Teak Cutting Board Care
How to Care for Your Teak Charcuterie & Cutting Board
Because you want your board to give you years of use and lots of compliments…
Let’s start with how to season a new teak charcuterie cutting board right after you take it out of the box.
Seasoning means providing your board with a protective layer of oil or wax, or both, to aid in repelling water and juices—thereby extending your teak board’s life, and maintaining its natural beauty.
**Important Note: If you want to know how to care for and maintain your teak possessions that do not come into contact with food, please read instead our Teak Care Guide, because your options for care and cleaning are vastly different.**
How to perfectly season your board for the first time
In two words: overdo it!
Seriously! Really, really saturate it with mineral oil—food-grade mineral oil of course.
Just pour it on—more than you think you’ll need.
Cover the board completely.
Then, rub the oil in with what will now and forever be your dedicated board oiling towel.
Then let the oil sit on the board for about 5-10 minutes to let the oil really sink in.
When you come back to it, 5-10 minutes later, you’ll see areas where the oil has disappeared. Why?
Because it’s been absorbed by the wood.
Ok, pour the oil on again.
Repeat this process until there’s a thick oil slick sitting atop the entire board. Proof that your board is no longer oil-thirsty.
Now wipe off all the standing excess oil, and season all the other sides of the board the same way.
Do not let a pool of oil sit on your board overnight—it’ll degrade the glue holding your board together.
How will you know when it’s time to oil your board again?
Simple, sprinkle a few drops of water on your board.
If the water beads up like it does on a newly waxed car hood—your board is not ready to be oiled again.
But, if the water does not bead up on your board—it’s time to oil it again.
More on oiling your board and which oils to use—and not use—is covered further below.
For now, let’s move on to…
Board care and cleaning: the basics
Full disclosure: if you make a purchase through the links in this article, we may earn a small, and I mean small, commission.
After each and every use briskly scrub both sides and all edges of your board with a good quality dish sponge.
Or a good quality dish brush.
A dash of dish soap.
And warm water.
Why scrub all sides if you only used one side?
Because “no see-ums,” food-borne germs, travel—easily and quickly. (As does juice drippings from raw meat and poultry.)
Yes, good quality teak will repel bacteria and other germs, but why tempt fate? Murphy’s Law always rules.
So don’t risk days or weeks of illness when it only takes a few minutes to properly clean your board.
How to stay safe, and live longer, after cutting raw meat and poultry on your board
Clean your board with bleach—yup, you heard right. Bleach.
Add one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water, then let your board soak in it for a few minutes—not for hours. 2-3 minutes at most. (Or just spray on the properly measured mixture.)
However, if cleaning your board with bleach sounds distinctly unappetizing…
Mix one-part white vinegar to four-parts water (hydrogen peroxide can also work if you don't have vinegar) and soak your cutting board in the solution for a few minutes.
Again, not for hours. 2-3 minutes at most. (Or just spray on the properly measured mixture.)
An important cleaning and sanitizing side note:
Cook’s Illustrated conducted a test.
They asked a laboratory to spread salmonella (bacteria that could kill you) on three cutting boards.
Each boards was then cleaned with one of the three cleaning methods mentioned above:
- Washed with warm, soapy water
- Sprayed with a bleach solution
- Sprayed with undiluted white vinegar
The result: surprise, surprise, no difference. All three methods were equally effective.
So, pick your cleaning weapon of choice.
Oh, in case you didn’t know…your teak charcuterie cutting board is not a submarine
Yes, teak is waterproof. But I say again: why tempt fate? Murphy’s Law rules.
Granted, we placed our Teak Culture “Brick Wall” pattern charcuterie cutting board in a tank of water for 60 minutes, and lo and behold—it came out completely unscathed.
Thanks in no small part to the 25 stainless steel screws imbedded inside it.
But do your existing board a favor—do not submarine it for more than a couple of minutes—better still, just briefly hand wash it under running water.
Your dishwasher is not your board’s best friend!
The extremely hot water and the hi-heat drying cycle will do its absolute best to melt the glue that holds all the joined wood pieces of your board together.
Heat, wet or dry, will do its darndest to warp, split and ruin your board.
So do not clean your board in a dishwasher!
And even when washing your board by hand, do not use extremely hot water.
Breaking news: Your tap water never gets really hot enough to sanitize or kill germs.
Germs laugh at hot tap water.
As long as you’re using enough soap, scrubbing your boards thoroughly, and rinsing them completely, cool water cleans just as well as hot.
Bottom line: a brisk soapy brushing will clean your board just fine.
Now that you’ve properly washed and rinsed your board…
Thoroughly dry all sides with a dish towel—not with a hair-dryer, and not in your dish rack to drip dry.
Then, stand it on end (on its long-side edge) and lean it against your kitchen counter backsplash, or in a dish rack, until it’s completely air-dried (usually takes about 24 hours, less if you live in the desert).
Also, if your board has rubber or silicone feet on its bottom corners, do not store it flat even after it’s completely dry. The board might sag in the middle.
In fact, never store your board flat. Period.
How to get rid of stains on your board the way grandma did
- One lemon, cut in half
- Kosher salt
Method of action:
- Liberally sprinkle the kosher salt over the entire board.
- Place the cut fleshy part of the lemon on the board and briskly rub the salt in small circles until salt and lemon juice becomes a paste
- Let the paste sit for about 5 minutes
- Scrape off the paste, thoroughly rinse the board, and hand dry it.
And you’re done!
How to oil your board so it outlives you (seriously)
Once a month or more often—before your board starts looking dry and thirsty…
Give it a generous oil massage.
The oil will enter the wood fibers—preventing your board from cracking, splitting and even warping.
Plus, oiling it will add a beautiful sheen to the wood that’ll make you want to run your hands over it again and again.
How to properly oil your board like a chef in just a few minutes
First, clean you board in any of the ways described above.
Then wait until the board is completely dry and then generously slather oil all over the board.
What kind of oil?
Any food-grade mineral oil will do.
Do not use vegetable oils!
Over time, vegetable oils will, become rancid.
And then you’ll hate your board because it’ll start to stink to high heaven.
Three popular food-grade mineral oil brands:
Alternatively, you can use food-grade board wax or cream, which typically contains beeswax, mineral oil and other conditioners.
Three popular wax brands:
The NEVER EVER’s
- Don’t use a serrated knife on your board.
A serrated knife is designed to rip like a saw—not cleanly slice.
In short, a serrated knife will wreck your board beyond repair.
- Don’t use your cutting board as a trivet.
Heat will melt the glue that holds it together.
- Don’t keep your board next to your stove or oven.
The heat will melt the glue or warp the wood as moisture is drawn out of it.
That’s it! Board care class is officially over. Yay!
Now go out and cut, chop, dice, slice and charcuteriate (I don’t think that’s a word).
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Barry, Mendy, Kaiya & Grizz
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