wood needs much upkeep, but let us assure you: your cutting board needs plenty of TLC.
Taking care of your cutting board doesn't have to be an everyday chore, but there are definitely some things you'll want to do each time you use it, to extend its life and keep it around for years to come.
Keep reading for IMPASTIAMO's tips & tricks for taking care of your cutting board.
Hand Wash > Machine Wash
If you’re just slicing bread, you can simply brush your cutting board off and call it a day. However, if you're cutting wet, sticky, or messy foods, you’ll need to properly wash and rinse it.
Synthetic cutting boards are typically dishwasher-safe, but we still recommend hand washing for optimal care. Check the manufacturer guidelines to make sure that your synthetic cutting board can go in the dishwasher.
Wooden cutting boards are happy to hop in the sink for a quick shower. But, unlike plastic boards, they hate the dishwasher. Over-soaked wood can lead to warping/cracking, which is definitely not what we want! A gentle hand-wash after each use with mild soap and warm water (be sure to refrain from soaking) will do the trick.
Speaking of which...
Dry Wood Cutting Boards Thoroughly
Remember the warping issue we just talked about? That’s when a board curves or bends which will happen if it isn’t dried properly––either left in the sink or set back on a wet surface. Instead, take care of your cutting board by drying it off with a towel. Bonus points if you leave it propped up so that airflow can dry it thoroughly. The more evenly your cutting board dries, the happier it will be.
Take Care of Cutting Board Stains ASAP
For any stained areas—think residue from blackberries, beets, or even a nice juicy steak—make sure to address the mess right away. To treat the stains on your cutting board, make a paste of salt, water, and baking soda, and scrub it on the area with a rag or dish towel. After the scrub, rinse your cutting board under hot water, taking care to not let it sit in water for too long. Wipe it off a dry towel, and leave it out to air-dry.
Clean the stains off of your synthetic cutting board by treating it with a little hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Mix three tablespoons baking soda to one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to create a paste. Coat the paste over the stained area and let it sit on the cutting board for about an hour before rinsing it off. Then wash your cutting board with warm, soapy water, pat it dry, and your stains should be gone!
Wax On, Wax Off
There’s no one-size-fit-all approach when it comes to oiling your wooden cutting boards––it depends on where you're storing the cutting board, what type of wood it is, and how frequently you're using it. Once a month is a good place to start, but there’s no harm in oiling your board whenever it looks "thirsty."
How can you tell if you need to oil your cutting board? Sprinkle a few drops of water on the board with your fingertips. It should bead up when the wood is adequately oiled (like a waxed car). If the water disperses or soaks into the wood, your cutting board needs more oil. We typically use beeswax or food-grade mineral oil, which is colorless, odorless, and lightweight.
When it's time to oil your cutting board, wipe it down and let it dry overnight, standing it on edge so that both large faces are facing out. You don’t need puddles of oil on your board, just enough to cover the wood with an even coat.
Know When to Say When
Theoretically, with the right upkeep a cutting board could last your entire life. With this cleaning process, the wood should look great for decades.
Sand out deep ridges on the surface of the wood if deep cut marks start showing up. It takes time to sand evenly, but it can give the board a whole new look. And remember, even the best cutting boards warp sometimes. If that's the case, get a new one. Food and bad bacteria can start to build up in the cracks and crevices. Obviously, we don't want that.
“If you take care of it, it’ll take care of you,” Brad Leone, test kitchen manager, tells Bon Appétit. Get something beautiful. There’s long grain, end grain, squared tiles, and tons of other styles. Shop around and find one that speaks to you. “At the end of the day, it’s as much art as it is a tool.”
More Cutting Board Tips & Tricks:
Keep it Fresh: to freshen up a smelly cutting board (think: residual onion odors) rub a halved lemon over the surface; let it sit for a minute or two, then wipe off the board. This cooking tip has saved many of our favorite cutting boards.
Clean as You Go: This is one of the core values here at IMPASTIAMO! We love cooking in a clean kitchen, and this makes spending time in your kitchen more enjoyable. As you prep, wipe the surface of the cutting board frequently with a sponge or dishcloth. This will make cleanup easier when it’s all said and done.
Get in there and scrub: If there’s food caked on your cutting board, it’s okay to use an abrasive scrubbing pad, like this one. It shouldn’t scratch your cutting board, especially if you're using gentle pressure.
Opt for low-maintenance: All this upkeep sound overwhelming? If you don’t think you’ll take care of a wooden cutting board, try an Epicurean cutting board. They’re made from reused cardboard (yay!), paper, and wood fiber—so they’re gentle on your knives. You also don’t need to oil them. And, best of all—they're dishwasher-safe!
Take Your Cutting Boards for a Spin: Has a been a minute since you spiced up your kitchen routine? It might be time to shake things up a bit! Treat your tastebuds to something new, like a homemade Indian Samosa or a bowl of classic ceviche. Check out our upcoming cooking classes here, and show your cutting board who's boss.
How do you take care of your cutting boards? Teach us your tricks in the comments below!
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