Is your cutting board warping? Properly maintaining, caring for, and storing cutting boards made of wood are the keys to prolonging their lives.
Cutting boards come in a wide variety of materials other than wood, like bamboo, glass, rubber, composite, and plastic. While each material has its pros and cons, we are partial to wood cutting boards because they have been proven, throughout time, to be an excellent choice for durability, functionality, anti-microbial efficacy, and of course, aesthetics. But wood does require a bit more tender loving care given it is natural… sourced from a living, breathing tree. Even after it is cut down, wood will still react to its environment; it will expand and contract to changes in temperature and humidity. Without proper TLC, butcher block can experience drying, cracking, and warping.
If you allow your board to get excessively dry it can lead to splitting and cracking. It is of the utmost importance that you clean and oil your board regularly. An average user should moisturize their board monthly with mineral oil to prevent excessive dryness. If your butcher block undergoes frequent/heavy use, you should oil it every two weeks. Also, it is just as important to NOT over oil your board! Excessive oiling will over-saturate the wood, causing a breakdown of the fibers and construction. We recommend John Boos Mystery Oil.
Warping of wood is a result of a moisture imbalance between the top and bottom surfaces. There are 3 common causes of warping in butcher block cutting boards:
1 – Inadequate oiling – The most common cause of cutting board warping is from oiling one surface of the cutting board, and neglecting the rest of the board. You must oil all six sides of the board to prevent warping.
2 – Insufficient drying – Another common cause of cutting board warping is insufficient drying after cleansing. After scraping, washing and rinsing, you must towel-dry the cutting board and set it on its edge to air dry. This will allow air flow around the entire board. Never submerge a cutting board in water or put in the dishwasher.
3 – Improper storing – Where and how you store your wood cutting boards can have an impact on warping. While a cutting board made of plastic, glass, or composite can be stored lying flat in a drawer, cabinet or countertop without worry, this is not true for wood cutting boards. The best way to store a wood cutting board is on its edge and never in direct sunlight. When left on a cold, stone countertop, the wood is not allowed to breathe and a moisture imbalance can occur. If you love the beauty of your cutting board and want to show it off in your kitchen, you can safely display it flat on the countertop… with a little added help. You just need to make sure you store it in a way that will still promote air flow to the bottom surface. You can choose to add rubber feet/pads to each of the bottom corners; or for a reversible board, you can place it on top of a mesh rubber mat that will lift it up off the counter to allow air circulation.
REMEDY FOR WARPING BOARDS
If you have a warped cutting board, it may not be too late to attempt to remedy the warp. The concave side (inward curving surface) is the dry side, and the convex side (hump side) is the side that has more moisture. The key is to moisturize the dry side while leaving the opposite side exposed to air.
Step 1: Generously oil the concave side of the board with mineral oil.
Step 2: Tape plastic on the entire concave side to lock in moisture, using something like dry cleaning bags or plastic food wrap.
Step 3: On a flat surface (preferably not cold granite or concrete), flip the board over so the concave surface faces down. Place a cookie sheet on top of the hump, then place some weight on the cookie sheet (try a bag of sugar or flour, not to exceed 5 lbs.).
Step 4: Let it set for about 1 week to allow the board to slowly correct itself.
Step 5: Unwrap, lightly oil the entire board, wipe dry, and store on edge.
Love your butcher block cutting board. For more ways to show you care, visit our Help Center for Butcher Block Care & Repair Tips, FAQs, Guides and more.