Who doesn't love the look and feel of wooden kitchen implements? They're easy to find and can be bought almost anywhere. Buy one at the dollar store and if it cracks or warps then, maybe, it's acceptable to throw it away. But tossing a beautiful, hardwood, handmade item in the burn pile due to lack of care is shameful. Cutting boards, utensils, counter tops, bowls and the myriad of other wooden kitchen tools need some care to last a lifetime. Don't be scared off by this as the time commitment is minimal.
One last thing. There are all kinds of products out there to caring for wooden cutting boards, bowls etc. and they work well for the most part. Below are the tried and true methods that have been used by generations of cooks across the world and they're inexpensive, too!
How to care for your wooden kitchen implements:
After each use
Wash with soap and plenty of warm/hot water, then dry. Never soak wooden items or put them in the dishwasher!
To disinfect (if needed) use one of the following methods
Use a white vinegar soaked cloth and thoroughly wipe down your item. rinse then dry.
If there are any stains or odors, sprinkle baking soda over the surface and then use half a lemon to work the baking soda into the board. Rinse and wipe dry. For a less labor intensive method pour white vinegar over the baking soda. Let sit for a few minutes then rinse and wipe dry.
At least monthly or as needed (depending on use)
Cover the surface with mineral oil and let sit for at least 30 min. Wipe off excess with a clean rag or paper towel. On heavily used items, this should be done daily to at least weekly.
Mineral oil can be purchased from the pharmacy. Avoid other oils as they can go bad. Oil work by occupying space in the wood fibers and preventing water from entering your board and causing cracks and splits. These little crevices are where bacteria love to hide and multiply, so preventing your board from having small fractures is the key to keeping your cutting board sanitary.