How to Disinfect a Wood Cutting Board

Wood cutting board on granite counter

A wooden cutting board is a classic, versatile kitchen tool, which can be used to prepare and serve a variety of different foods—unfortunately, the same attributes which make them indispensable can also make them unsanitary. The best way to ensure their longevity and keep them free from harmful bacteria is with an effective maintenance and cleaning routine after each use. Use these time-honored tips and techniques from Molly Maid for best results, to clean, disinfect, and remove odors from your wood cutting board, and keep it looking and smelling like new.

How to Clean a Cutting Board

Person cleaning wood cutting board

How you clean your wooden board depends on how you use it. While the best way to avoid cross-contamination is to have a designated cutting board for meats, there is still the potential for bacterial growth and mild or severe illness if the surface is cleaned inadequately. If using a single board to prepare your entire meal, chop all your vegetables or fruits first and give the board a quick rinse before using it for meat. Use the following methods accordingly:

Chopping Fruit, Vegetables, Nuts, or Bread

  1. Place your cutting board into a clean, empty sink, and run hot tap water over the surface to remove any loose particles of food.
  2. Use a clean sponge or gentle brush and dish detergent to scrub the board to remove any residual food or liquids.
  3. Rinse the board under a steady stream of hot water until you are satisfied that all traces of soap, stains, and particles have disappeared.
  4. Towel dry the board with a clean, dry cloth, and stand it upright on a dish towel propped up against a wall or cupboard to maximize airflow.
  5. Allow the board to dry for several hours or overnight before re-using.

Preparing Raw Meat

Due to the porous nature of wood and the potential for hidden nicks or crevices, it is ideal to use a silicone board for cutting meat, as the surface protects your knives and is bacteria resistant. Juices and particles of meat can become trapped in the wood unless it is properly cleaned and maintained, causing serious illness. Another solution, if your budget allows, is to keep separate cutting boards — one for fruit, vegetables and bread — and a designated board for meat. If you have one, wood cutting board — proceed with extreme caution and clean the board immediately after use. Using the technique outlined above to clean, and disinfect it using the steps outlined below:

  1. Soak a clean, white cloth with either pure white vinegar or three percent hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Wipe down the board thoroughly and let sit for a few minutes.
  3. If there are stains or odors, sprinkle kosher salt or baking soda onto the board, and rub with the cut side of a lemon to clean and deodorize.
  4. Rinse the board well with hot, clean water.
  5. Towel dry the board with a clean, dry cloth, and stand upright on a dry dish towel.
  6. Allow the board to dry for several hours or overnight before re-using.

Wood Cutting Board Care

Person applying mineral oil to wooden cutting board

Revitalize your board and replenish the moisture in the wood, with the periodic application of mineral oil. Apply a small amount to a dry cutting board using a soft cloth, and wipe after 24 hours.

Wood Cutting Board Cleaning Don’ts

  • Never soak your board in water; this will cause expansion of the fibers and warp or crack the board.
  • Never place your wood cutting board in the dishwasher.
  • Don’t allow the juices from raw meat to settle into the surface of the board.

Professional, Reliable Cleaning Services from Molly Maid

As a key component of everyday life, your kitchen deserves some extra attention. Keep every room in your home looking its best with professional cleaning services from Molly Maid. Whether you want a one-time cleaning, recurring cleaning services, or special event cleaning, we offer all of the home cleaning services you need! 

Please contact your local Molly Maid today to request a free estimate!