Cutting Board Cleanliness – A Concise Guide

When it comes to cutting boards, there are two types of them: wooden ones and plastic ones. Regarding the cleanness of these two, it is commonly known that the wooden board has more germs than the plastic one.

But, just like many popular beliefs, this might be incorrect. The answer may require us to look at a definitive study made by Dr. Cliver at UC Davis, which stated that plastic cutting boards may prove to be more problematic than wooden ones.

Research Findings by Dr. Cliver

Cliver found that scarred plastic boards can hide more bacteria than a scarred wooden one. Sure, an immaculate no-cuts-or-scars plastic cutting board is a lot easier to maintain sanitized, and in this case, it beats out wood.

But try maintaining one in a brand-new condition for about six months. It is nearly impossible, as constant usage is guaranteed to put a lot of stress on that board.

And there is where wooden cutting boards excel, as they have a harder surface, therefore they can manage to put up with a lot more work. Also, every bacterium that manages to latch on the surface tends to die quickly.

This does not mean that you should get rid of your plastic boards. They can easily get sanitized by putting them in the dishwasher.

Also, unless you have to remove some really difficult substance, such as chicken fat, chances are you will not slice some cooties into your board.

The Two Boards Concept

But there is a practical solution to elevate your cleanliness game to another level: using two separate boards. And if you think about it, why not?

It is not very common to preach about this concept of the two boards plan, but it is incredibly convenient.

Now, instead of always having to clean your board after cutting whatever raw meat you were going to cook and then proceeding to cut your veggies in the same dirty, bacteria-infested board, you can slice this process into two separate ones.

And, even if you scrubbed the board with soap and hot water, some bacteria molecules may still survive in the knife cuts of it.  That’s why in one of the board, you will be doing all of the raw meat cuts, and in the other, you will be handling the veggies.

And case solved. Those two will never cross paths, and you will be preventing what is called “cross contamination”, that is the transference of bacteria from one type of food to another.

By separating raw meats from vegetables, you will be doing a lot to keep your food bacteria-free.  And you will be saving a lot of time too.

But no matter what type of cutting board you are using, they all have to be cleaned from time to time. Especially if it has had any raw meat on it, as they usually have the most number of bacteria out of all the foods.

Hygiene is king when it comes to cooking, as you don’t want to give your guest a severe case of stomach infection.

It is important to have your entire kitchen arsenal in a top-notch mode. Here are some quick tips to preserve the cleanliness in your cutting board:

  1. Scrub it thoroughly with soap and hot water. Make sure it is flowing from the tap, and not standing in the sink.
  2. After you have done this, proceed to wipe it off with a paper or a cloth towel.
  3. Let it air dry standing up to ensure you rid it of all moisture.

Bonus Tip

To optimize your sanitary game to the maximum, you can add up a solution of a one-part vinegar to three-part water.

Fill up a spray bottle with this solution and lightly spray the board down. Then, once again let the board stand and air dry.

You have got to have some hygiene going in your kitchen utensils too. If you are handling raw meat, especially, you should be hand washing your knife meticulously, to prevent dry food from sticking to the blade.

Doing this is what makes the difference between a pleasant evening with your friends to an emergence trip to the hospital. Sanitation is the key. And that is why implementing the two boards concept is so important.

Now, do not think that you will have to put the same amount of focus into cleaning both of the boards. That will totally ruin the whole concept of efficiency and time-saving the plan has.

The only board you should get serious with is the raw meats only one. That is the one that will need furious scrubbing, as the fat raw meat that leaves behind is extremely difficult to remove in its entirety.

By applying the techniques above, you should be ready to achieve this in no time. And when it comes to plastic boards, you can simply put them in the dishwasher and voilà!

No trace of bacteria whatsoever. The only thing you need to beware of is the dry cycle which tends to warp polypropylene. So don’t let the dishwasher dry them, take them out early.

So there it is. The ultimate solution for your sanitary problems. No longer should you be wondering what type of cutting board to use. Just apply the two boards concept, and along with washing your boards properly, that is all you will need to do to keep them clean.


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