How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board

February 26, 2014 | By | Comments (6)

Wooden Cutting Boards

Without proper care, your trusty cutting board can start to smell like your famous garlic chicken—permanently. Since you can’t just stick a wooden board in the dishwasher (lest it warp and crack), try this tip to keep it in business for life:

Rub a new wooden cutting board with food-grade mineral oil to condition the wood; do this weekly for a month, then once a month going forward.

After general use, wash well with hot, soapy water, rinse, and pat dry. If you’re working on a particularly messy job (like peeling beets), do a deep-cleaning: Sprinkle the board with coarse salt (such as kosher); massage the salt in with the cut side of half a lemon. The acid in the juice will disinfect and deodorize; the salt will act as an abrasive, sloughing off bits of food and small stains. Rinse the board with hot water, towel-dry, and set it upright to dry completely.

See more cooking tips and tricks from our expert cooks.


  1. Brad E Wakeman

    Must it be mineral oil? Or would olive oil suffice?

    February 27, 2014 at 2:06 am
  2. catherine

    Yes it must be mineral oil. Olive oil will spoil and go bad.

    February 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm
  3. Anthony

    Olive oil will rot the wood.

    March 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm
  4. Christina

    My cutting board has some black mold on it…any ideas on how to clean it? I don’t use it because of the mold but I would like too…thoughts on sanding it…

    March 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm
  5. Nadine

    Best place to buy the mineral oil?

    March 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm
  6. Meg

    You can buy mineral oil at the pharmacy for $3-4.

    March 5, 2014 at 10:43 am

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