How To Maintain Wooden Cutting Board and Utensils

I had recently acquired a wooden cutting board and I was looking into how to maintain it. I had only been familiar with the use of mineral oil as one option to repel water from soaking into the board and risk damaging my investment, but got excited as I dug deeper. There were plenty of alternatives available.

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It is generally recommended to initially soak the wooden board with oil prior to using it. I got way too excited and used it before priming it with mineral oil. If you were like me and didn't prime the board before use, just wash the cutting board with warm soapy water and let it completely dry before starting to season the board. Don't let the board soak in water, as it'll saturate the wood fibers and when it dries, it can warp and crack.

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Pour the oil directly onto the surface of the board and using a clean cloth or a brush spread the oil all over. Let the oil absorb into the board for as long as possible. It's recommended to allow it to soak overnight, or as long as possible. It may take several applications before the board is fully saturated. The oil will eventually immerse into the wood creating a nice water-repelling barrier. Be generous with the initial application. I used almost half the bottle of the mineral oil. To test to see if the board is fully saturated in oil, you can place a drop of water on the board. If the board is well seasoned, the water will bead and sit nicely on your board!

There are other oils available that you could use if you cannot find mineral oil or prefer something more natural. Oils that can oxidize can go rancid, such as vegetable oil, and are not recommended as it can leave an awful smell to the board.

Waxes will not absorb and saturate the wood fibres. Instead, it'll act as a physical barrier on the surface to repel water and fills in any holes or cracks on the board. The combination of the oil and waxes provide an effective method to maintain and protect your wooden cutting board.

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DIY: Board Cream

It's only two ingredients: beeswax and mineral oil. The general consensus is a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of beeswax to mineral oil. Over a double boiler, melt the beeswax in the mineral oil with a gentle heat and vigorous stirring. Once melted, you can apply the mixture right away or let it cool. The mixture will harden as it cools. Buff the cream with a soft cloth in a circular pattern to form a thin barrier.

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How often you need to oil and buff the cream into your wooden board or utensils will depend, but it's generally recommended at least once a month to oil your board.

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