Why is My Wooden Cutting Board Splintering – How to Cure It?

curing splintered cutting board

There’s nothing worse than reaching for your wooden cutting board to chop up a few vegetables only to find that it’s splintering and rough.

While working with flashy sharp knives is one of the key reasons, there can be many other things that contribute to your cutting board’s deterioration.

So why is this happening, and how can you cure it? Let’s find out…

What Causes Cutting Board to Split and Splinter?

Even a well-made cutting board can start to show signs of wear and tear after years of consistent use.

If you’re wondering why your wooden cutting board is splintering, there are a few potential reasons.

1- Temperature & Humidity

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that wood is an organic material. As such, it’s subject to the same forces of nature that affect any other organic substance, like your skin or hair.

Hot and cold temperatures, humidity, and even the sun can all cause wood to warp, crack, or splinter over time.

To fix this issue, you’ll need to take measures to protect your cutting board from the elements. This means storing it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

You might even consider putting it in a plastic bag to shield it from the humidity further.

2- Constant Exposure to Water

The more you use and wash your cutting board, the greater the chance it will show signs of wear and tear. The constant exposure to water and moisture can cause the wood to swell, resulting in cracks and splinters.

Similarly, the friction from cutting and chopping can also lead to splintering, as it wears down the wood fibers over time.

The best way to deal with this problem is to make sure that you’re properly caring for your cutting board.

That means cleaning it with soap and water after each use and drying it off completely before storing it. Avoid soaking them in liquid solvents for long, and do not put them in a dishwasher for cleaning.

When drying, avoid leaving your cutting board in direct sunlight or in a humid environment, as this can speed up the deterioration process.

cleaning and sealing the wooden cutting boards

3- Failing to Season Your Boards

Not seasoning your wooden cutting board in the kitchen can cause the wood to dry out, leading to cracking and splintering.

On the other hand, properly seasoning your board with food-grade mineral oil helps to keep it hydrated and prevents the wood from drying out and splintering. You should do that at least once a year.

To condition your cutting board with food-grade mineral oil, follow these steps:

  • Wash, rinse, and dry the cutting board.
  • Apply food-grade mineral oil to the board.
  • Rub the oil into the wood with a cloth.
  • Wait for about an hour for the oil to be absorbed.
  • Buff the board with a dry cloth to remove excess oil.

4- Not Using the Right Type of Wood

Finally, it’s important to ensure you’re using the correct type of wood for your cutting board.

Some woods, like bamboo, are naturally more resistant to splintering than others. Similarly, some woods are simply too soft to withstand the consistent chopping and cutting that a cutting board endures. Many people just buy them because of the low cost.

As a general rule, hardwoods like maple, oak, or cherry are the best type of wood to be used for a cutting board. So, if you’re looking to buy a new cutting board for your kitchen, keep this in mind and avoid choosing poor-quality wood.

5- Not Using the Right Sealing Product for Protection

Many people use any sealer to protect the wooden cutting boards in their kitchen. However, not all sealers are created equal, and some can actually do more harm than good.

For example, using a polyurethane sealer can lead to the teak board drying out and cracking over time. Instead, you should opt for food-grade mineral oil or beeswax to keep your board properly seasoned and protected.

I have recently made a DIY mix of food-grade mineral oil and beeswax to use in my kitchen for our bamboo cutting boards. And the results are more than satisfying.

The boards are well-protected and look new even after weeks of consistent use. And not to mention, my wife is happy too.

You can find the recipe here if you want:

If you do not love making it and want to buy the paste online, some of these are available as board creams at stores like Amazon.

Get them there and keep your cutting boards from drying out, cracking, and eventually splitting into two.

How to Deep Clean and Disinfect a Wood Cutting Board?

Regular cleaning and disinfecting are critical for keeping your wood-cutting board from being a breeding ground for bacteria.

One of the best ways to deep clean and disinfect your board is to use a mixture of vinegar and water.

You can either soak your board in the mixture for a few minutes or use a saturated sponge to scrub it down. Once you’re done, rinse it off with clean water and let it air dry completely.

cleaning and finishing cutting boards

What to Do With Smelly Boards?

If your cleaned wooden chopping board is still kind of smelly, try sprinkling it with some baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then, just rinse it off and let it air dry.

Another great way to disinfect and keep the smell out of your board is to use a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water.

Simply mix equal parts of each in a spray bottle and spritz it on your board. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it with clean water and air dry. You can also use this solution to clean your charcuterie board, countertops, and knives as well.

The Third effective method is to deodorize wooden cutting boards with lemon.

Cut a lemon in half and rub it all over the surface of your board. The citric acid present in the lemon pieces will help to kill any bacteria on the board and will also help to neutralize any odors.

Allow the lemon to sit on the board for a few minutes before rinsing it clean with water and drying it with a towel.

The Bottom Line

When you’ve got a beautiful, brand-new cutting board, the last thing you want is for it to start showing signs of wear and tear. Unfortunately, even the best-made cutting boards can splinter and crack after years of use.

Working on a rickety & splintering board can be dangerous. So, next time you see the splinters keep the above tips in mind. Hopefully, it will help keep your wooden cutting board in pristine condition.

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