Picture of How to oil a cutting board
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:

Picture of 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
stephenRca6 months ago

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of using mineral oil. That stuff is derived from petroleum. In the past I have used straight up Olive Oil but the problem with most plant based oils is that when they get in contact with water, they become rancid. Then the cutting boards will have a very weird smell which can actually affect the taste of your food. I have actually recently come across a product that works very well and is 100% natural, I recommend it over any mineral oil based product. I have yet to try the wax that they offer but it seems like a really cool product.

Cutting Board Oil - Caron & Doucet 2015.jpg

Mineral oil is also 100% natural...

mrolls9 months ago

I found something interesting... Johnsons now make an unfragranced baby oil called "first touch" for absolutely newborn babies. It's only ingredient is Liquid Paraffin, (pure mineral oil) and its about £1.50 for a bottle.

I'd report that it works great, although you'd expect that considering its the exact same pure mineral oil as the £9.99 tiny bottle of board oil.

discowhale9 months ago

Way back when I was in the pizza business, [when dinosaurs roamed the Earth!!!] we ONLY had wooden cutting boards. To clean them daily or more often as needed, we used dish soap and h-o-t water. No soaking, no floating, etc. In and out to get 'em wet, scrubbed with a 3M greenie pad.

If they ever got really munged up, [usually by someone new to restaurants / cooking] we'd use salt and just enough water to get it damp. Again, green scrubbies, elbow grease and re-oil after wards.

I've got a cutting board that used to belong to my M-i-L, that has never been oiled, has horrendous cut marks in it, but it's 65 year old oak, and hard as iron. It's the best surface in the kitchen actually, and cleans up quite well.

Kath G2 years ago
I have just made a huge mistake, treating the cutting board with vegetable oil. Worse than that, it has been on there - both sides - for 2 days. What can I do to fix this huge error?
jessyratfink (author)  Kath G2 years ago
Oh no! I would wash in warm/hot water with lots and lots of dish soap. Something like Dawn because it's really good at cutting through oil. You might have to do it a few times before it loses the stickiness! Just make sure not to soak it in water, because it could damage the wood. :)

After that let it dry and oil it as soon as you can - all the hot water will strip it.
HrdWodFlor2 years ago
I have done this and it works very well, also you can use the same technique to help keep wooden or bamboo cooking spoons in good condition.
nalipaz2 years ago
I disagree with the information about not using wooden cutting boards for meat. Plastic is very porous as well and it can store bacteria from meat and poultry. The issue with plastic is that it has little anti-fungal or anti-bacterial properties. Additionally, since there are no oils added to the plastic boards they cannot gain these properties. Wooden boards however are naturally anti-fungal/bacterial and adding a good oil like coconut oil that also has these capabilities is the best protection against these sorts of problems.
Jossy923 years ago

1. Many people in the pro-wood camp point to a study conducted by Ak, Cliver and Kaspar in 1994 at the University of California at Davis Food Safety Laboratory .... In reality, their findings were that the bacteria actually were drawn into the wood through capillary action. Once inside the wood, the bacteria no longer reproduced and eventually died off. For an excellent defense of this study, please see Dr. Dean Cliver’s discussion.
wazzup1053 years ago
Hey, I have some coconut oil,. thank you for the suggestion. (although I must admit I use glass and plastic cutting boards most of the time)
iceng3 years ago
Very informative ible

and taking sides

My Wife has designated one cutting board side as Vegetable

and the other side as the Fruit side.

Keeps the garlic out of the strawberries :-)