How to Clean and Restore Vintage Cutting Boards

Today, we’re sharing how to clean and restore vintage cutting boards!  

There are specific items I always pick up when I’m out treasure hunting at charity shops, estate sales, antique malls or outdoor events.  Things like ironstone, brown and white transferware, french market baskets, plaid blankets, old books, portrait paintings and vintage silver trophies.  

All those vintage goodies seriously make my heart skip a beat.  Mostly, because they’re not easy to find anymore and discovering any one of the items on the list is super exciting.   

Decorating with Bread Board and Cutting Boards…

While I try to keep my collections down to a pretty small list there always seems to be extra room in my basket for those items that can be used in practical ways and in decorative ways too.   Vintage bread boards and cutting boards definitely fit that bill because you can use them in so many different areas of your home. 

I keep most of my cutting boards in a vintage metal basket in the kitchen but I’ve also use them to add texture to the china cabinet, on the coffee station, in the laundry room, and as a back drop during Sunday suppers and parties too. 

You can usually find vintage bread boards and cutting boards for a reasonable price (unless they’re French) and sometimes you can find them in really cool shapes too. I’ve picked most of these in the past for just a few dollars.

Thoughts on Cleaning Vintage Bread Board and Cutting Boards…

Any time you’re bringing a bread board or a cutting board into your home you’ll want to make sure it’s clean.  If you plan to use the bread board or cutting board for food, you’ll want to make sure it’s food safe as well. 

As you can see here, the wood is super thirsty.  This is not uncommon, especially when you find one at an estate sale, charity shop or outdoor event. 

After a bit of research, I’ve been using a simple method to sanitize, deodorize, and condition my food grade vintage bread boards and cutting boards.

As always, use caution, care and your best judgment when using these tips based on the age, type of wood and the general state of the boards you bring home.  Seasoned dealers will also be able to help you determine if the bread board or cutting board you’re purchasing is food safe. 

Steps for Cleaning & Deodorizing a Bread Board or Cutting Board…

Depending on the amount of buildup on your board, use a cloth and a spray bottle to spray a half and half mixture of white distilled vinegar and water directly on the board.  

If you don’t have a spray bottle handy, you can put the water and vinegar mixture directly on the cloth and wipe down your board.  Be sure to wipe away any excess. Allow the boards to dry completely.  

This step will help loosen any leftover food particles on your bread board and cutting boards and to deodorize the board as well.

To Disinfect a Bread Board or Cutting Board…

Use a cloth to wipe the board with hydrogen peroxide, as this will help get rid of any remaining bacteria. Allow the board to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Remove Stains by…

Sprinkle coarse salt all over the board. If your board gets heavy use, you may want to consider allowing the salt to sit overnight so that it can continue to draw out any persistent bacteria. 

Cut a lemon in half and use each piece to rub the lemon juice directly into the board to give it a good scrub. Allow the salt and lemon juice mixture to sit on the boards approximately 15 minutes.

Then wipe away with a damp cloth.

Steps for Conditioning Your Bread Board or Cutting Board…

Finally, apply mineral oil, walnut oil, almond oil, hemp oil or organic coconut oil to condition your board using a soft cloth.  We use Howard Butcher Block Conditioner. Wipe the board down going with the grain of the wood including the sides and the back of the board to condition these areas as well.  

It’s not recommended you use vegetable oil or olive oil, as they will turn rancid quickly.

The amount of times you’ll need to condition your bread boards and cutting boards per year depends on your climate and how frequently the boards are used. Given Florida has a very humid climate, I usually condition my boards every quarter.

Someone who lives in a very dry climate, could consider conditioning their boards every month though.

Obviously, you need to thoroughly clean both your bread boards and your cutting boards after every use.

Keep in Mind…

Be sure to dry the bread board or cutting board with a clean towel after you’re finished cleaning and conditioning them.  Stand the boards up to dry them completely.  Laying them down right after cleaning them, could trap moisture underneath. 

It usually takes a part of a morning or an afternoon to finish all our breadboards. The effort is always worth it though.  Bonus, I know they’re ready to be used again!

Here’s another look at the bread boards and cutting boards before…

and after they had been cleaned and conditioned.   

Do you guys have any vintage wood bread board or cutting board cleaning tips and tricks? 

Let us know so we can share them too! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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