Care & Maintenance

We take great pride in producing a high-quality cutting board using the best processes and materials to give you a long-lasting product. Your cutting board may be one of the most actively used kitchenware items in your home, and if properly cared for can provide years of enjoyment. Properly maintaining your board can be a quick and easy task that will keep your board sanitary, looking new and will extend the life of your board. All cutting boards should be cleaned, sanitized and oiled frequently. Because of the importance of giving your cutting board the proper care it requires, we have assembled the following tips as a guide:

  • NEVER put your board in the dishwasher. The heat and water will warp and split the wood and damage the glue.
  • NEVER dunk your board in the sink or let it sit in water. The wood will absorb water excessively and potentially warp.
  • NEVER use bleach or soap. This can stain the wood and/or excessively dry the wood.
  • NEVER lay your wet board flat to dry. If the board dries on one side, it will cause the wood to warp, and the moisture collecting beneath the board will eventually promote the growth of mold. Also, avoid storing your board stacked together with other kitchen gear; it is best to store it upright.
  • NEVER use any vegetable, olive, cooking oils, etc. to treat or finish a cutting surface, as in time the wood will reek of a rancid spoiled oil odor.
  • DO use a USP-grade mineral oil, Cutting Board Oil or Butcher Block Conditioner regularly to maintain proper surface treatment, guard against germs and/or mold growth, and extend the life of your board. See Conditioning Recommendations below for further details.
  • Use fine grit sandpaper to maintain smoothness of finish. After the first initial washes or rinses, the cutting board may absorb some water causing it to lose its smoothness or to feel "fuzzy". This is not abnormal. If this is the case, lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper in the direction of the grain until desired smoothness is attained, then re-oil or re-finish.

    Cleaning Recommendations:

    Hand-Wash Only, Never Submerge In Water - To avoid bacteria formation, it’s important that you wash your cutting board immediately after each use. Wipe the cutting board with hot soapy water, rinse it with hot water and wipe it dry with a clean dish towel.

    Disinfect & Deodorize Using White Vinegar - Keeping a spray bottle of vinegar handy to disinfect & deodorize your cutting board is an easy way to clean & sanitize. Acetic acid (white vinegar) is an excellent disinfectant that combats E. coli, Salmonella, and other household bacteria. Spray vinegar on the board, let sit for a few minutes and wipe it with a damp clean cloth. This may help eliminate garlic, onion, fish, or other smells from your cutting board. Be sure to re-oil your board if necessary.

    Disinfect Using Hydrogen Peroxide - Hydrogen is a powerful oxidizer that is considered harmless in small amounts. To clean your cutting board, pour some 3% hydrogen peroxide on the board and spread it using a clean sponge or cloth. Let it stand for a minute or two and then wipe with a warm wet sponge or cloth.

    Clean With Coarse Salt & Lemon - For an all-natural clean, first try dampening the wood cutting board with a warm cloth and sprinkling coarse salt over it. Cut a lemon in half and scrape the cut side of the lemon over the board while slightly squeezing the lemon juice out as you go. Let it stand for five minutes and use a scrub brush to remove the excess.

    Conditioning Recommendations:

    Your new cutting board is sent to you pre-oiled with several coats of Howard Cutting Board Oil. With use, even with light hand washing, eventually cracks can appear if the board is not oiled regularly. Oiling the cutting board frequently with a conditioner will also help repel food particles and prevent the board from becoming stained, acting as a protective barrier. How frequently it should be oiled and conditioned will depend on how frequently it is used as well as surrounding climate conditions. As a rule of thumb, oil at least once monthly (in some cases once weekly or after each use) and especially if the wood is showing signs of being dried out. If you allow the wood to become dry it may begin to crack. Re-oil or re-condition as often as needed.

    * It’s important to make sure that the cutting board is clean and dry before applying any oil.

    Mineral oil helps protect your board. Before applying oil to your cutting board, you can warm the oil slightly for better workability. Apply oil with a soft cloth, in the direction of the grain, allowing the oil to soak in. How much mineral oil should you use on your board? When you put your first application of mineral oil, you will either see it soak in or not soak in over a 15-20 minute period. If it soaks in and the wood is dry to the touch, you can rub it down again immediately with more mineral oil. If the oil has pooled on the surface of the block, then you can just wipe it off with paper towels and be comfortable that you are properly caring for your board. The idea is to ensure that the wood is saturated, so you know the oil has properly penetrated the wood.

    You can buy generic food grade mineral oil for a few dollars at most grocery or drug stores and almost any big box retailer. Make sure what you are purchasing is USP-grade (food grade) and FDA approved oil. Another option is to use products made specifically for cutting boards and butcher blocks. Examples include Howard Cutting Board Oil or Howard Butcher Block Conditioner, which can be found in hardware stores or easily online (http://www.howardproducts.com). (We receive no compensation from Howard in exchange for recommending their products).

    When using your cutting board, make sure you pair it with sharp knives that make cutting easy and apply minimal pressure to avoid creating deep gashes on your board. If your knives are dull, take them in to a professional knife sharpener—you’ll be surprised what a difference sharp knives can make!

    Refurbishing Your Cutting Board

    It’s hard to avoid knife marks from accumulating on your cutting board over the years. The wonderful thing about a wood board is that it can be returned to its original splendor easily. All you need are three different grits of sand paper (100, 180 and 240 specifically). First sand the board with the coarser 100 grit, then the 180 grit and finish with the fine 240 grit. When sanding, remember that if you don't sand the top evenly you will end up with "hills" and "valleys" on the top. Try to sand along the grain of the wood, in broad strokes. Once you are done with sanding, wash the board, let dry and apply oil.

    (You are encouraged to do your own research in addition to the information presented above. The information presented on this page is simply our suggestion for your benefit based on the best information that we have found and personally use; it is not intended to be an exhaustive guide. Even if you follow proper sanitation of your cutting board you can still get contamination from other surfaces or utensils. We are not liable for any food contamination that might occur with the use of our cutting boards and/or the indications above.)