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How do you wash off the smell of onions or garlic that stained on a wooden cutting board?

I have been trying to get rid of the vegitable smell, especially those strong smell of onions and garlic, that are stained on my wooden cutting board. Simply washing with a dish ditergent and a sponge is not doing anything. Since my wooden cutting board is my good fun cooking partner I really would like to find out a way to do something about this stained smell... It certanly discourages me to cook. Does anyone have a good advice to it?

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  1. Have you tried a cut lemon and salt rub?

    1. Try shaking baking soda on the board. Then Kosher salt. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and rub with the lemon half until the salt is dissolved. Let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with hot water.

      1 Reply
      1. re: personalcheffie

        We agree on another topic again. I have a few clients who almost get physically sick at the smell of chopped garlic,onions and other strong veggies on their counters and cutting boards.

        I love being able to work in $50K residential kitchens, and get paid for it.

      2. Lemon and Kosher Salt rub . Salt and Vingear. Bleach and water. Wipe dry then air dry coat with mineral oil.

        1. Get one of those synthetic material cutting boards, much less odor absorbent & easier to clean.

          2 Replies
          1. re: RicRios

            Also much more likely to spoil your food if you don't disinfect them after every use. Wood is far better when it comes to bacterial resistance.

            1. re: andreas

              Yep it's amazing the number of people who don't understand that wood has a natural anti bacterial.

          2. Vingear is great ...I let my sit in it for awhile and it comes out great.

            1. I actually have one board just for onions and garlic for this very reason!

              1. Kosher salt.

                Or a lemon.

                Or both.

                1. Bleach it for a few minutes and rinse clean.

                  1. 1 part vinegar and 1 part water plus a bit of kosher salt. This will surely do the job. FYI; Vinegar mixed with water is all you need to clean just about anything in your house. It kills germs, disinfects, etc, etc.

                    Also add 1/2 cup of straight vinegar per load of laundry. Clothing detergent does not kill germs. The vinegar will kill the germs and add a fresh clean smell.

                    1. I use my Boos wood cutting board for veggies, including onion and garlic. I clean often with lemon/salt/baking soda. That said, I never prep fruit or other mild food items on this board -- I always perceive a slight vegetal taste from anything prepped on this board. So I keep a board for fruit, and another one for meat/fish/poultry.

                      1. HELP..........I'm having trouble getting the red stain from a red onion off my wooden board, my fav one of course. Any suggestions? I've tried lime and salt, salt and vinegar, even a little bleach and salt. Any help would be lovely and thanks much!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: moabcook

                          If none of those worked, time may be your only option. Natural dyes, especially red ones, tend to be sensitive to sunlight. Try leaving it out in the sun for a couple days. That might speed things up a bit.

                          Odd, though. I've never had red onions stain anything.

                          1. re: Zeldog

                            Once it's all gone, is there a way to treat or seal or season the board with some sort of oil?

                            1. re: moabcook

                              mineral oil or olive oil work well.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Food grade mineral oil is preferred. You can get it at most drug stores. It's said that olive or other vegetable oils can go rancid on a board. I suppose that's true, but I never had the problem. Probably because I use the board pretty much daily and frequently re-oil it. Anyway, either type of oil will work.

                              2. re: moabcook

                                I never oil my wooden cutting board.

                          2. and if the vingear/salt/lemon/diluted bleach choices don't work for you it might be time to find another (non-food) use for the board.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: HillJ

                              Baking soda, lemon and vinegar have been mentioned. I also use tree tea oil and soap made with tree tea oil. Also a nice natural disinfectant.

                              Great for getting the smell off your hands as well.

                              1. re: drmimi

                                Tea tree oil is natural, and great for external anti-microbial use, but it is also hepatotoxic, meaning it damages the liver. It should never be ingested, even in small amounts. I would avoid using it for cleaning anything used for food preparation. Why companies put it in toothpaste and mouth rinse is a mystery to me.

                              2. re: HillJ

                                I disagree to giving up and finding a non-food use for your board. The "nuclear option" is to recondition the board, which actually keeps it in good shape and adds longevity to all your wooden items (salad bowls, spoons, etc.) Make sure it's dry, sand it down to get out all the cut grooves (that's where bacteria can hide), clean it, oil it (mineral oil - won't go rancid), let it sit for 12 hours , wipe off the oil, wax it with some beeswax, and then buff it. Once a year will do. Makes everything look beautiful, too. I know people who have done this and their wooden butcher blocks and cutting boards last for generations.

                                1. re: fluidfilm

                                  Sure if the cutting board is worth saving! I was referring, two years ago, to a board that has NO life left.

                              3. When this happened to mine, I put coarse salt and water on it and let it sit for awhile and then scrubbed it off. That seemed to help.

                                Since then, I have found that oiling the board more frequently (I had neglected to do so for months) helps out quite a bit.

                                1. I realize it's been almost three years since this was asked but I have found that applying a paste of Oxy-Clean and water to the board, letting it sit for about 10-15 minutes and then rinse very, very thoroughly in as hot water as you can stand works as a great disinfectant for cutting boards.

                                  After that wash it in scalding water after every use to keep the problem from recurring.