Wooden planks are beautiful and useful in the kitchen. They're not only beautiful, they're also hygienic and trap less bacteria than plastic versions. Even though the board is very resistant to microorganisms, it's still best to keep it clean and sanitize it from time to time! Find out how to do this below.
Method 1 of 2: Keeping the board clean
Step 1. Choose a board made of solid wood
Those made from more malleable woods crack easily. There may also be bacterial growth in the cuts that knives leave on the surface. By choosing a stiffer wood, such as burgundy, walnut and cherry, you can avoid these cracks or incisions. The piece will stay cleaner and look good for longer.
Step 2. Consider sealing with mineral oil before use
Wood is a natural material and, when it loses moisture, it can dull or even crack. Keep the board sealed with a light coating of mineral oil. Warm a small amount of oil in your hands and spread it on the surface of the board. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it off with a cloth or paper towel. Turn the board over and make the other side too.
- Seal the board once a month and every time you sanitize it.
- Do not use natural oils to seal the wood, as they can spoil. Mineral oil does the job.
Step 3. Have good food safety practices
Since wooden planks cannot go in the dishwasher, many sources recommend not using them with foods with a high risk of contamination. It is important to use boards of different materials for different foods.
- Well-sealed plastic or wooden boards are best for foods with high risk of contamination, such as raw meat and poultry, seafood and tofu.
- Set aside a board for bread, ready-to-eat meat, cheese, fermented soy (such as tempeh), and washed fruits and vegetables.
- The two boards must be washed after use and it is important not to mix them up. If you don't, there is a risk of cross-contamination.
Step 4. Wash the board after use
Whenever you use a board, wash it with hot soapy water and rinse it with cold water. Dry with a cloth or paper towel or let it dry in a colander, setting it aside. This ensures that both sides of the piece will be exposed to air and lets gravity draw out excess water.
Step 5. Deodorize and remove stains from the board once a week
When cleaning the kitchen, make a deeper cleaning on the board with products you already have at home. If it's stinky or stained, that solves the problem.
- If you notice that the board smells strongly of food, the vinegar helps! Moisten a sheet of paper towel with white wine vinegar and wipe the surface. This neutralizes odors and will not leave the board permanently reeking of vinegar.
- Another old trick is to sprinkle salt on the wet board. Salt absorbs moisture trapped in cracks and incisions and, in turn, washes away any hidden bacteria.
- Stains can also be resolved with simple products. Place baking soda over the discolored area and rub using half a lemon. Then wash and dry the board.
Method 2 of 2: Sanitizing the Board
Step 1. Sanitize the board once a month
Even washing after each use, it is important to clean more deeply from time to time. A bleach solution kills more impregnated micro-organisms than soap and water can. This procedure is essential if you use the cutting board to cut raw meat and poultry, as well as other foods with a high risk of contamination.
Step 2. The board must be clean and dry
If not, wash in hot soapy water and rinse with a wet sheet of paper towel or cloth. Dry with a paper towel, cloth or leave on the drying rack on its side. Do not leave any debris on the board when sanitizing.
Step 3. Make a cleaning solution
Mix 1 teaspoon of bleach and 950 ml of water in a spray bottle. Close, squeeze and shake well to mix.
If you don't have bleach or don't want to use it on kitchen things, use hydrogen peroxide. A pre-mixed 3% solution works well
Step 4. Disinfect the board
Use the spray bottle to spray a thin layer of solution onto the surface. Let it sit for 10 minutes or more and then rinse with running water. Be careful not to get bleach on your clothes or in the kitchen sink. Shake off excess water and repeat on the other side.
If you are using hydrogen peroxide in place of the bleach, pour some of it onto a sheet of paper towel and wipe the surface of the board. Let it rest and then rinse
Step 5. Put some white wine vinegar on a sheet of paper towel and pass it on the cutting board
This is optional, but enhances cleaning and removes odors. After that, set the piece aside to dry.
Step 6. Seal the board again
Bleach dries out natural materials like wood, but a fresh coat of oil prevents this. Apply a small amount of mineral oil to the surface of the board and let it rest for a few minutes; then remove the excess with paper or a cloth.
- If your wooden board always smells weird, has deep cracks or visible mold, it's time to change it.
- Keep knives very sharp so as not to damage the board. Likewise, keeping planks in good condition helps protect knives.
- Do not leave wooden boards submerged in water or wash in the dishwasher. The board will absorb water and break apart after drying.
- If you use baking soda paste all over the board, it can get discolored.