It is midnight, and you suddenly crave something tasty. You rush towards your kitchen, take out the necessary ingredients. Just when you are about to chop the vegetables, you spot a black stain on your cutting board. There goes your appetite!
In the culinary world, a wooden cutting board is a very versatile accessory. Of course, you can use it for chopping meats and vegetables. But you can also use it as a decorative serving platter for steaks and meals.
It is a perfect two in one kitchen utensil that will boost up your kitchen experience. But wooden cutting boards are likely to get black stains on them if not handled properly. It is probably due to the growth of mold or iron reacting with the wood.
To avoid any scenario like this, it is better to clean your board on time and maintain it properly. Curious to know how to remove black stains from wooden cutting board? Dive into this section!
How to Remove Black Stains from Wooden Cutting Board – A Definitive Guide
Time needed to remove the black stains: Variable (10 to 60 minutes)
Note: The time somewhat depends on the intensity of the black stain and the method used to remove the stain.
In case of a stubborn stain, you might have to repeat the steps over and over again. So that might take a bit longer than that.
Similarly, there are various removal processes, all of which have specific action times. The steps and time needed for each method is discussed in the following section.
Tools and Materials needed to remove the black stains:
- Steel Scrubber/ Sponge/ Scrub Brush
- Dry Towel or Cloth
- Wet Towel or Cloth
- Kosher salt or Salt
- Baking Soda
- Chlorine Bleach
- Mineral Oil
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Tea tree Oil
- Bicarbonate Soda Paste
- Spray bottle
Steps on Removing Black Stains from Wooden Cutting Board
How can I know if the black stain is because of a mold or a contaminant?
Stains on the wooden board develop either due to the growth of molds or due to food contaminants.
Sometimes, it can be possible that you won’t be able to differentiate a mold stain or a pollutant stain. That’s when a regular detergent or soap will come into play.
A simple solution is to wash the stained area with soap and hot water. Then brush the area with a sponge. It is usually seen that a stain generated due to food pollutants washes off once it is rinsed with soap and hot water.
If it doesn’t work, then there is a high probability that the black stain results from mold formation. If that is the case, then you might have to go for more abrasive methods.
You can use several methods to remove black stains (mainly due to molds). Depending on the material available to you, choose any way you want. A few of the procedures are stated below.
The Natural Cleanser
A combination of lemon and salt works like magic to remove the stain and polish the cutting board. Both of these have bleaching properties that bleach away the stain.
This natural cleanser will probably take approximately 5-10 minutes of your time to remove the stains on your board. Just follow the steps.
Step 1: Wet a towel in hot water and rub the stained cutting board. This helps to weaken the bond between the wood and mold.
Step 2: Use another towel to dry it off completely
Step 3: Take a pinch of salt and spread it all over the surface of the board.
Step 4: Take a lemon, squeeze it, and scrub over the surface
Note: It is not mandatory to scrub salt and then lemon separately. If you want, you can dip the lemon in salt and then scrub it over. The salt removes the stain, and the lemon gives a fresh scent
Step 5: Use a scrubber or sponge and wipe it
Step 6: Repeat the process till the stain fades away
Step 7: Use a hot wet towel again to cleanse the remaining lemon and salt from the board and let it sit for some time to dry out.
It is a simple method that will work very well when a stain is not so deep or not so severe. In case of a stubborn stain, you need to go with the deep cleaning solution.
The Deep Cleanser
A mixture of vinegar and baking soda makes a perfect deep cleaning solution. It has been examined that vinegar can kill up to 82% of molds.
Vinegar is made of acetic acid that has antifungal and antibacterial properties. So it can deodorize the mold. Go through the steps to know-how.
Step 1: Mix distilled vinegar with baking soda
Step 2: Take the mixture and transfer it into a spray bottle
Step 3: Spray this cleanser mixture in the stained area
Step 4: Wait for some time, preferably an hour, to allow the wooden board to absorb the vinegar and baking soda
Step 5: Use a sponge or scrubber and scour through the board and you will notice the stains will get lighter
Step 6: Use a hot wet cloth or towel and rinse the board to remove the solution
Step 7: Repeat till the stain is faded
You can remove harsh black stains using the ‘bleach it clean’ method. Preferably a chlorine bleach, only when diluted.
