How to Clean and Sanitise Wood Cutting Boards …

How to Clean and Sanitise Wood Cutting Boards


I love wood cutting boards as they bring a certain warmth to any kitchen. I also love their versatility as they can be used as a serving platter or cheese board as well. They do, however, require some care and attention to ensure they maintain their appearance, hygiene and functionality.


First of all, here are a couple of things you shouldn’t do with your cutting board. Avoid putting it in the dishwasher as the water can be too hot causing your cutting board to warp or, worse still, crack or split. It’s also a good idea not to leave them soaking in water for long periods of time as this can end with the same result.


So, here are some great tips and ideas to help you look after your wood cutting boards:


  • The simplest way to keep your wood cutting board clean is to wash it in hot, soapy water as soon as you’ve finished using it. Use a gentle cloth or sponge that’s not too abrasive, then rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a clean tea towel. It’s then a good idea to stand it up as this allows the air to circulate on both sides and help it dry quickly and thoroughly. Lying the cutting board down straight away will prevent the underside from completely drying, potentially leaving moisture trapped which could promote the growth of mould. Avoid leaving the cutting board to sit for a long time after use without being washed as this allows juices from chopped foods to absorb and penetrate into the wood, which will be harder to remove.


  • At least once a week I like to sanitise my wood cutting boards by simply wiping them with full strength vinegar. The vinegar works to disinfect the cutting board and prevent harmful bugs like E. coli from growing. The smell of the vinegar will disappear one the board dries.


  • Wood cutting boards can also hold on to odours, particularly if they’ve been used to chop smelly things like garlic or onions. This can be solved quickly and easily by rubbing the surface of the cutting board all over with lemon juice. Cut a lemon in half and rub the cutting board all over, squeezing the juice form the lemon as you go. Allow the lemon juice to sit on the cutting board for 10 – 15 minutes before rinsing with clean water and drying. To clean the board at the same time, sprinkle the cut lemon with some salt, which will work as a natural, gentle abrasive.


  • To really deep clean a wood cutting board, cover it generously with bi-carb soda and then sprinkle or spray with white vinegar. The bi-carb soda will bubble and foam forming a thick paste. Leave this paste to soak on the surface of the cutting board for around 15 minutes, rinse the board with clean water, dry thoroughly and then stand it to dry. This method should also remove any smells. Once again, don’t worry about the strong smell of the vinegar as this will disappear once the board has dried.


  • One final method to deep clean your cutting boards and get rid of any stains, is to make a paste of 1 tablespoon of bi-carb soda, one tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon of water. Rub the paste all over the board with a sponge, rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry. The salt works as a light, natural abrasive.


Just a reminder, it’s a good idea to keep a separate cutting board for each type of food that you prepare. Avoid chopping fresh fruit and vegetables or dairy items like cheese on a cutting board that has been used for cutting up raw meat, poultry or fish. This will increase the risk of cross-contamination. To help overcome this, I use one wood cutting board for fruit, vegetables and general food preparation and I keep a glass cutting board for chopping raw meat, poultry and fish, as it’s non-porous. It’s generally recommended to avoid wood cutting boards for meat, poultry or fish because small pieces of meat and blood can get lodged in the timber fibres of the wood, promoting the growth of bacteria if not properly cleaned.


So tell me, do you use any other methods for cleaning a wooden cutting board?