Do Wooden Cutting Boards Have Antibacterial Properties

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Do Wooden Cutting Boards Have Antibacterial Properties

Wooden Cutting Boards My Experience

I have been cooking in a professional environment for decades, back in the really early days that’s all we used was wooden cutting boards. Huge thick things some of them with gigantic knife scars, gouges, and dents in them.

We would scrub them down with hot soapy water after each use. At the end of the night, they would be stood up on top of the stoves or above the ovens. They would be oiled every month.

We used to hammer them, throw them around, smashing our knives, and cleavers into them. The wooden cutting boards lived in their sections of the kitchen.

Wooden Cutting Boards

Larder, Pastry, Fish, Meat, and Poultry. If you ever tried to remove a board from its section you had the wrath of the sous chefs rain down on you.

When we got new ones, within days they became scared and pitted to the point that we couldn’t tell which were the new ones.

Some chefs including myself had our favorite boards and would put unique markings on the sides of them.

The Exec Chef would tell us that the wooden boards had antibacterial properties, I took that and run with it for most of my cooking career.

Today it’s a very different story all the restaurants and eateries are using color-coded plastic cutting boards.

However, there are chefs that still use wooden cutting boards in commercial kitchens today.

They’re good, however, at home I still prefer wooden cutting boards over plastic, maybe I’m just old school.

So, I wanted to find out once and for all, if wooden cutting boards really do have antibacterial properties. Let’s look at all the benefits of owning and using wooden cutting boards.

Awesome Wooden Cutting Board

Benefits Of Wooden Cutting Boards

Wooden cutting boards are the best way to go when it comes to food preparation. They can be found in some of the most popular stores, but not all wooden boards are created equal.

A good board will have different qualities that set them apart from others and make them more valuable than plastic or other materials. It is important for cooks to know what these features are so they can choose one that works best for their needs.

Looking for a solid wood cutting board with no glue? I’ve worked with many different boards and these are the best wooden cutting boards.

Walnut Durable Cutting Boards

Walnut Wood Cutting Boards

Have you been looking for the perfect, quality cutting board to add to your kitchen?

Not only do Walnut Wood Cutting Boards come in an array of sizes, but they are also one of the most durable boards on the market! They’re sturdy enough to handle anything you throw at them.

Some walnut cutting boards come complete with a juice groove around the edge, helping you keep your messes at bay!
These fantastic boards are great for any home cook or professional chef.

Cutting To The Point

  • Let your cutting game begin with solid, stylish, and sturdy walnut wood, cutting boards. 
  • With gorgeous and durable walnut wood texture, it makes a great addition to large kitchens with ample counter space as well as smaller apartments looking to save on storage room. Perfect for any kitchen space or small restaurant.
  • Large walnut wood cutting boards are an indispensable part of any chef’s and home cook’s arsenal allowing you to complete your work without worrying about obstructions.

Maple Wood Solid Cutting Boards

Maple Wood Cutting Boards

Looking for a solid sturdy maple cutting board as a prep surface? The best maple wood cutting board will be made from the edge or face grain and cut for one whole piece of timber.

No kitchen should be without a maple wood cutting board, which is made from sustainably sourced ingredients.

Beautifully designed for food preparation surfaces, maple wooden boards can be a reversible cutting board that can be used on either side- making it extra versatile!

Cutting To The Point

  • You need a board that’ll last you for years but also need something more than just a boring old cutting board.
  • Maple wood resists warping and cracking to provide a beautiful surface to prepare food. Boasting both flat faces that are perfect for cutting.
  • The northern hard rock maple wood is just that – hard as a rock, one of the most durable and strong surfaces in the world. So it’s no wonder professional chefs are drawn to maple wood cutting boards. 

Acacia Wood Makes An Excellent Cutting Surface

Acacia Wooden Cutting Boards

Natural acacia wood, these cutting boards are the perfect way to add a touch of style to your kitchen.

The reversible design means you can use it for both cheese and meat cutting. Acacia wood makes an amazing solid cutting surface, you will not be disappointed!

Cutting To The Point

  • With these qualities, you can work as hard as you want and your board will get the job done without any issues. It’s really tough to top what this magnificent material offers when looking for an amazing cutting board.
  • Naturally accruing – natural oils, means that these wooden boards won’t warp or crack.
  • Acacia wood cutting boards quality, these wooden boards will last for a lifetime, they’re also all organic, which is good for the environment and your health! 

Japanese Wooden Cutting Boards

Japanese Cypress Wooden Cutting Boards

Japanese wooden cutting boards made from cypress are a rarity in any domestic or professional kitchen.

This type of cutting board is typically reserved for professional chefs, avid home cooks, and those who have an interest in Japanese culture.

They protect against cross-contamination of foodborne illnesses and make preparing meals much easier with their natural antimicrobial properties.

