If you've got a wooden cutting board in your kitchen, then you've made the best choice as it really is the most hygienic type of cutting board, even the US health authorities agree.
However, the most daunting aspect of owning a wooden cutting board is how to keep it clean.
We live in a world of 'just throw it in the dishwasher' mentality, and owning something that can't be thrown into a dishwasher can put many of us off.
Why can't you throw a wooden cutting board into the dishwasher? Because it's made of wood, which absorbs water. Throwing it into the dishwasher will me an complete water saturation, which will cause your lovely board to warp and split.
Don't worry, we've found 5 little tricks you can use today that will clean and preserve your board. In fact, use our little tricks, and you and your board could become lifelong partners!
5 Tips To Remove Stains, Odor and Bacteria From Your Wooden Cutting Board
1) Disinfect with vinegar
The reason we like the idea of washing something thoroughly with water and detergent is that we can 'flush out' any bacteria. Instead of 'flushing' (which we can't do with a wooden cutting board as the water and detergent will weaken the wood fibers), try disinfecting the bacteria with vinegar.
Simply add some vinegar to a paper towel and wipe over the cutting board surface. You will kill most of the surface bacteria without saturating your board with moisture.
Remember, wooden cutting boards have been proven to draw bacteria inside, away from the surfaces, so they cannot multiply, so try to get out of the mentality of hoping to scrub every tiny bit of bacteria off your board. It does a pretty good job of fighting bacteria all by itself!
2) Kill bacteria with hydrogen peroxide
If you've been using your board to cut meats, and you want to be more thorough and make sure you have rid your board of all meat juices, wipe with 3% hydrogen peroxide.
First wipe your board with a paper towel and some vinegar. Then, use a second towel with some hydrogen peroxide.
3) Remove odor with lemon
If you've been cutting garlic, onions, fish, or anything else that has left an obvious smell on your board, simply cut a lemon in half, and use the cut side to rub lemon juice all over the board.
If you don't have any fresh lemons to hand, but do have some bottled lemon juice, just add a few drops to a paper towel and wipe.
4) Remove odor with baking soda
If you have no lemons or lemon juice, you can use baking soda to remove any odors.
Sprinkle baking soda over the surface of your board and then spray some vinegar over the top. Leave your board alone for a few minutes to allow the soda and vinegar to react together (they will combine to form a sizzling foam).
Now wipe off the mixture with a paper towel and cold water.
5) Brighten with salt
Sometimes a wooden board can become dull. It's not that it's dirty, it's just stained with different food juices over time.
Wring out a paper towel with some cold water, and then dip the towel in salt. Now rub the surface of your wooden cutting board in a circular motion. You'll find your board appears brighter, and stains will lighten.
You can combine this method with removing odor by dipping a paper towel in some lemon juice, instead of cold water.
The main thing to remember with a wooden cutting board is that it really is your bacteria fighting partner. There is no need to overdo the cleaning and sanitizing.
But the above are great little 'cures' to give your board a helping hand. Next time, we'll talk about regularly seasoning your board with oil. Do this, and you'll realize prevention truly is better than a cure!