Dear Heathen Homemaker,
I received a bamboo cutting board and salad utensils as a gift. How do you care for a bamboo cutting board? Do you just treat it like other wood? Is it ok to put it in the dishwasher?
Bemused by Bamboo
Taking care of a bamboo cutting board and other bamboo items is not complicated or time consuming. You take care of bamboo boards the same way you (should) take care of other wooden boards/utensils. The basics are:
- Wash by hand with mild soap
- Dry thoroughly
- Oil once a month or so
Wash by hand? Perish the thought!
Ok. Y’all know I have a pretty strict rule about not letting hand-wash only items into my kitchen. There have to be a few exceptions to every rule, right? It is tempting to throw a bamboo (or other wood) cutting board in the dishwasher but don’t do it. The very hot washing water removes the protective coating of oil and will warp the wood. The dry cycle can cause it to crack and provide a fantastic cozy home for bacteria.Suck it up Buttercup and wash this kitchen item by hand! Click To Tweet
How dry is dry?
The main thing here is not to allow wood items to soak in water. Don’t fill up your sink and toss your cutting board in there. Towel dry the board or utensils and let it air out in the dish drainer for a bit.
How do you oil wood?
An important part of they way you care for a bamboo cutting board and bamboo utensils is to oil them. I used to think rubbing a little vegetable oil over them with a paper towel was sufficient but that turns out to be a bad idea. Vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil and the like will become rancid and make the board stink to high heaven and potentially make the food taste bad.
There are lots of specialty products made for oiling bamboo cutting boards and other bamboo or wood items. But you don’t have to buy the fancy butcher block oils. In the pharmacy section of Walmart, Walgreens, etc. in the laxatives section you’ll find “mineral oil intestinal lubricant“. Yup. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s also cheap and exactly what you need. The important part here is that it is food grade, meaning it’s safe to ingest and therefore safe to use on items used in food preparation. DO NOT use any mineral oil not labeled as food safe or pharmaceutical grade.
Pour plenty of oil on the board/utensils, spread it around a bit and let it sit for 20 or 30 minutes. The oil should be mostly absorbed. Give the board a good wiping and let it rest overnight. When you first get the board do this three or four times. Thereafter oil it once a month, or when drops of water no longer bead on the surface.Oil me once a month and I'll be yours forever... Click To Tweet
Takeaways on how to care for bamboo cutting board
- Wash by hand with mild soap and dry thoroughly after each use
- Never let the wood boards or utensils soak in water
- Oil once a month or so
- Before using for the first time, wash by hand, dry thoroughly and oil several times.
- Use only commercially available products or food-grade mineral oil on your boards and utensils
And that’s how to care for a bamboo cutting board! Suddenly I’m feeling pretty guilty about my poor neglected cutting boards. I’m gonna go oil them right now!
Do you oil your bamboo cutting boards and utensils? Let me know in the comments or tweet me!