By Noel Christmas
February 19, 2015

Why Wood?

I prefer wooden cutting boards over plastic, and it turns out science backs me up. Studies show that wood has some actual anti-bacterial properties—but even beyond that, wood's still the right choice for some pretty compelling reasons:

  • It cuts cleanly. Basically, when your knife cuts it (and it's a cutting board—your knife will score the surface), it's a small, clean cut, not the jagged, let's-hide-some-bacteria marks like plastic gets.
  • It handles heat. Boards do double-duty as hot pads all the time. Do you want melted plastic all over your roasting pan? I didn't think so.
  • It's easy to bring back to life. If things get really bad, you can always break out the sandpaper and start over. Really, I've done it.

Now That's A Cutting Board


This cutting board is about 14 x 20, really thick, and made of maple by some local woodworkers. I love it. And, while you may think it's a bit of overkill, you really do want one that's as big as your counter can handle.

I've been in enough home kitchens to know one thing for certain: most of your cutting boards are way too small. Those little 5 x 7 cutting boards are simply too tiny. But when you use one that's big enough, you're never chasing diced onions as they fall off the edge, or wondering where to lay your knife while prepping dinner.

Keeping It Awesome (Easy Cleaning)


Soap and water

. That's really all you need. Use a tough-bristled brush or sponge to dig in there, but soap and hot water are the best tools for cleaning that cutting board.

A Deeper Clean


Go ahead, use bleach

. I mean, if it's good enough for (literally) every restaurant, it's probably fine for your cutting board. Just a small amount—1 capful of bleach to a cup of cold water—and you've got the best sanitizer around. I keep some under my sink in a spray bottle.

Note: this isn't a case of "more is better." More bleach just means it'll smell like chemicals and stain your clothes. So 1 capful to 1 cup, that's it.

Sweeten It Up


Seriously, doesn't your whole kitchen smell better now?

The Full Refresh


If things have gone horribly wrong

, you may want to strip down that wooden board and start over. That's why there's sandpaper and food-grade wood oil. So, if it's scorched, stained, or just too far gone, start with some 150 grit sandpaper, and then use a food safe wood conditioner or oil to seal it up.