How to Clean and Disinfect a Wood Cutting Board

Keep your wood cutting boards germ free with a few simple steps.

June 16, 2021

Wood cutting boards are a great kitchen tool and accessory. They are easier on knife blades than plastic or marble boards and they can double as an attractive serving tray.

Wood Cutting Board, Two Lemons and a Knife

How to Disinfect a Wood Cutting Board

Wood cutting board needs special care when it comes to washing and disinfecting.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

However, they do have a porous surface that can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Cleaning your wood cutting boards properly is important to get rid of harmful germs. Here’s how to properly clean wood cutting boards.

Supplies

  • stiff cleaning brush or sponge
  • white vinegar
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • clean dry towel
  • dish soap (not shown)
  • lemon (optional)
Wood Cutting Board, Aloe Plant, Bottles, Lemon, Scrub Brush and Towel

Items Used to Clean and Disinfect a Wood Cutting Board

Simple items can be used to disinfect a wood cutting board.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Scour the Wood

After you are done using your wood cutting board, rinse off any food debris before it’s able to dry or stick to the surface. Use a stiff cleaning brush or sponge and soap to scour the wood to help loosen any stubborn food debris. You can also use coarse salt to rub on the surface of the board after the initial rinse to clean off food debris. If your board has stains, sprinkle baking soda on the board and let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse.

Brush Scrubbing Wood Cutting Board

Use a Brush to Remove Debris from Cutting Board

A stiff brush and soap will remove any food debris stuck on the surface of a wood cutting board.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Disinfect the Board

Pour the 3% hydrogen peroxide over the board. Spread it around using a clean sponge. Let it stand for a few minutes. It will fizz as it kills germs. This is especially great if your board has cracks or grooves from knife use. Once the fizzing stops, give the board a quick rinse under hot tap water.

Top of Plastic Bottle

Pour Hydrogen Peroxide Onto Cutting Board Surface

Hydrogen peroxide will safely and effectively disinfect the surface of a wood cutting board.

©Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Lastly, Deodorize

If your cutting board has some lingering odors, spray in down with white vinegar. Keep a spray bottle filled with white vinegar and use it regularly on your wood board. The vinegar will neutralize odors while working as a natural disinfectant. Alternatively, you can also use a lemon to eliminate odors. Cut the lemon in half and rub it on the surface. Rinse and wipe with a towel when done.

Hand Wiping Wood Cutting Board with a Towel

Wipe the Cutting Board Surface with a Dry Towel

Thourghly dry the wood cutting board surface with a clean towel before storing.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Wood Cutting Board Safety

In general, stick with a hardwood board, like maple. Hardwoods are fine-grained and when food is prepared on the surface, the capillaries of the wood grain pull the bacteria down beneath the surface of the cutting board. However, the cool thing about a wood board is that the wood traps the bacteria and they are killed off as the board dries after cleaning. The board needs to completely dry after cleaning to ensure the bacteria is eliminated.

More Advice

How to Restore and Maintain a Wood Cutting Board or Butcher Block

Follow our tips for restoring a butcher block's wood surface and whipping up your own inexpensive board conditioner.

Most food safety professionals recommend using a plastic board for meat and fish and wood boards for vegetables, fruit, bread, cheese, etc.

Whatever you use on your wood cutting board, cleaning it properly will keep your family safe and your board looking great for years to come.

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