[Sca-cooks] Cleaning plastic and wooden cutting boards

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Fri Mar 21 08:22:35 PDT 2008

Kathleen Madsen wrote:
>I've always used a bleach/water solution or the
>commercial sanitizer tablets on my cutting boards.
>You just have to be sure to leave them in the solution
>for the correct amount of time for the product to
>work.  The tablets I used were 2 minutes, for example.
>You also want to let them air dry, as towels can
>harbor bacteria and can re-introduce all the germs
>that you just got rid of.
>If you run them through the dishwasher it's the high
>temperature that kills off the bacteria.  Frequently
>home dishwashers don't get hot enough for long enough
>to actually sanitize whatever is being cleaned.
>As for reconditioning the wood boards I use olive oil.
>  You can get food grade mineral oil at kitchen supply
>stores but I've *always* got olive oil in the house
>and it works just as good as the mineral oil.  I give
>my boards a good soap scrub periodically to renew the
>oil so it doesn't go rancid on me.  It's worked
>remarkably well for my boards, which see heavy use,
>for several years.
>I tend to raw cut meat on my plastic board but only
>because it has a trough along the outside edge to
>catch the juices.  I will cut cooked meat on my wood
---------------- End original message. ---------------------

Adding a little to this...

I have found that walnut oil is a better oil for use on wood in food 
applications. It is an oil that cures in much the same way as linseed 
oil but is also food safe. It does not go rancid if applied in a thin 
coat and allowed to soak in for a few minutes before being wiped off. 
Over the course of a few days it will actually cure and set in the 
wood producing a good finish.

As for sanitizing and cleaning...

Good hot water, dish detergent and elbow grease are usually 
sufficient for preventing cross contamination. If you are really 
concerned about it, an alternative to bleach that is far less 
dangerous is a commercial iodine sanitizer such as Iodophor. You can 
get this item at most home brewing supply shops. It is used in the 
dairy industry extensively to sanitize milking equipment and is safe 
enough that you can just let the stuff drain off your cutting board 
without having to rinse afterward. The only drawback it has is that 
it does require a longer soaking time to be effective (read the 
label, I forget the exact directions). But one solid advantage it has 
is that it is quite effective and convenient if you find yourself in 
a cooking situation where you have limited or inconvenient access to 
water for cleanup.

Another tip, use paper towels for drying your cutting boards. They 
are sanitary enough for the purpose and since they are really 
single-use items, they won't carry contamination back to something.


  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

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