What Types of Oils are Safe on Your Cutting Board?
If you’ve just bought a brand-new cutting board, the biggest question you might have is “how to I maintain it for the long term”. This is especially true if you’ve just spent a considerable amount of money on a chef quality model.
Give it a wash
Wash your board after each use, and don’t be scared to give it a good scrub to get everything off. Putting a blob of washing up liquid on your sponge will help wash off all those nasties too.
Once you’ve finished, dry the board with a dry cloth, and leave it to air dry.
Whatever you do, don’t try the following:
- Let the board stand in water.
- Use bleach or pine disinfectant to clean the board.
- Leave the board horizontal to dry, always dry your board in a vertical position.
Using a Board Oil
To keep your board in perfect condition, you’ll need to invest in a board oil or cream. Once the board is completely dry, you can rub the oil or cream gently across the surface. Always use a good blob of oil, and ensure its spread generously. The oil will moisturize the grain of your board, so always use more when starting out with a brand-new board.
By far the best cloth to use for board oiling, is a microfiber cloth. They absorb oils and work extremely well when getting even coverage. They’re also great for cleaning a board once it’s been used.
What are the best board oils?
There are basically two which is recommend. Both are reasonably priced, and which one you choose entirely depends on your preference.
We recommend trying both out, until settling for your favourite.
Caron Doucet Cuisine Cutting Board Oil
|Natural & Plant Based|
|Oil Type||Refinded Coconut Oil|
|Size||8 fl oz.|
The great things about coconut oil, is that it acts as a natural moisturizer for wood. It’s also a 100% natural, and won’t spoil in the same way refined oils normally do.
Caron & Doucet Oil also doesn’t smell of coconut. The fragrance used is far subtler, and disappears after a few hours. The idea being that your food won’t pick up the fragrance and ruin your cooking!
- No mineral oil added.
- Suitable for cutting boards and any bamboo furniture or utensils!
- Provides an effective barrier against water absorption into your board.
To give this oil a good test, we decided to oil a fresh new board instead of an aged one clobbered by our butcher knife, using a paintbrush and microfiber cloth to really work the oil into the grain. The fragrance used in the oil is nice and fresh, without being too overpowering, and the oil itself is quite thin.
After painting the oil onto the surface, and working it around with the cloth and brush, we were surprised to discover it sinking in after a few minutes. Perhaps our board was particularly dry, or the oil was thin enough to penetrate properly, yet it was a good sign the oil was going to do its job.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to try out Caron and Doucet board wax. We’ve heard good things about these two products when used together – a real shame.
After treatment, we found the fragrance does linger slightly. You might want to leave the board to dry for a day before using. Once the smell has gone though, the board can cut beef without the meat staining the surface – a good test.
Pros: A cheap oil that penetrates well and provides a solid waterproof protection.
Cons: Fragrance does linger slightly, you might need to leave your board a day after oiling.
John Boos Butcher Block Oil
|Use Every 3-4 Weeks|
|Oil Type||Mixture of white mineral oil and Beeswax|
|Size||16 fl oz.|
John Boos oil, is made in the USA and contains special ingredients designed to preserve the wood surface. Not just for cutting boards, this butcher oil can also be used on any counter top or utensil.
As a more commercial grade oil, it’s also available in 15, 28 and 128 ounces, perfect if you do a lot of cutting!
- Made in USA.
- Available in 16, 28 and 128-ounce bottles.
- No mineral oil used.
As this is a commercial grade cutting board oil, we were expecting big things from John Boos, and boy did it deliver! There’s absolutely no smell from this oil, it’s designed to do one thing and one thing only – sinking into the grain and protect.
Applying this oil was just as easy as the Caron & Doucet, simply painting the oil on and rubbing it in gently with a microfibre cloth. The oil sank into the board within minutes, and we could see water beading off the surface after about 20 minutes of drying.
We also gave this oil a trial on an extremely old and tired cutting board. This board has seen many years use, and has been put in a dishwasher many time – oh dear!
Even after this amount of abuse, the John Boos oil really brought out the grain in the board, and soon has it beading water again. In this respect, we would recommend the oil for renovating oil boards that have seen better days!
Pros: Similar price to the Caron & Doucet, yet with no fragrance and extremely good wood renovating properties.
Cons: If you prefer your cutting board oils with a bit of fragrance, you’ll be better off with the Caron & Doucet.
There’s not much to choose between these oils, and as we said at the start, both are recommended; however, there are some differences.
If you like fragrance – Then the Caron & Doucet is the oil for you. It’s light, thin and works great.
If you need commercial quantities – Then the John Boos is for you, it’s also fragrance free, something that most commercial butcher like.
If you want to renovate oil boards – Once again, the John Boos is the oil you need. It does an amazing job of clean up and preserving old cutting boards, especially those that haven’t see much love through the years!