6.26.2014

How To Clean and Protect Butcher Block Cutting Boards and Countertops

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When the hubby and I did our big kitchen renovation last fall, we installed a gorgeous Boos Block Blended North American Hard Rock Maple Countertop on the island.  The countertop is, by far, my favorite thing about our kitchen.  

As a rule, I try to do the bulk of my chopping on my Boos Block cutting board.  I've had it for years and it seems silly to mar the countertop when I have an amazing cutting board at my disposal.  

Both the cutting board and countertop are wiped down with hot, soapy water multiple times a day. As with any unfinished wood surface, I am careful not to leave any water or other liquids pooling on the surface as it can warp and age the wood prematurely.  


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Once every week or two I give the cutting board and countertop a good scrubbing.  The process is really quite simple.  All you need is coarse salt, an old lemon or two (these gave their zest to a yummy dessert) and some mineral oil.  Mineral oil can be found in the digestion help/laxative section at your local grocery store.  


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Begin by pouring a generous amount of salt onto the wood surface.  


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Cut the lemon in half and start scrubbing using one of the cut sides.


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The lemon juice combined with the abrasive quality of the salt will gently lift any dirt and grime from the wood grain without scratching.  Don't be alarmed if the lemon juice/salt mixture starts turning a little gray.  That just means it's doing it's job. 


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When your lemon starts to look like this, it's time to toss it in the trash and grab the other half.  Keep scrubbing until you have cleaned the entire surface.  


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Use a damp sponge or cloth to remove all of the lemon juice and salt from the wood.  Then give the cutting board and countertop a thorough cleaning with a little hot, soapy water.  


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Now you're ready for the final step.  Pour a small puddle of the mineral oil onto the surface and rub it in, following the grain, using a soft cotton cloth.  The wood will remain a little oily until the mineral oil has a chance to soak in completely.  This usually only takes an hour or two.   

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Not only does the mineral oil keep the wood from drying out, it provides a barrier of protection and will keep your cutting boards and countertops looking like new.  

As a side note, per the manufacturer's suggestion, I disinfect the cutting board and countertop with a bleach and water solution every so often.  I also have a separate cutting board that I use exclusively for meat and poultry to prevent cross contamination.

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