Your cutting boards can be accidental sources of cross-contamination – even if you’re just cutting produce. Clean and sanitize your cutting board after each use by first clearing the board of food particles, washing with warm, soapy water, rinsing, sanitizing and then drying – either with a clean cloth or by air dying. StateFoodSafety.com advises that any glass, plastic or stainless-steel boards be sanitized either in the dishwasher or with an FDA-approved sanitizer like chlorine, iodine or quaternary ammonium. Instead of using a dishwasher to sanitize marble or wooden boards, which can be damaged in the process, sanitize marble with chlorine and wood with quaternary ammonium.
Using the right cutting boards in your kitchen can minimize wear and tear on your knives, as well as reduce the risk of contamination. When it comes to your cutting boards, plastic is the more versatile choice. Plastic tends to be easier on knives, as well as easier to clean since it can be washed in a machine. (If you need to wash a plastic cutting board by hand, use a chlorine-based sanitizer and be sure to let it air-dry completely so it won’t harbor bacteria.) Hardwood cutting boards with a fine grain can pull down fluids and trap bacteria that are killed when the board dries, according to food safety researcher Ben Chapman, but they may cause a knife’s edge to dull more quickly. Softer woods are easier on knives but have a larger grain that makes them easier to split, creating grooves that trap bacteria.