Wood or plastic? Beyond your aesthetic preference, here are some things to consider. Both are good for your knives — meaning they won’t dull them the way metal, marble, composite, glass, or stone surfaces will. But the issue of which is more sanitary has come under fire, with some arguing that a well-used plastic board can be just as unsanitary and bacteria-ridden as wood.
Wood certainly has it over plastic in the earth-friendly category. Bamboo, a material that is also to some degree naturally bacteria repellant, is even more eco-friendly than wood. However, unlike wood and bamboo, plastic can be placed in your dishwasher, eliminating some of the fears of bacterial build-up.
But if you prefer the look of a big, solid wood block, you can get them sanded and re-seasoned — a good thing to do, considering the monetary investment you probably made. If you are careful to use hot, soapy water while cleaning as well as a disinfectant like white vinegar, it’s possible to keep the bacterial issues at bay. Just be sure to let the vinegar sit on the surface for several minutes. Over time, washing can dry out and even split wood cutting boards, so re-seasoning or “sealing” your cutting board helps prolong its lifespan. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your wood cutting board, apply a few tablespoons of a pure, food-grade oil like mineral or coconut (never olive oil!) and let it absorb for a few hours. You can also rub the oil in with a cloth or paper towel.
The best of all worlds may be to have a beautiful block on display for most of your bread slicing and vegetable chopping needs, with an easily replaced collection of inexpensive plastic boards on hand for different purposes: a yellow board for chicken, red for meat, etc.
Best Cutting Boards Brands
In the world of wooden cutting boards, “Boos Blocks” are legendary among professional chefs. They come in a variety of sizes, widths and styles, in beautiful, solid hard wood. You can find cheaper wooden boards, but these are FDA-approved and made to last. Get more info >
Crafted with care, these American-made boards and blocks are created from naturally self-sustaining hardwoods like North American birch or hard rock maple. Even the wood shavings and sawdust are converted into wood pellet fuel. Get more info >
The original The Gripper cutting boards come in an array of colors, and feature rubber grips on the bottom to keep the board steady while you chop. Dishwasher-safe, these light, practical boards are made of high-density plastic. Also popular are Architec’s bamboo cutting boards, which come with the same reliable grippers. Get more info >
The wood fiber laminate surface of these cutting boards is knife friendly, nonporous and temperature resistant to 350 degrees F. And the kicker is they’re also dishwasher safe and National Sanitary Foundation certified. Get more info >