If you own a wooden cutting board, then you know they need a little maintenance every once in a while.
Even if you’re being careful and avoiding the dishwasher, any wooden cutting board still needs to be cleaned, which means exposure to water. When wood is exposed to water, it can cause damage to the wood, encouraging the wood to become dry, split, and cracked.
However, with some proper love and care, you can avoid these damages and keep your board looking new for life. The best way to do this is to invest in a cutting board oil, and apply it to your board every few weeks. With this care regimen, you can keep this kitchen essential around for a lifetime.
When it comes to oiling a cutting board, not any oil will do. There’s a reason there are specific cutting board oils out there that work better than others.
If you want to buy a cutting board oil, we have all the info you need, right here. Let’s explore what cutting board oil is, why it’s so beneficial, and the best cutting board oils online today.
What is Cutting Board Oil?
Cutting board oil is a type of oil, often mineral oil, that is used to maintain wooden cutting boards. A proper cutting board oil will be completely food safe, with no flavors or odors that will affect the food you prepare on your board.
Cutting board oils work to maintain the health of your wooden cutting board or butcher block. The oil will help your board stay smooth and stable, and avoid becoming dry or splintered.
Mineral oil can also keep your board mildly water repellent, which can help keep your wooden board more resistant to harmful bacteria from soaking in. It will also help wash off bacteria more easily.
This oily coating can also keep your wooden cutting boards more resistant to stains! Some foods, like beets or cherries, can stain the surfaces you prep them on. A nice, regularly oiled wooden board will be more resistant to this kind of staining.
What Oil Works Best?
When it comes to oiling your wooden cutting board, some oils are a cut above the rest. You may be tempted to use any kind of oil to take care of your board, but you need to be careful.
As we touched on above, the oil you use on your board must be food-safe. You wouldn’t want to consume any kind of oil or product that makes you sick or affects your food. It’s also important that the oil you use doesn’t give off any smells or tastes that can affect future food you prepare on its surface.
Let’s take a look at some of the best oil options to use:
We highly recommend looking for mineral oil, also known as liquid paraffin, when oiling your cutting board. Most oils branded as cutting board oils will be mineral oil. Mineral oil is the safest option, as it can help to waterproof your board, is food-safe, and has no taste or odor.
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has become a super popular oil, appearing everywhere from cooking recipes to new beauty products. Unfortunately, traditional cooking quality coconut oil is not best for your cutting board, as it can go off with time.
However, fractionated coconut oil can be a great choice! This type of coconut oil has gone through a distillation process to make it more pure and stable. Though less common than mineral oil, there are coconut oil-based cutting board oils out there. If you see it’s been fractionated, it’s a safe choice!
Beeswax isn’t quite like oil, but it provides a similar effect when used on your cutting board. If you want to avoid liquid oils altogether, beeswax is a nice, natural alternative to maintain your wooden cutting board.
Beeswax conditioners are often made with both beeswax and mineral oil, but you can find pure beeswax as well. This material will help you keep your board shiny, waterproof, and nicely hydrated.
What Oils Should I Avoid?
If you want to oil your wooden cutting board, you should avoid any cooking oils you would use in the kitchen.
Oils like olive oil or vegetable oil are super common in kitchen cupboards, but they are not meant to maintain wooden cutting boards. These oils will eventually go rancid, and grow bacteria on your board. They will also affect your board by leaching their flavors and smells into any foods you prepare on its surface.
When oiling a wooden cutting board or any other wooden kitchen utensil, avoid the following:
- Vegetable Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Corn Oil
- Walnut Oil
- Teak Oil
How Do I Prep My Board for Oiling?
If you haven’t already been oiling your wooden cutting board, you should try to get it as clean as possible before you start. If you have an older wooden board you want to deep clean or are experiencing issues with smell/flavor on your cutting board, we have a process to help you fix it!
The best way to clean your wooden cutting board is to use a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda. All you need to do is add a few drops of lemon to baking soda. Pick up the mixture on a damp cloth or sponge, and scrub your cutting board. Rinse once you’re done scrubbing, and let it air dry.
