For those of us who love to cook, our tools are everything. They help us get the job done and the more you take care of them, the better the results. So in order to help you keep your cutting board performing its best here's how you can keep it in top-shape.
First some quick Do's and Dont's:
- Don't scrub with steel wool. This can remove the oils your board is protected with and creates a porous surface for juices to creep in.
- Do have a separate board for meats as you do from your fruits and veggies
- Don't use bleach- this harsh chemical can be hard to rinse off and can get in your food. It also dries the wood over time.
-Do wash your board with warm water and light soap and allow the board to thoroughly dry after every use.
-Don't put it your cutting boards the dishwasher, they can warp quite quickly.
-Don't soak your board in water for any amount of time- this can cause swelling and warping, quickly damaging your board.
As a monthly refresh, first scrub your boards with warm water and dish soap, rinse, and let them dry completely. Next, take a paper towel and coat the board with a food-safe butcher block, mineral or walnut oil. Let it dry for one to two days depending on the saturation level and oil used. Walnut oil will actually dry to a hardened surface. This keeps the board from drying out and splitting and also helps keep the bacteria out of the crevices. *Never use olive oil as this can spoil and actually promote bacterial growth.
You can find butcher-block and mineral oil at a hardware store or online and Walnut oil in specialty hardware stores. We like Mahoney's Walnut Oil on dark woods (brings out the rich color and dries to a hardened finish) or General Finishes Butcher Block Oil on light woods (light, food-safe finish that doesn't yellow like other oils can) .
We recommend this type of refresh for your regularly used boards once a month and a deeper refresh with a good sanding once a year.
This deeper sanding helps gets the knife marks out and eliminates all those places little bacteria can hide. Start with an 80 grit sand paper to get out the deep cuts then move to 120 grit sandpaper and finish it with a 220/320 grit sandpaper. If you really want super smooth gloss finish wet the board after a 220 sanding and let it dry overnight. This raises the newly exposed grain so you can have a more even surface. The next day start with 220 grit again, then 320 and finally 400 grit for a super buttery surface. Then follow the process above for applying oil and drying.
If you really want to go the extra mile (we love to) we use a product called Odie's Wood Butter. It smells amazing and makes your boards super smooth! After oiling the board and letting it dry apply the Wood Butter, letting it sit for 45 minutes to an hour and then buffing it off with a clean towel/cloth. The surface should be buttery-smooth just like the product suggests. Odie's Wood Butter is a food-safe wax that helps the board stay protected. This method is definitely a bit more work, but it makes your boards look and smell like new. (We're not sponsored by Odie's, we just love it ;)
These methods of maintaining your boards will help keep them clean and the wood healthy and flat for years to come.
Good luck and happy refreshing!
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