HOW to clean and sanitise cutting boards

How To Clean And Sanitise Cutting Boards In The Kitchen

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Cutting boards are by far the highest risk item in the kitchen due to almost all foods coming into contact with these items that some stage of the preparation process. Therefore, the cutting boards need their own special cleaning procedure.

There should be a three sink system in place where washing, rinsing and sanitising can take place. We have found in the industry that this is not often the case. And, therefore, we will focus on a  two sink system. This system covers washing, rinsing and sanitising.

  1. The wash and rinse basins should be filled with warm water at 45C or above (114F). This temperature is just cool enough to place your hands in the water without burning your hands.
  2. The basins should have an automated chemical dispenser for the manual detergent andsanitizer.
  3. This is the standard procedure for any manual washing that may take place, but because the cutting boards are so high-risk, additional steps are needed in order to ensure effective cleaning and sanitising.

What equipment will you need to clean & sanitise cutting boards?

Below is a list of equipment that you will need, other than the basic wash and rinse basin:

  1. Manual wash detergent.
  2. Suitable cleaning brush.
  3. Storage rack designed for cutting boards.
  4. Liquid sanitizers diluted in a spray bottle.

What are the cleaning steps for cutting boards?

  1. Remove excess dirt or soil.
  2. Add extra soap onto the cutting board.
  3. Scrub with a plastic bristled brush.
  4. Rinse off in the rinse water.
  5. Store in a drying rack.
  6. Spray evenly with a sanitiser*.


There are at least 3 methods that can be used to clean and sanitise the cutting boards.

These include :

  1. Spraying with a liquid sanitiser as discussed.
  2. Soaking in water and chlorine-based sanitising solution.
  3. Running through a dishwasher after scrubbing.

All methods are effective, however, in terms of efficiency, the use of the liquid sanitiser is best.

Preventing Food Contamination

The best way to prevent contamination from cutting boards:

  1. Buy hard acrylic (nylon) or rubber boards, as they are generally considered the most hygienic choice (these are commonly used in restaurant kitchens).
  2. Wooden boards should be kept as dry, clean and sanitised as possible.
  3. Consider using beeswax or mineral oil to treat the surface of wooden cutting boards every few months, to help form a natural seal against food contamination.
  4. Get colour-coded sets of cutting boards, or label your boards yourself, so that you remember which board is which.
  5. Throw away any chopping boards that are badly cracked, scratched and or visibly stained. Bacteria grow in the scratches and cracks. Like all kitchen equipment, cutting boards have a shelf-life and it’s vital that you get rid of old boards to maintain a safe, healthy kitchen.

Cutting Board Colours

Get a copy of the cutting board colour chart here.

Should I put my cutting board in the dishwasher to clean and sanitise them?

There are 2 main types of cutting boards that we discussed:

  1. Wooden
  2. Plastic (nylon)

Wooden cutting boards should never be placed in the dishwasher. This practise only speeds up the damage of these boards due to the moisture and heat from the machine. There are ways to clean and disinfect wooden boards. This is discussed in this article.

Plastic cutting boards can be “washed” in the dishwater, but only after scrubbing as described in this article.

What Oil Should I Use for My Wooden Cutting Board?

Uulki Natural Cutting Board Wax seems to be the best-rated mineral oil on the market.

Features include:

  1. Restores and protects – Made from natural, 100% plant-based oils and waxes – Nourishes wooden chopping boards, end grain butcher blocks and kitchen utensils and makes the surface water repellent
  2. Extends the lifetime of wood and bamboo – Regular use helps prevent drying, splitting and cracking
  3. For cutting boards, kitchen utensils, salad bowls, rolling pins, etc. made from wood or bamboo
  4. Great Smell – 100% plant-based / vegan & will not turn rancid – free from solvents and petroleum byproducts
  5. Made with love in Belgium – completely food safe

How Safe Are Cutting Boards?

Although cutting boards are high-risk. They can be safe to use if treated properly. This means knowing how to clean and sanitise the boards. As well as how to treat wooden boards.

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