The Difference Between Cutting Board Oil and Conditioner?

The difference between cutting board oil and conditioner is that the former is necessary to keep your wooden cutting boards and utensils in good shape whereas the latter is optional.

If we don’t oil our wooden cutting boards, they will eventually become too dry and this may cause cracks. Coating them with food-grade mineral oil on a regular basis helps prevent this.

On the other hand, a conditioner is used optionally. For example, they’re often used after oiling. They help create a harder finish and add a short-term shine.

So, which one should you use, or do you need both? -Let’s find out!

What Is the Difference between Cutting Board Oil & Cutting Board Conditioner?

Cutting board oil and cutting board conditioner differ in necessity and texture. That is, oil is required to keep your wooden cutting boards in top shape whereas a conditioner is somewhat optional.

However, similar to oil, the conditioner eventually wears off and needs to be reapplied, although not as often as oil.

They also differ in the content, i.e., the texture. Oil is more liquid. It doesn’t have any taste, odor, or color and is made safe for use on surfaces that come into contact with food.

On the other hand, conditioner tends to be thicker in structure and it usually consists of food-grade mineral oil, as well as waxes like carnauba or beeswax.

How Is a Cutting Board Oil Used?

Cutting board oil is a specialized type of food-grade mineral oil that is used as a regular maintenance part of wooden cutting boards and utensils.

Wooden cutting boards and wooden kitchen utensils are some of the most sought-after and praised. This is understandable considering how many benefits they have to offer; however, they do need something in return: regular oiling!

By oiling the wood, you help prevent warps and cracks and help them stay in top shape. Unvarnished wood in the kitchen such as wooden cutting boards, butcher blocks, and kitchen islands require oiling to stay in top shape.

If this isn’t done, the wooden board will dry and eventually develop cracks and warp. Mineral oil soaks into the wood, plumps it up, and protects it.

It also repels water and lowers the risk of the wood developing stains from drinks and foods. Plus, it lowers the chances of the wood rotting in case of prolonged water exposure.

Oiling wooden cutting boards and utensils should always be done with the right oil; avoid using cooking oils due to them going rancid! Before you oil the board, clean it well. Scrub it with a mixture of lemon and salt and leave it to dry well.

Apply the oil in the evening and rub it well (be gentle!) into the entire board. Leave it to soak overnight. In the morning, wipe off any surplus and leave it to dry again.

Once it’s entirely dry, you can resume its use.

How Is a Cutting Board Conditioner Used?

Conditioning your wooden cutting boards, utensils, and butcher blocks is recommendable, although it’s not required for the board to be kept in optimal condition.

Conditioning is done after the board has been oiled and dried.

Wood conditioner is a specialized beeswax coating that acts as a protective surface. By conditioning cutting boards, you create a moisture and water barrier which decreases the risk of stains.

It will help the wood stay natural and beautiful. When choosing a conditioner, opt for premium quality ones that are a combination of food-grade mineral oil and food-grade organic wax.

This combo will make boards from oak, maple, walnut, and hickory not just look lovely, but ensure the surface remains functional and safe for work with food.

Conditioning will add sheen and harden the finish; however, it will eventually wear off, the same as the oil. So, it will need to be reapplied, although not as often as oil.  

When applying a conditioner, always make sure the board is entirely dry.  When you open the jar, you may notice that the wax is firm when you touch it. This is the best texture for its application onto the block or board.

When you begin applying it, you’ll see how it will start to soften. This eases its application on the surface. Always rub it into the board using a soft cloth, a lint-free one. Begin with a quarter size and add more when necessary.

Rub it into the whole board well and leave it to dry, at least for two hours or even better, overnight. When the wax has sat for a while, use another soft cloth to clean any surplus wax that’s remained.

You can repeat the conditioning every two to four weeks or when needed. Usually, the more frequently you use your wooden cutting board or butcher block, the more reapplications of the conditioner will it need.

Final Thoughts

The difference between cutting board oil and conditioner is in their texture, as well as their necessity.

Namely, the former is recommendable as regular maintenance of wooden cutting boards and utensils. The latter tends to be optional.

However, both are beneficial for your wooden cutting boards and butcher blocks. The oil protects the surface, creates a flat finish, and accentuates the natural wood colors.

The conditioner prolongs the durability of the wood and adds an extra protective layer. It’s usually a combo of mineral oil and beeswax.

With this in mind, investing in both products is an excellent way to provide your wooden cutting boards and utensils with the care they need and deserve!

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