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.