Wood cutting boards bring so much pleasure to your cooking and require very little in return.
When your board first arrives, it will already be hand-finished using a blend of mineral oil and beeswax. This initial preparation helps prevent staining from foods, although nothing will fully prevent staining from highly colored foods like red peppers, chipotles, parsley, etc. You can wash with soapy water and then off you go to your cooking!
• • • Proper Cutting Board Cleaning
We know some of you will think about putting your wood cutting boards in the dishwasher. Please don’t – this is about the worst thing you can do to the life of a wood cutting board. It loosens glue joints and, worse, completely dries the wood during the drying cycle. This over-drying will cause your board to split and crack and once it has done so, there’s really no going back to the original look and feel.
Rather, you should stick with washing with hot, soapy water in the sink. Avoid the urge to soak the board in water. You can towel dry and then place the board on end or side to finish air drying; don’t leave it flat on the counter until it is fully dry.
If you’re concerned about bacteria from pesky foods, by all means feel free to mix a little bleach and water solution and, after the soapy wash, you can wash with the bleach solution. A special note for bleaching: after your board has air dried following a bleach solution, you must re-oil your board. The bleaching process dries out the wood much more than your usual, daily soap & hot water washing.
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Re-Oiling Your Wood Cutting Board
Part of caring for your board is making sure the wood grain stays well oiled. Oiling your board helps prevent cracks and splits that allow food particles or residue into the board. The easiest oil to use is a food-grade mineral oil that can be purchased at your local grocery store or pharmacy. It’s inexpensive and does not “age”. You can also use walnut oil as long as no one in the household is sensitive to nuts and nut oils. However, you should not use vegetable or olive oil on your board as these will age and can turn rancid over time.
How to apply the oil? That’s the easiest part! Simply wipe on with a paper towel, making sure to coat the entire board, especially the end grain of the wood. The surface should look wet all around. Allow the excess oil to soak into the cutting board for about 15 minutes, then you can wipe with a dry paper towel. There’s no need to wait to use the board for cooking as the mineral oil is food-safe and won’t interfere with your food prep.
How often should you re-oil your board? Probably once every 1-2 months will be sufficient, unless you’ve bleached the board for extra cleaning. You want to pay attention to the end grain on wood cutting boards. That's where a board will split if it is too dried out.
CTCuttingboard.com is the official website for The Shade Tree Fine Woodworking The Shade Tree, LLC ♦ Moodus, Connecticut ♦ 860-873-2384 ♦ info@CTCuttingboard.com