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The Raw Truth: Cleaning Your Wooden Cutting Board After Chicken

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Have you paid attention to all the recent talk about whether wooden cutting boards are food safe? That’s what most of it is: just talk. So, before you throw yours out, let’s actually learn about how to clean and maintain your wooden cutting board safely.

Are Wood Cutting Boards Safe to Use?

Here’s the research: Food safety expert Dean Cliver did a study which found that more dangerous bacteria linger on plastic cutting boards than wood ones, even after washing. And the USDA supports the use of wood cutting boards, even for raw meat and poultry. The key is cleaning and disinfecting them, then ensuring they stay in good shape.

Steps to Clean and Disinfect Your Wood Cutting Board

Step 1: Wash

Use hot, soapy water to clean both sides of your cutting board, even if you only used one of them. Rinse under hot water, too, then thoroughly pat it dry.

Step 2: Disinfect

Disinfect after cleaning by spraying your wood cutting board with undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide or a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. It needs to stay wet for a full 15 minutes to eliminate germs. After that, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

If you’d rather use bleach to disinfect your wood cutting board, stir 1 tablespoon into a gallon of water. Pour this on your cutting board and let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.

Step 3: Remove Stains

Use a damp cloth dipped in baking soda or salt to get rid of minor stains on your wood cutting board. For stubborn spots, mix a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (or lemon juice) with a drop or two of liquid dish soap. Apply this homemade soft scrub, let it sit for 5 minutes loosening the stain, then rinse and dry.

Step 4: Deodorize

The soft stain removal scrubbing paste gets rid of food odors on wooden cutting boards, too. Or dip half a lemon into some salt and gently rub the surface, wait 5 minutes, rinse and dry. The citric acid in lemons makes an excellent deodorizer.

Step 5: Protect

Cracked or split wood cutting boards are no longer food safe, so it’s important to keep yours from drying out. Do this by applying a generous amount of food-grade mineral oil to all sides and let that soak in overnight. The next morning, buff away the excess. You do not need to wash it before use.

Did You Know?

Mineral oil remains stable and doesn’t spoil or dry up, which is why it’s perfect for treating wood cutting boards. It forms a protective layer that guards against moisture and food residue. Regularly oiling your cutting board with mineral oil is essential for keeping it food safe.

So there’s the real deal on why your wooden cutting board is safe to use even with raw meats and poultry, or with fresh fruits and vegetables. Just as you’d use different plastic ones, keep a separate wood cutting board and follow the steps to wash, clean, and disinfect it after use.

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  1. Geoff Hankinson says:

    What of type of shops sell “food-grade” mineral oil?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You can find it online, in restaurant and gourmet shops, in some hardware stores, and in any store that specializes in butcher block counters or cutting boards.

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