Wood selection has always been the most important part of selecting a good cutting board. Classical cutting boards have normally been made of out dense woods, such as maple, walnut or cherry vs porous woods such as red oak. Having a dense wood is important, as it keeps out water, which is where bacteria grow and live. Even with high quality wood however, cutting boards usually require regular maintenance with mineral oil or beeswax to keep the wood from cracking and warping.
One main reason bamboo cutting boards have gained popularity in recent years is because they are almost maintenance free due to the hard density of the wood. Bamboo resists retaining water and as a result, will not warp or crack as easily as normal wood. That said, it’s not recommended to put a bamboo board (let alone any cutting board) in a dishwasher due to the extreme heat. Only thicker, plastic cutting boards are considered safe for dishwashers since they generally won’t crack or warp.
If you try to make a habit of wiping dry your bamboo board after washing (and never letting it soak), there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to keep it for years.
Even the hardest of maple will be scarred by a chefs knife, which will leave pockets for moisture, food particles and bacteria to accumulate. Bamboo, on the other hand, is often dense enough to resist knife scarring and naturally resists water penetration and letting bacteria find a place to form.
That said, it’s always recommended to use proper hygiene methods to clean your bamboo cutting board by using hot water and soap or a dilution of bleach and water (1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water).