3 Keys to Wooden Cutting Board Care
Now that you have chosen the right wooden cutting board for your kitchen, it is time to think about upkeep.
In my house, cutting board care is critical. Just ask my wife how I reacted when she left raw chicken pieces on the board overnight. I've been pissed off about it for 10 years. That's how serious I am about keeping my wooden cutting boards in tip-top shape. Not only do I despise raw meat left out to pollute a cutting board, I cannot stand raw meat left out attracting ants or other unsavory bugs.
Key 1: Cleanliness
When I wash my butcher's block board, I use hot water and soap in the sink. It's that simple. I never ever use chemicals such a bleach, 409, or ammonia. Just as the wood soaks up meat juice, it will also soak up chemicals which can make you sick or just give a funny taste to the food. Some household cleaners can be very potent diuretics. I think I'll just leave that thought in your head.
The only problem with washing cutting boards with soap and water is that sometimes it just isn't enough to get out the aromatic smells like onions and garlic. For that you need to use a good Vinegar wash combined with soap and water. Regular distilled white vinegar is a great cleaning tool for destroying foul kitchen odors.
Another option you have is to go all natural and use fresh lemons to do your cleaning and deodorizing. This page from Reader's Digest shows you how.
I have been seeing a lot of instructions on the web about using diluted bleach on your cutting board. I really don't know what the long-term affects of such a practice are. It could be OK, but I would rather go with safety and not use bleach.
Key 2: Oil it Up
It is important that the oil you buy is FOOD GRADE. That is, it can be used around stuff you might eat. These types of oils are sometimes called mineral oils and you can find them in most supermarkets, Wal-Marts, Targets, Bed-Baths, and various other home-based product stores. Do not use teak oil or anything you find in the wood finishing section at the hardware store.
Apply a thin coating with a brush or your hands then let sit to absorb. Do not be tempted to wipe off any excess with a towel. The oil will absorb into the wood. I promise. After the oil has absorbed, wipe down with a dry paper towel.
Key 3: Storage