How to Remove the Garlic Smell from a Bamboo Cutting Board?

Tired of your fruits smelling like garlic after cutting them on your bamboo cutting board? -I have been there, believe me!

Many of us love garlic’s flavor in meals, but its frequent preparation on cutting boards, particularly on wood and bamboo, may cause the board to absorb the unpleasant odor.

As time goes by, this odor lingers. The soap and sponge do nothing anymore. So, you may be wondering if getting rid of the unpleasant smell is possible. Or, is the board ready for the trash?

The good news is that there are effective cleaning hacks that remove the unpleasant smell from bamboo cutting boards.

Don’t give up on your cutting board just yet!

Why Do Bamboo Cutting Boards Absorb Smells?

Bamboo cutting boards are popular kitchen utensils for slicing, dicing, and chopping various foods, including veggies, fruits, meat, cheese, and bread.

But, they may get smelly fast due to their porous surface, especially if it’s not cleaned or maintained properly.

This eases its absorption of juices and smells from different foods, especially fish, garlic, onion, and meat.

Bamboo is a type of fast-growing grass and it’s a sustainable and renewable material. It’s harder than some types of wood so it’s praised for its durability and longevity.

Despite the numerous benefits it has to offer, a bamboo cutting board isn’t non-porous like glass, marble, plastic, or resin. Bamboo and wood are likelier to absorb smells and release unpleasant odors.

Also, improper drying may result in an odd smell coming from your bamboo board, which is actually caused by mildew.

How to Prevent Garlic Smell on Cutting Boards?

A lot of bamboo cutting board users complain of a garlic smell coming from their boards. This may be a result of delayed washing and deodorizing, but also improper drying.

When you’ve cleaned the board, wipe away surplus moisture using a cloth. And, place the board upright and leave it to air-dry for several hours or overnight on a rack.

Another way to reduce the risk of garlic absorption is by using a different cutting board for garlic and onion preparation.

Namely, plastic, silicone, glass, and marble are non-porous. That is, they can’t absorb smells, liquids, etc.

A simple solution would be to have at least one of these boards and use it with strong-smelling foods. Soap and water will be enough to remove any bad odors from them.

In this way, you protect your bamboo cutting boards and reduce the risk of poor smells.

If you use a bamboo cutting board, make sure you oil it regularly. This will reduce the risk of the board drying out and absorbing flavors. And, make sure you never leave the board with liquids sitting on it.

The board has a certain level of porosity so it will swell up and soak the liquids. This will eventually make the board weaker and more prone to bad smells.

How to Remove Garlic Smell from a Bamboo Cutting Board?

Bamboo cutting boards absorb odors, particularly if they’re used for preparing powerful-smelling foods like garlic or onions.

One of the best ways to prevent this is to wipe the board with white vinegar. Though it seems counterintuitive, once it dries out, white vinegar has a weak scent.

Baking soda can also help. You spread a generous amount of the powder on the board. Then, you scrub the board with a sponge and warm water.

Once this step is done, wash the board with soap and water. Although white vinegar and baking soda can help reduce the strength of the unpleasant garlicky smell, one of the best solutions is to use another board for these foods.

You should also consider another one for meat and poultry. There’s also one unusual, but praised method of removing the garlicky smell from bamboo boards.

It involves rubbing a sliced apple or a potato. The logic behind this method is that foods that brown after cutting help humans remove bad breath. So, there’s some possibility that they eliminate bad odors from surfaces too.

How to Deodorize & Disinfect Bamboo Cutting Boards?

If you have bamboo cutting boards, always clean them after use. And, avoid cutting and chopping in one part of the board only, but rather switch up the areas.

This helps prevent wear and tear.

Avoid using wooden and bamboo boards for poultry, fish, and meat preparation. Opt for polypropylene or glass ones.

This allows you to wash and sanitize the board easily after every use, without worrying about any lingering smells. Many of these boards are also dishwasher-safe, which is another bonus in terms of sanitization.

If your bamboo board is releasing odd smells, it’s time to deodorize it. A paste of one tablespoon of salt and juice from half a lemon can help.

Scrub the board with it for a minute or two and leave it to dry entirely. Then, scrape off any remaining salt and rinse the board.

When you don’t have lemons, white vinegar makes another great deodorizing option.

Things to Keep in Mind

Regular Maintenance: To prevent odors from making a comeback, make regular cleaning a part of your kitchen routine.

Watch Your Ingredients: Some foods are more pungent than others. Be mindful of what you chop on your bamboo cutting board to avoid strong smells lingering.

Season Your Bamboo Board: Now and then, give your bamboo cutting board a little TLC by seasoning it with mineral oil. This helps maintain its integrity and freshness.

Final Thoughts

Bamboo cutting boards are lovely kitchen utensils; however, they may absorb unpleasant smells from foods like garlic and onion.

The best way to prevent this is to use a non-porous cutting board for strong-smelling foods. These are boards from glass or granite.

If you’ve already “done the damage”, don’t be afraid. You can restore your board and eliminate the bad odor with the right cleaning and maintenance.

Always clean the board right after use. And, if you’ve been noticing the garlicky smell, opt for some of the effective deodorizing options. Lemon juice, vinegar, and salt are some of the most effective methods.

Other, less usual, but effective deodorizing method is rubbing a sliced potato or an apple.

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