Mold is an especially appalling find in your kitchen, as mold and food do not mix. Your cutting board has splotches on it that you believe are mold, and you’re eager to remove them. What are your options?
In this article, we’ll discuss the measures you can take to sanitize and clean a wooden cutting board as well as how to prevent mold from coming back.
To remove mold from a cutting board, use a solution of chlorine bleach diluted at a ratio of 2 teaspoons per half a gallon of warm water. Lemon juice with kosher salt can be used if you want to go chemical-free. Gently scrub the affected area with the solution until the mold is gone.
What Does Mold on a Cutting Board Look Like?
You have what you believe is mold on a cutting board, but you aren’t completely sure. Let’s begin by discussing how to ascertain the presence of mold.
Mold is a common sight on chopping boards, such as the scratches and deep grooves that accumulate from time and usage.
Any cracks and even decorative etching across the board are also frequent targets of mold.
The mold will look blackish or grayish in color depending on the surface it grows on. For example, on a wooden cutting board, the mold can have a dark gray tint.
It’s fairly hard to miss the moldy spots, especially once the spores begin propagating.
How to Get Mold Out of a Cutting Board
Wooden, plastic, or bamboo cutting boards, left under the right circumstances can be a magnet for mold, but these common household products will both sanitize them and leave them looking good as new.
Lemon Juice and Kosher Salt
A more natural and safe mold removal method is lemon juice and salt. You’ll need one full lemon and coarse ground sea salt.
Apply the salt to the cutting board, covering it fully and generously.
Next, split the lemon in half. Take one half of the lemon and rub it fruit-side down on the salty cutting board.
Put some elbow grease into this, as you want the juice and the salt to saturate into the wood.
Repeat this throughout the entirety of the board where you see mold. If the first half of the lemon is out of juice, feel free to use the second half.
Then rinse everything away with clean water. The mold should be gone, and even better, the cutting board will have a fresh, citrusy scent.
If stubborn mold remains on your cutting board even after trying the salt and lemon method or cleaning with vinegar, then you’ll need a heavier-duty cleaner like bleach.
You should use chlorine bleach for this job, which is also known as hypochlorite. This product is safe for kitchen surfaces such as a wooden cutting board, but you will want to dilute the bleach thoroughly anyway.
You’ll need half a gallon of warm water for every two teaspoons of chlorine bleach. Next, take a clean kitchen sponge, dip it into the mixture, and clean the board.
When working with bleach, be sure to take the proper precautions. Wear goggles, long sleeves, and pants. Choose clothes that you don’t mind getting stained with bleach, as it could happen.
Ventilate the room, opening the windows, and turn on your kitchen extract fan if you have one.
Take your time when cleaning so you don’t stain your counters or sink with bleach.
Once the mold is gone, wash the board with water and soap.
How to Prevent Mold on Cutting Boards
Your kitchen cutting boards needn’t be a hotbed for mold. Whether the board is plastic, bamboo, or wood, here are some handy tips for preventing the recurrence of mold.
Coat with Oil
This tip applies to wood and bamboo cutting boards only.
Once about every 30 days, apply mineral oil (make sure it’s food-grade) onto the surface of the board, ensuring you get into every crevice, corner, nook, and cranny.
Follow the direction of the wood grains as you rub in the oil, then rinse all the residue off.
This will ensure your board will look cleaner and stay mold-free.
Limit Meat Cutting
Both wood and plastic cutting boards can develop deep gouges and scratches from cutting fruits, veggies, and other food items.
Raw meat should not touch a wooden cutting board once it has deep scratches. The meat juices will easily get into these as well as the wood grain, allowing bacteria to seep in.
If you must cut raw meat, buy a glass cutting board just for this job. Glass is nonporous so it won’t become a bacterial breeding ground.
Clean with White Vinegar
Another useful preventative measure is to clean your boards with white vinegar at least weekly.
Dab a small amount of vinegar onto a paper towel or a soft, clean sponge, and then rub it over both sides of the cutting board. Allow 10 minutes to elapse before you wash off the board.
Distilled white vinegar isn’t always easy to get your hands on, so I’ve added a few links below to some pretty reasonably priced options on the Amazon store.
Limit Dishwasher Usage
This tip doesn’t apply so much to plastic cutting boards, but for bamboo and wood cutting boards, cleaning them in the dishwasher isn’t best.
The board will get saturated with water, which if put away without being dried properly, then left in a damp area, could make mold formation only a matter of time. Additionally, the high temperatures from the dishwasher can permanently crack or warp the board allowing for more bacteria to collect within the grooves, as well as giving mold an opportunity to form in them.
Is Mold on a Cutting Board Dangerous?
You’ve confirmed a mold problem on your cutting board, be it wood or plastic.
The mold hasn’t spread all over yet, so you’re wondering if it would be advantageous for you to do something about it now or if it can wait.
Is the presence of mold on a cutting board truly dangerous?
The answer? ………Most certainly.
Mold on kitchen surfaces poses a health hazard to everyone in your household. Those with healthy lungs can begin to develop symptoms, and those with asthma or mold allergies will find that their conditions worsen.
Few people would willingly want to eat a meal that was prepared on a moldy cutting board. It’s simply unsanitary and unpalatable.
Can a Butcher’s Block Get Moldy?
A type of upgraded cutting board, a butcher’s block is a hardwood, laminated chopping block that’s usually quite sizable.
Several pieces of wood comprise a butcher block, which are all compressed very firmly.
Wood is porous whether it’s a thick chopping block or a thin cutting board. Since chopping blocks are designed for handling huge hunks of meat, it’s a lot likelier for the board to consistently absorb bacteria.
If the butcher’s block gets wet, then it will absorb that water as well, especially if the block is close to a sink. Under the correct circumstances, (being frequently humid areas such as kitchens), mold can certainly begin to grow.
If you own a butcher’s block, you can prevent the accumulation of mold growth by following the exact same suggestions as outlined for a wooden cutting board, and ensuring it is stored in a dry and well-ventilated part of the kitchen.
How to Sanitize a Cutting Board
Cutting boards can suffer a one-two punch of bacterial and fungal spread, the latter in the form of mold.
To make it a safer kitchen tool going forward, you should begin regularly sanitizing it.
Combine half a cup of distilled white vinegar with a cup of water. Dip a nylon bristle brush into the bowl or container and then scrub every scratch and cut on the surface of both sides.
When you finish, run it under hot water and dry it thoroughly. A plastic board can be sanitized by placing it in a dishwasher and running a hot cycle. The temperature of the water, along with the detergent will be enough to kill most bacteria, mold, and fungus. Just remember to hand wash your wooden or bamboo boards, and a dishwasher will likely damage them.
Mold on cutting boards is a significant problem for aesthetic reasons, but safety as well. No matter what your cutting board is made of, you can remove mold from the surface and begin enjoying food prep without the need to constantly replace your kitchen equipment. These boards can be cleaned, but please ensure you have followed the tips here first, and do not try to prepare food on a moldy cutting board. I assure you, your dinner guests will thank you for it!