Oiling a cutting board is a very important part of kitchen maintenance. Oiling a cutting board helps it fend off odors and stains and keeps it from cracking. It also makes it easier to wash!
I try to oil my cutting boards every couple weeks - but your time between oilings will vary with how often you use them and wash them. It's dead easy so you really have no excuse to not do it - an oiled cutting board with last much longer than one that's hurting for moisture. :D
Step 1: What You'll Need:
any dry cutting board (it should look dull, the color should be lighter than normal)
cutting board oil (I use mineral oil)
a clean rag
Keep in mind that it is important to use the right oil. Never use cooking oils because they can go rancid - they can also be very sticky. Mineral oil is cheap and safe, but you can also choose to use walnut or coconut oils - even melted beeswax! Use what works best for you - basically whatever you have on hand. :D
Step 2: How to Oil the Cutting Board
Pour a small amount of oil (maybe a teaspoon or so - I always eyeball it!) onto your cloth.
Wipe the surface of the cutting board, rubbing gently to get the oil everywhere. You will continue to add more oil and rub until the entire surface of the board is glossy and will take in no extra oil. Make sure to get the sides of the cutting board as well!
Make sure to add the oil little by little so that it gets a chance to sink in to the wood.
Now turn the board over the do the back in the same way.
Step 3: Resting and Wiping Off Excess
Once you've oiled the board all over, let it sit for a few minutes and let the oil fully sink in.
Then go back over all sides of the board with the cloth to remove any excess oil. Now you're good to cut on it!
I've included additional photos of the board before and after oiling to give you a good idea of just how drastic the effect is.
Step 4: General Wooden Cutting Board Maintanence and Tips
never leave a wooden cutting board in water - it can cause it to crack once it dries. Always wash it right away!
if a cutting board develops lots of deep cuts or surface stains, sand it lightly and season it with oil.
never cut or place raw meat on a wooden cutting board - I have separate plastic cutting boards just for meat.
to clean a cutting board, I recommend hand washing it in warm water and liquid soap. Try not to use anything super scented as the wood can absorb the scent. :) I have never put a wooden cutting board in a dishwasher, though it's fantastic for plastic ones.
straight vinegar (spray it on) or half a lemon are also good for disinfecting and cleaning a wooden board
use both sides of a wooden cutting board so one side does not become overly worn
try to use different areas of the cutting board surface so you don't wear out just one area.
you can oil a butcher block in the same way - I have a kitchen cart with a butcher block top and I oil it just as often as my boards.
Follow these tips and oil your cutting board regularly and you'll have a wonderful cutting board that will last you for ages!