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Tips for maintaining and cleaning kitchen surfaces

The ultimate guide to sanitizing your cutting boards

The Ultimate Guide to Sanitizing Your Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are one of the most frequently used kitchen tools. They are essential for preparing food such as chopping vegetables, fruits, and meats. As a result, it is vital to maintain and clean cutting boards properly to prevent cross-contamination and ensure the safety of your family.

In this article, we will provide you with the ultimate guide to sanitizing your cutting boards.

Why is it important to sanitize your cutting boards?

Cutting boards can harbor harmful bacteria and cross-contaminate foods if not cleaned and sanitized properly. Food-borne illnesses such as Salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria can lurk on cutting boards, making you and your family sick.

To ensure your safety, it is important to sanitize your cutting boards after every use, especially if you use them for raw meats, seafood, and poultry.

Types of Cutting Boards

There are two primary types of cutting boards: plastic and wood.

Plastic cutting boards are non-porous and less likely to harbor bacteria, making them easier to sanitize. On the other hand, wooden cutting boards are porous, which means they can absorb moisture and bacteria, making them harder to clean and sanitize.

If you choose to use a wooden cutting board, it is essential to take extra care in cleaning and sanitizing them.

Steps to Clean and Sanitize Your Cutting Boards

Here are the steps to properly clean and sanitize your cutting boards:

Step 1: Wash with Soap and Water

Wash the cutting board with hot, soapy water, and scrub it using a brush or sponge. Pay close attention to the areas where food particles and juices can accumulate, such as the crevices and edges.

Step 2: Rinse with Clean Water

Rinse the cutting board with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Step 3: Sanitize the Cutting Board

After washing, sanitize the cutting board using one of the following methods:

Method 1: Bleach Solution

Mix one tablespoon of bleach with one gallon of water. Dip a cloth or sponge in the solution and wipe the cutting board. Let the solution sit on the surface for a few minutes before rinsing with clean water.

Method 2: Vinegar Solution

Mix equal parts of water and vinegar. Dip a cloth or sponge in the solution and wipe the cutting board. Let the solution sit on the surface for a few minutes before rinsing with clean water.

Step 4: Dry the Cutting Board

Dry the cutting board using a clean towel or by placing it upright to air dry. It is essential to dry the board completely to prevent moisture from accumulating, which can create an environment for bacteria to grow.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips to keep your cutting board clean and safe to use:

  • Never use the same cutting board for raw meats, seafood, and poultry, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Never put your cutting board in the dishwasher, as the heat can damage the material and create cracks, making it more challenging to clean and sanitize.
  • Regularly sanitize your cutting board, especially after each use.
  • Replace your cutting board if it is severely scratched, discolored, or has developed deep grooves, as bacteria can thrive in these areas.


A clean and sanitized cutting board is essential to prevent cross-contamination and ensure the safety of your family. By following these steps and tips, you can keep your cutting board clean and safe to use. Remember to sanitize your cutting board after every use and replace it if it is damaged or old.

Cutting Board Sanitation Guide FAQ

Q: How often should I clean my cutting board?

A: Your cutting board should be cleaned after each use. This is especially important if you use it to cut raw meat, poultry, or fish, as these foods can harbor harmful bacteria.

Q: Can I use soap to clean my cutting board?

A: Yes, it is safe to use soap and water to clean your cutting board. You can also use a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water to sanitize it.

Q: How do I clean a wooden cutting board?

A: To clean a wooden cutting board, use hot, soapy water and a scrub brush to remove any food particles. Rinse the board thoroughly and allow it to air dry. Avoid submerging a wooden cutting board in water, and never put it in the dishwasher.

Q: Can I use vinegar to clean my cutting board?

A: Yes, you can use a solution of equal parts water and vinegar to clean and sanitize your cutting board.

Q: Do I need to oil my wooden cutting board?

A: Yes, it is recommended to oil your wooden cutting board every few months to keep it from drying out and cracking. Use food-grade mineral oil or a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil.

Q: How do I sanitize a plastic cutting board?

A: To sanitize a plastic cutting board, use a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. Let the solution sit on the board for a few minutes, then rinse it thoroughly with water and allow it to air dry.

Q: Can I use a dishwasher to clean my cutting board?

A: It depends on the type of cutting board. Plastic cutting boards can usually be washed in the dishwasher, but wooden cutting boards should never be put in the dishwasher.

Q: What is the best way to store my cutting board?

A: Store your cutting board in a dry place where it can air dry completely between uses. You can also prop it upright to allow air to circulate around both sides.

Q: How often should I replace my cutting board?

A: It is recommended to replace your cutting board every few years, depending on the type and frequency of use. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as deep grooves or cracks, and replace the board if you see any signs of mold or mildew.

