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!



  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!

    • No worries…Doug takes care of “his” cutting boards very well. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Jesse Paton Reply

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


  3. a.c. worley Reply

    modern mineral oil for babies are infused with fragrances. don’t make my mistake : I eventually went to a hospital supply store to find unadulterated mineral oil.

  4. Are you supposed to wash the boards after treating them or just use them next then wash them? I’m concerned that mineral oil is a laxative but I don’t want to wash off the protection that I just applied. Thank you for your help.

    • Laurie, You do not want to wash the boards after you treat them. You want to allow the mineral oil to soak into the wood. If you are still concerned that there is too much oil on the board after you have allowed the oil to soak in overnight I would wipe any excess off with a clean paper towel.

  5. Anette Hooker Reply

    Hello I read that that you should not cut on he board but put a glass or plastic cutting board down on top of it so the wood will not get all cut up. I just got a new bamboo cutting board island i wanted to use it. Now i wonder is it just for show?? Can I cut on it? I understand it would get a bunch of cuts on if if I do but isn’t that what it is for???

    • I would think that it would be fine. The normal use that a wood cutting board gets in a home kitchen doesn’t damage them.

    • Cutting boards are for cutting with sharp knives. Part of the reason to use a cutting board is to protect the edge of the knife. The other reason to use the cutting board is to protect other surfaces from damage that could be caused by repeated application of the knife. Do not use serrated knives on any cutting board. Serrated knives are merely small saws. They may be okay for cutting up tough steak, bread or cake. To use a serrated knife on a beautiful cutting board is like using sandpaper to polish furniture. They will tear up the surface of any cutting board whether wood, bamboo, or plastic.

  6. WOW, I wish I found this site first. Months ago I spend a lot of time trying to find food grade mineral oil locally and ended up buying it online from Amazon (Canada). I never thought of pharmacies like mentioned here. I Google’d today for a refresher on when and how to treat bamboo boards. I learned a lot here. Many thanks!

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