Dishwashers

How to clean a wood cutting board

Your daily kitchen tool deserves some love.

How to clean a wood cutting board Credit: Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

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What You Need:

  • Your dirty cutting board
  • A kitchen sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 cotton or microfiber cloths
  • A plastic container, for soaking
  • White vinegar
  • Mineral oil, or other food-safe oil for preserving wood
  • A towel for drying

Time Needed

30 minutes

Difficulty

Easy

If you have a solid wood cutting board, there’s a good chance you’re using it just about every day in the kitchen. And why wouldn’t you? The best cutting boards are durable, attractive, and perfect for slicing and dicing meat and produce alike. But unlike plastic cutting boards that can be run through the dishwasher for easy disinfection, wood cutting boards need special care to get and stay clean.

Luckily, it’s not as hard as it seems. By treating stains, manually disinfecting when needed, and seasoning the wood on a regular basis, you can keep your bamboo, teak, or walnut cutting board safe to use. Read on to see how to get your kitchen sidekick looking good as new.

Clean a wood cutting board - supplies
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

You only need a few household basics to keep your cutting board clean.


What to do

1. Scrub your cutting board with regular soap and water

After cooking, it’s always wise to quickly scrub your used cutting board in the sink with regular dish soap and the scrubby side of a sponge. Never soak the board in water, and always let it dry standing on its side to prevent it from absorbing water and warping.

2. To treat stains, scrub with a lemon half and salt

Clean a wood cutting board - scrub
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Rub the lemon in a circular motion across the salt on the board.

If your board’s been stained by meat or fruit juices, treat stains as quickly as possible with a simple combination of lemon and salt. Sprinkle coarse salt (such as a coarse kosher or sea salt) all over the dirty side of the board. Then, scrub in a circular motion with one half of a lemon, concentrating on the stained areas. Once finished, rinse the salt off the board.

3. To sanitize, treat with a water and vinegar solution

Clean a wood cutting board - sanitize
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Sanitize with a half vinegar, half water solution.

Cleaning with bleach can damage or corrode your wood cutting board, so we recommend using a vinegar solution to sanitize your board. Soak a cloth in a half vinegar, half water solution for a few minutes, and then wipe both sides of the board with the dampened cloth. Let the board dry on its side.

4. Season your board to prevent future cracks and warping

Clean a wood cutting board - mineral oil
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Seasoning your board with oil will keep it from cracking and warping.

Like your trusty cast iron pan, your wood cutting board needs to be seasoned every month or so to keep it in good shape. Rub a food-safe mineral oil into both sides of the board when dry and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove any excess oil with a cloth.

5. Enjoy cooking with your clean board!

Clean a wood cutting board - clean
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Your board might still have cuts and crannies, but it's sanitary for your next use.

Your cutting board is now ready for many more meals. To be safe and keep your cutting board in the best condition, clean it after every use and season it about once a month. In the market for a new cutting board? Check out our roundup of the best cutting boards on the market.

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