Caring for Cutting Boards

I appreciate the look of wood cutting boards. There’s just something about the soft grain and varied coloring and texture that really speaks to me.

Over the years, I’ve been able to find several nice boards and I’m always on the lookout for new ones to add to my growing collection.

Throughout this post, I’m sharing a few simple tips for caring for cutting boards.

Cutting boards group6

Before you think I’m crazy for collecting so many boards, I will say while I do actually use them for cutting and serving, I also use them in my food styling photography efforts as backdrops.

It’s quite useful having so many different shades of wood to choose from for food photo shoots like this and this.

Cutting boards ws2

I received this beautiful cutting board for Christmas from Boris and the kids and at 24″ x 18″ it’s super huge.  Clearly, they know I have a thing for cutting boards.

With its smooth surface and multi-grained coloring, I think it’s almost too pretty to use.  I did say almost.

I’m going to keep it on my kitchen counter to encourage me to use it often.

While the wood coloring in this new board is a little lighter than I’m typically drawn to, I still love it.

cutting board edge

Before the board can be put to good use, it first needed to be seasoned.

Seasoning wood cutting boards and cheese boards (and wood utensils) will improve their durability, longevity and also help preserve and/or restore the overall appearance of the wood.

Cutting boards oil3

To season a wood cutting board, use a mineral oil, wood wax or wood conditioner as long as it is FOOD GRADE, meaning it’s food safe.

Always look for that “food grade” designation on the product packaging before applying any treatment to boards that will come in contact with food items.

I use this brand that I picked up for about $7 at Home Depot (in the wood stain aisle) but I know many other retailers carry similar products that work equally well.

Cutting boards oil

Use a clean cotton cloth or micro fiber to wipe the board down of any debris.  Then use another clean cloth to apply the oil evenly over the surface, front, back and sides.

Make sure you rub the oil in, in the direction of the wood grain.  Allow the oil or wax to thoroughly soak into the wood before applying a second coat over the entire board.

The board will feel a bit oily and that’s OK.  Allow the board to dry and then wipe off the excess oil with another cloth.

Cutting boards grouping

The oil will really bring out the natural color in your woods and I think you’ll really notice a big difference.  Dry wood wants oil and when you apply it the wood will just soak it up.

When cleaning your boards, skip the dishwasher which can cause the board to dry out and turn dull.  I always wash my boards in hot soapy water and I never leave them soaking in the sink.

Regular oil conditioning will also keep your boards from drying out over time.

Cutting boards rolling pin

Seasoning is not just for cutting boards either.  If you have other kitchen items that have natural wood attached you may want to consider conditioning those areas too.

For example, I treated the handles on my marble rolling pin and the conditioning not only enriched the color but I know the handles will now also wear much better over time.

Wooden spoons graphic

Don’t forget to take care of your spoons too. Spoons of wood or even the ones with just wood handles should also be regularly conditioned to improve thier wear and durability.

Take a close look at the before and after photos below and you can see how the dull wood was enriched (especially the handles) and much of the color was restored after the application of mineral oil.

NOTE: I accidentally used a different spoon on the far left in my After photo but the resulting change in color after conditioning was the same with both spoons.

Cutting boards side

Sometimes, wood boards can hold on to mild odors from various food and veggies.

To eliminate odors from your board, rub the board with kosher or table salt along with half a lemon. Allow this combo to sit for 3-4 minutes and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Let the board to air dry completely before applying another light coat of oil if needed.

Your wood cutting boards, cheese boards and wood-handled utensils definitely deserve special care.  Try to give it to them.


Thanks for stopping by.

See you back here next time. 


  • Tyler Johnson

    That’s good to know that you need to get the food grade oil for your cutting board. I just got a nice engraved one and I want to keep it nice. I’ll have to make sure that I get some good oil for it.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Great, Tyler.
      Taking care of your wood boards will ensure they have a long and beautiful life.
      I found my food grade wood polish at Home Depot but I’m sure most home improvement stores carry it.
      Good luck and happy Spring.

  • Claudine Pender

    Just came over from Karianne’s blog!
    Love all the info! I am crazy (haha) for cutting boards, too!!! I have old and new and I also use them for cutting and serving 🙂 I will condition them like you said! I have waxed some of my boards but never my spoons. I will look for the food grade products thank you so much!

  • Theresa Kriz.

    I have switched over to plastic cutting boards. But recently was advised to use wooden. Great that I happened upon your article about oiling them. Excited to start looking for a few wooden cutting boards.

  • Rachel Underwood

    These are great cutting boards and the photos too. I just bought two new wooden cutting boards, and as I’ve had only plastic till now, I was wondering how to keep them clean enough. Your tips are quite simple and useful for me. Thanks for sharing the information!

  • Georgina

    Lisa, all those boards reminded me of my mother’s collection from many years ago. My mother refused using plastic cutting boards due to her love of her beloved wood. Unfortunately, after her death in this past May, I noticed her wood boards were gone, missing from their honoured place in her kitchen. I never could find the culprit, but I’m thinking a certain sibling took them with him back to CA. Oh well, as long as they stay in the family.
    Thank you for your advise on treating ALL that is wood in the kitchen. I never thought of treating my utensils, so it looks like a short visit to Home Depot in search of that special conditioner…oh, who am I kidding, I can spend much time at Home Depot!! LOL
    Have a great weekend and again, I so much enjoy your posts.

  • Nancy

    Lisa, thank you for the post! I usually clean my cutting board with baking soda and lemon. I have a question. How often do you clean your cutting board?

  • Cami

    Thought I would swing by and see what types of things you have over here. I am Cami, joining you in the Ella Claire team. Your site is so energetic and beautiful! I am excited to watch all you do! And truly, I am dying over these boards. Your foods all look delicious – but your cutting board collection is what really gets me 😉

  • Linda

    Can’t say thank you enough for this information I was in need of. Also, how might this work in furniture to prevent drying in the inlay spots?

  • [email protected]

    Thanks so much for all of the great tips! I love cutting boards as well. I have the big trivet which you have shown from Nordstrom and the mini pedestal from Pottery Barn. They are two of my favorites.

  • Linda Rattie

    Nice cutting boards….boy you collect weird things….ha ha just kidding. I’m thinking back to the twine/string holders. I had never even heard of them before. Thanks for your inspiration and love the way you stage your pictures. So nice.

  • rosalie

    Your post reminded me that I haven’t been taking very good care of my wood boards. I’m going to get right to it and oil up those thirsty cutting boards.

  • Deborah

    Hi Lisa, I always look forward to your posts even though I do not always leave a comment. You are so creative and encourage that creativity in others. I love practicality also and you deliver that in ways that it makes one enjoy caring for family and home…and that’s so important! Thank you again, Lisa, for your time in posting your wonderful, fun blog! Have a wonderful day! Smiles, Deborah. 😉

  • Elaine Tutman

    Thanks for the tips on seasoning the wooden cutting boards.
    Best wishes – Nana Banana

Leave a Comment