Because while cleaning a kitchen begins with a naturally safe and spotless wood cutting board, its looks do indicate its overall health, and this is no longer a practical element to hide away in your kitchen cabinets. Instead, a wooden cutting board is to be shown off – everybody from Shea McGee (opens in new tab) to Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market (opens in new tab) appreciate their natural beauty.  The good news is that it’s possible to preserve a wooden cutting board for years to come, but you need to know how to take care of it properly. These steps will leave you with a stain-free board that will continue to make a (sanitary) statement in your kitchen.

How to care for a wooden cutting board – like professional chefs do

‘Caring for a wooden cutting board comes down to two things: cleaning and conditioning,’ says Spokane-based professional chef Sylvia Fountaine (opens in new tab). ‘You want your cutting board to be a sanitary surface for preparing food, and you also want to maintain the natural beauty of the wood,’ she adds. This is how to achieve both. 

1. How to deep clean a wooden cutting board 

‘Using your scrub brush, scrub away any stuck-on food or stains with hot, soapy water and rinse,’ Sylvia says. ‘Then, using a spray bottle, spritz the board with hydrogen peroxide – I like this more than commercial sanitizers, but that would work too.’

2. Avoid water-damaging a wooden cutting board

‘Leaving your wooden cutting board in water can make it warp, so dry it as much as possible before allowing it to air dry, and never leave it in the sink,’ Sylvia adds.  Alex Adgar, the designer and founder of Tormar (opens in new tab) emphasizes the chef’s warning, adding that wood is a naturally porous material, so leaving it in the sink will lead to water damage. ‘As long as your cutting board is never left standing in water and oiled regularly, it will last a lifetime,’ he says.  

3. Condition a wooden cutting board

After washing, Alex and Sylvia both note the importance of conditioning a wooden cutting board. ‘When we have dry skin, we use lotion, and for a natural material like wood, it’s the same thing- without conditioning, it gets dry, tight, and cracked,’ Sylvia says.  While this may seem like an extra task, the experts suggest that the conditioning step is the secret to preserving its lifespan.  ‘You can use simple mineral oil and massage it into the wood, giving it a nice depth of color and wiping away the excess oil with a clean cloth. Your cutting board will be smooth, rich in color, and ready for use,’ Sylvia explains.

How do you clean a wooden cutting board naturally?

You can clean a wooden cutting board without cleaning products. As with many similar surfaces, cleaning with vinegar works to clean and sanitize them effectively. Start by wiping any debris off the cutting board, then soak a clean cloth in white vinegar; squeeze it out gently then wipe it over the surface of the board. Allow to sit and soak for five to 10 minutes before rinsing. To remove stains or odors, while the vinegar is soaking in, you can clean with baking soda and lemon juice: simply sprinkle the damp vinegar-soaked board with baking soda or salt, take half a lemon, pulp side down and rub it vigorously across the surface. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry before conditioning the wood.