If you have a deep and abiding love for your wooden cutting boards like I do, or just want them to last a little longer, I’ve got three couldn’t-be-easier tips to help you treat those wooden cutting boards right.

In return, know that your wooden cutting boards will be gentler on your knives, helping to keep them sharper, longer. Well-treated wooden cutting boards may even help prevent bacteria spread in the kitchen. Plus, like your favorite leather handbag or cast iron skillet, wooden cutting boards only get better with time. As long as you take good care of them.

Related: 3 better ways to store knives than a knife block. 

How to care for wooden cutting boards

1. Always hand wash your wooden cutting boards.

Water tends to warp and crack untreated wood, so you want to limit your cutting board’s exposure to water as much as possible. This means keeping it out of that hours-long cleaning cycle of the dishwasher and never letting it soak, no matter how much raw chicken you just chopped up on there.

Instead, use warm, soapy water and a cloth to give your wooden board a quick, thorough scrub.

2. Let your wooden cutting board dry completely. 

This step helps prevent bacterial growth, so make sure you give your board plenty of breathing space post-scrub.

One tip is to try standing it on one end, so that as many angles as possible are exposed to air. Also, if you keep yours in a cabinet or kitchen drawer, never put it away damp.

If you’re planning on oiling your wooden cutting board, allow it to dry for 24 hours before using. More on that below.

3. Oil periodically 

If you own a wooden cutting board but have never oiled it, please believe me: it’s parched. And desperately in need of a little TLC from a food-grade oil like Boo’s Mystery Oil (available from our affiliate Amazon), which is my personal favorite. Douse your board with a generous helping, then allow the wood to absorb the oil completely.

Serious cooks even recommend following up with a wooden board cream to provide an extra layer of protection.

If you prefer to make your own a homemade wooden cutting board oil, try this mineral oil-free recipe from The Kitchn that uses beeswax and sunflower oil. I bet it smells delicious!

Some people repeat this oiling process as often as once a week, while more casual cooks (i.e. busy parents like me) opt for once a quarter. Or uh, whenever I remember to do it.


See? Three super easy steps to preserve that board you love so much. Just be sure to keep an eye out for any deep cracks or scars in older boards; this is where bacteria tends to get stuck. But generally, this simple care regimen can help your wooden cutting boards last for years, if not decades.