Cooktop Cove: 13 wonderful ways to clean cutting boards you never knew
By Jacinta M. Carter
Cutting boards are an essential item in anyone's kitchen. But have you ever thought about how dirty those things can get? After all, you use them to cut everything from vegetables to raw meat. Of course you wash them after each use, but are you really getting them clean enough?
Considering the wide variety of foods that touch a cutting board on a regular basis, you want to make sure you're giving it a thorough cleaning every time. Unfortunately, soap and water might not be cutting it. Before you throw out your old cutting board and buy a new one, though, check out this list for new ways to give it a good clean.
1. Salt and lemon
If you have a wooden cutting board, you can use salt and lemon to clean it. Sprinkle salt over the board and then scrub over it with half of the lemon, squeezing gently so the juice runs out onto the board. Let it sit until a gray liquid forms on the board. Scrape the liquid off and then wipe the board with a wet cloth to remove any residue.
2. Lemon juice
If you don't have a whole lemon, you can use lemon juice instead. You still start by sprinkling salt over the board, but then use the lemon juice to create a paste with it. You can scrub this paste over the board with a coarse sponge. Let the paste sit on the board for a few hours before washing it off with water.​
3. Vinegar
Is it possible to make a cleaning list without including vinegar? Probably not. If you have a wooden cutting board that needs to be disinfected, you can spray a vinegar/water mixture on it, followed by hydrogen peroxide. Gently rinse the board and let it air dry.
4. Bleach
If you're using a plastic cutting board, bleach is your best bet for a good clean. Fill your sink with hot water and add about 1/2 cup of bleach. Let the board sit in the bleach mixture for about 20 minutes before washing it with soap and water to get rid of any lingering bleach smell.
5. Baking soda
Does your cutting board smell? If so, pour on some baking soda and add enough water to make it into a paste. Rub the paste into the board until you notice it start to stink. Rinse the paste off of the board and dry it with a towel. The smell should be gone and the board will look cleaner.
6. Petroleum jelly
Wooden cutting boards should never be submerged into water, but sometimes it happens. This can lead to water stains which won't affect how sanitary the board is, but they will make it look bad. To get rid of water stains, rub petroleum jelly into the stains and let them sit for about 12 hours. When you wipe off the jelly, the watermark should disappear as well.
7. Toothpaste
If your wooden cutting board is starting to look a little grungy, you can mix white, non-gel toothpaste and baking soda into a paste and rub it into the board, parallel to the grain. After you've rubbed down the board, wipe off the paste with a damp cloth.
8. Grated apples or potatoes
You usually cut apples and potatoes on a cutting board, but they can also help clean it, especially if the board is starting to stink. All you have to do is cover the board with either grated apples or grated potatoes and let them sit for about 10 minutes. After that, rinse off the board and let it air dry and the smell should be gone.
9. Microwave
If you have a plastic cutting board and it's small enough to fit in your microwave, you can use the microwave to disinfect the board. Wash the board with soap and water, rub it down with the cut side of a lemon and then toss it in the microwave for one minute.
10. Dish soap
When used for cutting raw meat, there is a good chance your board is going to get a few blood stains now and then. To clean these off, soak a clean cloth in a cup of water and dish soap before wiping over the stain. After you've removed the blood, use a damp cloth to wipe away any residue.
11. Steel wool
For especially stubborn stains, you can use any variety of methods to initially clean the board. But to completely remove the stain, you might have to scrub over the stain with superfine steel wool dipped in liquid wax. This will remove a fine layer from the wood and the stain along with it.
12. Mineral spirits
To get rid of old stains, gently scrub the area with a cloth dipped in mineral spirits. Wipe the area with a damp cloth to see if the stain is gone. If it's still there, use steel wool dampened with mineral spirits to scrub the stain until it disappears.
13. Olive oil
If your wooden cutting board is starting to get all scratched up, you can make it smooth again with two simple ingredients. Mix 3/4 parts olive oil (or vegetable oil) with, you guessed it, 1/4 parts vinegar and rub the mixture over the scratches with a soft cloth.
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