Cutting To The Point

  • Japanese cypress is a unique wood that is popular for use in cutting boards due to its incredible durability. This type of wood resists warping, splitting, and water damage.
  • Traditional Japanese chefs are said to prefer these types of cutting boards because they last longer than other boards made with different varieties of wood.
  • Whether you’re a home cook or a chef, these boards will be your new favorite tool!

Why Do Chefs Use Wooden Cutting Boards?

A chef’s first line of defense against bacteria and contamination in the kitchen is their cutting board. While there are a variety of materials that can be used for cutting boards, chefs almost universally choose wood.

There are a few reasons for this: wood is non-toxic, has natural antibacterial properties – doesn’t harbor bacteria, and they’re durable.

Wooden cutting boards are also friendly to chef knives while still perfectly cutting ingredients. When cared for correctly and maintained they will last a lifetime.

Do Wooden Cutting Boards Have Antibacterial Properties

It’s true that wooden cutting boards have antibacterial properties. In fact, studies have shown that they are more effective at reducing bacterial numbers than other cutting board materials like plastic, rubber, and glass.

The antibacterial properties of wood come from molecules that are present in the wood, which form a protective barrier against bacteria.

Wooden cutting boards also have the added benefit of being a natural renewable resource. So if you’re looking for a cutting board that is both healthy and environmentally friendly, then a wooden cutting board is definitely the way to go.

I started looking at what studies had been done on the antibacterial properties of wood. What I found was varying studies conducted under different conditions and control methods.

Over the years there have been 20 different studies that I found, done on the survival of bacteria on wooden surfaces. This is an in-depth comprehensive study that has been done.

Survival Of Bacteria On Wood Article

Article: Survival of bacteria on wood and plastic particles if you’re interested in reading the full article.

Cite Source ResearchGate

Basically, E. coli and E. faecium was spread over European wood species, they used wooden chips from beech, larch, spruce, pine, poplar, oak, and maple.

What was discovered is there was a decline in bacterial numbers. The bacteria declined fastest on pine followed by oak, the other woods all had a slower bacterial decline. However, amazingly there was a bacterial decline in the other wood species!

The article goes on to say the antibacterial effect was caused by a combination of the hygroscopic properties of wood and the effect of wood extractives, (which are molecules present in all woods).

So….. Do Wooden Cutting Boards Have Antibacterial Properties?

Yes, they do have antibacterial properties, especially pine and oak this is due to the molecules present within the wood and the wood’s natural ability to absorb moisture.

Bacterial numbers decreased remarkably faster on pine and oak wood. However bacterial numbers decreased in all other wood species. This is amazing! However, you’re not out of the woods yet…

This doesn’t mean you can use the same wooden cutting board for everything. Yes, you will still have to wash and clean your wooden cutting board after each culinary job.

Various Wooden Cutting Boards
Different types of wooden cutting boards

The Best Wood For Cutting Boards

There are a variety of wooden cutting boards that you can buy. Made from an even larger variety of wood species. There are stores of bricks and mortar that sell hundreds of different wooden cutting boards.

Wood that is best for cutting boards is solid hardwood like Japanese Cypress, Rimu (New Zealand native wood), Maple, Walnut, and Acacia. Edge or face grain, cut from one solid piece of timber.

3 Features I Look For When Buying A Wooden Cutting Board.

The 3 feathers I look for when buying a new wooden cutting board. I have always brought wooden boards cut from one piece of timber. 

I’ve never liked wooden boards made from the end grain, as these are usually glued together and could naturally crack over time.

This is what I look for when purchasing a new cutting board:

  • Made of untreated hardwood. (You can season it yourself).
  • Cut from one solid piece of timber, showcasing the edge and face grain.
  • Wooden cutting boards that claim to “fight odors” could contain Triclosan. Don’t buy them.  
Wood Grains

Why Edge or Face Grain

The edge and face grain showcases the beautiful natural pattern of the tree it was cut from, which are unique markings much like a fingerprint.

However, more importantly, the edge and face grain boards provide an excellent cutting surface. They will wear better with less chance of warping or cracking and are usually cut from one solid piece of wood.

The surfaces are hard and will leave minimal knife cut marks. The face and edge grain cutting surfaces won’t dull your knife. The grain should be stipulated by the supplier or manufacturer. If not sure just ask.

Best Way To Care For Wooden Cutting Boards

Taking care of your wooden cutting boards will ensure that they last a lifetime. If you are wondering do you need to oil your new wooden cutting board, yes you do.

How To Treat Wooden Cutting Boards

Knowing how to season wooden cutting boards and treating is easy. Like all new pieces of kitchen equipment, you’ll need to wash your new wooden cutting board. This will remove any grease, grime, or dust leftover from the manufacturing process. Wipe dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Treating your new wooden board is easy. Like all new pieces of kitchen equipment, you’ll need to wash your new wooden cutting board. This will remove any grease, grime, or dust leftover from the manufacturing process. Wipe dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Next, use fresh lemon or white vinegar and rub over the board, followed by rubbing salt into the wood. Leave for 10 – 15 minutes, rinse off and dry again, and leave standing upright for 8 – 12 hours (the longer the better).

