5 Ways You're Ruining Your Wood Cutting Board (and How to Stop)

This vital tool deserves your respect.

Fruit. Photo: Trinette Reed / Getty Images

Though they're often overshadowed by flashy knives, a wooden cutting boards are among the most important tools in your kitchen. They'll last a lifetime if cared for properly, but much of the time they simply aren't. We're here to change that. Here are five ways you're damaging your wooden cutting boards and how to fix those mistakes.

Failing to season your cutting board.

Much like a cast iron skillet, it's important to season a new wooden cutting board before using it. Simply apply a good amount of mineral oil to the entire surface of the board and let it soak in overnight. This will make the board much more moisture resistant, while keeping the wood lubricated enough to avoid drying out and warping.

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Choosing the wrong product to protect your cutting board.

Although you can get fancier with a number of wood balms or specialized seasoning products, good ol' food safe mineral oil is the best (and cheapest) option for keeping your cutting boards looking good and functioning at a high level. Mineral oil is cheap and saves a lot of headaches if you learn to use it properly for initial seasoning and occasional reapplication.

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Soaking your cutting board to clean it.

While it's always important to thoroughly clean your wooden cutting board, the goal should be to do so both quickly and efficiently. Since wood is porous and great at soaking up liquid, cutting boards are prone to building up internal moisture. This can lead to your boards warping, cracking or even worse, rotting from within. When you wash your cutting board, make sure to dry it thoroughly and apply a small amount of mineral oil afterward to prevent cracking.

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Putting your cutting board in the dishwasher.

Never ever put a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher; just don't do it. The boards will become over-saturated with water and the extreme heat will seriously dry out the boards. By taking a little extra time to wash your boards by hand, you'll ensure their longevity by giving them just a little extra love.

Not thoroughly cleaning your cutting board after each use.

While wooden cutting boards are proven to trap less harmful bacteria over time than their plastic counterparts, that doesn't mean that you should ever skimp on cleaning them. Remember, many of us use cutting boards to cut up raw meat, which means the boards are exposed to a wide variety of bacteria regularly. If you ever encounter any sour smells coming from your board, apply a cup of baking soda to the cutting board surface and pour a cup of vinegar over it before letting it sit for a few minutes. You can also simply cut a lemon in half and give your board a citrus rub down. This should help remove any bad smells and give your battle-tested board a bit of a refresh.

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