Several readers have asked how to clean wood cutting boards. I have learned that a good scrubbing with lemon juice and salt can take care of a lot of the dirt and grime that build up on old cutting boards. You can see some discoloration and dirt on this board that I discovered in the garage at an estate sale. Typically, I don’t buy garage sale cutting boards for personal use. I have a couple of boards that I bought new years ago that continue to serve me well. I buy them to sell or decorate with, so I can’t guarantee that lemon juice and salt will eliminate every last germ, but I think they do a pretty good job.
Sometimes old boards are so deeply knife-scarred, even mangled in spots, that only a light sanding offers hope for restoration.
After cleaning and/or sanding your boards, you will want to season them. These means applying mineral oil to the surface and allowing it to soak into the board. Seasoning prevents your board from becoming dry and brittle. When that happens, you increase the chances of your board cracking or even splitting. You can tell if a board needs oiling by sprinkling a few drops of water on its surface. If the board absorbs it, it’s dry and in need of seasoning. If it pools on the surface (repels the water), you’re in good shape.
You can pick up mineral oil at any drug or grocery store, and it is food safe–perfect for use on kitchen wares.
Pour a small puddle of oil onto your board and spread it evenly from corner to corner and down along the sides. Leave it for an hour or two (or overnight). If in that time, the oil has been entirely absorbed, apply another layer. Continue this process until the board no longer absorbs the oil. Wipe off any excess and then flip it over and treat the other side. The typical cutting board may require seasoning 2 or 3 times per year.
May all of your cutting boards be clean, smooth, and well-seasoned!
Thanks so much for stopping by–