If you’ve ever rinsed wood kitchenware, you’ve surely wondered if the surface was really getting clean let alone free of germs. Here’s a guide to cleaning wood cutting boards, which routinely come in contact with bacteria, salmonella and other germs during food preparation. All you need is what you already have around the home.

The most important thing to remember about wood cutting boards is they need cleaning after each use. Whether you’re chopping vegetables or trimming the fat off chicken, never let the residue settle on the board. Before applying any natural cleaner, rinse the board under hot water. Then, choose one of these food-friendly solutions.

White Vinegar: White vinegar is a natural deodorizer and disinfectant. Spray the board with a mixed solution of vinegar and water, or simply pour the vinegar over the board and wipe it down.
Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide also disinfects wooden surfaces without contaminating the board itself. Pour about one-eighth of a cup onto the board and wipe it across using a paper towel. Don’t let the towel sop up the cleaning solution; let it settle on the board for a few minutes and then rinse well.
Baking Soda: Baking soda works well on cutting boards that suffer from stains and the germs that lurk beneath them. When the board is thoroughly dry, pour some baking soda directly onto the surface. Use a sponge or hard-surface brush and work the baking soda into the grain of the wood. Rinse thoroughly.

Bleach: Bleach is a great alternative, natural cleaner you should turn to for deep cleanings. Every once in a while especially after working with certain meats pour a solution of water and bleach over the board and let it stand. Do this in the sink, and after several minutes, rinse the board very well with hot water.

Lemon: Lemon also cuts through common kitchen germs. Interchem advises using lemon to clean wood cutting boards specifically for its pure scent. Simply cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice out of this slice, rubbing it over the surface of the cutting board. Let the lemon sit on the board for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse.

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