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How to clean chopping boards: Kitchen hygiene

A vital part of food hygiene is cleaning chopping boards. Read on for tips on how to disinfect chopping boards to prevent food contamination and avoid germs.

Updated

wooden chopping board next to three little bowls on a marble surface

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. Chopping boards see a variety of foods, and so there is 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 – stay as germ-free as possible.

For the best way to clean wooden chopping boards and plastic cutting boards, and to learn how to disinfect chopping boards to keep your kitchen healthy and hygienic, read on!

Key Steps:

  1. It’s important to use different chopping boards for different types of food; this will prevent cross-contamination and save you from constantly having to wash your chopping board when preparing meals.

  2. Hot water and a dishwashing liquid are essentials for everyday chopping board cleaning.

  3. On a weekly basis, give your chopping boards a thorough clean with a sanitising solution.

This guide will help you to know how to clean chopping boards and how to disinfect chopping boards to ensure safe food preparation and tip-top kitchen hygiene.

Cleaning chopping boards 

When cleaning 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 dishwashing liquid.

  • 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; However, a dishwasher should not be used for wooden boards as they can warp in high temperatures.

How to clean wooden chopping boards

A good wooden chopping board can be a centrepiece for your kitchen, whether you’re using it for preparing food or as a serving platter. Knowing how to clean wooden cutting boards and how to disinfect a wooden chopping board after use is essential for a hygienic kitchen.

For a quick, effort-free cleaning solution you can place plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher – this way no extra washing or scrubbing will be necessary.

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Best way to clean wooden chopping boards

  1. Hand wash only.

    Wooden chopping boards may look nicer, but when it comes to cleaning wooden chopping boards they’re a lot less flexible than plastic. Drawn out exposure to heat and water (such as a dishwashing machine cycle) can cause the wood to warp and split.

  2. Use warm water and soap.

    While prolonged heat can damage the wood, it’s important when cleaning wooden chopping boards to use warm water to tackle any bacteria that may be lurking. Try Seventh Generation dish soap for a soap that’s tough on dirt but not on the planet (or your hands!).

  3. Dry up!

    It’s all very well knowing how to clean wooden chopping boards but you’re not quite done once you’ve washed them. It’s important to dry wooden cutting boards once they’re clean to ensure the wood doesn’t split. Cracks in the wood allow germs and bacteria to lurk and can compromise your kitchen.

    Oil wooden boards regularly with mineral oil to help seal the wood.

How to Clean Plastic Chopping Boards

Plastic chopping boards offer more versatility than their wooden friends, and are available in different colours for different food types to help prevent cross-contamination.

  1. Throw it in the dishwasher:

    Unlike their wooden counterparts, plastic chopping boards can withstand the heat of dishwashers and so putting them in with your cutlery and crockery is a quick and easy way to clean your plastic board.

  2. Handwash:

    While putting things in the dishwasher is so much easier, over time, this can cause your plastic cutting board to warp. Handwashing your plastic chopping board is best to lengthen the lifespan.

  3. How to get rid of chopping board stains:

    If the surface of your chopping board is stained or discoloured, make a paste combined of one part baking soda, one part salt and one part water to scrub out stains.

Has your cleaning regime changed during the Covid-19 lockdown?

How to sanitise a wooden cutting board and how to sanitise plastic cutting boards

To practise a good level of chopping board hygiene, sanitise your chopping board every week, or more often if necessary. Here’s how:

How to sanitise chopping boards with bleach:

  • The most effective method is to soak cutting boards 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.

How to sanitise chopping boards without bleach:

You can use common household ingredients with anti-bacterial properties to wipe over the cutting surface before leaving to dry.

  • White vinegar: Mix one part white vinegar to four parts water and leave to soak for a few minutes. Then rinse off and dry.

  • Hydrogen peroxide: Alternatively, if you don’t have white vinegar to hand, you can swap it out for hydrogen peroxide.

  • Lemon and salt: Sprinkle you board with coarse salt and the scrub with the fleshy side of a cut lemon. Let the lemon and salt sit for a few minutes and then clean with a sponge and dry.

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!

When cleaning chopping boards, or doing any washing up for that matter, it’s important to make sure your dishcloths and sponges are clean. To find out how to make sure your cleaning tools are safe, check out this handy guide.

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 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.

  • Throw away any chopping boards that are really cracked, scratched and 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.

Be sure to check out our other articles about kitchen hygiene and how to clean dishcloths and sponges for more helpful cleaning tips!

Originally published