What Is the Best Type of Cutting Board?





Introduction: What Is the Best Type of Cutting Board?

About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I love the sunshine thus the reason for my name. The 2 I's are because sunshine was already taken. I enjoy wo...

Several years ago I got very ill from  food poisoning.  Since then I have researched the ways you can get sick from food. This Instructable will share a few things that I have learned about cutting boards. 

Step 1: Wood and Glass Cutting Boards

Wood cutting boards are not very safe. Wood is very porous which makes a breeding area for bacteria. Occasionally I will use my wood cutting board but never for meat.  I like the look of wood in pictures so I do use it for picture purposes. Wood cutting boards washed in a dishwasher dries and cracks the wood making them even more susceptible to bacteria.  Glass cutting boards are hard on knives and they are dangerous if they break.  It would be terrible if glass got into the food and someone ingested it.  I remember my mother-in-law had a large glass cutting board.  I took it out of the kitchen because I was afraid she was going to get hurt because of her age. 

Step 2: Acrylic and Plastic Cutting Boards

Synthetic are the best choices to use when preparing food.  These cutting boards are safer because they can be washed in the dishwasher. It is best to use separate cutting boards for cheeses, meats, and produce to prevent cross contamination. If you don't have more than one cutting board; wash the board and knife between each process. Plastic boards are a little harder on your knives but in my opinion my health is more important than replacing a knife.  

Step 3: Washing the Cutting Board

When choosing a cutting board choose one that can be washed in the dishwasher.  If you do not have a dishwasher wash them with soapy hot water and rinse well.  Never dry a cutting board with a kitchen towel.  Towels harbor bacteria.  A paper towel may be used if you must dry it right away.   Remember to wash your knives between each use as well.  I am not one that likes to use paper towels but sometimes using them can be a healthier alternative. 

Step 4: Sanitizing

It is important to occasionally sanitize your cutting boards.  Sanitize wood and plastic boards using a solution of 5% white vinegar with 4 parts water. You may use bleach but I prefer a more natural method. 

Step 5: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

I hope this Instructable has been helpful to you. I have been fortunate over the years because I have only been sick once from food poisoning.  I am more cautious now because of that . I am careful to write the dates on opened jars; like mayonnaise and keeping my cutting boards clean and sanitized.  
Thank you for stopping by and please do have a splendorous day!



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    Very good instructable sunshiine! especially for those that don't know the hidden dangers. I prefer to use plastic over anything else. I'm very leery about using wood ones.

    5 replies

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and please have a wonderful day!

    Hi, I read your Instructable, I think it is very interesting, but would like to know if you can prove scientifically, because we learned the opposite in our Microbiology lecture.

    Especially "Wood is very porous which makes a breeding area for bacteria". Have a look at the study:"http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm" It's true, that it's easier to wash a plastic cutting board, but I wouldn't be to sure that it eliminates all bacteria especially if they are knife-scarred.

    I'm sorry if I seem mean, I'm just interested if you can prove you thesis somehow. We learned, that it is better to use wooden cutting boards and to disinfect them in the microwave.

    Thanks for your input! I would love to prove this scientifically! Personally I love wood cutting boards and would like to continue using them. You did not come across as being mean at all. Your comment has inspired me to look into this a little deeper. Thanks for sharing and have a beautiful day! Sunshiine

    OK I'm not trying to be mean either, but I will be a little more direct.

    This instructable is completely wrong!

    There have been several studies that have shown that wooden boards are far safer than plastic ones. Even when they are sanitized properly a plastic cutting board can still harbor bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

    From the UC Davis study, "New plastic surfaces allowed the bacteria to persist, but were easily cleaned and disinfected. However, wooden boards that had been used and had many knife cuts acted almost the same as new wood, whereas plastic surfaces that were knife-scarred were impossible to clean and disinfect manually, especially when food residues such as chicken fat were present. Scanning electron micrographs revealed highly significant damage to plastic surfaces from knife cuts."

    Bacteria tested, in addition to those named above,[Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella] include Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus."

    Also, "
    We believe, on the basis of our published and to-be-published research, that food can be prepared safely on wooden cutting surfaces and that plastic cutting surfaces present some disadvantages that had been overlooked until we found them. "

    From a NewYorkTimes article describing a study done by "
    microbiologists at the University of Wisconsin's Food Research Institute"

    when boards were purposely contaminated with organisms like Salmonella, Listeria and Escherichia coli that are common causes of food poisoning, 99.9 percent of the bacteria died off within three minutes on the wooden boards, while none died on the plastic one"
    The researchers tested boards made from seven different species of trees and four types of plastic and found similar results: wood was safer than plastic, regardless of the materials used."

    Now this is nothing against you personally of course, this is a common misconception. But regardless, the correct info should be shared. Thanks.

    I'll let the sunshiine (the author) speak for herself, but my experience with plastic cutting boards has been very good.

    I took a food-safe course years ago, and learned all the facts. I use one cutting board for breads, one for fruits and vegetables and one for meats only. I also wash the cutting boards thoroughly after each use and then I bleach them. Only one of my cutting boards (a cheaper one) got a lot of knife marks in it, and so I took sandpaper and smoothed the board down, followed by another thorough cleaning and disinfecting with bleach.

    I think there's a level of common sense that needs to be exercised, no matter what your choice is to avoid any risk of illness, but I prefer plastic given the choice.

    Surprisingly, a recent study at University of California, Davis, found hardwood chopping blocks and cutting boards to harbor fewer bacteria than plastics and some other surfaces. There's apparently something about the wood fibers on a microscopic scale that makes it an inhospitable environment for microbes. (I'm assuming they also mean that one uses standard sanitation procedures, like wiping the wood down with a mild bleach and detergent solution after use.)

    My favorite cutting board is an old melamine dinner plate that someone discarded. It's especially useful with a manual food chopper (see picture below), as the lip of the plate keeps the stuff from ending up on the counter or floor.

    1 reply

    Thanks for sharing!

    Good stuff !
    it also helps to have colored plastic to signify meats like RED-beef PINK-pork BLUE-fish ..just so someone doesn't plop down some ahi, thats only going to be seared, onto the pork board which has a significantly higher cooked temp.

    1 reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope you have a beautiful day!

    Great instructable as always, Sylvia.

    Anyway, despite its drawbacks, I prefer hard wood for cutting boards. It is only a preference mine, without a good reason to hold it.

    1 reply

    I agree rimar! I love wood cutting boards. I have used them for years but after I got so sick I have started using plastic. You know, people have used them long before plastic was made. I think that is why I secretly hang on to mine so someone could talk me back into using it. Have a wonderful day!

    I switched to plastic also, not because I like it but because of the issues you mention. Now I can just use the dishwasher on hot and be sure that it is clean. Great minds think alike...haha

    1 reply

    Thanks for sharing pecospearl!