How to Treat a New Wood Cutting Board

Updated July 20, 2017

Your new wood cutting board must be treated with mineral oil before you use it. The oil seeps into the pores of the wood, preventing the board from drying or cracking. Mineral oil also repels water that might settle into crevices and cuts on the surface and lead to bacteria and mould growth. Never use olive oil or other cooking oils. These oils can be sticky and turn rancid.

Purchase FDA-approved mineral oil that is intended for use on wooden food preparing surfaces. These are labelled as "food safe" or "food-grade."

Rub the oil using a dish-washing sponge in the direction of the wood grain. Allow the oil to soak into the wood for about two minutes, or until the oil disappears on the surface.

Apply a second coat of oil. Continue adding coats of oil until the wood can no longer absorb the liquid. In dry environments, five to 10 coats may be necessary.

Wipe access oil off the cutting board using a kitchen cloth or paper towel.

Rinse the cutting board under warm, soapy water immediately after each use. Wipe water off the surface with a cloth and let air dry.

Treat the wood cutting board every three months with mineral oil. In hot, dry weather, or in summer months, apply oil every three to four weeks. A wood cutting board, like most woods, shrinks and warps with use and age. The oil helps keep the wood looking new and shrinkage to a minimum.


Wood cutting boards are made from maple, oak, and other hard woods. Wipe off excess oil. When a puddle of oil is left on the same spot, it could become a permanent stain. Avoid washing your cutting board in a dishwasher. The heat and detergent can damage the wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Food-grade mineral oil
  • Sponge
  • Kitchen cloth or paper towel
  • Mild dish detergent
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About the Author

Y.T. Lin has been writing articles professionally since 2008 and for other content websites relating to his field of expertise since 2004. Lin holds Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts degrees in graphic design and interior design, respectively, from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He is a professional digital graphic artist, interior designer and Web developer.