A wax wood conditioner or food grade mineral oil should be applied to the board once a month (might be more or less depending on the number of times the board is used). If the wood looks dry then give it some oil. Oil and wax will fill the wood pores on the surface and help to prevent water and bacteria from becoming trapped in the board. We use our own blend of 100% food safe beeswax, carnauba wax, mineral oil, orange oil, lemon oil, and vitamin E on our boards prior to shipping. Don’t use vegetable oils to seal your board because the oil will become rancid over time. Coat the board in oil and allow it to soak in for about 15 minutes and them wipe off the excess oil. If the oil absorbs very quickly then you need to apply a second coat. Don’t allow the board to dry out.
Trees drink water to grow and the cells didn’t stop working after the tree was cut down. The “Fuzz” that you feel are the grains expanding and standing up. This is much more noticeable on our end grain board where the dry microscopic fibers have been bent over during finishing. Once these fibers get wet they will stand up again and make your board feel fuzzy. We actually cause this to happen twice during production of your product by “raising the grain” and forcing these fibers to swell up so they can be sanded away. By doing this, you might not even notice this effect. But if you do, the good news is that the “fuzz” that you are feeling is very temporary and will get better with every wash as the semi-loose fibers are knocked off of the board. A sharp knife can also shave your board like a razor and a beard. Once these loose fibers are gone your board will remain smooth.
The water and heat from modern dishwashers will damage your cutting board and must be avoided. You might get away with it a couple times, but your board will eventually break down and you will end up with wooden planks and not a cutting board if you continue to do it. Boards should be washed by hand with a mild soap, hot water and a non abrasive cloth or plastic scrubber. Do not allow the boards to sit in sink water. Wash it and take it out. Towel dry the board and allow to dry while standing up on an edge. This will cause the board to dry completely and prevent damage. If you dry the board laying flat on a surface the water that is trapped under the board might cause the board to warp slightly.
I would not suggest using your board for raw poultry or fish but if use if for that purpose then the USDA issued the following statement to safely sanitize your board.
“Both wooden and plastic cutting boards can be sanitized with a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Flood the surface with the bleach solution and allow it to stand for several minutes. Rinse with clear water and air dry or pat dry with clean paper towels.”
The wood that is used in our cutting boards is the same wood that has been used for many years. Cherry, Walnut, Maple, and Purpleheart are all closed grain woods which make them ideal for cutting boards because they don’t absorb moisture and bacteria as much as open grain woods like oak, pine, or ash would. However, even closed grain woods will absorb moisture which will cause the wood to expand and contract if exposed to moisture for extended periods of time. Don’t leave your cutting board submerged in water like the sink or you will find that it will absorb water and might expand, warp, or even crack along the joints.
Many people have suggested that you can “sanitize” your board or give it a deep cleaning by scrubbing it with baking soda or salt or soaking it with a diluted vinegar or bleach solution. My personal favorite is sprinkling some coarse salt on the board and rubbing it in with a half a lemon, letting it soak for a few minutes, and then washing it off. If you sanitize your board with any of these items then you will want to wash it again with soap and water and allow it to dry completely and then oil it again with mineral oil. Scrubbing your board with coarse salt can also help to remove any stains and the lemon will remove any odors. If you only use your board for cutting vegetables, herbs, breads, or cooked meats then hot soap and water and a good scrub will clean your board just fine.