Wooden cutting boards are nothing short of kitchen workhorses. But they’re also germ, and unpleasant odor, hotspots. Should you just give up on fussy wood and switch over to plastic? Hardly! As long as you maintain your wooden cutting boards properly, you don’t have to ditch ‘em all together.
Is Wood Safe? There are plenty of cutting boards made from other materials — from cheap plastic to sturdy marble — and each has their upsides and downsides. One of the problems with wood in particular is that it requires more care than other materials. But that doesn’t necessarily mean its any less safe; as long as your practice proper food safety techniques, including knowing when to toss a overly-worn cutting board, it really doesn’t matter what material you cut your food on.
In some ways, wood is actually safer than plastic. While wood cutting board showing major signs of wear and tear isn’t any less safe than a brand new wood cutting board, a plastic cutting board with the same level of wear and tear needs to be cleaned in a dishwasher to be disinfected.
Using a Wooden Cutting Board. Many Again, as long as you are practicing food safety techniques, you can use wood to cut anything, including meat, poultry and seafood. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends using one board for fruits, vegetables, and bread, and another cutting board for meats and the like. This will help prevent cross-contamination.
Cleaning a Wooden Cutting Board. Always, always, always, wash a wooden cutting board in hot, soapy, water immediately after use. Rinse the board with water and let it air dry. Wood doesn’t belong in the dishwasher, but, after the board has air dried, you should sanitize it more. Wipe the surface with white vinegar and let it air dry again.
Zap Odors. Can’t get rid of that pesky smell? Try sprinkling baking soda or coarse salt over the board. Let it sit for a few minutes, rinse, and let dry.
Storing Wooden Cutting Boards. Wooden boards should be totally, completely, 100 percent dry before they make it into the cupboard. Don’t store them with anything that’s even slightly damp.
And remember, nothing lasts forever. If your cutting board is showing some major wear and tear, like, big, deep grooves, your best bet is to throw it out.