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How to Care for a Wooden Cutting Board

Routine Cutting Board Care

Wooden cutting boards are a staple in most kitchens.  They are beautiful and are easy on your good knife blades.  But wood is porous and you use your cutting board to chop garlic,  poultry, fish and all kinds of smelly things.  Each time you use your cutting board, clean it with dish soap and hot water.  Run the water with as much force as possible over the board and be sure that it is completely rinsed.  Never soak a wooden cutting board in water.  It is bad for the wood.  Dry the board with a soft cloth and let it finish air drying by standing it up on its side so air can get to both sides.  Cutting boards should not be stored flat.

Disinfecting Your Cutting Board

There are several ways to disinfect and sanitize a cutting board.  It is important that you follow these steps after cutting things like poultry or meat that may carry bacteria.  Chesapeake VA, Chesapeake Voirginia, Norfolk VA, Norfolk VirginiaThe first step is always to wash the board thoroughly with soap and hot water.  For the second step use one or two tablespoons of household bleach in a gallon of water.  Wipe the board with this solution and let it sit on the board for two or three minutes.  Rinse your wooden board using the same solution and then allow to air dry.  The bleach has a high pH which will kill bacteria.

A second possibility is to use pure white vinegar.  Do not use flavored vinegars as they will impart their odors to the board.  Vinegar has a very low pH so it is also a disinfectant.  Soak a cloth in 100% white vinegar.  Wipe the cloth over the cutting board.  If there is an odor involved, cover the board with baking powder.  Then gently pour a cup of white vinegar over the board.  Allow to sit for a couple of minutes then wash off with soap and water.  Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side over the board to remove odors.

Long Term Care

After cleaning your cutting board thoroughly, rub food grade mineral oil into the surface.  Apply the mineral oil with the grain of the wood.  This does not need to be done as daily routine maintenance, but maybe once a month or so.

A beautiful wooden cutting board will last you a lifetime if you take good care of it.

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Editor’s Note:  We originally published this article in February 2016.  We have edited it for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.



  1. Love my wood cutting boards and agreed with most of this post. I especially liked the warning to not let the boards soak in water and to store them on the side to allow full drying. I do have to comment that while vinegar can have disinfecting properties, it does not qualify as a disinfectant. That said, many bacteria find that a low pH condition is not conducive to their rapid growth. Just don’t be falsely confident that you are truly disinfecting.