Are Wooden Cutting Boards Antibacterial?

Wood is proven to be antibacterial.

According to a study done by the University of Wisconsin, 99.9% of bacteria put on a wooden cutting board died within only several minutes.

The board was left at room temperature overnight and the next day, there were no remaining bacteria alive. Plastic cutting boards, especially the cheaper options, didn’t show the same or similar effect on microbes.

Since bacteria in food are associated with food-borne diseases, wooden cutting boards are often chosen as the most sanitary option.

But, is your wooden cutting board really able to deter all bacteria? -Let’s find out together!

Are Wooden Cutting Boards Antibacterial?

Wood is a natural material that has been proven to prevent bacterial growth on its surfaces. Wood has natural pores and it can destroy bacteria by pulling them inside and trapping them. 

What’s more, wood fibers also pull in moisture that’s close to the surface and don’t allow bacteria to thrive and multiply so they die (they love moisture!).

The fibers of quality wooden cutting boards are also protective of blades. Their self-healing fibers will prevent the formation of excessive cuts and cracks.

In terms of hygiene, wood is your safest bet. In the above-mentioned study, these boards were found the cleanest due to their resistance to bacteria which was superior to that of fiberglass, polyethylene, and plastic.

To clean the board, wash it after every use with antibacterial dish soap. Oil and condition it on a regular basis. This will keep it healthy and destroy pathogens.

Many wooden cutting board users worry about the porosity of wood increasing the risk of bacteria. Indeed, wood, especially one with a finer grain texture, may easily trap bacteria inside.

But, since it has natural antibacterial characteristics, these bacteria can’t survive.

And, when you clean, sanitize, and deodorize your wooden cutting boards, the risk of any bacteria proliferating is very low.

Moreover, the study’s authors found no important difference in the content of bacteria in plastic vs. wooden cutting boards. So, we can’t claim that plastic is more sanitary than wood.

What Do Wood’s Natural Antibacterial Properties Do?

Wood has been part of our lives for centuries. But, it’s often questioned due to its natural porosity and organic composition.

But, because of its antimicrobial properties, it can be compared and even stand out among other materials like glass, plastic, and steel. Wood destroys bacteria trapped inside its pores within minutes.

Premium quality wooden boards can last for years, without any reduction in their antibacterial characteristics. The antibacterial properties stem from the self-healing fibers of wood that can withstand ongoing chopping, cutting, and slicing too.

Research has found various wood types to offer the best self-healing properties; however, oak and pine are the two most popular ones.

Maple is also another great choice.

Why Choose Wood Over Other Cutting Board Materials?

Wood remains the best material for cutting boards. It offers exceptional properties, including durability, gentleness on blades, smoothness, and strength.

Wood is a better choice than other cutting board materials because:

  • It delivers premium longevity and durability. The best wooden cutting boards can last for a lifetime. Wood is also a forgiving material, which can’t be said for artificial materials like glass or plastic.
  • It’s gentle on the blades. Wood is pleasurable for cutting and woods like walnut and maple are gentle on blades and won’t cause them to go dull like it’s the case with hardwoods like bamboo or plastic and glass. Although walnut and maple are technically hardwoods, they’re soft enough to protect blades.
  • It’s more sanitary than you may think. There’s a common concern that wood’s porosity will cause bacteria to thrive; however, studies have shown the opposite. Wood traps bacteria and destroys them. To be sure that no pathogens remain, wash the board with warm soap and water after every use. And, sanitize it on a monthly basis.
  • It looks wonderful. Wood can’t be beaten when it comes to aesthetics!  It’s a lovely natural material that blends great in any type of kitchen design.

Wooden Boards & Raw Meat: Do They Go Together?

You can use wooden cutting boards with raw meat, but you need to know how to do it properly.

Bacteria can proliferate in the most unexpected of places.

So, having separate cutting boards for different foods is essential for maximum hygiene and safety. It’s especially important to have a separate cutting board for meat, poultry, and fish.

This is because raw meat and its juices contain certain bacteria which contribute to cross-contamination and a higher risk of food-borne diseases.

Poultry, seafood, and any other raw meat may have bacteria. If this meat is prepared on the board, you may be potentially exposing other foods prepared on the same board to the bacteria.

This may be less of an issue for meat that has been cooked to a certain temperature; but, fresh produce and fruits may collect some of the bacteria present on the board and spread it further.

To decrease the risk of cross-contamination, there are three rules you need to remember. That is, have a separate cutting board for raw meat, always rinse the board with soap after use, and sanitize it every month.

Final Thoughts

Cutting boards are similar to mattresses. If you misjudge how vital it is to pick a quality one, you will definitely regret it!

Cutting boards are important working surfaces in the kitchen They’re the place where we prep veggies for soup or where we skin chicken for a delicious Sunday roast.

Wooden cutting boards are one of the most popular options.

They don’t just offer longevity, durability, and aesthetics, but are antibacterial too! Wood is proven to destroy bacteria and possesses self-healing abilities.

Wood fibers can destroy pathogens within minutes. This is essential for the reduction of cross-contamination, especially when working with raw meat, poultry, and fish.

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