How To Sanitize and Restore a Wood Cutting Board

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how to sanitize and restore a wood cutting baord! This is such a great tip and so easy to do!

We use wood cutting boards a LOT in our house. This tip for how to sanitize and restore a wood cutting board is one of our most-used tricks!

They are easy, simple and beautiful. We even have a kitchen island with a butcher block table top that we use as our everyday table. So to say we need a good way to sterilize wood, without chemicals, is an understatement!

Today I am going to show you my foolproof, incredibly easy and chemical-free way of sterilizing wood cutting board surfaces, as well as how to restore or maintain an old cutting board to keep it looking rich and new instead of all dried out and sad.

First off, check out our situation. We had a particularly nasty cutting board with food of some sort petrified on. Don’t judge. This is real life with two babies, people!


To get the stuck on food off, take a regular old butter knife and scrape it down the board to remove any crusty bits. This will be the most labor intensive part of the process- make sure you really get all old crusty bits off and gone. Then wipe off any crumbs with a dry paper towel.

At this point, if you have very deep cuts in the board, you might need to sand your board down. You don’t want deep cuts as they are harder to clean and can make an excellent hiding place for bacteria. Since mine weren’t deep, I left them. We’re also VERY careful to not cut meat on our cutting boards- but vegetables can carry listeria and e. coli as well, so it’s important to clean often.

Next, pour some vinegar on the cutting board (enough to coat it) and let it set in for 10 minutes. When fully soaked in, wipe it down with a wet cloth.

If your cutting board isn’t in need of a good sterilizing, or doesn’t have many deep cuts, you can skip the next step. Anything in my house, however, cannot.

Pour a similar amount of hydrogen peroxide on the cutting board and rub it in to fully coat the board. Let it sit another 10 minutes and then rub clean with a damp cloth.

Repeat the steps above for the backside, and let fully dry. You don’t need to wear gloves for this unless you are particularly sketched out by the smell of vinegar or you have any open cuts on your hands.


Next, we’re going to get that dried out wood looking rich and beautiful as it was when you got your cutting board brand new. sanitize and restore a wood cutting board without any harsh chemicals- this is GENIUS!

Pour a generous helping of food grade mineral oil or coconut oil on the board and rub it around in soft circular motions. Think of this as lotioning up your cutting board– let it soak in the oil. If your cutting board soaks it all up immediately go on ahead and add a little more. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then using a dry cloth or paper towel, go over the board in circular motions to remove excess oil. Don’t worry about getting it all up- it will continue to sink in to your wood- but you’d like it to not be a greasy mess all over your counter or wherever you store your cutting board.

Repeat this oiling every week to keep your board well conditioned and to keep it from drying out- especially if you live in a very arid climate like here in Colorado!

When you are done, your cutting board will look lovely and rich again.

restore an old dry cutting board- this is SUCH an awesome, easy tip!


What will you use this awesome tip on? I’ve always wanted big long butcher block countertops, but was always afraid they’d get too dirty. Now that I know how easy it is to clean them, I’m off to dreaming again!!!

How to sterilize and restore a wood cutting board- This is SUCH great information, and so easy to do! Only takes five minutes active time and under an hour with drying!

28 thoughts on “How To Sanitize and Restore a Wood Cutting Board”

  1. This might seem like a weird question, but what do you cut your meat on if not on a cutting board? I’ve never thought about the bacteria from it as a I usually just stick it in the dishwasher. Maybe I have always been doing it wrong!

    1. I do have one wood cutting board I use for meat, but I usually just use a glass or plastic cutting board for meat instead of wood since I can pop those in the dishwasher without them drying or taking on a weird detergent flavor.

  2. Great tips here. I am restoring a 1920 apple cider press. Naturally I will use my own cider viniger to clean before and after taking the hose to wash off the wood. mixing in beeswax should seal moisture the preserve. this beautiful primitive working press.

    1. You can find it at walmart, target, grocery stores- you might just have to ask what section each store stocks it in. Sometimes I’ve found mineral oil in odd places since it is used for so many purposes.

        1. I found mine in the pharmacy section. People use it as a laxative. Anyway the important thing is that it is made to be consumed, so I think it would be safe for your use.

        2. Bob, the Heavy Mineral Oil from the Pharmacy is safe. A friend of mine drinks some daily, and she is 87.

  3. Thanks for this! I use vinegar often but haven’t done the hydrogen peroxide – I should – and we have butcher block oil here, I use it for my wood counters as it’s food safe and all.

  4. great tips! Looks like new! 😉

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