Cutting boards and food safety

Clean plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher.

Research shows that plastic, wooden and glass cutting boards may hide harmful germs. The number of germs depends on the type of board material, grooves in the surface and how the board is cleaned.

Tips for food safety when using cutting boards:

  • Choose a cutting board with a smooth, hard surface. It should be approved for contact with food.
  • Replace the cutting board when it has many scratches and grooves.
  • Do not chop vegetables or other ready-to-eat foods on a board that was used for meat, unless you wash it first. If possible, always use different boards for meats than what you use for fruits, vegetables, and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Scrape off any stuck food and scrub all cutting boards completely with hot soapy water after each use. Dishwashers are usually very good cleaners, but thin plastic or wooden boards may be damaged.
  • Sanitize cutting boards with a mixture of one teaspoon of household unscented bleach to 4 cups of water. Flood the board with the mixture. Follow label directions on bleach bottle for how long to soak items in bleach/water solution to sanitize. Do not rinse. Allow to air dry before use.
  • Let cutting boards dry completely before you put it away.
  • Store boards so that they stay clean, dry. Do not store where they could touch raw meat.

William Schafer, emeritus Extension specialist and Suzanne Driessen, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

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