Wash your cutting board with water (soap is fine too), including the underside and edges, removing anything that’s stuck to it with a lint-free rag. Most people only wash the top, and that actually ends up hurting the board. When moisture reacts with grain, it swells, and if the swelling isn’t uniform, it can warp the board. A rocking cutting board usually means that only one side was washed.
Then, wipe down the board and let it dry thoroughly overnight, standing it on edge (shown above) so that both large faces are facing out.
To disinfect, sprinkle baking soda on the surface of the cutting board, then work it into the surface stains with a lemon (which also makes the board smell amazing, by the way) or a gentle sponge or wash cloth. Rinse the board and dry it with a towel.
If your board has any sour or mould-like smell, you can also put a cup of baking powder onto the board and pour a cup of white vinegar over the board. The combination of these two ingredients will create an oxidization process that will remove stains and (hopefully) any lingering smells left in your cutting board. For a more natural route, you can also cut lemons in half and rub the board down with the sides of the lemon. Let sit for a few minutes before rinsing off.
The next morning, use your hands to apply a generous layer of mineral oil to the sides, top, bottom, and any groove, grip, or handle. You don’t need puddles of oil on your board, just enough to cover the wood with an even coat. Let the oil soak into the board for at least three hours. Leave it on its edge to dry just like before.
With this cleaning process, the wood should look great for decades.
If deep cut marks start to show up on the face of the wood, you can sand out deep ridges by taking sand paper to the entire face of the board. You have to sand evenly, which takes time, but it can give the board a whole new life. Make sure to start from the beginning of the cleaning process after.
Sometimes your board will warp, even with the best of care. In that case, get a new one. When the glued joints start to fail or heavy cracks develop, food and bad bacteria can start to build up and potentially make you sick. We don’t want that.
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