A high quality butcher block cutting board is an excellent investment. Not only will it look great in the kitchen, but it will last with proper care. The wood has to be kept in top condition. Simply wiping it with a damp rag and drying it with a towel is not enough. Fortunately, the care required is minimal. Whether it is new or secondhand, use the following easy ways to care for a butcher block cutting board, and keep it clean and in great condition for many years to come.
The Gift of a Williams-Sonoma Bottle Shaped Cutting Board
I received a very nice gift of a bottle shaped cutting board from Williams-Sonoma. I could not find care instructions for the beautiful handcrafted cherry and maple hardwood board, but I knew that it had to be seasoned. I already knew how to care for a kitchen island with a butcher block top, but I consulted the Williams-Sonoma website for recommended care instructions for the beautiful wooden work of art. It is really very easy to care for a butcher block cutting board. Although my board was not advertised as butcher block, the care is the same, and it still looks like new almost one year later.
How to Season a Butcher Block Cutting Board Before the First Use
Before using a butcher block cutting board for the first time, it is important to properly season the wood. Buy food grade mineral oil. It is available online and in many stores that sell wood treatment products. I bought mine from a local Woodcraft store.
Heat the food grade mineral oil just until it becomes slightly warm. Apply it with a soft cloth, and be sure to rub it with the grain instead of against it. I used a new lint-free microfiber cloth. After the mineral oil soaks into the butcher block, apply a second coat. After several minutes, wipe the board down with another clean, absorbent cloth. It will soak up any excess oil.
How to Remove Foul Odors
Preparing raw onions, cabbage and other strong foods can leave behind unpleasant odors on a butcher block cutting board. To remove unpleasant odors, begin by cutting a fresh lemon in half, and lightly sprinkle the surface with salt. Use the lemon as a scrubber to gently rub the odor away. Sanitize and/or wash the butcher block cutting board using the following easy care method.
Washing and Sanitizing a Butcher Block Cutting Board
If the board was used to prepare raw meat or other unsanitary foods, it will require a little more care. It is important to sanitize the butcher block cutting board after it comes in contact with contaminates. White vinegar and water will do the job. Simply mix one quarter cup of vinegar with one and a quarter cups of tap water. Do not submerge the wood. Rinse it with clear running water, and dry it immediately.
To clean the butcher block, do not submerge it in water. Instead, apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid that does not contain degreaser to a damp dishrag. Lightly wipe the wood with the warm soapy cloth. Rinse it under running water, and dry it with a towel. Allow it to dry completely on end, but make sure that the end is not sitting in a puddle of water.
How to Keep the Wood from Becoming Dry
To further care for a butcher block cutting board, do not allow it to dry out. It should be coated with food grade mineral oil before that can happen. Use the aforementioned instructions for seasoning the wood. Seasoning it again will help to keep it in top condition.
Do not store the butcher block cutting board in a damp location. It should not be kept next to the stove, on top of the refrigerator, or any other appliances that produce heat. Direct sunlight will also dry out the wood.
I store my gorgeous wooden cutting board on end on my kitchen countertop. I keep it away from the sink to avoid moisture, and it is not near the microwave or my gas range. With the care I have given it over the past year, the wood looks as good as ever.
Sources: April Morse’s Williams-Sonoma Cutting Board Care Instructions
Donald G. Good, Woodcraft Sales Professional