We all have kitchen boards at home, but few of us know exactly how to clean them properly. In the household, wooden and plastic boards are mainly used, but which variant is more hygienic remains a controversial one. But one thing is certain – regardless of whether you are cutting meat, bread or vegetables, you should clean the cutting board after each use.
Cutting board looks clean – why do you have to clean it??
It often happens that you simply rinse the kitchen board with water after use and it already looks clean. However, water alone is not enough. Bacteria and germs form on the surface of the cutting board and cannot be seen with the naked eye. However, they later find their way into food and can damage our health. Thorough cleaning of the kitchen board is therefore recommended, especially after cutting food such as meat or fish.
Just like cleaning your dishes, pots and pans after each use, you should also clean the cutting board. It depends on the material of the board and the right cleaning agents.
Clean the wooden cutting board properly
Wooden kitchen boards are usually not that easy to clean, especially when they are already affected by dirt and stains. If it is a new wooden board, you should first oil it and only then use it. Simply brush the entire surface of the board thoroughly with cooking oil (e.g. rapeseed or linseed oil), let it rest for 24 hours and wipe it off the next day with a clean cloth. In this way, the wood is protected from water and can no longer absorb it. And where there is no humid microclimate, there are no germs either. You should repeat the oiling of the wooden cutting mats every 3-4 weeks – this way they can be used for longer.
How you properly clean your cutting board depends primarily on the intended use. If you have cut vegetables, nuts or similar foods on it, the board can be easily cleaned with hot water and a little dishwasher. Just make sure that the cutting board is not soaked in water for a long time. This not only protects the kitchen aid from bacteria, but also from swelling of the material.
If you have cut raw meat on the wooden cutting board, you can disinfect the cutting mat with a solution of white vinegar and 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Simply pour the solution over the board and distribute it evenly with a sponge. Leave on for a few minutes and then wipe off the rest of the liquid with a clean dishwashing detergent.
If you want to do without chemicals, you can also consider some tried and tested home remedies. Germs can be killed efficiently with baking soda. Half a spoonful of the miracle home remedy is enough. However, if you want to cut raw meat or fish, you should avoid using wooden chopping boards.
Wooden chopping boards must not be put in the dishwasher. So much water can make the surface of the wooden base porous and cause cracks. Therefore, you should only clean your wooden board by hand.
Discoloration is also a common problem with wooden boards. They are mainly caused by foods with strong colors such as beetroot or red cabbage. If you want to clean a discolored cutting board, there is a simple trick you can try. Mix some lemon juice with baking soda until it becomes a kind of paste. Spread the paste over the discolored area and let it work. If the discoloration is gone after checking, wash the board as usual and let it dry.
Clean the cutting board and remove any odors
Kitchen boards can ingest the stubborn smells of aromatic foods like onions, garlic, and fish and pass them on to other foods when you cut them. Fortunately, there is a simple trick that you can use to not only clean the cutting board, but also to get it odor-free again.
This cleaning method is simple and does not use chemicals at all. For this you will need coarse-grained salt and a lemon. Simply sprinkle a tablespoon (more if necessary) of salt on the cutting board and rub it with the lemon half. Finally, rinse thoroughly with water and you’re done. The trick works with both wooden and plastic boards.
How can the plastic cutting board be cleaned??
Plastic cutting mats are just as popular in the kitchen. Just like wooden boards, they need to be cleaned after each use. In contrast, the plastic boards are dishwasher safe. Set the dishwasher to the highest possible temperature to effectively kill all germs and bacteria on the cutting mat. Thanks to the automatic cleaning, the stuck smells on the board also disappear with the first dishwashing cycle.
If you don’t have a dishwasher in the kitchen, you can of course also clean the cutting board by hand. After the usual rinse cycle with hot water and a dishwasher, you can spray the board with a solution of 1 1/2 teaspoons of chlorine bleach and 500 milliliters of water and let it work for 2 minutes. Then simply rinse off the chlorine solution thoroughly and let the clean plastic cutting board dry upright.
For cutting raw meat or aromatic foods, plastic cutting boards are preferable to wooden ones. They are less porous and easier and more effective to clean.
Surprisingly, discoloration on a plastic cutting board can be removed in the sun. The direct rays of the sun light up the surface and remove colored stains, for example from tomatoes or similar vegetables.
Tip: Do not use serrated knives (e.g. bread knives) on a plastic board, as these can roughen the surface. You should also avoid using abrasive cleaners.
A kitchen board is not enough
Last but not least, we would like to give a few tips for the correct use of kitchen boards in the household. Please note that just a cutting board is not enough. In contrast to fresh vegetables, foods such as raw meat, fish and poultry are often contaminated with germs or bacteria. If you cut everything on the same board, the bacteria can easily be transferred to other foods. It is therefore advisable to use different cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
Even if you have a separate cutting board for different food groups, that doesn’t mean it will last forever. For hygienic reasons, kitchen boards should be replaced with new ones after a certain period of time. The easiest way to determine the condition is to look at the surface – if there are already severe scratches and stubborn discoloration, it is time for a new cutting board.