Can You Wash a Wooden Cutting Board with Soap?

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You can wash your wooden cutting board with soap, but not with every type of soap. The safest option is dish soap.

Washing your wooden cutting boards in the sink is the preferred choice. They’re not dishwasher-safe because the high heat and water and moisture can damage them.

When cleaning your wooden cutting boards and utensils, always scrub them gently using a sponge and warm and soapy water. When choosing dish soap, opt for the mild, unscented options.

And, always scrub and wash both sides of the board. This ensures the board dries equally and reduces the risk of cracks and warps.

Keep reading to learn more about proper cleaning and maintenance of your wooden cutting boards.

Washed wooden cutting board at shelf on brown wooden background

How to Wash a Wooden Cutting Board with Soap?

Wooden cutting boards may be more demanding in terms of maintenance than plastic boards, but they’re definitely worth it!

They’re a favorite among home and professional chefs. Wood is gentler on blades and helps keep their sharpness for a longer period of time.

Plastic boards may be easier to sanitize due to being dishwasher-safe; but, but they’re more damaging to blades. And, they don’t possess self-healing abilities like wood. This means the pores created by the knife cutting remain open.

This creates the ideal environment for bacteria. Unless you use the board with raw meat or fish and it needs to be sanitized with bleach and water mixture, cleaning the board with gentle dish soap and water will be enough.

Never soak your wooden cutting boards and wooden utensils in water for long. This natural material will swell upon the absorption of water. And, as it dries, it will shrink and this will result in cracks and splits.

Dishwashers dry with high heat. So, the transfer from a very wet environment to a very dry one happens fast.

When it comes to cleaning your wooden cutting board in the sink, any quality antibacterial dish soap with a fresh and clean smell will do the job.

Are Wooden Cutting Boards a Sanitary Choice?

Wooden boards don’t just look stylish, but they’re also a sanitary choice if treated properly. Wooden cutting boards may need extra maintenance, but they definitely perform much better and last longer.

They’re gentler on knives and some wood types are known to possess self-healing abilities.

Beech and maple are two excellent options since they’re long-lasting, don’t scar easily, and they possess somewhat ability to self-heal. This ability is actually the capillary action of the fibers which keeps the moisture away.

Many users of wooden boards worry about the natural pores absorbing bacteria, particularly if it’s used with meat. But, this can easily be prevented by having a separate wooden cutting board for meat and fish.

And, make sure you sanitize the board often to help destroy any remaining bacteria. You can use diluted bleach for this.

When Should You Clean & Disinfect Your Wooden Cutting Boards?

You should clean your wooden cutting boards and utensils after every use. You scrub and rinse them and then leave them to air dry on a rack.

Sanitization is also important if you use the board with raw meat and fish. This is because these foods carry bacteria in their meat and juices and they can enter the pores of the wood.

By sanitizing the board with bleach or some other suitable sanitizer, you help destroy these bacteria before they proliferate further and prevent cross-contamination.

To sanitize the board with bleach, do it after using the board with raw meat, fish, or poultry. This will destroy any bacteria remaining on the board.

First, wash it with dish soap and then make a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach and a gallon of water. When the mixture is ready, submerge the board into the solution.

Leave the bleach to do its thing, for at least two to three minutes. Afterward, you can wash the board again with soap and warm water and remove any lingering odor from the bleach.

Leave the board to dry entirely and it’s ready for use.

Why do Oiling & Conditioning Matter for Your Wooden Cutting Boards?

In addition to regular washing with dish soap and sanitization with bleach, wooden cutting boards need to be oiled and conditioned occasionally.

The oil and wax create a protective layer that closes the wood’s pores and discourages bacteria. Moreover, as wood tends to dry out, the oil and wax will nourish it from within and create a healthy glow and prevent cracks.

Oiling is recommended to be done every month or biweekly if you use the board on a daily basis. Oiling should never be done with vegetable oils due to them being prone to rancidification that will result in a bad odor coming from the board.

Choose a food-grade mineral oil instead. This is a special type of oil that’s safe to use with objects that come into contact with food. Drop several drops of the oil onto the board and wipe it whole with a clean cloth.

Leave the board to dry overnight or for 24 hours. If there’s surplus oil, wipe it away. The conditioning with wax should be done after the board has been oiled and dried.

You can use a special type of conditioner for wood which is usually a combo of beeswax and food-grade mineral oil. The texture may be harder so you can warm it up a bit if it’s challenging for application.

Final Thoughts

Wooden cutting boards and wooden utensils benefit from being washed with soap, preferably an antibacterial one, after every use.

Combined with warm water and gentle scrubbing, you can easily clean them in the sink. Leave the boards to air dry and they’re ready for the next use.

But, in order to protect the wood which is a natural material, make sure you oil and condition it regularly. This protects the fibers and creates a protective layer, reducing the presence of bacteria.

In addition to this, you should also sanitize the board from time to time or after every use of the board with raw meat, poultry, or fish. This is to decrease the risk of cross-contamination.

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