How to clean a wooden cutting board – sanitize yours using salt, lemon, vinegar and more

A complete guide on how to clean a wooden cutting board daily for sanitized surfaces in your kitchen. Disinfect yours using salt, lemon, vinegar and more

sourdough bread on wooden cutting board
(Image credit: Photo by Ben Garratt on Unsplash)

Whether you want to know how to clean a wooden cutting board because you have a gorgeous all-in-one countertop or because you received an acacia wood chopping board as a wedding gift and are a little/totally panicked about how to clean and treat it well, rest assured, it can be done easily! And, with the simplest of household ingredients like vinegar, salt and lemon as well as dish soap and more astringent bleach, to ensure that yours is properly disinfected – whether you've been using it to chop avo or raw meat.

Resilient and full of character, wooden cutting boards lend themselves to their jobs perfectly. Whether yours is made from acacia or bamboo, with proper care and treatment it will serve you well and last for years. It's not rocket science, but, it is important. Not only to ensure that you and your family are eating food that's been prepared on a clean surface, but also to protect the wood from warping and cracking, therefore maintaining the integrity of your kitchen's lovely features.

Are wooden cutting boards sanitary?

Wood cutting boards are both a stylish and hygienic choice for households. People often choose plastic cutting boards to chop raw meat on instead of wood, when in fact, plastic is less tough and more prone to knife indents which can harbour bacteria if not thoroughly cleaned. Wooden cutting boards may take a little elbow grease and care to maintain but they will perform better and last for much longer. 

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how to clean wooden cutting boards with lemons

(Image credit: Photo by Elena Kloppenburg on Unsplash)

How to clean a wooden cutting board with lemon and salt

Start by sprinkling a generous amount of salt on your chopping board. Try picking up Kosher or sea salt (the coarser the better). Then take half a lemon or two if you've a bigger surface and rub it all over the chopping board. Leave this for 5 minutes or so, then wipe clean with a soft sponge, rinse clean with warm water and dry thoroughly.

Lemon is a natural disinfectant, plus both lemon and the salt will help lift stains and absorb any lingering odors too, like garlic from when you made pasta last week...  Do this about once a month or when your wooden cutting board needs it. 

Out of salt? Use baking soda instead.

How to clean a wooden cutting board with vinegar

Vinegar is another great natural way to clean and disinfect your cutting board. Mix one part white distilled vinegar to 4 parts water and either spray it onto the wooden surface directly and leave it for five minutes, or, soak your chopping board for five minutes. Rinse down and dry completely. 

Note: If you're soaking yours, don't leave this in the solution for any longer than 5 minutes to avoid warping the wood.

How to clean a wooden cutting board with dish soap

Using good old fashioned dish soap and hot water is a good way to clean your wooden cutting board after handling raw meat. Simply scrub the board with the cleaning solution using a brush to get into any knife grooves. Ensure you clean and rinse all sides including the ends (easy to miss) and dry with a paper towel before air drying thoroughly.

How to clean a wooden cutting board with bleach

If you want to ensure your surface is thoroughly disinfected, perhaps you haven't cleaned it well for a while, then put a pair of gloves on and add one tbsp bleach to about a gallon of warm water. Let the wooden board soak or spray on the solution and leave it for 5 minutes. As with the vinegar method, scrub it off and let it air dry completely. 

how to clean a wood cutting board: chopped avo

(Image credit: Photo by Max Delsid on Unsplash)

Wooden cutting board maintenance

  • Keep them dry: As mentioned, still water can lead your wood cutting board to warp and eventually to cracking which can then be very unhygienic in the long run. 
  • Monthly oiling: If you have an acacia or other type of wood cutting board then oiling it monthly will help keep yours in good condition and avoid any cracking. You can do this with mineral or food grade oil, by simply using an old rag to coat the surface. Be generous with the oil if you're doing it for the first time but be sure to wipe off any excess using a separate clean cloth, working in circular motions.
  • Never use the dishwasher: Again, the moisture will do more damage than good, use the dish soap and water method above for a thorough daily clean instead.
  • Clean after each use: To avoid a buildup of dirt and bacteria, plus food which can lead to staining, ensure you wipe and clean your board after each use. 
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The essentials 

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