How to finish an oak cutting board

Cutting boards are essential in the kitchen. These useful items come as separate tables, as slide outs inside of cabinets, as portable surfaces and in a wide variety of materials. The most familiar cutting board is made of wood. There is a lot of concern about germs on wooden cutting boards, but if you maintain your board properly, that concern can be reduced significantly.

Clean an oak cutting board with soap and water and then spray the surface with undiluted white vinegar. White vinegar kills up to 80 per cent of bacteria and it is safe on food grade wooden cutting boards and utensils.

Apply a coat of food grade mineral oil to the surface of the cutting board. This oil will cause the wood to swell slightly and the grain to tighten, making the cutting board less porous. Apply several coats if the cutting board is brand new or hasn't been oiled in a long time.

Apply a food grade wax of the type that is recommended for wooden salad bowls. Typically these waxes are made of beeswax and oils. Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish is often recommended. Simply rub the wax over the oiled cutting board and rub until you like the finish.


You should not apply a hard finish to a cutting board such as a urethane or varnish as the cutting action of knives and other utensils will break down this finish and small pieces will be picked up in food. Keep your cutting boards well oiled and keep separate cutting boards for meat and non-meat items to prevent contamination problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap and water
  • Undiluted white vinegar
  • Food grade mineral oil
  • Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish
  • Rag
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.