Do You Need To Oil Wooden Cutting Boards

Yes, you need to oil your wooden cutting boards when you first purchase them and then regularly, about every 6 – 12 months.

Oiling your wooden cutting board will help protect it from water damage by creating a protective barrier that prevents moisture from seeping into the wood. It will also stop the wooden board from drying out and possibly cracking.

What Oil Do You Use On Wooden Cutting Boards

  • Odorless food-grade mineral oil, coconut oil, or beeswax
  • You can’t use cooking, vegetable, or olive oil as this will go rancid over time and contaminate your cutting board.
  • You can’t use industrial motor oil as this is not food-safe.

How To Oil Wooden Cutting Boards

Knowing how to oil a wooden cutting board will make it last a lifetime. First, apply the oil directly onto the surface of the board. When applying the oil don’t be shy, use a lot, this is important if you’ve just purchased your cutting board or it looks dry and weathered.

I’ve found a rubber glove to be the best way to keep your hand’s clean while spreading oil on the cutting board! The surface should always have an even coat of oil.

Wait anywhere from 2 – 12 hours before wiping off excess liquid with a paper towel, and make sure you use one side only for this process. Really important to let your new wooden cutting board sit on a wire rack or stand upright so the wood can absorb the oil.

If you are restoring an old, dry, or seasoning a new cutting board, you may want to repeat this process one or two more times, to ensure your cutting board is completely seasoned. Repeat this process every 3 – 6 months.

Food Grade Mineral Oil, Wax, And Wooden Board Conditioner

Wax for cutting boards, butcher blocks, and wooden countertops.
Gives you that longevity and an extra layer of protection for your cutting boards.
Prevents moisture from seeping into the board and cracking.

How To Clean Your Wooden Cutting Board

Please don’t put your wooden cutting board in the dishwasher; don’t do it. They will become water-logged and the extreme heat will seriously dry out your board.

Take that little extra time to wash your boards by hand with hot soapy water and wipe dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Stand upright to air dry.  You’ll ensure their durability by giving them just that little extra attention. If you ever notice any sour or unpleasant smells coming from your board.

  • Rub baking soda onto the surface of the cutting board and pour vinegar over it before letting it sit for a few minutes.
  • If you don’t have baking soda or vinegar you can simply cut a lemon in half and rub it over the cutting board surface.

This should help remove any unpleasant smells and give your precious board a bit of a cleanse.

How To Use Your Wooden Cutting Board

Before you start using your wooden cutting board, you’ll need to place a damp towel or cloth under the board. This will stop it from slipping around on the bench and you cutting yourself.

I’ve seen too many people cut themselves because their cutting board wasn’t properly secured to the bench. When using your cutting board be mindful of cross-contamination – this is the transfer of harmful bacteria from one surface to another.

If you are preparing a meal and you need to prep meat, wash your wooden cutting board with hot soapy water after the job is done. Ideally, you should have 2 or 3 wooden chopping boards.  1 for meat, 1 for seafood, and one for everything else.

When cutting or slicing try not to slam your knife or cleaver onto the cutting board.

This could leave large knife scars on the board, food particles could become lodged in the scars and become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Old Cracked Wooden Cutting Board
Old cracked wooden cutting board

Cracked And Scared Cutting Boards

Older plastic and wooden cutting boards that have deep knife scars, gouges, and cracks in them are not hygienic.

There could be food particles trapped in those deep scars and cracks that could potentially be where harmful bacteria are lurking and pose a food safety risk.

They need to be removed from your kitchen and not used for food preparation. The cracks in your wooden cutting boards are caused by internal moisture build-up.  This can lead to your cutting boards warping too.

Final Words

There’s so much more to a cutting board than just providing a flat work surface.

From board size to grain, it’s all the unique features that will make or break a seemingly good cutting board. Firstly, think about your ideal in mind.

  • What will you be cutting?
  • How often will you use it?
  • Is it for home or professional use?
  • Is it going to double as a serving platter?

From there, you’re sure to find your ultimate cutting board. I have given you some great examples of excellent wooden cutting boards. These will suit your needs.

Large Walnut Wood Cutting Boards with their beautiful unique color and smooth texture can double as serving platters.

These Maple Wood Cutting Boards are durable and suitable for everyday use in domestic and pro kitchens.

Acacia Wood Elegant Cutting Boards are forgiving, durable, and elegant cutting boards for those who want to work with stylish cutting surfaces.

Cutting boards made from Japanese Cypress they’re not just cutting boards but a complete work surface. Just as important is they’re made from sustainable materials!

If you clean and maintain your cutting board, show it the care that it deserves. Oil it regularly, don’t do anything crazy like submerge it in water or take a cleaver to it. Then your wooden cutting boards will last you a lifetime.

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