However, it would be best to keep in mind that bleaches usually fade the original color making it look like the wooden board has been damaged.
If you are not that much concerned about the appearance of your wooden cutting board, you can opt for chlorine bleach.
Here is how you can do it
Step 1: Take one tablespoon of chlorine bleach per gallon of water
Step 2: Apply the solution in the stained region
Step 3: Scrub the surface with a sponge till the stain is gone
Step 4: Rinse with clean water, air dry, it and pat it dry with a cloth or towel
Step 5: Repeat till the stain is faded
If you notice that the black stain is still there, it might suggest that the mold is resistant. In that scenario, you can use a 50/50 water and bleach mixture. But do not make the mix more than that!
Disclaimer: Undiluted bleaches are very corrosive and, when in contact, can irritate the skin, eyes and can cause respiratory distress.
So remember to dilute the chlorine bleach first. And a safety measure, you can wear hand gloves to avoid bleach contact with your skin.
Tea Tree Oil
You might have heard of tea tree oil as a part of a good skincare routine. But, it can be a good use for other kitchen utensils as well.
Tea tree oil has antifungal properties, and just a few drops of it will work like a charm in cleaning molds.
Make the charm work just by following these few steps:
Step 1: Take one tablespoon of tea tree oil and a cup of water, and blend the mixture well
Step 2: Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and shake it so that it blends well
Step 3: Spray the mixture to the wooden cutting board and let it sit for 30 to 40 minutes
Step 4: Once you allow the time for absorption, use a scrubber to scrub the stains
Step 5: Pat it dries using a cloth or towel
Step 6: Repeat till the stain is gone
Tip: If available, you can add 1 tablespoon of peppermint extract into the mixture. It adds a fresh scent. So along with removing the mold, you can remove odor and make it smell pleasant.
In the case of the toughest stain mainly caused due to the continuous chopping with the knives, you can try using hydrogen peroxide.
But only to a limited amount. Make sure to use 3% of the hydrogen peroxide. Have a look at the steps to know how you can get the effects:
Step 1: Carefully transfer the non-diluted 3% of the hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle
Step 2: Spray the solution into the stain and wait for 10-15 minutes to let it sit and saturate completely.
Step 3: Use a sponge to scrub the area
Step 4: Following the scrub, use a hot wet towel to wipe the area and pat it dry
Step 5: Repeat till the stain is gone.
Tips: Although the technique is quite effective, it is better not to use it regularly. Hydrogen peroxide is acid, so using it too often might cause the wood to dry out.
Bicarbonate paste is another effective cleanser for molds. Here is how you can make a bicarbonate paste.
Step 1: Add vinegar, lemon, salt, and water together and keep on blending them until a paste is formed
Step 2: Apply the paste on the surface and rub it.
Step 3: Wash the paste with a damp towel and make sure the board dries fully before you keep it on a rack.
Step 4: Repeat till the stain is gone.
Maintenance of a Wooden Cutting Board – The Do’s and Don’ts
Yes, black stains can be removed easily, and there are many alternatives to doing it. But that doesn’t mean you won’t take proper care of it.
Clean and maintain the wooden cutting board properly to avoid the same hassle of cleaning the stains again. Let’s have a look at the proper ways of maintaining a wooden cutting board.
First thing first, DO NOT immerse the wooden cutting board directly into the water or dishwasher.
This can cause the board to crack and warp. Instead, use a warm and wet towel to wipe the cloth properly and pat it dry with a dry towel to prevent the board from trapping moisture.
Remember to let the board dry off entirely and do not place it in a rack immediately after washing. Make sure it doesn’t touch any surface. Place it in a dishwasher drainer to let it air dry from all sides.
