Why Wood?
May 23, 2021

Why Wood?

illustration of man thinking

One of the essential kitchen tools that we don't give much importance to most of the time is your cutting boards. How do you choose your board? Is it according to the size, the material, or simply the price? And why is a wood cutting board better than a plastic one?

I believe that the number one criteria should be the material.

I have seen some cutting boards made of marble and others made from glass. This is in no way a good product to serve as a cutting board! Indeed, these materials can survive for a very long time, but if you have one, be ready to spare a budget for a new set of knives every few weeks.

Therefore, I will only consider plastic cutting boards as a "possible" alternative to wood.

A plastic chopping board might be a good option as it is easy to clean and safe

Illustration of a green bacteria

for knives. Also, being inexpensive makes it convenient to replace once it is scarred and uncleanable. However, in a plastic board, bacteria can easily hide and multiply in the scratches made by knives, transforming your board into a vector of foodborne diseases.

Talking about wooden boards, they are certainly much more durable. Even when your cutting board is deeply scratched and looking dry, you can regenerate it with simple sanding paper and food-grade mineral oil.

woodworker illustration

The following steps are the easiest way to revive your wooden cutting board at home with no equipment. All you need is the sanding paper (Grit #150 or 120 and Grit # 220), a dry cloth, a lint-free cloth and vegetable oil or food-grade mineral oil.

  1- Start sanding your piece of wood with medium grit paper (#150 or #120) to remove scratches.

2- Wash it with water to rinse off all the wood dust, then wipe it and let it dry completely.

3- Now, continue the sanding process with the fine-grit paper (#220) to give your board a smoother touch.

4- Rinse your board again, wipe it and let it dry.

5- Coat your board with vegetable oil or food-grade mineral oil using a lint-free cloth and let it absorb for 3 to 4 hours.

6- Finally, wipe off the extra oil with a dry cloth and enjoy using your brand new cutting board! 

woodworker dust mask illustration 

PS: You can also do this process when your wood and sanding paper are wet. It will minimize airborne wood dust. However, we recommend you use a particle mask for maximum protection.

Although wooden boards are more expensive, they are a wiser purchase in the long run.

Other than the durability, studies have shown that bacteria trapped in your wood board scratches disappear within 10 minutes due to the woods' natural anti-bacterial properties. This research also highlights that bacteria can be removed after a simple wash with hot water and detergent. Compare with wooden chopping boards, harmful bacteria can survive longer in plastic chopping boards, and they are not easily cleaned off even using a dishwasher. As a result, your safest option is to trash that board and get a new one. I wonder how this can impact the environment?

In short, adding to its durability and anti-bacterial properties, a wooden board is softer for your knives and more aesthetically pleasing than plastic. Although it may not be an important criterion for some, many would agree that it is more enjoyable to have beautiful equipment in the cooking space.