The Best Way to Clean Mildewy Cutting Boards

Wood or bamboo cutting boards and baking peels can develop mildew. Here’s how to get rid of it.

Published Oct. 25, 2021.

It happens to the best of us: You take your wood or bamboo cutting board, carving board, or baking peel out of the cabinet and realize it’s developed an off-puttingly dank, mildewy odor. You might even see mildew or mold growing on it. 

Don’t despair! You can get rid of that mildew by thoroughly sanitizing that board. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends using a dilute bleach solution: 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach to a gallon of water. Flood the surface of the cutting or carving board with the solution and let it stand for a few minutes. Let the solution drain off and then flip the board and apply more solution to the other side. Rinse the whole board with clean water and pat it dry with paper towels.

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Any mildew or mold will be killed by the solution, but you might see traces of it. It’s harmless, but if this bothers you, you can sand the board lightly with 220-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining traces. If your board looks parched afterward, you may also want to reseason it. 

And remember: Prevention is always the best cure. Try to keep all your cutting boards as dry as possible after use, and store them in a well-ventilated area if possible to prevent new mold or mildew from forming.

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