This process should remove any stains, odor, or taste lingering on your board. Once your board is completely dry, you can feel free to apply your cutting board oil.
How Do I Apply Cutting Board Oil?
Applying cutting board oil is simple. You should repeat this process every 3-4 weeks, to maintain the longevity of your board.
All you’ll want to do is apply a generous amount of oil to your board and spread it with a damp cloth. Completely coat your board, bottom, and top. Then, leave your board for 2-4 hours.
Over those hours, your board should completely absorb the applied oil. If there is still excess after 4 hours, wipe off the excess with a cloth and feel free to store your board.
And you’re done! It really is that simple.
Our Top Picks for the Best Cutting Board Oil
These are our top picks for the best cutting board oil:
1. Top Recommended Product: Cutting Board Food Grade Mineral Oil for Cutting Boards
This oil from Thirteen Chefs is perfect for use on any wooden cutting boards, butcher blocks, or wooden cooking utensils in your kitchen. This is a food-safe, odorless, tasteless mineral oil meant for use with cutting boards specifically. This will help you maintain your cutting boards’ health, with no ill effect!
2. Best Budget Product: Bayes High-Performance Food Grade Mineral Oil Wood & Bamboo Conditioner and Protectant
This budget-friendly option is still a great choice! Here you’ll find a food-grade mineral oil that’s great for use on your wood or bamboo cutting boards. This oil is colorless, odorless, and tasteless making it great for kitchen use. And, best of all, Bayes is an environmentally conscious brand, and this oil is leaping bunny certified.
3. Best Premium Product: CLARK’S Complete Cutting Board Care Kit
If you’re looking to give your wooden cutting board the royal treatment, this care kit is a great fit. This kit has everything and anything you need to keep your wooden cutting board in top shape.
It includes a food-grade cutting board oil, cutting board soap, cutting board wax, an applicator, scrub brush, and a buffing pad. You can get your cutting boards perfectly cleaned, and perfectly oiled, every time with this kit.
4. Best Bulk Product: Thirteen Chef’s Mineral Oil – 64 oz
If you love our top recommended product, why not get it in bulk? This industrial-sized mineral oil is a perfect addition to any professional kitchen. Maybe you have a workspace full of wooden cutting boards, or maybe you have a home kitchen full of different wooden utensils and boards. No matter the case, you can ensure you never run out of cutting board oil with this purchase here.
5. Best Beeswax Product: Bee’s Oil Salad Bowl & Wood Conditioner
If you want to go the beeswax route with your wooden cutting board, this product is great! This is an 8oz tub of a beeswax and mineral oil blend. You can apply this wax to any wooden cutting board or utensil you have in your kitchen, just as you would with liquid oil.
Cutting Board Oil FAQ
Still got questions? Here is our cutting board oil FAQ!
Can I use any oil on my cutting board?
You shouldn’t use any oil on your cutting board! It is best to use an oil that is food-safe and has no smell or taste. We recommend using mineral oil or fractionated coconut oil.
Can I use beeswax instead of cutting board oil?
Yes, you can use beeswax instead of cutting board oil! This is a great alternative to traditional mineral oils.
How often should I oil my cutting board?
You should apply oil to your cutting board once a month at a minimum! However, you can do it more or less frequently depending on how often you are using, wetting, and washing your boards.
Should I use liquid oil or an oil spray?
When shopping for cutting board oils, you might encounter some that come in a spray bottle. While a spray bottle oil can be useful for evenly coating a board and controlling the amount you apply, it does have some drawbacks.
You want to apply a lot of cutting board oil to fully saturate the board, which is harder to do with a spray bottle. Spray bottles also increase the chance of oil getting away from the board, coating counters, surfaces, or even staining clothes.
We recommend sticking to liquid oil in a bottle, that you can rub in with a sponge or cloth. This is a cleaner process and will saturate wood boards much better.
Should I oil both sides of the cutting board?
Yes! When oiling a cutting board, you should oil both sides of the board. This will allow for an even, consistent absorption of oil throughout the entire cutting board. If your entire board is made of wood, we recommend oiling both sides, and all the edges, for best results.