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How to Maintain Wooden Cutting Boards

Most wooden cutting boards come pre-oiled and ready to repel anything it comes in contact with. However, with every wash, the oil slowly wears away, eventually leaving a dry board that will absorb liquids and odours and is also vulnerable to cracking. This is why it’s important to maintain wooden cutting boards.

how to maintain wooden cutting boards

To get your board back in shape, you need to oil it. Think of it like moisturizing your skin. Oiling the board provides a protective layer that prolongs the life of the board and makes it resistant to liquid and pungent odours – especially smelly onions. There’s nothing worse than chopping fresh fruit only to have it taste like onion – yuck! Also, freshly oiled wooden cutting boards look much prettier, which is awesome if you want to display them on your counter.

Most books will tell you to use food grade mineral oil, but I prefer to use coconut oil.  Coconut oil isn’t prone to becoming rancid, like vegetable or olive oil.  Plus, I always have it on hand, so why not use it?!  If you’d prefer to use mineral oil, make sure it’s food grade quality.

Before you oil your board, give it a good scrub and let it air dry.  When it has completely dried, rub in the coconut oil. If the wood is really dry, you’ll have to this a few times. You know you’re done when the board stops absorbing the oil. Don’t worry about over oiling the board, in fact, the more the better! Any excess oil will simply wipe off.

Your board is now ready to use. When the colour starts to lighten and the board looks dry, give it another rub down.

how to maintain wooden cutting boards


  1. Hi Laura, Walnut oil is also recommended for oiling wooden cutting boards. Hope this helps! k.

  2. Perfect timing on the “How to Maintain Wooden Cuttung Boards” as I just recently found one in need of repair that a former roommate had left behind and actually had considered searching your site for a ‘how to’ link. As you mentioned, everyone else recommends food grade mineral oil, but if Kary O. says coconut oil, then coconut oil it will be!

  3. Do you have any idea what I could use to oil my wood cutting boards as I am very allergic to coconut. I don’t have a problem with any other nuts just the meat of coconut so I am affraid to try coconut oil