Oiling a wooden cutting board: why, how, what with and when

As with all wooden kitchen utensils- spoons, blocks, bowls, etc- wooden chopping boards will eventually crack if not maintained properly. 

The easiest and most efficient way to prevent your board from splintering is to oil it. Throughout this article will cover the why, what, how and when of oiling your wooden board. 

Why should you oil your cutting board?

Wood is an organic, porous material that changes through time. It can become dry, stained and crack. In order to have a beautiful, glossy looking wooden chopping board, it must be oiled. 

The wooden board soaks the oil which helps it keep smooth and also serves as a mild water-repellant. After all, if a wooden cutting board is kept wet or in water for a long period of time, it can build up warping or bacteria. This in turn may cause the board to crack and be unsafe to use. Cutting board oil is essential to prevent your wooden cutting board from absorbing moisture and cracking. 

In case you need even more reasons to be convinced to oil your chopping board, you’ll want to know the oil also acts as a protective layer. This means that it can prevent any liquid stains from sticking to the cutting board. So the oil will prevent stains forming when chopping produce that leave stains, think: beets, carrots, strawberries. 

What should you use to oil your cutting board?

Now that you’ve realised the importance of oiling your wooden chopping board you need to use the right type of oil. That is Mineral oil (also known as liquid paraffin). Forget any other type of oil, if it’s not mineral oil then chances are you will end up with a rancid and gummy board that leaves an unwanted trace of tartness on whatever you chop. So just stick to mineral oil, it resists oxidation even when exposed to oxygen or moisture. Otherwise, you can also use beeswax. 

 

How should you oil your cutting board?

Firstly, make sure your board is thoroughly clean and dry. Then, pour the mineral oil onto one side of the board- don’t over oil, it’s better to do a second oil if needed. Grab a fresh dry cloth or papel tower and rub the oil into the board in a circular motion. Keep adding oil and rubbing it on the surface until the board won’t absorb any more oil and it has a nice shine. Repeat the process on all sides of the board. 

Once the entire board is covered, leave it standing on its side or leaning against a vertical surface, so it can get as much air as possible. Allow the board to soak the oil for 5-10 minutes. Then, you can wipe off any excess oil before leaving it overnight. You simply need to give it a quick wipe the next morning and it is ready to use. Your board should have a beautiful new shine on it!

Overall it is a very simple process, you just have to rub the oil and then let it sit overnight! 

When should you oil your cutting board?

There is no fixed rule for when to oil your cutting board, you should however oil it before its first use. Other than that there are two ways to tell if your board is dry and in need of mineral oil:

  1. Some parts of the board appear lighter or duller than others.
  2. If when you sprinkle water on the surface, the water spreads or is absorbed.

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So that’s all you need to know about oiling your wooden chopping board. In case you haven’t yet found one, or are looking for a new board, check out Japana’s Aomori Hiba Cutting Board, you’ll love it!

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