6 Things You Should Never Do with Your Wood Cutting Board

updated Apr 9, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Wood cutting boards aren’t just more aesthetically pleasing than their plastic counterparts — they’ve actually been proven to harbor less bacteria and, theoretically, they should last longer than cheaper plastic versions. But with these perks comes a fair amount of responsibility, including thorough (and careful) cleaning. 

To keep your wood cutting board in tip-top shape, here are a few things you should never do.

1. Don’t leave your wood cutting board in the sink.

Because wood is porous (meaning, it will soak up liquids), don’t leave your cutting board in the sink. Internal moisture in your cutting board can cause the wood to crack and warp. Always clean your cutting board quickly, and thoroughly dry it right away.

Related: How To Clean a Wooden Cutting Board with Lemon and Salt

2. Don’t put your wood cutting board in the dishwasher.

Same principle here: Your dishwasher might seem like a good place to deep-clean your wood cutting board (or a wooden spoon, for that matter), but the high heat and water could actually ruin it. Instead, hand-wash your cutting board with warm soap and water and wipe it dry with a clean towel.  

3. Don’t use fatty oils on your cutting board.

Never use high-fat oils like vegetable, corn, olive, peanut, or coconut oil to re-coat your wood cutting board. The high fat content in these oils will oxidize and ultimately go rancid, causing your board to get stinky and unsafe for prepping food. Opt for food-safe mineral oil instead. 

Read more: How To Oil and Maintain Wood Cutting Boards (and Spoons!) in 5 Minutes a Month

4. Don’t use oils that aren’t food-safe, either.

You’ll also want to avoid using oil that isn’t specifically marked as food-safe to oil up your board. For example, don’t coat it with baby oil or mineral oil from a hardware store. Food-safe or food-grade mineral oil, or a product specifically meant for wood cutting boards, is the way to go.

Credit: Leela Cyd

5. Don’t cross-contaminate after you prep food.

Wood cutting boards are appealing because they harbor less bacteria than plastic ones, but it’s still important to clean them thoroughly — especially after you prepare raw meat. Always wash your cutting board with warm water and soap before switching gears. If you ever notice your cutting board still stinks after you clean it, simply cut a lemon in half and rub it, along with some gritty salt, down the entire surface. 

6. Don’t cut on the same spot all the time.

To avoid uneven wear-and-tear on your wood cutting board, vary where you work on the board from time to time. You can even switch up the cutting surface completely by flipping the board over every other time you use it. 

Got anything else to add to this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.