Woman cutting onions and vegetables on cutting board

Chopping boards, also known as cutting boards, are kitchen tools used as a surface for foods being cut with knives. Chopping boards can be made from wood, plastic, glass or stone. It's important to use and clean chopping boards properly because dirty chopping boards can contaminate foods, causing food poisoning. Chopping boards are simple to use and care for if you're mindful of the possibility of cross-contamination. The easiest way to avoid this issue is to use different chopping boards for different types of foods and to thoroughly wash and dry chopping boards after each use.

Purchase separate chopping boards for each type of food you will prepare. It's advisable to get a chopping board for each of the following: poultry, beef, fish, pork, produce and miscellaneous. The miscellaneous board can be used for various dry goods such as nuts, herbs and grains. Write the assigned food on a label and stick the label to the chopping board's underside.

Lay the chopping board on a flat, stable surface, such as a counter. Place the food on top of the board.

Use a sharp knife and chop the food using abbreviated motions, keeping the tip of the knife either on or just above the board at all times. This will keep you from damaging the knife or the chopping board. If the board is made of stone, be especially careful as this material can chip the knife.

Wash the chopping board immediately after use. Make a solution of warm water and dish soap and use a soft rag to scrub the board for a least 60 seconds. Allow the board to air-dry. Do not immerse wooden boards in water, as they are porous and can mold.

Disinfect the chopping boards with bleach or vinegar at least once a week. Make a solution of either one teaspoon of bleach to one quart of water or five parts water to one part white vinegar. Apply the solution to the entire surface of the chopping boards (front and back) and allow it to soak in for about five minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Season wooden chopping boards periodically with mineral oil to keep them from absorbing liquids and odors. Soak a soft cloth in food-grade mineral oil (the mineral oil found in drugstores) and rub the oily cloth into the dry, clean chopping board until it won't absorb any more oil. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth and store the chopping board.

Use coarse salt to remove odors and stains from the boards. Wet down the board and rub it with a handful of salt. Allow it to stand for about five minutes, then rinse it clean with warm water.