When it comes to caring for teak cutting boards, a few simple steps can extend the life of your board exponentially. The natural oils in teak help the wood resist moisture, rot, fungus and warping, but with a little extra love, you can keep your beautiful teak cutting boards looking good indefinitely.
First of all, the most important way to add extra protection to your plantation teak cutting board is to season the surface with a liberal dose of the right oil. This oil fills the small pores in the wood and creates a barrier that prevents food particles and liquids from penetrating deep into the grain.
Most teak experts recommend a USP grade mineral oil. This food-safe oil will protect your cutting surface and won’t mar. Other suitable treatments include coconut oil, almond oil, walnut oil, or beeswax. Coconut, almond, and walnut oils are highly resistant to rancidity. Most common cooking oils, such as olive or vegetable oil, are not recommended for cutting surfaces due to their tendency to spoil, and who wants to cut their vegetables with rancid oil?
To season your board, heat the oil and apply it with a soft cloth, following the direction of the wood grain. Don’t worry about applying too much oil, there is no such thing as “too much”. For the initial treatment, you will need to apply 4-5 coats, allowing each coat to dry for a minimum of 4 hours before applying the next.
If you choose to use beeswax as a sealer, simply apply the beeswax (over your mineral oil, ideally) and then wipe it off with a soft cloth. Alternatively, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of beeswax to 1 cup of mineral oil, microwave this for 45 seconds, and then simply apply it like an oil.
After initial curing, you’ll need to reapply a coat of oil every two weeks to keep the board in tip-top condition.
WHAT TO DO: When it’s time to clean your board, rinse it with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly afterwards.
To sanitize your plantation teak, wipe it down with full-strength white vinegar after each use. Vinegar is effective against E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus.
If you want to go one step further, you can clean the board with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution right after cleaning the board with vinegar.
DO NOT: When washing your board, do not submerge it under water, as its porous surface can absorb water and cause cracks.
Strong detergents are a big no-no, as are dishwashers and other places that are prone to extreme wetness or dryness.
tips and tricks
- To remove any odor left behind by fish, garlic, etc., try rubbing the surface with baking soda or a cut lemon, then wipe or rinse.
- Flip your cutting board over from time to time (even if you have a favorite side); using both sides will even out wear and extend the life of the board.