Most of us have a wooden cutting board that we use to dice vegetables, slice cheeses, and carve apples. Have you ever wondered if you’re properly caring for the board or do you simply wash it and put it away in the cupboard until the next time you need it? Chances are you, you might be damaging your cutting board—which can lead to splitting or cracking as it dries. Here are some tips to follow:

Wash the Board

Your board should be washed after each use to keep it clean and prevent a transfer of odors. You wouldn’t want to slice fresh strawberries only to have them taste like the onions you sliced for dinner the night before. Of course, you don’t have to be a fanatic. If you’re slicing a variety of vegetables for dinner, it’s perfectly acceptable to slice tomatoes and onions without washing the board in between each use.

Simply wash the entire board with a gentle soap and lint-free cloth after you’re finished using it. Then, wipe down the board and allow it to dry completely overnight. I find it’s easiest to get the entire board to dry by leaning it against the wall, which allows air to circulate around it.

Never, ever put your wooden cutting board in the dishwasher. I know your dishwasher can be a huge time saver, but it’s not at all good for your cutting board.

Oil the Board

To return moisture to the board and prevent cracking and splitting, it’s necessary to oil your cutting board at least once a week. With a soft cloth, apply a thin layer of mineral oil to the entire board, being sure that you rub the oil in completely. Allow the board to air dry for at least three hours before you use it again.

Repair the Board

A high-quality wooden cutting board should last you for many years if you care for it properly. One of the biggest dangers to your cutting board is that it may split or crack. To prevent that, in addition to keeping the board oiled, you want to buff out any deep gouges or cuts that may have occurred while you were using it. Just use a fine grain sandpaper to gently buff out any cuts.

If your cutting board does begin to crack, it may be possible to repair it with wood glue. You can apply the wood glue to both sides of the crack and then clamp it together until it dries. But, to be honest, it’s often easier to get a different cutting board instead.

Note: you should never cut raw meat, seafood or poultry on your wooden cutting board? Instead, you should use a plastic or hard acrylic cutting board to reduce the spread of food born bacteria. We use our wooden cutting board for herbs, fruits, vegetables, and cheeses instead.

Do you have any other tips for caring for a cutting board?