I use mostly wooden cutting boards, though I do own a plastic one that's looking pretty rough. After noticing several discolored grooves on the plastic last week, I started wondering if and when I should get rid of old boards. I was also curious about whether plastic or wooden cutting boards are safer, so I decided to do a little research.
It turns out that there's not much difference between plastic and wooden boards when it comes to food safety; it's really a matter of preference. According to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, nonporous surfaces like plastic are easier to clean, but as long as you clean them, both wood and plastic are safe. Just be sure to always use a clean board, especially if you use one to cut raw meat. For tips on when to get rid of cutting boards, and how to clean them, read more.
Wooden and plastic boards both wear out over time, and you should toss your cutting boards once they start to look very worn out or have grooves that are discolored or hard to clean. I guess that means it's time to say good-bye to my plastic cutting board.
Here are a few tips on cleaning cutting boards.
- After each use, wash your cutting board with soap and hot water.
- If you have a plastic cutting board, run it through the dishwasher for further disinfecting.
- For deeper cleaning, wash wooden or plastic cutting boards with a solution of three tablespoons of bleach and one quart of water.