When chopping boards are received as a gift they often become integral parts of the kitchen. If they’re personalised and made from naturally beautiful wood the desire to keep them in great condition is especially strong.

There are many myths and conflicting information available regarding the best way to maintain chopping boards, but fortunately there are a few simple rules to follow to ensure your board always looks stylish and functions to the best of it’s ability.

As part of our commitment to ensuring all our DarbyMade products last a lifetime, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to looking after your chopping board, listing these simple care rules in one place.

1. WHY IS WOOD THE BEST MATERIAL FOR CHOPPING BOARDS?

Wood is by far the best material for making chopping boards for the following reasons:

a) Wood is extra kind to knife blades - the gentle give in the wooden cutting surface keeps the knife as sharp as possible and avoids bending the blade

b) Wood is the safest material because bacteria have a much lower survival rate than on plastic chopping boards

c) Wood is gorgeous and adds to the look and feel of your kitchen

2. HOW DO YOU CLEAN A CHOPPING BOARD?

When cleaning a chopping board, use warm water with a mild detergent and scrub well. 

Use lots of water and scrub the board thoroughly. This will have a bigger impact than your choice of detergent on killing bacteria and removing trapped food particles from the board.

Wipe excessive moisture from the board with a towel and allow it to air dry naturally, away from direct sunlight.

During drying, stand the board on it's end or lie it flat on a raised rack so that as much of the board as possible is exposed.  This will help the board dry evenly and reduce warping.

3. COMMON MISTAKES WHEN CLEANING A CHOPPING BOARD

From experience we've learnt that there are four common errors we see people making when cleaning wooden chopping boards.  We want every item we sell to last a lifetime so we thought we'd share these mistakes with you:

1. NEVER wash wooden chopping boards in a dishwasher.  The combination of rapid increase in temperature and saturation of water will warp and splinter the wood and void warranties given by most manufacturers.

2. NEVER fully immerse a wooden chopping board in water or let it stand submerged in water for any length of time.  The wood will eventually absorb this water and warp.

3. NEVER use bleach on the board, even if it's smelling of rotting food matter.  The bleach will stain the wood and cause it to dry unevenly.

4. NEVER pay a wet wooden chopping board flat to dry.  This causes the board to dry quicker on it's exposed side and will cause the wood to warp.

4. WHY DO YOU NEED TO SEASON A WOODEN CHOPPING BOARD?

Wood is porous, meaning it will soak up water, and hygroscopic, meaning that it's moisture content will vary depending on the level of humidity in the surrounding air.

If excess moisture accumulates within a wooden board, it can make the wood expand unevenly, causing the wood warp and crack.  In serious cases it can also cause the board to rot from within.

Timber used in all quality wooden chopping boards has been kiln dried, a process that removes as much moisture from the wood as possible. 

However, the wooden chopping board will need to be continually protected against moisture ingress throughout it's life to minimise it's internal water content.

5. HOW TO SEASON A WOODEN CHOPPING BOARD

All DarbyMade chopping boards are delivered to you pre-seasoned by our specialists, but if you receive a board that isn't seasoned, or wish to restore an old board, you should ensure you apply a thorough initial seasoning.

The first time you season your board, you should aim to really saturate it in oil.

The oil penetrates the wood and saturates the wood fibres, leaving no room within the board for unwanted liquids (blood, bacteria) and moisture.

This is essential as otherwise the board would expand with moisture when washing and contract with evaporation when it dries out afterwards.  This movement is the main cause of warping in wooden chopping boards.

Rub the oil in with a clean towel to work it into the fibres of the board.

It may look like there's still a thick layer of excess oil on top of your board when you're done rubbing, but let your board rest for five minutes and all the oil will have been absorbed.

You can work on one surface of your board at a time, letting it sit overnight on a wire rack, oiled side up, so that it fully absorbs the oil.

Best practice is to repeat this process about three times to ensure that thicker or extra-thirsty spots on the board have been thoroughly oiled.

6. HOW TO NATURALLY DEODOURISE A CHOPPING BOARD

Wood is naturally a porous material, so as a wooden chopping boards protective finish breaks down over time, it can start to trap organic matter such as juices from your food.

In mild cases this can transfer colours and aromas from one recipe to the next and in more extreme cases the organic matter decomposes to rot, providing a perfect environment for bacteria to develop and producing an unpleasant smell.

Fortunately there is a simple solution to this problem and you can easily remove trapped matter with natural ingredients by following these three simple steps:

1. Sprinkle coarse sea salt all over the board and leave overnight so the salt can draw bacteria out of the wooden board

2. Cut a lemon in half and use each piece to work the salt around the wooden board. Be sure to juice the lemon as you are scrubbing and let the lemon juice/salt mixture sit on your board for 5-10 minutes so the acid can neutralise bacteria on the board

3. Wipe the salt/lemon away with a damp cloth and clean thoroughly.

7. HOW TO REMOVE SCRATCHES FROM A WOODEN CHOPPING BOARD

Any well-used wooden chopping board will develop unsightly scratch marks over time.  To maintain the beautiful look of your wooden chopping board over time, it can be lightly sanded and oiled.
Use fine sandpaper that is specially made for use on both wet and dry wood.  The higher the number on a grade of sandpaper (known as the grit), the less coarse it is and the smoother the finish will be.

We recommend using a sandpaper with grit around 200 to remove gently work away the scratches, followed by a hand sanding with a 400 grit sandpaper to produce a luxuriously smooth finish.

Once sanded, wipe the wooden chopping board free of dust with a damp sponge and let it air dry.

We strongly recommend that after sanding, the wooden chopping board is oiled and waxed to protect it before it's next use.