10 Simple Tips to Care for Your Wood Cutting Boards
A cutting board is a trusted friend in your kitchen. Always there for you during every culinary quest and adventure, helping you create delicious and healthy food for those you love. We are all super busy and sometimes don’t feel we have the time to give our cutting boards, the true workhorses of our kitchen, the care they deserve.
A dull and dried out cutting board can warp, split, and harbor bacteria. Warping makes your board wobble and less safe when you chop on it, and small cracks can harbor moisture and bacteria. A conditioned board will be less likely to warp or split, and most importantly, be more protected from bacteria.
We have found it really doesn’t take much time to properly care for your boards, and it makes a significant difference on how well your cutting boards and knives perform. If you invest in a high-quality, custom-made cutting board to help you prepare nutritious meals, you can extend the life of your board and keep it sanitary by dedicating just a little time to care for it.
Even though the title of this blog states 10 Simple Tips to Care for Your Wood Cutting Boards, these tips apply to the care of all your boards (Charcuterie, Cheese etc.) and wooden utensils, like wooden spoons and roux paddles. With proper care, your wood kitchen equipment will remain durable, beautiful, and last a lifetime.
10 Simple Tips:
1. Hand wash your board well with gentle dish soap and hot water using a soft, clean sponge or rag after each use. Dry the entire board immediately with a clean towel.
2. Wash and dry all surfaces of the cutting board, including the sides. Uneven moisture may cause the board to warp.
3. After cleaning and drying with a clean towel, it is best to let your board air dry on a rack or stand vertically. This lets all sides of the board dry and prevents the trapping of moisture between the board and the countertop.
4. Never submerge or soak your wood cutting boards or wooden utensils in water.
5. Never put your wood boards or utensils in the dishwasher. They are not dishwasher safe. It will destroy them.
6. To remove stains or strong odors from your board, you can clean with lemon juice or white vinegar. We usually cut a lemon in half, wipe the lemon half all over the board and then wash with hot water.
7. To condition your board, we recommend applying food-safe mineral oil or a wood conditioner at least once a month. If your cutting boards gets a lot of use every day like ours, you may want to condition it sooner.
The goal of oiling your board with food-grade mineral oil is to penetrate and saturate the wood fibers, which helps stop other liquids and moisture from soaking into your board. Your board warps when the wood fibers become too dry and exposed to water.
· Only use food-grade mineral oil that you can buy at the grocery store NOT the industrial mineral oil from the hardware or auto parts store! That is not food safe! 😊
· Food-grade mineral oil is used to seal and condition your board, not to cook with.
· Do not use cooking oil (vegetable, canola, olive etc.) to condition your board. Even stable cooking oils like coconut oil can go rancid over time.
8. For best results and to keep your board performing well over the long-term, use Willow’s Magic Board Butter in combination with food-safe mineral oil to seal and restore your board, at least once a month. It is very satisfying when you properly care for and condition your wood boards, because they come to life right in front of your eyes.
9. Before you oil your board, make sure your board is clean and dry. Pour a small pool of food-grade mineral oil in the middle of your board. Apply the food-safe mineral oil with a clean, soft, lint-free cloth in even layers across the entire board. Add more oil as needed, making sure to cover both sides and the ends of the board.
Allow the mineral oil to soak into the board overnight or at least a few hours. Wipe the excess off with a clean cloth. Next, apply Willow’s Magic Board Butter all over the board with another clean cloth in a circular motion. If the board feels a little oily or sticky, you can buff it with a clean cloth.
The board butter is a blend of food-safe mineral oil and natural beeswax and is ideal for when your board is feeling rough to the touch and could use some extra care. The board butter seals and protects the board.
10. Don’t forget to also care for your cheese boards, charcuterie boards, wooden utensils, and other wood kitchenware. Floyd has more than 40 years of experience crafting and caring for beautiful hardwoods, and he always recommends regular maintenance of wood kitchen products to keep them working well.
Willow’s Magic Board Butter
A good wood conditioner not only keeps excess moisture out of your board, but also brings out the natural grain and rich color of the wood. A well cared for cutting board adds warmth to your kitchen.
When we participated in an in-person market over the holidays, we were surprised by how many people were drawn to the smooth, soft finish of our boards. The silky texture is the result of many hours of sanding, but also is from our new homemade wood conditioner that makes the board more durable, with a lustrous custom finish.
We created an abbreviated version of this blog in a Cutting Board Care postcard that we include with every order, so you have detailed care instructions at your fingertips.
Keeping your wood boards and utensils clean, oiled, and conditioned adds to their beauty and longevity. A well cared for board will remain your loyal friend in the kitchen and provide you with many happy years of cooking and sharing good food.