Cutting boards are the elbows of the kitchen. They get scraped up, and beat down, but without them, you risk damaging knives, countertops and more.
You need them. Your knives need them. And you should be taking care of them so that they continue to take care of you, your food and your blades.
There are all kinds of cutting boards: plastic, glass, wooden, even composite. They all have their pros and cons, and each type may require a little modification of these cleaning tips to work best. When in doubt, always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Regardless of the kind of cutting boards you have, you’ll want to keep them clean between use. Doing so will reduce the risk of cross-contamination, and will ensure your boards remain in peak condition for years to come.
In this guide, we’ll take you through some of our favorite ‘best practices’ and tips to keep your cutting board clean.
Best Practices: Roll up you sleeves and get to it
You want to do things right, don’t you? Skip the dishwasher when it comes to cleaning your cutting boards. While a dishwasher can save you time and effort, but when it comes to your cutting board, a little attention goes a long way.
Hand washing can extend the life of any cutting board while keeping it clean as a whistle. Hands down, or up, there just isn’t a good substitution for some old fashioned elbow grease.
Clean your cutting board with this simple 5 Step Process:
1) Scrape off excess food.
Grab a metal spatula for particularly sticky substances. Dump excess food and scraps into the bin (if it’s biodegradable, compost it). Fail to do this and you’ll just end up moving junk around and making matters worse.
2) Scrub with soapy water.
Everyday cleaning does not require special soap. Mix a few drops of your regular dish soap or dish detergent with warm to hot water. Grab your favorite washcloth, sponge, or brush, and give that cutting board a vigorous rub down. “Ahhhhh” (That’s the cutting board speaking).
3) Rinse and inspect.
Rinse the cutting board quickly under the spout, or use a wet cloth. For wooden boards, don’t leave it soaking in water or it might bloat and split, or at best, warp.
Check to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Don’t skip this part, or you’ll be pulling out your board tomorrow to chop radishes and have to play the “what is this hardened substance on my board?” game.
4) Dry thoroughly.
Use a dry dish towel, a paper towel, or your t-shirt (don’t though), and thoroughly dry the cutting board. Ensuring the board is dry will help keep bacteria and other moisture-loving lurkers at bay, as well as prevent warping when between use. When in doubt, just air it out. Meaning that you may need to leave the board out on the counter to finish air drying.
Once your board is clean and dry, put it in a spot where it won’t get dirty between uses by accident. (Looking at you, with your cutting board leaning against the microwave.)
• Busy? Plastic, composite, and glass cutting boards can be put in the dishwasher if you must. But be careful, plastic can warp in the dishwasher if your settings are too hot.
• Uncertain which cleaning method is appropriate for your board? Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and advice.
Keep your Cutting Board Clean: final thoughts
A clean cutting board will prevent cross-contamination, and help you get more done safely without the risk of damaging your knife or underlying surfaces.
But in order to keep your board in top condition, you’ll need to routinely clean it, particularly after each use. By following the tips in this guide you can keep your cutting board in optimal condition, capable of serving you for years to come.