Cleaning Mold Off of Cutting Boards
30 July 04


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Removing Mold


Natural Cleanser

Because cutting boards come in direct contact with food, you may want to try a natural cleanser first. If your cutting board is moldy, sprinkle a coarse salt, such as sea salt, generously over the board. Cut a fresh lemon in half and use it to work the salt into the surface of the cutting board. The salt will lift tough stains and minor mold out of any cracks, grooves and cuts in the cutting board, and the lemon will leave it smelling fresh.

Tip

Mold is tough to remove, so don't be discouraged if the lemon-and-salt treatment doesn't get rid of it all. Simply move on to the next cleanser and try again.


Bleach It Clean

Though it may not be the first chemical you reach for when cleaning your kitchen, bleach is a safe disinfectant to use around food when used properly. Plus, it's an excellent mold killer. Bleach will keep any kind of cutting boards clean and free of bacteria -- whether it's wood, plastic or glass. For cutting board cleaning and mold removal, mix 1 teaspoon of bleach into 2 quarts of water. Dip a scrub brush into the mixture and scrub the cutting board with it, moving the brush in small circles to work the solution into all the nooks and crannies. When cleaning a wooden board or butcher block with bleach and water, use the mixture sparingly to avoid saturating the board. If the mold is resistant, try a more potent solution of 50/50 bleach and water,but do not make the mixture any stronger.

Tip

If the mold on a wooden cutting board runs too deep for bleaching to be effective, sand the board down with a fine-grit paper until you get rid of the mold.


Preventing Mold


Proper Washing Techniques

Though glass and plastic cutting boards can be washed in the dishwasher, keep wooden cutting boards out of this appliance. Always wash wooden boards by hand and dry them with a towel to remove as much moisture as possible when finished. Allow the board to air dry the rest of the way before putting it away, standing it upright in the dish drainer to allow air to reach all sides of the board. Once a week, clean your cutting boards with white vinegar. Apply vinegar to the board with a sponge or paper towel and let it set for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Apply Some Oil

Wooden cutting boards and butcher blocks stay much cleaner and mold-free when they are given a regular coating of oil. Once a month, soak a cloth with food-grade mineral oil and rub the oil into the cutting board, rubbing with the wood grain. Apply the oil liberally and allow it to soak into the wood for five to six hours before wiping off the excess with a clean towel.

Tip


Consider using polymerized tung oil instead of mineral oil on your wood. Tung oil dries quickly and won't leave the surface of the cutting board feeling oily.

Never use vegetable or olive oils to oil your wooden board as they can turn rancid.


Avoid Meat

To help keep wooden and scratched plastic cutting boards clean, avoid cutting raw meat on them. The juices from the meat will soak into wood grain and seams on wooden cutting boards and into scratches on plastic ones, taking bacteria with them. Glass cutting boards are much better suited to cutting raw meat.