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Is your cutting board clean?

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Photo: Hiraman/iStockphoto

Because we use our kitchen cutting boards for different types of foods (including raw meats and vegetables), it’s important to keep them clean.

As a general rule of thumb, “wash them with hot, soapy water after each use, and then rinse with water and air-dry or pat dry with clean paper towels,” says Argyris Magoulas, food safety specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Depending on the material your cutting board is made of, though, you can take cleaning it a step further:
Nonporous acrylic, plastic, glass or solid wood? These types of boards can be washed in a dishwasher, Magoulas says, although laminated boards may crack and split. “Both wooden and plastic cutting boards can be sanitized with a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Flood the surface with the bleach solution and allow it to stand for several minutes. Rinse with clear water and air-dry or pat dry with clean paper towels.”
Bamboo? These are harder boards and less porous than hardwoods, according to Magoulas. This is a good thing because “bamboo absorbs very little moisture and resists scarring from knives, so they are more resistant to bacteria than other woods.” To clean one, use hot, soapy water and sanitize if desired. Then, rub the bamboo board with mineral oil to help retain moisture.

Is your cutting board “generally deteriorating or frayed?” If so, it’s time to replace it. “Both plastic and wooden cutting boards can wear out over time,” Magoulas says. “Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, they should be discarded.”

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