Caring for your Cutting Board - Design Bakery TX

Caring for your Cutting Board

Most people might not think that a wooden cutting board would require much upkeep, but it does need a little TLC(not the 90's pop band). Whether you’re replacing it every couple of years or it lasts you an entire lifetime is determined by how you maintain your wooden cutting board. In addition to standard cleaning after every use, your cutting board care should include some additional maintenance to keep the wood well-conditioned.

Cleaning and Washing

If you are just slicing something soft, like bread, you can probably get away with just wiping the crumbs off and putting it away. If you are cutting meat or something with a strong odor like garlic, you will want to be more thorough. Wash your cutting board with soap and warm water and scrub well. The volume of water and mechanical scrubbing is more important than soap in flushing bacteria and other food particles off the board. After washing the cutting board, dry immediately with a towel and let it air dry standing up or on a raised rack with air flow.


  • Put the board in the dishwasher. The heat and water will warp and splinter the wood. Only plastic, composite or glass boards can go into the dishwasher. 
  • Dunk or let the board stand in water. The wood will absorb water and potentially warp.
  • Use bleach. This will stain the wood and/or excessively dry the wood.
  • Put a wet board flat to dry. If the board dries on one side, it will cause the wood to warp.

If your board has stains or smells, you can use lemon juice or white vinegar directly on the area. The acid in these liquids will neutralize the organic material or fats causing the problem.

How to Apply Cutting Board Oil and Board Cream

Once your cutting board is thoroughly dry, you will want to apply your preferred cutting board oil directly onto the surface of the board. Be generous with the application, especially if the wood is dry or you just purchased the cutting board or butcher block. You want the surface to be dripping wet on all sides and we recommend using a small bar towel or new paint brush to spread the oil (try not to soak up the oil), as using your hands may lead to accidental splinters. Most importantly, let the oil soak into the cutting board for as long as possible; at least a few hours or overnight if possible. 

Let your cutting board sit on a wire rack or upright to dry when done. If you are restoring or seasoning an old, dry or new cutting board, you may wish to repeat this process a few more times, to ensure your cutting board is completely seasoned.

Once the oiling process is complete, you may wish to use a wax or board cream as well. To apply board cream, wait until the board is dry after washing or oiling, then apply a small amount of cream onto the board. Using a soft cloth, buff the cream/wax into the wood in a circular pattern, forming a thin coat. Repeat over the entire surface of the board and especially the sides. It's not necessary to let the wax soak into the board. 

We recommend you oil your cutting board every month or when dry to the touch. If desired, board cream should be applied at the same time as oiling.

Why Use Cutting Board Oils and Board Creams?

The goal of board oil is to penetrate the wood and saturate the wood fibers, in order to stop any other liquids (blood, bacteria) and moisture from soaking into the board. As well, a well-oiled cutting board will keep the same shape when the wood fibers are saturated, so it will not expand and shrink compared to a board that is left to completely dry, then exposed to water. This shrinking and expanding effect is the main cause of warped cutting boards.

While board oil penetrates the wood, board cream/wax acts as a physical barrier on the surface of the wood that protects against stains and liquids. The wax also aids in sanitation, as it fills and seals in knife scars and microscopic cracks where bacteria would otherwise gather.

Used in conjunction, cutting board oil and cream provide an effective combination of protective outer layer and sealed wood that is sanitary, easier to clean and won’t warp.

Recommended Products

We recommend the use of Food Grade Mineral Oil or other commercially available butcher block and cutting board oils and waxes. These are usually readily available at hardware stores and online.

Please note that we do not recommend natural oils such as vegetable, corn, olive, peanut or walnut oil, as these are rich in fats that will eventually oxidize and go rancid, creating a foul smelling board. Also, never use standard mineral oil from a hardware store that is not rated as food safe, as that is meant for machine lubrication and not for contact with food.

Note for Engraved Boards

If you have purchased an engraved cutting board, we recommend only using it as a decorative piece. Food contact is perfectly fine on the engraving as long as it is cleaned thoroughly after, but any cutting or chopping should be done on the flat back side of the board. Not only can knives damage the engraving, nicks and cuts can make it easier for bacteria to enter the wood.


Check out some of our handcrafted Teak boards here.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.