There are as many types of cutting boards as there are opinions as to which board is best – and how best to care for them. Each has their own unique purpose and different method of care.

Types of Cutting Boards:

Various cutting board materials include marble, glass, plastic, bamboo and wood.

Marble and Glass: For everyday kitchen use, a marble or glass board should not be considered your first choice. While they are attractive and non-porous, as well as easy to clean and sanitize, the surface is quite hard and will dull your knives before their time. Rather than being used for everyday chopping and slicing, marble and glass are great option for serving trays and charcuterie boards.

Plastic: Plastic boards are budget friendly and convenient to care for and dishwasher safe. However, in general they have a shorter lifespan than other materials. Once the surface is compromised through repeated knife cuts, plastic boards become more difficult to clean and sanitize, and will then need to be replaced.

Bamboo: A highly renewable source, with good antibacterial properties. bamboo boards have similar qualities as wood boards when it comes to use, care and cleaning. However, they contain more resin than wood boards, which may begin to dull knives over time.

Wood: These boards are the preferred choice for most and, if cared for properly, can last a lifetime. Wood is a natural product with antibacterial properties, adding to its appeal. With proper care and maintenance, these boards can be reliable kitchen workhorses that will last for years. The nature of the material means that these boards can expand and contract depending on fluctuations in temperature and humidity, eventually causing cracks in the wood if not properly maintained. Read on for tips on how to keep your wood cutting boards in prime condition.

Daily Maintenance of Wood Boards:

After using to cut such foods as bread, fruits and most vegetables, a simple wipe-down with warm water should suffice, being sure not to over-saturate the board.

When used for raw meat, poultry or fish, a more thorough cleaning is required. Be sure not to soak the board in the sink and do not put it in the dishwasher which will cause the board to crack. Instead, use a small amount of dish soap and hot water with a scrub brush or pad to give the board a good scrubbing. Rinse with a clean cloth soaked in hot water and wipe the surface free of soapy residue. Follow up by rubbing the cutting board surface with half a lemon or vinegar-soaked cloth, if desired.

After cleaning, wipe the board with a clean cloth then stand it upright to let air dry completely. This will prevent water being trapped under the board as it dries, reducing the chance of warping or cracking over time.

Long-term Maintenance:

There will come a time when the natural oils in the board will need to be restored, depending on the amount the board is used and cleaned. It is suggested to do this on a monthly basis, however a tell-tale sign that the board is in need of oiling is if the board is visibly appears to be drying out.

To oil your board, begin with a clean, dry board. If you apply the oil while damp, the moisture becomes trapped in the wood and could cause warping. Do not use vegetable-based oils as they can be sticky and they can also go rancid after application. Use a quality mineral-based board oil, such as the PADERNO Mineral Oil Treatment.

Use a folded paper towel to sparingly apply the oil to the entire surface of the board, letting the oil absorb while the board is vertical. You may need to apply a second coating of oil, depending on the condition of the board. Once the oil is no longer visible and has absorbed into the wood, the board is ready for use. You may notice a shinier and smoother surface to your oiled board; this is a protective layer for the wood, much like seasoning a cast iron pan.

Following these steps will help extend the life of your wooden board, allowing it to be a key part of your kitchen arsenal for years to come.