Kitchen Upkeep: How to Breathe New Life into an Old Cutting Board

Mineral oil cutting board

About once a year, I give my go-to cutting boards a good once over to make sure they stay in top shape along the way. Our cutting boards take a lot of abuse in the kitchen. Most of the time care looks like simply wiping them down and storing them back safely into the cupboard. 

 A solid wooden cutting board is worth investing in if you want a fully equipped kitchen. A thick, solid board makes chopping, slicing, and dicing everything a bit easier. Treat it right and it will serve well for years to come. Here's how I keep ours well oiled and smooth, ready for your knives.

1. Clean and Prep – The first step is a deep clean to get any residual and food particles off the board. I rub it down with a rag wet with a bit of dishsoap and warm water. Don't ever soak a wooden cutting board, as the water-soluble glue may fail at a joint, just wash with water and let dry stored horizontally to keep from warping the wood.

Sand Cutting Board

2. Sand the Surface – Generally, the cutting boards just need a light sanding to get any large slices smoothed out. Starting with 150 grit and moving up to 400, I sand the board with the grain to get the surface back to clean and smooth.

Oiled Cutting Board

3. Oil the Surface – At this point, clean the surface again with a bit of dish soap and warm water, let dry completely then oil with food-grade beeswax or mineral oil. Stay away from olive or canola oil as they tend to go rancid and make the board unsanitary. Be sure to oil both sides of the board evenly and always store in a horizontal position to prevent warping.

Oiled Cutting Board

Helpful Tips:

1. Don't cut meats on a wooden cutting board. I have a dedicated plastic board for meats that I can put in the dishwasher for a deep disinfection.

2. To take out stains on wooden boards, scrub the board with some salt or baking soda and rub it in with a halved lemon. Be sure to re-oil the board after a scrub like this.

That's it, do this simple rehab on all of your favorite cutting boards at least once a year and you will likely have it around for over a decade.