How to Remove Fish Smell from a Bamboo Cutting Board?

Bamboo cutting boards may be all fun and games until they start to release an odd, fishy smell. Yikes, right?!

But, it’s not impossible to remove the fish smell from a bamboo cutting board. You may have been using it to prepare raw meat and fish and the board has absorbed some of the smell and juices.

This is understandable. Bamboo and wood are porous to a certain extent (some more, some less). As a result, if the board isn’t properly cleaned, oiled, and disinfected, it may absorb unpleasant odors.

If you’ve been thinking about discarding the board, don’t give up on it just yet. In fact, there are some helpful and effective ways to deodorize bamboo boards and get rid of unpleasant odors!

Why Do Bamboo Cutting Boards Absorb Odors?

Bamboo is a natural material, i.e., a type of fast-growing grass. It’s rougher and has a certain level of porosity, similar to wood, another natural material.

The board’s size and the number of pores can reveal a lot about its health and safety.

A closed-grain material is one with fewer and smaller pores. The ones with larger pores are known as open-grain materials. Their pores are visible to the naked eye. The problem happens when the pores aren’t adequately cleaned and dried.

If not cleaned quickly and properly after every use, especially if you’re using them with strong-smelling foods, these openings can trap bacteria and even viruses.

If too many bacteria get trapped in these indentations and begin to multiply, the risk of mold, which is unhealthy and dangerous, increases.

Oiling the board regularly will also reduce the risk of odor absorption. The food-grade mineral oil should be rubbed into the board on a regular basis.

What’s more, oiling helps increase the pliability of the board. This reduces the risk of warps and splinters.

If you have an open grain board, oil it more often. The closed grain doesn’t need oiling that often.

What Kind of Board Should I Use with Strong-Smelling Foods to Prevent This?

Without a doubt, bamboo has a lot of benefits to offer. From being versatile to its eco-friendliness feature, it’s definitely a board that deserves a place in your kitchen.

But, with all of the advantages it has going for it, bamboo is a challenging material. It’s best to avoid using it with strong-smelling foods like meat, fish, onion, garlic, etc. due to its porous nature.

You can still use it with these foods, but make sure you clean it well and deodorize it after each use. If this board is your favorite in the kitchen, no worries.

Have two bamboo boards. Use one for these foods and the other for fruits, veggies, bread, etc. This will also lower the risk of cross-contamination.

You won’t be exposing the veggies and fruits to raw meat juices or to any strong odors.

Another excellent solution is to use a different material board for strong-smelling foods. The good news is that there are various options to choose from.

Some of them are plastic, marble, ceramic, glass, etc. They’re easily cleaned and won’t absorb any odors or juices.

Plus, many of them are dishwasher-safe which eases the cleaning and sanitization a lot. On the other hand, wood and bamboo boards aren’t suitable for the dishwasher and need to be cleaned thoroughly by hand.

How to Remove Fish Smell from Bamboo Cutting Boards?

If you want to remove the fish smell from a bamboo cutting board, rubbing a cut lemon into the whole board helps deodorize it.

This method also works for deodorizing bamboo cutting boards from other unpleasant odors like garlic, onion, or raw meat.

Another great deodorizing tip is to mix white vinegar and water (1:4).

Spray the whole board with it and wipe the board with a clean cloth. Then, clean the board with a damp cloth and leave it to air-dry for at least a whole day.

Baking soda is also a popular ingredient for deodorizing and cleaning your bamboo boards. Make a paste using three parts baking soda and one part water and scrub the board with it.

Rinse the board well and leave it to air dry.

Remember to wash the board after every use with soap and warm water.

If there’s any grime or dirt accumulated, remove it thoroughly with a soft cloth or paper towel. Rub the board with a lemon and rinse it well. Oil the board and leave it to dry.

If the board is too worn out or the grooves aren’t easy to clean, it’s best to get rid of it, recycle or repurpose it. This is because the indentations will harbor bacteria and mold.

Final Thoughts

If you were wondering how to remove the stinky fish smell from a bamboo cutting board, we’re more than happy to have helped you!

Although it may be your first instinct to get rid of the board when it starts to release a fish smell by tossing it in the trash, this isn’t the only solution!

In fact, you can easily deodorize it using lemon juice or baking soda.

If the deodorizing methods we presented don’t work with your board or provide the results you wanted, you can always repurpose the board or recycle it.

The good news is that bamboo is natural so it will biodegrade entirely in landfills, supposing it doesn’t contain artificial elements!

To prevent an unpleasant odor from being released from your bamboo cutting boards in the first place is to use other, non-porous boards like glass or plastic when working with fish, raw meat, and strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic.

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