How To Clean a Wooden Cutting Board with Lemon and Salt

published Sep 23, 2013
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(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

Every month or so I give my wooden chopping boards a spa treatment by using a few simple kitchen ingredients: lemon, salt and a little elbow grease. Read on for instructions on this simple, effective way to give your chopping boards a deep clean.

(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

I learned to do this years ago when I worked in a community kitchen that had a huge butcher block-topped prep table. The table was wiped down several times a day and always looked clean. But once a week we would do a special cleaning with salt and lemons and I was always impressed by how much cleaner it got the surface. My evidence? The dirty gray sludge that I would scrape away every week, despite the fact that the kitchen was very clean and well kept.

The procedure is simple. You don’t even have to use a freshly cut lemon — a mostly squeezed lemon will do here and it is a great way to use one up from a cooking project. I am also curious about adding baking soda to the mix which I’ve heard helps to freshen the boards. Has anyone tried this?

How To Clean Wood Cutting Boards with Lemon and Salt

What You Need

Half of a lemon
Coarse salt
Bench scraper
Warm water
Sponge or cloth


  1. Apply salt: Sprinkle the cutting board with coarse salt.
  2. Scour the surface: Using a lemon half with the cut side down, scour the surface, squeezing slightly to release the lemon juice as you go.
  3. Let sit, then scrape off: Let sit for 5 minutes, and then scrape the gray, dirty liquid into a small bowl using a bench scraper, and discard.
  4. Rinse: Give the surface a final rinse with a clean wet sponge.