Wooden Cutting Board Care Instructions and Tips
These tips will ensure that your cutting board will remain as your faithful kitchen companion for years or even for a whole lifetime of cooking!
#1. Oil your board! This cannot be stressed enough. If your cutting board surface looks dry and “thirsty” simply saturate all surfaces with mineral oil for at least a couple hours. If your board is starting to crack, bow, or warp, that means you’ve waited too long to oil it. Typically that's once every 3 months or less. This is especially a concern with end grain cutting boards. Mineral oil is a food safe liquid which is quickly absorbed and prevents external moisture from penetrating the wood or a lack of external moisture from drying out the wood. Any mineral oil will do and can be found at your local drugstore, lumberyard, or hardware store. On a side note, buying in bulk online is the best option since this procedure will need to be carried out for as long as you own a wooden cutting board.
#2. Do not leave your cutting board on a wet surface when not in use. Similarly, do not leave water standing on top of your cutting board when not in use. This is because wood absorbs and expels moisture, expanding and contracting in predictable ways according to grain orientation. See Grain Orientation and Wood Movement for a comprehensive understanding of wood and moisture.
#3. When cleaning your cutting board, handwash with soap and lukewarm water and hold your board at an angle under the water to ensure the least amount of penetration into the wood fibers. Dry immediately after with a cloth or paper towels. Do not let air dry. You must wipe all moisture off every surface of the cutting board.
#4. Store your cutting board flat rather than leaning vertically up against your kitchen wall or backsplash. The effects of gravity will warp or cup your cutting board over time if stored in this manner.
#5. It’s worth a second advisory. End grain cutting boards will need to be treated with mineral oil more frequently than face grain or edge grain cutting boards due to its vertical grain structure. End grain boards will also require about twice the amount of oil as flat grain (face grain/edge grain) boards because the oil essentially falls through the open pores which is evidenced by hints of saturation all the way to the opposite surface after a few minutes. Be liberal with your application. I suggest a mineral oil treatment every month with end grain boards, although once every six months may be okay depending on its environment. By contrast, flat grain cutting boards, in particular edge grain boards, are more stable when experiencing changes in moisture or humidity.