How to Clean and Maintain a Wooden Cutting Board

From a natural perspective, a wooden cutting board is a much better option over the plastic ones. However, they require bit more care than what you might be used to if you’ve been using the plastic ones.

Image showing a few cutting boards

For one, they need to be cleaned immediately after each use to prevent staining. Two, you can’t soak them in the sink because they will warp and literally fall apart. But, if you take a little time, about once a month or so, your cutting boards can last you a long time.

In this post I’m going to share with you a few of my favorite ways on how to clean and maintain a wooden cutting board.

How to Clean & Disinfect

I always wash my cutting board with dish soap and warm water immediately after each use. This way the stains don’t set in and you don’t have to worry about any dried on food. Plus, this way the harmful bacteria doesn’t have a chance at multiplying either.

Washing with soap and warm water is usually enough, but if you’ve chopped raw meat on the board you might want to disinfect as well.

To disinfect I mix about 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water. So in a 16oz spray bottle I combine about 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 and 1/2 cups water. Spray the boards down, let sit for about 5 minutes and then scrub it down with a brush or sponge under running water.

Another way to disinfect is to sprinkle some salt or baking soda on the board. Then squeeze a lemon half onto the salt or baking soda and rub that into the board. Again, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse it off.

Never leave a wooden cutting board to soak in the sink full of water. Always dry your cutting boards with a towel to speed up the drying time. This helps to protect against mold and against warping of the board.

How to Oil and/or Wax

Ingredients needed including beeswax, coconut oil and an optional essential oil.

Depending on how often you use your boards you will need to apply an oil or wax about once a month or so.

  1. A high grade coconut oil is one of the quickest ways to get it done.
  2. Another option is to melt down some beeswax and apply that.
  3. Or, you can combine the two into what’s called a wood butter and apply that. Check out the recipe below.

Wood Butter Recipe

This wooden board butter recipe is easy to make and does an excellent job at protecting your cutting boards.


  • 12 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp beeswax
  • 10 drops Thieves essential oil optional


  • Put coconut oil and beeswax into a small jar. Then place the jar into a pot of water on the stove and heat on low to medium heat until the wax is melted down.
  • Remove from heat and add in your favorite essential oils. I used Thieves because it has a cinnamon scent. You could also try cloves, nutmeg, lemon or any other oil scent that you love to have in the kitchen. Just make sure that it's a high quality oil. See below for more details on where I got mine.

How to Apply

  1. First, disinfect your board.
  2. Allow your board to dry completely.
  3. Then, using one corner of a towel, begin to massage the butter into the board. You could use your hands, but be careful of splinters. If you’re using just plain coconut oil, or if the wood butter is still warm, you can use a brush to evenly disperse the mixture evenly on the board.
  4. Allow to sit a few hours or even overnight if you can.
  5. Then, with a towel, wipe off any excess to give it a nice finish.

The board butter can be stored in a glass jar, ready to go for next time you need to clean and oil your wooden cutting boards.

You can omit the essential oils in the board butter recipe if you like. But if you’d like to try it, you can find the Thieves oil at my Young Living store. You can find more about their company here.

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