Thursday, April 19, 2012

Natural cleaning 101: Wooden cutting boards

We try to replace harsh cleaning methods with more natural ones whenever we can around here.  I'm sure you feel similar about the environment in your home, especially the surfaces that touch your food. 

Jeremy has devised a natural way to clean/deodorize our large wooden cutting board, and I thought I would document it for you.  Perhaps you have one sitting on your counter like we do?  I made sure to get it nice and dirty before he cleaned it, as you can see in the photo above.

First off, a note about wooden cutting boards:  They should never be soaked in water or run through the dishwasher (learned this the hard way!)  Also, it's tough to thoroughly sanitize a wooden cutting board, so we don't handle raw meat on ours, leave that for the plastic ones!

Things you'll need: A large lemon, a generous handful of course grain salt, water and paper towels.

Step One: Cut your lemon in half.  Take one half of it in your hand and squeeze the juice all around your cutting board, using the lemon to spread it all around.  The lemon juice naturally deodorizes those funky onion and garlic smells that may be lurking on your board.  Discard the used half of lemon.

Step Two:  Sprinkle course salt all over your board and squeeze the juice of the second lemon half on top of that.  Repeat the process of step one by using the lemon to clean the board.  The course salt scrapes all of the crumbs and dried bits off your board, as well as absorbing the lemon juice so your board doesn't get too wet.

Step Three: Using paper towels (or a dishtowel, if you don't mind), wipe the lemon and salt off.  This may take a little while, depending on how much salt you used.  Dampening your paper towel will help.  When the board is salt free, stand it up on its side and allow it to dry completely.

Step Four: If your board is "finished" and already has a protective coating on it, you can stop here.  Ours is handmade by a friend and is unfinished, so a few times a month we use oil to protect it.  If yours is the same, you will want to use a food-grade mineral oil or canola oil (we use canola).  Simply pour oil and use a dry paper towel to spread it all over the top and sides of your board, and you're done!


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  2. OH that looks so easy and aroma friendly. I LOVE lemon. I'll do it..clean and good smell!

  3. i am a bit jealous of your gorgeous wooden cutting board.

  4. Glad to see that someone has the right idea on maintaining cutting boards! Most people don't know how to do this.

    I would suggest that you also apply a beeswax mineral oil mixture to protect the board from drying out while not being used. Check out my site for more information;

    Michael :-)

  5. Good timing as I just read an interesting article about wood vs plastic cutting boards. Plastic cutting boards are actually harder to clean by hand, so unless you have a dishwasher, wood is better!

  6. This is so useful! I wasn't sure how to properly clean my cutting boards! Thanks for sharing! :) Lisa

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