Keeping your chopping boards clean is an essential part of kitchen hygiene. After all, the chopping board is where you do all your food preparation – from dicing garlic to slicing raw meat. There’s a significant risk of spreading harmful bacteria, like salmonella and e-coli. The good news is that a regular cleansing routine can prevent food contamination and ensure your chopping board – and your kitchen – stays as germ-free as possible.
Cleaning Chopping Boards
When the time comes to clean your chopping boards, bear in mind:
- The best method for keeping chopping boards clean is to scrub them in the washing up bowl, using very hot water and a good quality dishwashing liquid.
- For a speedy clean, use a product like Domestos to eliminate germs fast. Remember to follow the safety instructions on the label.
- Rinse and dry your chopping board with paper towels, as dishcloths often contain germs from hands and other food equipment and may contaminate a clean chopping board.
- Running your cutting boards through a dishwasher with a reliable detergent will get you the best results – a dishwasher should not be used for wooden boards as they can warp in high temperatures.
Do not swallow; do not mix with other detergents or chemicals, particularly cleaners. Mixing may generate toxic chlorine gas. Ensure adequate ventilation when using, vapour may be harmful. Strongly alkaline and corrosive. Attacks skin and eyes so avoid contact. May produce severe burns. Wear protective gloves and eye protection when mixing or using. Do not mix with hot water. Store upright below 25 degrees celsius. Rinse containers with water before disposal.
*Domestos kills germs such as:
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Escherichia coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Proteus vulgaris
Sanitising Chopping Boards
To practice a good level of hygiene in the kitchen, sanitise your chopping board every week, or more often if necessary. Here’s how:
- The most effective method for cleaning chopping boards is to soak them in a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine-based bleach to a gallon of water.
- Leave for half an hour, then rinse thoroughly, and air-dry upright on a rack.
- Alternatively, use common household ingredients with anti-bacterial properties, like white vinegar, to wipe over the cutting surface before leaving to dry.
Tip: If you notice your chopping boards are starting to smell of onions or raw fish, dip a paper towel in pure lemon juice, or rub half a lemon over the surface and it will smell citrus-fresh in no time!
Preventing Food Contamination
No one wants an upset tummy from contaminated food. Follow this advice to avoid potential problems:
- Buy hard acrylic or rubber boards, as they are generally considered the most hygienic choice (these are commonly used in restaurant kitchens).
- Wooden boards should be kept as clean and as sanitised as possible.
- Consider using beeswax or mineral oil to treat the surface of wood cutting boards every few months, to help form a natural seal against food contamination.
- It’s safest to use different clean chopping boards for different types of food. You should have at least two: one for raw meat and fish and one for vegetables, bread, and anything that can be eaten safely uncooked.
- Purchase colour-coded sets of cutting boards, or label your boards yourself, so that you remember which board is which.
- Finally, throw away any chopping boards that are particularly cracked, scratched, or visibly dirty. Like all kitchen equipment, cutting boards have a shelf life and it’s vital that you get rid of old boards to maintain a safe, healthy kitchen.