How to Stabilize Your Cutting Board With a Wet Towel

Cut safely and protect your fingers with this restaurant kitchen trick.

Chop Safely and Use a Wet Towel Under Your Cutting Board

Matt Taylor-Gross

We’ve all had that moment, when you start to chop an onion or a carrot and the cutting board slides on the countertop just as your knife is cutting through the vegetable. Whether you’re prepping for a holiday feast or simply getting dinner on the table, a stable cutting board and sharp knife are the secrets to safe and skillful knife work. A clean, safe work surface and well-maintained tools make time in the kitchen a breeze, and help prevent accidents. The last thing you want when you’re wrangling a tough-skinned winter squash, trimming steaks, or seeding a slippery roasted pepper is your board slipping out from under you causing your knife to catch, slip, or even drop. A stable cutting board is a safe cutting board and one that makes properly using your knife easier. If your cutting board dances around your countertops, here’s an easy way to wrangle it.

First, wet a kitchen towel or paper towel. Most any kitchen towel will work, but the best towels to use for this simple hack are flour sack-style kitchen towels. They’re thin, so they don’t add too much height to your board, nor do they have thicker seams or edges that can knock the board off balance. Ideally, the towel should be smaller than the board itself so it doesn’t stick out of the sides. A good second choice, though perhaps less sustainable, is a simple paper towel. Whichever you choose, just thoroughly wet your towel and wring out as much water as possible. 

Next, position your cutting board. Choose where you want to place your board on your countertops and lay out the wrung out towel. Set your board on top and chop away. The wet towel causes just enough friction to keep the board stable and in place. 

Finally, clean up. When you’re done cutting, just lift up the board and use the towel to wipe down the counter, and wipe off the board. The wet towel is perfect for picking up small scraps and seeds of whatever you’re cutting, preparing the surface for a quick and easy clean up. 

A stable cutting board certainly cannot prevent all cooking accidents — they’re accidents, after all — but stabilizing your board is a simple and easy way to keep you and your knife stable, and make your kitchen work safer. 

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