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How to Care for a Wooden Cutting Board

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: The proper ways to clean and maintain your wooden cutting boards.

Cleaning cutting board from Food52

Cleaning and caring for wooden cutting boards -- like sweeping behind a dresser, or cleaning the gunk from the sink drain -- are tasks we prefer to not think about, to cringe as they pass through our realm of consciousness and then shove them far, far away.

But our wooden cutting boards -- our kitchen workhorses -- are important. They're valuable. And the cleaning and caring of them is, surprisingly, easy -- and can be accomplished with the things you probably have around in your pantry.

Are you ready to feel productive, responsible, and adult? Read on.


For any stained areas -- think residue from blackberries, beets, or even a bloody steak -- make a coarse paste of salt, water, and baking soda, and then scrub it on the area with a tea towel or brush.

Cleaning with salt from Food52

To get rid of any odors, you can spray the board with white vinegar. Don't worry about that vinegar smell -- it will evaporate.

Cleaning with vinegar from Food52

Everyday Cleaning

Rinse your wooden board under hot water, taking care to not let it soak; soaking will make it split and warp. Wipe it dry with a tea towel, and let it air-dry.


You're going to need kosher salt, half of a lemon, some mineral oil, and two tea towels.

Start by sprinkling your entire board with the salt (don't be shy about it!). Then, working from one corner, rub the entire board with the cut side of a lemon. Watch in wonder as the board gets cleaner with every swipe.

Cleaning with salt from Food52 Cleaning with salt and lemon from Food52

Cleaning from Food52 Cleaning from Food52

Once you're done canvassing the board, wipe off any excess salt with a tea towel. Then, squeeze mineral oil all over the board, and rub it into the wood with the grain.

Cleaning from Food52 

Let the board stand with its oily slick for at least ten minutes, then wipe off any excess oil. Ta da!

Clean cutting board from Food52

How do you care for your cutting boards? Let us know in the comments!

Photos by James Ransom

Tags: cleaning, maintenance, cutting board, how-to & diy

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