| |

How to Naturally Clean and Care for a Cutting Board

Clean your cutting boards naturally with this simple but effective method that will help rid your board of lingering odors, food remnants and even stubborn stains. 

lemons and salt sitting on top of a stack of cutting boards

Starting out with a clean board is nice whenever I begin any sort of food preparation. This is not always as simple as it sounds since I cook three meals a day and my cutting board is definitely for everyday use. The good news is, is that proper cleaning is pretty simple and takes just a few natural ingredients I keep in the kitchen regularly.

Whenever I clean up after a meal, I make sure to wipe the entire surface of the board with a clean sponge, usually with hot soapy water. I dry it with a dish towel immediately as a wet wooden board can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

When the day is over and I am putting the kitchen to bed, I use this very simple but every effective way to properly clean the board’s surface. You can even use this method to clean a new cutting board. 

Why Use a Natural Cleaner?

One question you might be asking yourself here is, why not use a cutting board spray? If you are like me, you might like finding natural ways to clean whenever possible. Of course you can certainly opt to use a standard store-bought cutting board spray without issue. However, it is important to consider what those cutting board sprays are made of since not all sprays are created equal. 

Cutting boards come into direct contact with food since they are made of wood. These boards absorb whatever is placed or sprayed on them. The last thing you would want is a cutting board that has absorbed any sort of chemicals that could then be transferred into the food you cut on the board. Buying a spray can also be an unnecessary additional expense. Especially if you keep lemons and salt in your kitchen.

What You Will Need For This Method

1 lemon



Lemon- The lemon juice itself is not a disinfectant however, it does have antibacterial properties which help to sanitize the board and remove unpleasant odor. The citric acid acts as a natural deodorizer.

Salt- Salt is a great natural abrasive ingredient to use when wanting to scour or clean a surface. The coarse salt helps to work up the bacteria, leftover food particles, and anything unwanted from the board surface.

Note: This technique can be used on a wooden cutting board or even plastic boards. However, I will mostly be referring to wooden boards since they are a little tricker to clean. 


Place the cutting board on an even surface.

woman sprinkling salt onto a cutting board

Cut the lemon in half. Sprinkle some salt over the board. Use the lemon half to scour the board cut side down in a circular motion.

woman scrubbing cutting board with a lemon

After scrubbing the board, allow the lemon and salt to sit for 15 minutes.

woman scrubbing a cutting board with a lemon

After, wipe away the salt and lemon bits left over on the board. Rinse with hot clean water, use a clean towel to dry, and allow the board to dry completely before storing.

Why You Should Clean a Cutting Board

The first obvious answer would be to remove bacteria that might be present on the cutting board. So much bacteria can be collected in a kitchen. Cleaning your cutting board will help keep odors out of the wood and ready for use. It’s great for things like garlic or onions that seem to leave a smell long after they have been cut. It will also help keep your board sanitary and in great shape.

How Often To Clean a Cutting Board

This really depends on how often you use your cutting board. I like to give my best cutting board a good scrub down daily as I use it several times each day. For irregular use, a good rule of thumb is once a month for proper care. Every month, usually at the beginning, I collect all my cutting boards and do them at the same time. This is the easiest way and in my opinion the best way since I only need to use one lemon for doing so and if I do them all at the same time, then I know they all have been cleaned regularly.

Conditioning a Cutting Board

If you are one to take great care of your cutting board. Which you should be but to be very honest, I am not. I clean the cutting boards but the whole conditioning it after part is sort of a hit or miss in this house. No judgment, please. With having said that, conditioning is easy. 

To do this naturally, you can use this fabulous  Natural Wood Cleaner. To Use: Blot some onto a rag and rub it into the board in a circular motion and let it absorb into the board. There is no need to rinse this as it is natural and safe around food. You can also use olive oil or even a little vegetable oil to rub into the wood to keep the wood fibers in good condition.

Pay extra attention to the knife cuts in the board and if you use both sides of the board it is a good idea to rub a small amount over each side. This will help your wood cutting board stay in tip top condition. 

Cutting Board Care

In between cleanings, it is important to regularly wipe down your cutting board using a good spray or hot soapy water. I use this Natural All-Purpose Spray when I want to quickly clean the board. Don’t allow foods to become dried and stuck on or leave strong odored foods to sit for long periods on the board. This will make your cutting board more difficult to clean. Or worse those foods can get stuck in the groves of the board and begin to mold.

After giving your board a good wipe-down, be sure to dry it off. Don’t leave your board wet as this can absorb into the board and eventually warp the wood. This I know from experience. While we are on the subject of water and wood. Never leave the board to soak, it can permanently damage it by warping.

Storing a Cutting Board

The best place to store a cutting board is in a cool dry place and an upright position. Storing the board vertically will help prevent moisture retention and keep bacteria from building up. I do tend to keep my larger board on the countertop next to my knives and stove. It allows me ease of access to quickly cut things but it is not the best place to store the board.

If you do this too, a good rule of thumb is to place the board in a vertical position after washing and allow it to air dry completely on both sides before placing it on the countertop.

*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no cost to you).

Shop This Post

My Favorite Essential Oil Brand

Large Cutting Board

Knife Set

Pin For Later

cutting boards stacked with lemons
Yield: 1 time use board cleaner

How to Naturally Clean a Cutting Board

lemons and salt sitting on top of a stack of cutting boards

A natural method to effectively clean a cutting board that will remove odors, and food particles.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $1.00


  • 1 lemon
  • salt


  • Towel to Hand Dry Board


  1. Place the cutting board on an even surface.
  2. Cut the lemon in half. Sprinkle some salt over the board.
  3. Use the lemon to scour the board cut side down in a circular motion.
  4. After scrubbing the board, allow the lemon and salt to sit for 15 minutes.
  5. When ready, wipe away the salt and lemon bits left over on the board.
  6. Rinse with hot water, towel dry, and allow the board to dry completely before storing.


  • Any salt will work fine for this
  • Be sure to allow the extra 15 minutes for the salt and lemon to sit on the board. This will further freshen the board as the lemon absorbs into the wood
  • This method should be repeated at least monthly or more to keep the board clean and in good condition

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *