Can You Use Olive Oil on Bamboo Cutting Boards?

Olive oil must never be used for the maintenance of bamboo cutting boards. You should also never use corn oil and sunflower oil to oil your bamboo cutting boards.

This is because these oils are prone to rancidification. This process results in a strong and unpleasant smell.

You definitely don’t want to feel it coming from your board for food preparation.

Considering the fact that the board touches the food that you and your family consume, you don’t want to use the wrong oils for its maintenance.

You need to oil it properly and safely. The best option is food-grade mineral oil which is designed for wood and bamboo maintenance. This oil is safe for use with products that come into contact with food.

There are also other bamboo-friendly options you can use if you don’t have this oil. Some of the best are fractioned coconut oil and beeswax.

Rancidification: Why Is It Bad for Your Bamboo Cutting Board?

Oils and fats go through a process known as rancidity.

They become partially or entirely oxidized after being exposed to light, air, and moisture. When rancidification happens, a foul odor is also released.

Considering this, it’s never a good idea to use any of these oils for the maintenance of your bamboo chopping boards.

The board will begin to emit an unpleasant smell that may be absorbed by the foods you’re going to prepare on the board.

In addition to these oils being a no-go for your bamboo cutting board, you should also know the other products that aren’t safe to use.

Here are some of them:

  • Rubbing alcohol

It will dry out the bamboo, causing it to crack and splinter.

  • Varnish

Although it may be awesome for the protection of wood furniture, it’s not a good choice for bamboo cutting boards that come into contact with food!

The sharp knives may chip away the resin which is toxic to humans.

  • Cleaning products

These products may be great for non-food-prep surfaces; however, avoid them with porous and food-prep surfaces like your bamboo cutting board.

The board may soak up the chemicals which may then transfer into the food.

What to Use to Oil Your Bamboo Cutting Boards?

To oil your bamboo cutting boards, it’s recommendable to use food-grade mineral oil. Conditioning the board occasionally is also beneficial.

By oiling the board, you close down the pores and reduce the risk of bacteria thriving. This further reduces the risk of cross-contamination.

When it comes to oiling bamboo cutting boards, it’s best to do it at least once every month or twice if you use the board a lot.

The first time after buying a board, be a bit more generous with the oil and really soak the board in it. Rub the oil into the entire board using a cloth. Leave it to dry overnight. In the morning, wipe it once more.

If you notice the board has absorbed the entire oil and somehow still looks dry, feel free to repeat the process. Otherwise, it’s ready for use.

The conditioning is somewhat optional, but it’s highly recommendable.

Conditioning may not be necessary as often as oiling. Conditioners are usually a combo of food-grade mineral oil waxes like beeswax and carnauba. They also have a thicker structure.

To condition, the board, do it after it has been oiled and it’s fully dry. It will create a protective coating. This barrier will lower the risk of excessive moisture and staining.

How to Keep Your Bamboo Cutting Board in Top Shape?

Bamboo cutting boards are praised for their durability, sustainability, and affordability. They look great and are hygienic. But, they still need to be properly cared for and maintained to last.

The first step in maintaining the board is washing it with dish soap and warm water after every use. Make sure it’s properly placed on the rack (vertically) so that it air-dries optimally.

Never put your bamboo cutting board in the dishwasher or leave it soaking in water. This is because bamboo is moisture- and heat-sensitive, particularly if it’s exposed to them for long periods of time. If you do this, the board may warp and crack!

Bamboo cutting boards should also be oiled twice or once per month, depending on how often they’re used and their current condition.

By oiling them, you reduce the risk of cracks that become the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. It also helps restore very dry bamboo boards and helps remove stains and unpleasant odors.

When you finish the oiling, place the board upright on the edges so that the oil soaks in well. Conditioning the board creates a protective layer that reduces the board’s exposure to moisture and water.

If you need to deodorize your bamboo cutting board and eliminate unpleasant odors, baking soda, salt, or lemon juice can help.

Another very important aspect of maintenance is storing. Keep your bamboo cutting boards in cool and dry areas. Excessive exposure to moisture, heat, or direct sunlight can damage it!

Final Thoughts

Although you can use olive oil on bamboo cutting boards, this isn’t recommendable. In fact, it’s bad for your boards!

Namely, oils prone to rancidification like olive oil and sunflower oil shouldn’t be used to oil wood and bamboo. They will go rancid and begin to release a foul smell.

To oil bamboo cutting boards, it’s best to use food-grade mineral oil or fractioned coconut oil. They don’t go rancid and prevent the board from cracking and drying out excessively.

In addition to oiling, conditioning is also great for the maintenance of bamboo boards and utensils. It creates a protective barrier and reduces damage from moisture and water.

Bamboo is sustainable, sturdy, and affordable so it’s worth going the extra mile to give it the protection it deserves!

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