Cutting board care

Caring properly for your cutting board is important, but luckily simple. There are a few things to watch out for, and a few maintenance techniques.

The most important instructions are what NOT to do:

  • Do not run through the dishwasher
  • Do not leave soaking in water, or leave pooled water on the surface

These are the biggest contributors to cutting boards breaking down. Also, it’s wood, so, you know, don’t accidentally set it on fire on the stovetop.

In terms of maintenance, keeping the board oiled and waxed will keep moisture, food flavors, and bacteria out, and keep the board looking shiny and beautiful. Oils should be applied first and allowed to soak into the wood fibers, after which wax can be applied to seal in the oils and provide a nice water barrier. The frequency will vary depending on how much you use the board for cutting, and what kinds of food you cook. Here’s my technique, which I try to perform each weekend, or whenever the board starts to look dull and water doesn’t bead up on it anymore:

  1. 1. Wipe the board with mineral oil or a cutting board oil blend
  2. 2. Allow to sit for half an hour or more (even overnight)
  3. 3. Wipe off any excess that hasn’t been absorbed, but don’t worry about buffing out all of it
  4. 4. Wipe a cutting board wax on the board in circular motions, enough that you can see the streak pattern
  5. 5. Allow to sit for ten minutes or longer
  6. 6. Buff the wax coat a bit to remove excess, but remember, this is the protective coat, and food safe, so don’t go overboard

And that’s it! Now you can simply wipe the board with a damp paper towel after each use.

With about 15 minutes of work every week or two, your board will stay beautiful and functional for years.