Extend the Life of Your Wooden Cutting Boards and Kitchenware

cutting board

Cutting boards, butcher blocks, cheese boards, salad bowls, spoons, spatulas: There are a lot of kitchen items that are commonly made from wood. Properly caring for these items can make a big difference in how long they last. A wood cutting board, for example, might last only a year if it’s mistreated or neglected. But when well cared for, a cutting board can last over 10 years.

In order to give your wooden cutting boards and spatulas the proper care they need, you only need one thing: food-grade mineral oil.

By applying mineral oil to your wooden kitchen items somewhere between once a month and once a year (depending on how often they’re used), you’ll keep your boards and spatulas from drying out, splitting or warping. Just make sure the oil you use is food grade so that it won’t go rancid.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Clean your wooden cutting board or utensil. You can use dish soap and water and rinse it off, or coarse salt and half a lemon (or some white vinegar) and wipe it clean. Lemon is especially great at eliminating any odors that might be lingering in the wood. Once clean, let the board dry.
  2. Apply the oil. Use your hand or a rag to apply the oil evenly across the wood’s surface. Let it soak in overnight.
  3. Wipe off the excess. Once the wood has absorbed what it can, use a rag to wipe away any remaining oil. The wood should not feel damp or sticky.

If your wooden board or utensil is brand new, repeat this process 3-5 times before putting it into regular rotation.

If you want to ramp up your kitchen tools TLC even more, you could try a wood butter, conditioner or cream instead of plain mineral oil — these use a little bit of wax to help lock the oil’s moisture inside the wood. Check out A Piece of Rainbow for an all natural DIY recipe as well as some store-bought recommendations. But if you just want to stick to the basics, you can’t go wrong with food-grade mineral oil.

And, if you do end up with a broken wooden spoon or completely warped and unusable wooden cutting board, it can go in the compost cart.