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How to Care for Cutting Boards

We love sharing recipes with you every week that are delicious and easy on your pocketbook, yet we would be remiss if we failed to share other money saving kitchen tips that we have learned over the years. Some of them definitely have been learned the hard way. One such lesson is that saving money is all about keeping what you have in the best possible condition for the longest time that you can. So let’s talk about How to Care for Cutting Boards.




There are many types of cutting boards made from many different materials that you can choose from, ones made from hard plastic, those that are made from glass. There are even those made from silicone rubber that can be bent and rolled up. While each of these have their own advantages and disadvantages (sounds like a good topic for a later date) my favorite material is bamboo. It’s resilient enough to handle the rough use that we put our cutting boards through on a daily basis, yet it doesn’t dull the knife’s edge as quickly as most other materials.

Also since bamboo is considered one of the best wood when it comes to preserving our environment, it makes sense to use it.

There can be a huge difference in the cost and quality of tools that you use in your kitchen. There are some items that you really don’t want to skimp on when it comes to quality such as the knives you use to prepare your meals but there you can save a little money on the initial purchase and with some simple maintenance make the investment last for years.

Let’s talk about what supplies you will be needing, the list is not very long. A clean soft cloth, mineral oil and a place to store the cutting board.

Now everybody surely has two of the three supplies in their homes that I listed. But what about the mineral oil? Sure you have all types of oils around the house, vegetable oils, baby oil, motor.

Why do I need to use mineral oil?

You want to use mineral oil on your wood cutting boards to preserve the natural oils and prevent the fibers of the wood from drying out. Don’t be tempted to use oils made from vegetables, grains or fruits. Over time these can deteriorate and after several applications your boards will become rancid and you’ll end up having to throw them out which is exactly opposite of what we are trying to accomplish here.

Where do I find mineral oil?

If you are over 50 you probably know the answer to this question for reasons we don’t want to go in to. But for the youngsters out there to pick up a bottle of mineral oil head to the pharmacy department of your local store and take a look in the area by the laxatives.

Now that we have covered the What, Where and Why let’s get to the How.

Care and Maintenance of Bamboo Cutting Boards

Start out with a clean and dry Bamboo Cutting Board. Lay it on a clean surface. I suggest placing a clean towel between it and the surface you are working on.

Next, pour a generous amount of mineral oil on the board. The amount needed will depend of course on the size of the board. For reference this board 12×15 inches in size and it took four tablespoons to treat the entire board. Use as much or as little as it takes, some of the oil soaks into the cloth as well as the wood.

Then proceed to wipe the oil onto the surface of the cutting board.

Making certain to cover both sides and all the edges.

Once you have treated all the surfaces, set the board aside to dry, well really it soaks in the oil more than drying. Either on a clean towel or I have found that when I do multiple boards placing them in a dish rack works great.

 More Tips & Tricks

  • How often you treat your board varys, once a month is a good starting point. Adjust if you use your board everyday. We treat our every 10-14 days.
  • To freshen up your cutting board in between treatments slice a fresh lemon in half and rub onto the surfaces of your cutting board.
  • Use warm soapy water to clean your cutting boards.
  • DO NOT SOAK CUTTING BOARDS IN WATER OR PLACE THEM IN A DISHWASHER TO CLEAN THEM. Most boards are manufactured by laminating strips of wood together and the glue that is used is water soluble. Doing this will cause your board to fall to pieces. Trust me on this one!
  • If your board becomes warped wet it down by placing the board on a flat surface with a wet towel over the entire board and place a heavy pan or baking dish on top of it. Let set for 8 hours or until the board is flat. Remove the towel and place the heavy dish back on the cutting board until it dries. Oil the board once it has dried.

Do you have any other ideas on keeping your cutting boards like new? We would love to hear them!

Comments

  1. Hi Liz! Thank you so much for reminding me to take care of my cutting boards! I will definitely be adding mineral oil to my list of things to buy this week! Blessings from Bama!
    Bama Girl recently posted..It’s 85 degrees outside and I’m sitting in the house!My Profile

  2. Sorry, I just saw where Doug wrote this post!
    Bama Girl recently posted..It’s 85 degrees outside and I’m sitting in the house!My Profile

  3. Jesse Paton says:

    I’ve used mineral oil. Its available for few bucks in CVS pharmacy. This site also does a good job explaining this as well http://www.woodcuttingboardsguide.com I’ve also used olive oil. Love my bamboo board. I”m looking to buy another one of a different shape and size.

    JP

  4. Cutting Boards are an essential part of the preparation and finishing of cooking your meals. But especially if the Cutting Boards are Bamboo, I especially like the product Chef’s Planet Wood Moisturizing Cream with Bees Wax (which consists of editable mineral oil). The preparation is very important to preserve the Bamboo Wood and this particular Bamboo Cream is extra thick so you can melt it in an 8 inch stainless steel skillet into an oil; using a lint-free cloth, apply the hot oil onto the Cutting Boards; the hot oil seems to absorb much deeper into the wood to protect the Cutting Boards for a longer time. You will find because the oil is hot, the application is absorbed into the wood much quicker and the drying time is shorter. With new Cutting Boards, I found if you perform these steps of treatment for the first four days, the treatment will preserve the Cutting Boards for approximately 4 to 6 months, unless you see the Cutting Boards need another Wood Cream treatment. This hot wax process needs to be applied just the one time thereafter as needed. This cream is excellent for any and all bamboo cutting boards or utensils.

    I have at least 8 cutting boards of different sizes, when cleaning the Cutting Boards never allow them to sit with food particles or to sit in water; quickly rinsed with them with hot water, a grease cutting soap and dried immediately to prevent any bacterial growth. Your care provides longevity of the Cutting Boards. Cutting Boards become extremely beautiful if they are processed correctly and you will be very proud to use in your kitchen, but also in your dining room as trays for dinner affairs.

    Also, if your cutting board does offer a life time guarantee there is usually certain conditions you have to meet in order for the guarantee to become valid, it is imperative to apply the Bamboo Cream and/or edible mineral oil on the Cutting Boards and it produces a beautiful luster to the wood, which deepens its color and enhances the wooden grain. Therefore, the vendor would be able to tell if you followed the initial instructions in order to warrant the life time guarantee.

    • Cherylie says:

      I have a very thick (maybe 3 inches) “composite” cutting board which has severely dried out. Do you thin JDSnook’s method of multiple applications of warm oil would revive it? It also has a huge crack in it – which makes me wonder if it can be saved at all.

      • Cherylie, Does the crack go completely through the board? If it does then salvaging the board with any method would be difficult if not impossible. Applying multiple coats of warm oil will help to penetrate the wood. Another option would be using the opposite side of the board of course or filling the crack with a good quality wood putty and sanding smooth would be my last resort.

        Hope this helps, let me know if I can answer any other questions.

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