Why You Should Always Clean Your Cutting Board With a Lemon

Photo: Stocksy / Alberto Bogo
Your wooden cutting board is a beautiful yet functional surface for chopping, dicing, carving, and serving. And while regularly washing it with a mild dish soap and water will help to keep it clean, wood is absorbent and stains easily. To keep keep it looking great for years to come, you should regularly scrub your cutting board with lemon and salt.

The process is simple: Sprinkle coarse salt onto your wooden cutting board and rub it around using half of a lemon, letting the juice seep out while scrubbing away from the salt. Using a lemon as part of your cleaning routine helps to maintain the wood's natural beauty.

Experts In This Article
  • Lauren Nixon, Lauren Nixon is a food educator and sustainability strategist.

How to clean a wooden cutting board with a lemon

1. Always wash it with soap and hot water

While a salt-and-lemon combo is great for removing stains, it doesn't have the antibacterial properties of soap. To clean your cutting board after each use, wash it thoroughly using a scrub brush, hot water and a mild, unscented dish soap.

2. Never put it in the dishwasher

To protect the longevity of your wooden cutting board, you'll want to keep it far away from the dishwasher. All that water and heat can cause your wooden cutting board to split open and/or warp. And the last thing you want to do is use a sharp knife on an uneven cutting surface.

3. Regularly clean with salt and lemon

Consider the juice that runs out of a medium-rare steak or a beet. These liquids can seep past the surface of your cutting board and leave a stain that soap alone can't get out. Lemon and salt work together to scrub out hard-to-remove stains. “Lemons are sort of a natural powerhouse cleaning agent,” says food educator and sustainability strategist Lauren Nixon. “They have citric acid, which is really great for water spots, and D-Limonene, which is really great for degreasing. Also, lemon oil is a really powerful natural fragrance and antibacterial.” The salt works as an abrasive.

4. Dry it immediately after washing

Remember that warping and cracking that the dishwasher can cause? The same issue can arise, though to a lesser degree, when you leave a wooden cutting board out to air dry. This gives the water time to seep into the wood and cause it to expand.

Next time you whip up a lemon meringue pie, save the lemon to deep clean your cutting board:

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