You have invested in a beautiful cutting board and want it to last forever. Now you're asking "How do I maintain it?" With simple and regular care you're Little Water Woodworks cutting board can last generations.
Most issues that can occur with cutting boards start with cleaning. Like a well seasoned cast iron pan, proper washing is critical. (Have you ever had Grandma yell at your for not washing her cast iron pan right? Not fun!)
Wash in a dishwasher! The extreme heat can cause the glue joints to fail and your cutting board will split.
Soak in the sink! The wood will soak up water and cause warping.
Clean with bleach. Wood has natural anti-bacterial properties so bleaching is not necessary. Bleach will also lighten the beautiful color of the wood.
Dry flat. If a board is laid flat to dry it will warp.
Hand wash only with mild soap and water. Scrub your board under hot running for best results. A lot of soap isn't necessary because it can strip away the oils that keep the board waterproof.
Use vinegar or lemon juice to eliminate smells and stains. The acids in these cleaners work miracles on smells.
Dry excess water with a towel and then stand the board up to dry. Standing the board up allows proper air flow and both sides of the board to dry evenly and prevents warping.
Your new board has been pre-soaked with food grade mineral oil and then coated in a beeswax and oil butcher block conditioner. Mineral oil and butcher block conditioners help to keep your board waterproof and the wood from drying out and cracking and warping. Regular oiling is easy and will keep your board in service for generations.
After cleaning and fully drying your board, evenly coat your board front and back with food grade mineral oil. A little goes a long ways! You can spread it with your hands or a paper towel. If the board soaks up the oil, apply some more. End grain boards will soak up more oil than long grain boards because of the orientation of the wood fibers. Let it soak for as long as possible. A new board won't drink up as much oil as an old dried out one. After a few hours, wipe off any excess oil that hasn't soaked in.
Now you can apply a coat of board conditioner. The conditioner is a mix of food grade oils and waxes. While the mineral oil soaks into the wood, the conditioner protects the surface from stains and smells and seals knife marks. It also gives the surface a little bit of gloss to bring out the colors of the wood. I recommend using Howard's Butcher Block Conditioner, but any similar product will work. Like the mineral oil, just simply spread and work the conditioner into the surface of both sides, let it soak, them wipe off the excess and enjoy the beautiful shine!
Only use food grade mineral oil to treat your cutting boards. It can be found in the pharmacy section. Vegetable oils such as corn, olive, canola, peanut, etc. have fats in them that can turn rancid and make your board stink.
How often should I oil my board? It depends on how often you use your board. If water doesn't bead on the surface or it feels rough and dry, it is time to oil and condition your board. A full soaking with oil isn't necessary every time. A coat of conditioner is usually enough to keep your board seasoned.
If the surface becomes heavily scarred with knife marks, a light sanding can renew the surface. If you're in my local area, I would be happy to sand and recondition your board for you.
If you have any questions about board maintenance, contact me by email and I'll help you out!