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A favourite of chefs and amateur cooks alike, a wooden chopping board just has something about it (it’s also a best friend to your knives.) When maintained correctly, a wooden chopping board can last over 10 years.
But do you know how to maintain it correctly? Here are our wooden chopping board dos and don’ts to help you avoid splinters, warping and breakage.
(And for more info on all types of chopping board and how to choose between them, check out our chopping board buyer’s guide here.)
Soaking is necessary for some kitchen utensils, but for wooden chopping boards it’s a death sentence. When left in water, they soak it up, swell and weaken. Over time, the boards will gradually become susceptible to mould and cracks.
Instead of soaking, wash your board down with warm water and mild detergent. For a natural sanitiser, a coarse salt and lemon juice mixture works just as well – rub it all over the board and then wipe it away.
If you’ve cut raw meat on the board, a (very) weak bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution as a cleaner will protect against bacterial contamination.
A still-wet wooden board placed back in a drawer will not only attract mould but the wood will eventually soften and crack.
After cleaning, always leave your chopping board out to air dry naturally for as long as possible. When it comes to storage, make sure the space is clean and dry. In fact, leaving it out on the work surface is actually recommended for wooden boards. (And let’s be honest, if you have one as pretty as this acacia herringbone board, you’ll want it out for all to see!)
Most chopping boards are made from hardwood, but nevertheless abrasive cleaning products like scourers can cause the wood to break down.
… Or, if the mess is minimal, kitchen towel and spray detergent is fine.
Dishwashers tend to be too hot for wooden chopping boards (and other wooden items). Being exposed to that temperature and moisture for the duration of a long dishwasher cycle will cause the board to warp, splinter and break.
What’s more, dishwasher detergent tends to be too harsh and will strip the board of its protective oils.
Oils help wooden chopping boards maintain their smooth surface and stop them becoming dry and brittle.
But you can’t use any old oil (olive oil from the cupboard is a big no no as this will turn rancid.)
Food-grade mineral oil and beeswax is what to look out for in kitchen supply shops.