If any moisture remains, there is a high probability that the molds will grow back. You probably need to start from scratch.
Clean your board with mineral oil once every month and let it sit for 5-6 hours. Rub it with a warm wet towel afterwards.
By doing so, the board will be rehydrated, and the food contaminants will be washed away when you wash the oil.
Clean your board with vinegar once every week. As mentioned before, vinegar can kill up to 82% of molds and fungus. Not only that, but it can also prevent further growth of molds.
You definitely do not want your wooden cutting board to be full of scratches. Using a steel scrub might generate abrasive marks on the board.
So, it is better to use a sponge instead of a steel scrub for scrubbing purposes.
Try to avoid cutting raw meats on wooden boards. Usually, cutting meat is a harsh and abrasive procedure that will also cause scratches on the board.
Also, the wood can absorb the juice and bacteria produced from the meat while chopping. So this will likely damage the wood in the long run.
Ways to Remove Black Stains from Wooden Cutting Board:
The wooden cutting board can stain easily – black in particular. If the stain is not too bad, you can try cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. However, be careful not to damage the surface of the board.
If the stain is more serious, pour white vinegar onto the stain and scrub with a soft cloth or sponge.
Even then if the stain does not come out, try using a household detergent and water solution.
If all else failed, the enzymatic cleaner can use to dissolve the stain.
Natural Solution – Clean with Lemon and Salt:
Wooden cutting boards can get stained from all sorts of things – oil, juice, butter, etc. – but black stains are the worst. Fortunately, there is a simple solution – clean the board with lemon and salt. The acid in the lemon will break down the grease, while the salt will help to remove impurities. Try using baking soda mixed with water instead of lemon or salt for stubborn stains. Once the board is clean, rinse it thoroughly to remove any leftover stain.
Deep Cleaning Solution – Vinegar and Baking Soda:
Stainless steel and glass cutting boards are the new black, but that doesn’t mean wooden cutting boards can’t get stained. If the stain is black, it’s best to call in the pros. But if you’re up for the challenge, try this cleaning solution. Be sure to test it on a small area first to be sure it won’t damage the wood. Next, rub the board with a wooden spoon until the stain vanishes. Finally, rinse it off and apply a sealant to prevent future staining.
If you find black marks on your wooden cutting board, it’s time to bleach the solution! The most common bleaching agents are hydrogen peroxide and chlorine bleach. Mix hydrogen peroxide with water in a spray bottle then sprays the solution on the stain. For chlorine bleach, mix it with water in a bowl, then pour the solution over the stain. Repeat the process as needed until the stain vanishes. Use a bleaching solution to remove black stains from a wooden cutting board. Apply the solution to the stain, wait five minutes, then scrub with a brush or sponge.
Now that you know how to remove black stains from wooden cutting board don’t let a simple stain ruin your cooking experience.
Proper cleaning and maintenance are the keys to keeping any kitchen utensils free from stain or dirt.
Don’t you think it is wiser to spend a few more minutes cleaning a cutting board than to spend more money buying a new one?
1.Is it okay to clean wood often? How frequently should I clean my wooden cutting board?
Ans. Clean the board after every use, preferably with vinegar. If any food particles remain on the board, it might cause stains and lead to the growth of molds.
2.How can I remove odor from the board?
Ans. Slice a lemon and dip it in kosher salt or salt, and then scrub the lemon within the surface of the board. This will eliminate any odor.
The salt will cause any stain to be removed, and the smell of the lemon will give your board a fresh limy scent.
3.Are the black stains on the wooden cutting board harmful for health?
Ans. Black stains are a sign of unhygienic conditions. The stains contain molds, and the necessary steps are not taken; they grow over time, and your board will become a residence for the molds.
4.Can I use olive oil or food oil instead of mineral oil to clean my wooden board?
Ans. No. Do not use olive oil or food oil. These oils are sticky, so they will cause your board to be sticky. Even after you wash the board continuously with water, some of the oils remain.
So when you come to chop vegetables net time, you will notice even the vegetables become sticky.