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.
Table of Contents
- Traditional Methods of Cleaning Wooden Cutting Boards
- Understanding the Role of Soap
- Debunking Myths
- How to Wash a Wooden Cutting Board with Soap?
- Are Wooden Cutting Boards a Sanitary Choice?
- When Should You Clean & Disinfect Your Wooden Cutting Boards?
- Why Do Oiling & Conditioning Matter for Your Wooden Cutting Boards?
- Final Thoughts
Traditional Methods of Cleaning Wooden Cutting Boards
Before we delve into the soap debate, let’s explore some traditional methods of keeping our wooden boards spick and span.
Hot Water and Scrubbing
The good old hot water and scrubbing technique is a reliable go-to. Use a brush or sponge, hot water, and a touch of elbow grease to remove any food particles and bacteria. This method is effective for day-to-day cleaning.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Solutions
For a deeper clean, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can work wonders. Vinegar’s acidic nature helps break down stubborn stains and odors, while baking soda adds a bit of abrasion for a thorough scrub.
Natural Oils for Conditioning
Wooden cutting boards need some extra care to maintain their quality. Regularly applying natural oils like mineral oil or coconut oil helps prevent the wood from drying out and cracking. It’s like giving your cutting board a spa day!
Understanding the Role of Soap
Now, let’s tackle the elephant in the room – soap. We’ve heard whispers that soap and wooden cutting boards don’t mix well, but is that really the case?
Sterilizing Properties of Soap
Soap is a powerhouse when it comes to cleaning. It breaks down grease, lifts away dirt, and yes, it kills bacteria. The soap molecules work to surround and lift off microbes, leaving your surfaces cleaner than a pre-dishwashing commercial kitchen.
Concerns about Using Soap on Wooden Surfaces
Despite its cleaning prowess, some folks worry that soap might damage the wood. The truth is, if you’re using the right soap in the right way, there’s minimal risk.
Types of Soap Recommended for Wooden Cutting Boards
Opt for mild, natural soaps without harsh chemicals. Avoid antibacterial soaps that may contain triclosan, as they could compromise the wood’s natural properties.
Let’s clear the air on some common misconceptions surrounding the soap-and-wood debate.
Myth: Soap Damages the Wood
n reality, when used in moderation, a mild dish soap won’t harm your wooden cutting board. It’s crucial to rinse thoroughly to eliminate any soap residue.
Myth: Soap Leaves a Residue on the Cutting Board
Proper rinsing is the key. Rinse your cutting board under running water for a sufficient amount of time to ensure all soap is washed away. A quick rinse won’t cut it – give it the attention it deserves.
Addressing Concerns about Soap Affecting Food Flavor
Have you ever worried that your chopping efforts will impart a soapy taste to your veggies? Fear not! Proper rinsing eliminates any lingering soap, leaving your ingredients as delicious as ever.
Let’s break down the step-by-step process of washing a wooden cutting board with soap to ensure it stays clean and in top-notch condition.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Before diving into the cleaning process, make sure you have everything you need:
- Wooden cutting board
- Gentle, antibacterial dish soap
- Soft-bristle brush or sponge
- Clean, dry towel
Step 2: Pre-rinse the Cutting Board
Start by giving your wooden cutting board a quick pre-rinse under running water. This helps to remove loose food particles and debris, making the subsequent cleaning more effective.
Step 3: Apply a Small Amount of Dish Soap
Squirt a small amount of your chosen antibacterial dish soap onto the surface of the cutting board. Remember, a little goes a long way, and you want to avoid excessive soap that could be hard to rinse off.
Step 4: Spread and Scrub Gently
Using a soft-bristle brush or sponge, spread the soap evenly across the cutting board’s surface. Gently scrub the entire board, paying extra attention to any areas with visible stains, odors, or knife marks. This step helps to lift off any lingering bacteria or food residues.
Step 5: Rinse Thoroughly Under Running Water
Rinsing is a critical step to ensure there’s no soap residue left on the cutting board. Hold the board under running water for at least 30 seconds, ensuring both sides and edges get a thorough rinse. This helps to wash away any remaining soap and contaminants.
Step 6: Pat Dry with a Clean Towel
After the thorough rinse, pat the wooden cutting board dry with a clean, dry towel. Avoid leaving the board to air-dry, as excess moisture can lead to swelling and potential damage to the wood.
Step 7: Check for Residue and Repeat if Necessary
Take a moment to inspect the cutting board for any signs of soap residue. If you spot any, give it another quick rinse under running water. It’s essential to ensure your cutting board is entirely free of soap to prevent any unwanted flavors in your next culinary creation.
Step 8: Optional – Apply Natural Oil for Conditioning
For an extra touch of care, consider applying a thin layer of food-grade mineral oil or coconut oil to the cutting board. This helps to nourish the wood, keeping it hydrated and preventing it from drying out or developing cracks.
Step 9: Store Properly
Once your wooden cutting board is clean and dry, store it in a cool, dry place. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight or heat, and never stack wet cutting boards, as this can trap moisture and lead to bacterial growth.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully washed your wooden cutting board with soap, keeping it in tip-top shape for your next culinary masterpiece.
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.
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 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.
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.