Saturday, January 22

Refresh your Cutting Board - Green Living

Hey there! Turns out my hunky hubster reads my blog :-) He has suggested a weekly tip series. So here goes!

About two years ago, we were gifted a handmade butcher block style cutting board from a guy I worked with. It was gorgeous. Needless to say, it gets alot of use, and had started to look like this one on the right, but we wanted it to look like this one on the left: 

I had heard about butcher block oil, but had also heard that it was expensive. According to Amazon, butcher block oil is available from just a couple of sources and ranges from $7 to $13 (8 oz bottle) PLUS shipping and handling which has been running us about $6 out here to Hawaii. So I hit up the Internet and learned the following:

1) Food grade mineral oil is an acceptable substitute for butcher block oil. I found mineral oil for $7 at the hardware store. Not cheaper but no shipping. I also found that my local Target has it in store, but I can't see the cost online, so I will be checking that out, and will post an update.
2) Vegetable oils (such as olive, sunflower, walnut and coconut oils) effectively do the same thing for preserving the wood cutting board but go rancid. Yuck.
3) Beeswax can also be used in place of or in conjunction with mineral oil for a harder, buffable finish.

So I headed out to my neighborhood hardware store. This time I hit up Ace Hardware, because I Home Depot is 40 minutes away and I was excited to accidentally stumble across the Ace earlier today.

I found two full aisles of finish related materials (such as paint, stain, finishing oil, stripper, etc). In the entire two aisles (approximately 100 feet of 6 foot shelving, these are the TWO items that I found that didn't have WARNING... some said vapors harmful, others actually recommended getting a copy of the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet - tells all of the various hazards of a chemical.) What?

 I even checked out the water-based stains, which are labeled "No Odor." Then on the back there is a warning about harmful vapors. I was so disappointed, because I dearly love refinishing furniture. (Check out my Hoosier!)

Anyway, off I went with my wood oil, and beeswax. Between the two, the only warning is: do not allow your cutting board to soak in water - it will split.

I'm sold.

So after dinner tonight, I washed my cutting board with a "mild detergent" (Palmolive in my case). After letting it dry, I ran over it with a sanding block to smooth out the rough spots. Then I washed it again and let it dry. Rubbed a little bit of oil in it and Presto Chango!

Just like new!

Here are a few related tips:
1) Do not soak your wooden cutting board or run it though the dishwasher. (The wood will split over time)
2) Oil up your wooden cutting board about once per month.
3) You can use a solution of white vinegar and water as a disinfectant to wash your board.
4) Use a separate board for meats and veggies (I use a plastic board for meats, because I just think that the icky meat germs soak into the wood and thrive. But I don't actually know for sure).

So I think that's it for now. What do you think? Do you have a green tip that you'd like to share? How about a cutting board that could use a little pick me up?

Happy Weekend!
:-) Barbara

PS You my have noticed that I didn't use the Beeswax. See the dry, rough table that the cutting board is sitting on? That's n the list, and I am going to give the beeswax a try. Stay tuned!


  1. OMG! What a huge difference! This is AWESOME!!!!!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. ps: I want a wooden board now! My mom got me plastic... bleh!

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Hi! I hope you've had as much fun reading about my adventure as I have had writing about it! I would love to hear from you! :-) Barbara

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