Clean Cut: Cutting out chemicals without cutting down on clean


by Leah R. TroianoMy cutting boards are my most treasured — and most used — kitchen items. I rely on these workhorses many times a day, and since they have contact with just about all my food, I’m very careful about how they’re maintained.

My gorgeous butcher block board is near and dear to my heart, but is off limits when preparing animal products. Since wood is porous, secretions from meat and fish can become trapped in the wood when the knife breaches the board’s surface. Caring for this type of board requires specific attention and care. The product you use to clean a wooden cutting board could potentially end up in your food. So I make my own cleaning product using only food-grade cleaning products.

How to Make Your Own Cutting Board Cleaner

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Clean spray bottle
  • Baking soda (or salt)
  • Lemon
  • Mineral oil (food grade)


  • Fill a clean spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Shake to mix and then spray the board. Wipe and remove any leftover debris using a cloth towel. (Don’t have white vinegar? A few drops of dishwashing liquid on a wet cloth will work, too.)
  • Sprinkle the board with baking soda and salt. Cut a lemon in half and rub (cut side down) over the board’s surface. Once the surface is coated, let sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Rinse the board with water or spray it with the vinegar and water solution. Wipe clean. Allow board to completely dry. 
  • Once dry, drizzle food grade mineral oil over the board and rub into the wood. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then wipe to absorb the extra oil. (This step conditions the wood and extends its life.)

Although I’m a “less is more” type of person, having more than one cutting board is essential in my kitchen. To maintain cleanliness, I designate certain types of boards for specific foods. For example, I use only dishwasher safe boards for meat, fish and cheese. Those boards can go in the dishwasher and be sterilized in the high-heat cycle. Some boards even come marked with different images (such as a fish, cow or vegetables) as a helpful reminder. 

Leah R. Troiano, a certified cancer support educator, works with people who have cancer or would like to prevent cancer. Videos on how to make the products featured in this column can be found at Contact Leah at