Cleaning your wood board properly and oiling it regularly will keep the wood in great condition and make it last forever. Let me show you how best to clean and care for your wood boards!
If you could peek into our house, you’d see we eat off of wood boards more often than not. I serve most of our family meals on them and entertain a lot using our favorite wood boards. Boards make for such an easy post-meal or party clean-up. And cleaning the boards themselves involves just a few simple steps.
Watch Me Demonstrate How to Clean a Wood Board
Need a bit more coaching? Watch me clean and care for my wood board in real time and become an instant expert in board care.
Hand Wash Only
First and foremost, remember when cleaning your board: hand wash only! Boards should never be submerged in water or put in the dishwasher. Trust me, nothing good can come of leaving that beautiful board to soak! Mild soap, a scrub brush and hot water are all you need.
To clean your board, simply scrub with hot water and dish soap. Be sure to wash the entire board, including the underside and edges. Washing only the top of the board can cause permanent warping, as the wood reacts to moisture, causing it to swell. Remove anything that’s stuck to it with a scrub brush.
After washing and rinsing the board, dry it immediately and thoroughly with a kitchen towel. Then, let it finish air drying vertically, so air can circulate on all sides and moisture doesn’t get trapped underneath. Remember, excess exposure to water will cause warping and cracking.
It might look like my board is standing magically on my counter, but I typically prop it up on my utensil caddy. You can lean your board against a cabinet or appliance if gravity is not your friend.
Season with Food-Safe Mineral Oil
If you want your wooden boards to last, it’s important to care, maintain and protect them. Not only is proper washing important, you should also season your boards regularly with food-safe mineral oil and wax. Diligent seasoning helps protect the wood when being washed, prevents stains and cracks, and keeps it healthy and hydrated so it will last you many years to come.
With a simple wipe-on, wipe-off process (it’s taking everything I have not to make a Karate Kid joke here, friends), most finished wood surfaces can be restored in just a few minutes.
To season your board, I recommend using all-natural wood oil and wax every few months (or more, as needed) to maintain their surface and keep them from drying out. At my house, this happens about once a month, but I know some folks who do it once or twice a year and others on a weekly basis. Season your board anytime the wood looks or feels dry.
The oil you use for your wooden cutting boards and utensils should be food grade and not prone to rancidity. Mineral oil is an inexpensive and popular choice, and you can easily find bottles in most kitchen supply stores or on Amazon. Apply oil or wax with an oil and wax applicator or lint-free cloth.
Before you oil, be sure your boards are clean and dry. The oil should be left to soak in as long as possible. I like to apply the oil in the evening before bed and let it soak in overnight.
Apply a Wood Wax
The final step to caring for your board is to apply wood wax. Wax helps protect the wood from absorbing moisture and prevents warping. Just like with the oil, apply the wood wax using a lint-free cloth and wipe off any excess.
Ta-dah! A beautiful, cared-for wood board that will last a lifetime. You can find my favorites, and the last wood boards you’ll ever buy, at BoardsByTheBakerMama.com.
Wood Board Care in Three Easy Steps
To review the three easy steps to clean and care for your board:
- Wash the board: Wash with a mild dish soap with a little bit of hot water, rinse and then dry with a kitchen towel. Let it air dry thoroughly. DO NOT, I am begging you, put in the dishwasher or soak in water. *To remove tough stains, I’ll use a scrub brush with the mild soap or steel wool if a scrub brush doesn’t do the trick.
- Apply the mineral oil: Using a clean, soft cloth or paper towel, apply the oil in an even layer over the wood. Leave the oil to soak in (overnight if possible, or for at least a few hours).
- Apply wood wax: Wax helps protect the wood from absorbing moisture. Apply using a clean, lint-free cloth and wipe off any excess.
There you have it, friends! I hope these tips are helpful and make it easy for you to clean and care for your boards. Leave a comment if you have any questions about caring for your wood boards.