No matter what type of cutting board you prefer, effective cleaning and sanitizing methods are crucial for safe food preparation. Studies show that cutting boards can harbor all kinds of foodborne pathogens transferred from not just raw meat but produce, too. Getting in the habit of cleaning your cutting board immediately after use prevents bacterial growth. While some types of cutting boards have a limited service life, you can easily restore wood cutting boards and enjoy them for years to come.
The high humidity levels that build up inside a closed dishwasher can ruin a wood cutting board so you should always hand-wash them instead. First, wipe the board down with warm, soapy water, then use a towel to dry it thoroughly. Stand the wood board on its edge until it's completely dry, then store it on a flat surface, cutting-side up.
You can hand wash plastic boards or throw them in a dishwasher to get rid of the bacteria. The high heat achieved in the dishwasher will kill any pathogens. But if you don’t have a dishwasher, start with carefully rinsing the debris off the board. Scrub the cutting board with soap and water, then sanitize it with a disinfectant spray. The FDA recommends a diluted chlorine bleach solution. You can make your own by adding one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water. Rinse the board thoroughly after sanitizing.
A 1980s study found that cutting boards made of wood were more difficult to clean than plastic ones, although they were less likely to suffer from deeper cuts that harbor bacteria. Years later, a University of Wisconsin study suggested that wood boards inhibited bacterial growth. Recent studies have been inconclusive in determining whether plastic or wood versions are better. As long as you clean cutting boards thoroughly after use, you can fend off most harmful bacterial contamination, regardless of the material.
The best way to clean and sanitize a glass cutting board is in a dishwasher. If you don't have one, clear away any food debris on the cutting board, then hand-wash it with warm water and soap. Afterward, spray it with an FDA-approved sanitizer made for food-contact surfaces. Or, create a DIY bleach and water solution. These homemade cleaning solutions are only effective for about seven days so you’ll need to create more each week.
The world has become more familiar with the advantages of bamboo for household and kitchen tools in recent years, not only because of its durability but also its eco-friendly benefits. Bamboo boards are not only gentler on knife edges, but they’re easier to clean and less susceptible to damage and warping. These durable boards also last longer if you don’t put them in the dishwasher or soak them in water. Hand-wash bamboo cutting boards using dish soap, warm water, and a sponge then pat it dry with a dishtowel.
These boards are made from unique materials, such as recycled wood fiber, paper, or resin. Composite cutting boards are non-porous, as well as stain and bacteria-resistant, but they still require effective cleaning to get rid of germs. They’re heat-resistant up to 250 degrees or more, so washing them in a dishwasher won’t hurt them. Hand-washing with dish soap and warm water works fine, too.
Although marble cutting boards are a bit harder on knife edges, some cooks, especially bakers, prefer them. A solution of two cups of water, a cup of white vinegar, with two teaspoons of liquid dish soap works well for cleaning marble boards. Prevent contact with foods and beverages like wine, berries, grease, and oily foods or with harsh cleaners that can stain or even permanently damage marble surfaces.
This type of affordable and multifunctional cutting board is made of a thin plastic resin which helps it resist bacterial growth. To clean it, rinse it off, then place it in the dishwasher. For handwashing, use warm water and dish soap to get rid of any surface bacteria. If a knife goes all the way through the cutting sheet, it’s best to toss it out and get a new one.
After multiple washes and years of use, wood cutting boards can lose their luster. Applying a coat of board conditioner after each wash prevents deep cracks and crevices where bacteria hide. These conditioners are available just about anywhere. You can find recipes online for made-from-scratch versions, too. Restore cherished family heirlooms or antique wood cutting boards with a few simple steps.
There are simple solutions for removing stains from your favorite plastic or marble cutting board.