Cutting Board Sanitation Guide: Recommended Products and Resources

Having clean and sanitized cutting boards is crucial in maintaining good kitchen hygiene. Here are some recommended products and resources to help you keep your cutting boards safe and bacteria-free:

  • Cutting Board Set

    This set of cutting boards by Gorilla Grip comes in different colors, making it easy to designate a specific board for each food type. They are also BPA-free, non-porous, and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and sanitation.

  • Cutting Board Oil

    Howard Products’ Cutting Board Oil is made with pure USP-grade mineral oil, which helps preserve and condition wooden cutting boards. This oil is food-grade safe, has no odor or taste, and will not go rancid like vegetable or olive oils.

  • Cutting Board Scraper

    A cutting board scraper, like this one from OXO, is a handy tool for removing food particles and stubborn stains from cutting boards. It helps ensure that your cutting boards are thoroughly cleaned before sanitizing them.

  • Cutting Board Sanitizer Spray

    Clorox’s Anywhere Hard Surface Daily Sanitizer Spray is a versatile and effective way to sanitize cutting boards and other kitchen surfaces. It kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, and is safe for use on food contact surfaces. Plus, it has no harsh chemical odors or fumes.

  • Cutting Board Cleaning Brush

    Cleaning a cutting board can be tough, especially when there’s dried food or stains on it. This silicone cleaning brush from OXO has gentle bristles that effectively scrub away dirt and grime on cutting boards, without scratching or damaging it.

  • Cutting Board Sanitizing Tablets

    Steramine’s Sanitizing Tablets are a convenient and affordable way to sanitize cutting boards and other kitchen surfaces. Simply dissolve a tablet in water, and it will kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi on contact. It’s also approved by the EPA and FDA, and can be used in food service establishments.

  • Cutting Board Sanitizing Chart

    This cutting board sanitizing chart by ServSafe is a helpful resource for determining how to properly clean and sanitize cutting boards, based on the type of board and food being prepared. It includes step-by-step instructions and recommendations for different sanitizing solutions.

  • Cutting Board Labels

    If you have multiple cutting boards for different types of food, it’s important to keep them organized and labeled. These cutting board labels from Juvale come in a set of 6, with icons for specific food types (meat, poultry, vegetables, etc.). They are also waterproof and easy to remove and replace.

  • Cutting Board Display and Storage Rack

    If you have limited counter space in your kitchen, a cutting board display and storage rack, like this one from RoRo, is a great solution. It holds up to 7 cutting boards vertically, and is made of sustainable acacia wood. Plus, it adds a stylish and rustic touch to your kitchen decor.

  • Cutting Board Sanitation Training Course

    If you want to learn more about proper cutting board sanitation and food safety in general, this online course by StateFoodSafety is a comprehensive resource. It covers topics such as cross-contamination, personal hygiene, and foodborne illness prevention. It’s also ANSI-accredited and nationally recognized.

  • By using these recommended products and resources, you can ensure that your cutting boards are always clean, sanitized, and safe to use.

    Cutting Board Sanitation Guide: Pros and Cons


    • Reduces Risk of Foodborne Illness: Cutting board sanitation is crucial to prevent the growth and spread of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Proper sanitation helps to keep food safe to eat and prevent infections.
    • Prevents Cross-Contamination: Sanitizing your cutting boards after each use prevents the transfer of bacteria, and contaminants from one dish to another. This helps to maintain the quality of food and prevent foodborne illnesses.
    • Extends Useable Life of Cutting Boards: Regular cleaning and sanitization helps to prolong the lifespan of cutting boards, preventing them from becoming dull, discolored, or warped. This saves money in the long run, as new cutting boards don’t have to be purchased as frequently.
    • Simple and Easy Process: Sanitizing cutting boards is a straightforward process that doesn’t require any specialized equipment. It can be done easily and quickly with basic cleaning supplies.
    • Regulated by Food Safety Standards: The sanitation of cutting boards is regulated by various food safety standards including the FDA Food Code, which ensures best practices are followed to keep food safe for consumption.


    • Can Potentially Damage Cutting Boards: Over-sanitizing with harsh chemicals or excessive heat can cause cutting boards to become damaged or unusable. It’s essential to follow recommended cleaning and sanitization guidelines to prevent damage.
    • Requires Time and Effort: Proper cleaning and sanitization of cutting boards can be time-consuming and requires effort. This can be seen as a disadvantage for busy or inexperienced cooks.
    • May Not Be Effective Without Proper Technique: Simply washing or wiping down cutting boards may not be enough to sanitize them. Proper techniques such as using hot, soapy water or bleach-water solutions are required to ensure they are cleaned effectively.
    • May Alter the Taste of Foods: Some sanitizing products such as bleach or vinegar can leave a residue or change the taste of the foods prepared on the cutting board. It’s essential to use recommended cleaning techniques and products to prevent this occurrence.
    • May Need to Replace Cutting Boards More Often: Regular cleaning and sanitization can prolong the lifespan of cutting boards. However, if cutting boards become severely damaged, they may need to be replaced more often.

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