How to Oil Wood Cutting Boards

Written by shelley frost
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Seasoning a cutting board with oil protects the wood from damage. The oil fills in pores of the wood to keep food particles out. It prevents food stains and keeps odours from absorbing into the wood. It also repels bacteria, germs and mould from growing in the cutting board. The oil also helps prevent splitting and cracking in the wood. You should season the wooden cutting board before using it. You'll need to oil the cutting board every month or so to keep it in good shape and maintain the protective coating.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Food-grade oil
  • Soft cloth
  • Wood cutting board

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  1. 1

    Choose the type of oil. Options include food-grade mineral oil, walnut oil, almond oil and coconut oil. Walnut and almond oil can spoil after some time and shouldn't be used if a family member is allergic to nuts.

  2. 2

    Add a small amount of beeswax to the oil to make it waterproof. Add a half teaspoon of shaved beeswax to the mineral oil. Heat it in the microwave for about 45 seconds to melt the beeswax. Stir the oil before applying it.

  3. 3

    Warm the selected oil gently if you didn't add beeswax. Microwave the oil or heat it over low heat on the stove.

  4. 4

    Use a soft cloth to apply the warmed oil to the wood cutting board. Work with the grain when applying the oil.

  5. 5

    Apply additional coats of oil until the board no longer soaks it up. This might take three or more coats of oil.

  6. 6

    Let the board sit for several minutes. Wipe off the excess oil that didn't soak into the board using a clean, dry cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • Read the label to make sure the wood finishing product is food safe.
  • Mineral oil is usually sold at chemists and hardware stores. You'll also find speciality mineral oil products made for cutting boards.
  • The oil will harden after about six hours.
  • Vegetable and cooking oils should be avoided when oiling a wooden cutting board.
  • Do not confuse mineral oil with white spirit. White spirit are a paint thinner and are not food safe.

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