With all the prep work and cooking we do in the Test Kitchen, we really put our cutting boards through their paces. Maintaining a clean cutting board at all times is important, and it's not complicated.
Whether you prefer wood or plastic, as soon as you're done using a cutting board, rinse it to remove any surface dirt. In the Test Kitchen, we rinse ours with warm water, and scrub lightly with a little soap. For wooden boards, scrub following the grain of the wood.
After washing the board, sanitize it to remove any germs. There are a number of ways to sanitize and deodorize, using either vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, bleach or lemons. In the test kitchen, we sanitize using a diluted bleach solution, about 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon cool water.
Spray or wipe the solution on the board and set it aside for a few minutes before rinsing off with hot water. We never run our cutting boards — wood or plastic — through the dishwasher as the wash cycle is bad for the wood, and I've found it warps our plastic boards.
Once the board is clean, prop it up vertically so it dries completely on all sides. Never put away a damp cutting board. And to keep a wooden cutting board from drying out and splitting from excessive use or neglect, wipe it down occasionally with a mineral oil or a blend you can find at a kitchen or restaurant supply store.
If your cutting board is stained, don't worry. It's usually easy to clean. For wooden cutting boards, combine coarse salt and baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Scrub the paste into the stain following the grain of the wood, then rinse with warm water. For plastic boards, use a bleach solution and let the board sit until the stain comes out, then rinse and clean.
Cooking is fun – at least it should be! No matter how long you've been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it's a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef's knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.