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How to Wash and Sanitize Your Cutting Boards

Green bell pepper with knife on bamboo cutting board
Marie C Fields/Shutterstock

If you do any cooking in your kitchen, it’s likely you have a cutting board. Whether yours is wood, plastic, glass, or some other material, here’s how to wash and sanitize it properly.

Plastic Cutting Boards

Plastic cutting boards are probably the most common type. They’re easy to take care of and withstand a lot of abuse—although they aren’t unbreakable. Like most things made of plastic, they may weaken over time. They may break under pressure, but they are generally resistant to cuts, meaning that you don’t have to worry about bacteria getting deep into the board.

You may be able to toss your plastic cutting board right in the dishwasher with the rest of your stuff. Because plastic cutting boards are pretty solid, a quick wash with hot water and dish soap is enough to clean it, but you also need to sanitize it. Use steel wool or a brush for extensive cleaning. Finish off with a hot water rinse.

After washing, you can even spray them down with a diluted bleach mixture. Mix half a teaspoon of bleach into a 32oz spray bottle of water and spritz down your board after washing it. You don’t even need to rinse it after. Just let it air dry.

If your cutting board has unsightly stains, use a combination of salt and baking soda to make it look fresh again. This paste contains one teaspoon of each or water, salt, and baking soda.

Glass Cutting Boards

Glass cutting boards are similar to plastic cutting boards. They are resistant to cuts, they are easy to clean and care for, but they are a bit heavier. You can wash and sanitize your glass cutting board the same as your plastic ones.

Though many people love them, we recommend skipping the glass cutting boards because they can make your knives dull much more quickly than their wooden or plastic counterparts.

Wooden Cutting Boards

Wood cutting boards are attractive, and many people enjoy the rustic look when it comes to picking the right board for the kitchen. Wood cutting boards need a bit more care and cleaning than their glass and plastic counterparts.

Contrary to popular belief, wooden cutting boards aren’t any more prone to harboring bacteria just because they’re made of wood. In fact, plastic cutting boards often develop deeper cuts and grooves, allowing more bacteria to seep in.

However, most experts still recommend using plastic cutting boards for meats because of how you can wash them. As we mentioned above, plastic cutting boards can stand up to prolonged exposure to water. You can toss them in the dishwasher and run a sanitizing cycle with no worries.

That’s not true of wooden cutting boards.

Your wooden cutting board needs to be washed immediately after every use. You also should never soak a wood cutting board in water or run them through the dishwasher. Handwash them only. You also don’t want to use an abrasive scrubber on them.

If you’re a meat-free household, you can get a deep clean on your board using straight vinegar. If you’re cutting meat on the board, wash it with soap and hot water. To kill bacteria, use the same bleach method as with the plastic cutting boards.

Always hand dry your wood cutting boards immediately.

Bamboo and Composite Cutting Boards

Bamboo and composite cutting boards are similar to other wooden boards, but they are more durable and less porous. Sometimes you may find a combination of composite and bamboo, but you may also purchase cutting boards explicitly made from one material or the other. Bamboo is a more sustainable option.

Cleaning and sanitizing bamboo or bamboo-combination cutting boards are the same as cleaning your wood cutting board. You can use hot soap and water or a vinegar bath. Don’t soak it in water or use a dishwasher.

If you’re using a composite cutting board (made of a type of resin), you can put it right in the dishwasher to get it clean. This is one of the longest lasting materials when it comes to cutting boards.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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