Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.
Can Wooden Cutting Boards Go In The Dishwasher? (Find Out Now!)
Wood is among the most popular material used for cutting boards. Most wood cutting boards are either made from end-grain blocks of wood or glued up edge grain. Whether you’ve just finished julienning carrots or dicing up some chicken, you might wonder how you should go about cleaning your wooden cutting board. A common question that often comes up is, “Can wooden cutting boards go in the dishwasher?”
You should never place a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher because the prolonged exposure to heat and water will ultimately cause the cutting board to warp and crack. Not only will it be more difficult to use a warped board, the cracks that develop in the wood are a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other microbes to collect.
Instead, the correct way to clean a wooden cutting board is to wash it as you would any other dish – with soap and water. However, unlike dishwasher-safe boards, wooden cutting boards tend to require a little extra care to continue enjoying their benefits for many years to come.
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What Happens If You Put a Cutting Board in the Dishwasher?
While some people may have success with placing non-dishwasher safe items in a dishwasher, it simply is not worth the risk. Especially when you consider that some of these items can cost quite a bit of money. You may even risk your other dishes inside of the dishwasher becoming damaged in the process.
If you put a cutting board that is not designed to withstand the heat and excessive moisture of a dishwasher – such as those made out of wood – in a cycle, you risk a number of potential problems. These include, but are not limited to:
If your wooden cutting board starts to crack or split, it will be more difficult to use. Cracking causes the surface to become uneven, which will hinder the cutting and chopping process. While washing your cutting board in the dishwasher once may only result in small cracks, constant washing in the dishwasher can result in the entire cutting board splitting in half.
If your wooden cutting board warps, this means it’ll bend and twist out of shape. In most cases, these boards will transform into something that can no longer be used as a cutting board. Having a flat, even surface is crucial for cutting and chopping. Warping is commonly seen with thin wooden and plastic cutting boards.
Although melting is more common with plastic cutting boards, a cutting board that melts is no longer useable. The hot material will also most likely drip onto other dishes in your dishwasher, causing irreversible damage. Melting can even pose a risk to the dishwasher itself.
While the melting may not be as extensive, it is still important that you avoid this issue as much as possible. You can never ensure a small amount of melting, or none at all.
How to Properly Clean Wooden Cutting Boards
Wooden cutting boards are popular among both professional chefs and home chefs, and for good reason. Not only are they attractive, but they are also gentle on knives, durable, naturally antibacterial, and can double as serving platters. Despite their many benefits, they do require more upkeep than most other kitchen tools.
After Each Use
Cutting boards that are made out of wood should never be placed in the dishwasher and should only be hand washed. The drawn-out exposure to water and high heat in a dishwasher will cause wood cutting boards to warp, split, and crack. After each use, clean your wooden cutting board a soft sponge, warm water, and a mild dish detergent. Clean thoroughly to ensure that you get into all the crevices where food and bacteria may be hiding.
After you’ve finished washing, it’s important that immediately dry off the wooden board using a dry dish towel and then let it air dry fully before you use it again. With wood, allowing the board to sit for too long can cause the fibers to swell, resulting in splitting or warping of the wood.
If you start to notice an unpleasant odor or you simply want to give your wooden cutting board a good deep clean, follow these steps:
- Sprinkle about a cup of baking powder all over the board, and then follow it up with a cup of white vinegar.
- Allow this mixture to sit for a couple of minutes, and then rinse the board thoroughly. This should remove any stains present on the board.
Oiling Wooden Cutting Boards
One of the most important aspects of preserving a wooden cutting board is to keep it properly oiled. Applying a food-grade mineral oil to the surface will extend the life of your wooden cutting board, by protecting against warping caused by a rapid change in moisture content and preventing cracking due to excessive dryness.
Oiling your wooden cutting boards also helps with sanitation, as a well-oiled board will resist foreign liquids, including blood and associated bacteria. Always use a food-grade or food-safe mineral oil, as something like vegetable oil or olive oil will spoil eventually and cause the board to develop a foul smell.
To oil a wooden cutting board, apply the food-grade mineral oil generously on all sides. Let the board soak overnight, standing it upwards to dry. For best results, oil your wooden cutting board about once every two weeks to a month. Maple cutting boards will start to get lighter in color when it’s time for oiling, while other wooden boards will feel dry to the touch.
Sanitizing Wooden Cutting Boards
If your wooden cutting board has been exposed to raw meat, poultry, eggs, or fish, it needs more attention to properly sanitize it before it can be used again. After you’ve cleaned the board using the tips outlined above, mix together a sanitizing solution of four parts water to one part vinegar. Wipe the board down with the solution and then pat dry.
For better sanitizing results, the USDA recommends soaking your wooden cutting boards in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. Soak for several minutes then dry with a paper towel or cloth.
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