Plastic (polyethylene) cutting boards tend to get worn with use, eventually leading to an unsightly (and often unsanitary) surface. Between cut marks, foods, and cleaners can leave a plastic board looking pretty ragged.
But not all is lost - a quick attack with some sandpaper can refresh that cutting board, making it as good as new and saving the time and money of replacing them! This tried and true food service industry trick can help clean up even the worst of boards and prolong the life of your boards and boost the cleanliness of your kitchen.
Step 1: What you'll need
Materials in addition to your old cutting boards
- dropcloth/newspaper/garbage bag
- Sandpaper (ideally 25 grit through 80 grit)
- metal scrubber or rough steel wool
- scraper/hand plane/razor blade (not pictured)
- eye protection
- dust mask
- dish soap
For the sander, I'm using a Dremel contour sander. Any sander will do the job, and one with more horsepower will do the job faster. A belt sander or orbital sander would work nicely. I just didn't happen to have one handy at the moment.
Step 2: Clamp the board
Using the clamps, securely affix the cutting board to your work surface (I usually clamp the two corners by the handle-edge (if there is a handle cut-out) since those rarely get worn from use. Be sure it's clamped snugly, as scraping and sanding can create a good bit of lateral torque on the board.