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How often do you disinfect your chopping board?

I have 2 plastic ones, and I tend to disinfect them with a multi-surface cleaner after I've cut meat on them, although I have flatmates who probably don't (either wash it with soap and hot water, or leave it for someone else to wash up.

Is that safe?

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  1. I think soap and water is just fine. Myself I usually put them in the DW if I've used them for meat. But if I need it again before that, soap and hot water is all they get. I don't really "get" the need to use a cleaner. After all, our mothers and grandmothers only used soap and water. And yes, I know I'll get a lecture now about how today's food supply is so much more dangerous than it was back in the day.

    5 Replies
    1. re: DGresh

      I guess you have a point. But I reckon most peoples granmas had a wooden chopping board which has some level of antibacterial protection; the plastic boards don't and they're susceptable to knife-grooves which are a good hiding place for baddies.

      You're supposed to chuck them after about 6 months, but I haven't...

      1. re: Soop

        good grief. I've had my plastic boards for at least a decade. I'm not tossing them.

        1. re: DGresh

          Ditto, some of mine are over 20 years old. They either get soap and water or go into the dishwasher.

      2. re: DGresh

        I just stick my plastic ones in the dishwasher after I've put meat on them. I haven't gotten sick yet. Everything I've read suggests that soap and hot water tends to do a better job at disinfecting than anti-bacterial agents, so I don't see the need of putting excess chemicals on things when the soap/water does fine.

        1. re: queencru

          Soap and water and dishwasher, 40 years and still alive ...

          Guess I did something right. Now and then every month or so I do use bleach and disinfect. Grama and Gramps never did, who knows.

      3. Watch enough food TV and you'll here over and over again about the risk of cross contamination, typically it's recommended that we keep a plastic cutting board just for cutting meat. The reasoning, if we keep meat and produce apart it reduces the risk of illness from food born pathogens.

        Having a board that is used for nothing but raw animal protein is not enough without proper sanitation.

        I don't like the look or feel of plastic, and have yet to see a plastic butcher block.

        Whether you prefer plastic or wood cutting boards, they still need to be sanitized after each use, a plastic cutting board can be sanitized in the dishwasher, if it will fit.

        Wooden cutting boards and plastic's which are to big for the dishwasher must be cleaned by hand.

        Rinse the board under hot running water, use a dough scrapper or putty knife to remove any meat or other detritus thats stuck to the board. Wash it with mild detergent and hot water, rinse it again then dry it with a clean towel.

        Now spray the board with undiluted, distilled vinegar and let it dry.

        5% acetic acid (household vinegar), has been shown to kill these bacteria that are commonly the cause food poisoning;

        Campylobacter jejuni; raw or under cooked meat, poultry and shellfish.

        Escherichia coli 0157:H7; raw or rare ground beef, uncooked fruits and vegetables.

        Salmonella; raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, meat, and seafood.

        A few thoughts...

        Whenever possible, cut fruit and vegetables that are to be served raw before anything else, followed by those that will be cooked and animal products last.

        Don't forget to wash the knives used for cutting meat before using them to cut anything else.

        If you have the time and means, grind beef, pork, etc... yourself. Commercial grinders are often the cause of bacterial contamination in ground meat.

        Staphylococcus infections are transmitted from people-to-food through improper handling. These bug live in your nose, in pimples, on your skin and in infected cuts, Wash Your Hands!

        Sprouts; E. coli and salmonella can get into seeds through cracks in the shell before the sprouts are grown. Washing can not get rid of pathogenic E. coli or Salmonella. Even cooking sprouts is not a solution to potential bacterial contamination.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Demented

          Thanks for the great response!

          "Whenever possible, cut fruit and vegetables that are to be served raw before anything else, followed by those that will be cooked and animal products last.

          Don't forget to wash the knives used for cutting meat before using them to cut anything else.

          If you have the time and means, grind beef, pork, etc... yourself. Commercial grinders are often the cause of bacterial contamination in ground meat.

          Staphylococcus infections are transmitted from people-to-food through improper handling. These bug live in your nose, in pimples, on your skin and in infected cuts, Wash Your Hands!"

          Indeed, I do all of these, even if it seems a hassle turning over a steak, washing hands, using salt and pepper grinder etc.
          Unfortunately, I don't have a dishwasher though. Perhaps another good reason to get separate boards.

        2. I;m 54 years old, have been using the same wooden cutting board for the past 31 years and have never disinfected it. I do wash it with hot water and lots of soap each time I cut meat, but that's it. Lucky? Maybe, but on the other hand i've never won the lottery.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jnk

            Wood has natural antibacterial properties, so you're a lot safer with them

            1. re: jnk

              Have you read's Sam's "magic house" thread? I live in one and clearly you do also :)

              1. re: jnk

                My favorite wooden board and I have 5 years on you and yours. I've washed it with varying degrees of effort, never disinfected it. Once won 100 $1 scratch tickets in a raffle but they yielded only $61 and the ticket cost $10. Most of the planet prepares food without access to running water. Swallowing a few germs now and then is important in maintaining a properly-functioning immune system!

                1. re: greygarious

                  I've been using my favorite wooden board daily for the last 39 of my 61 years - never disinfected it, never even thought about doing it. Most days it just gets a wipe down in hot water, sometimes with a soapy sponge. It's been off to the local cabinetmaker's shop twice for a run through their planer to get the top flat again. Other than that, no maintenance at all. I do get a cold or two every year, so maybe that damn board is to blame.

              2. >> Wood has natural antibacterial properties

                No it doesn't. [citation needed]

                And the wood vs. plastic "scientific" question has equal evidence on both sides. Which puts it cleanly in the "who knows" zone.

                If you are considering dis-"infecting" you should have some idea what infection you are combatting. Are you bringing infection-laden food into your home? Then by all means a clorox dunk and scrub after every use is called for. Are you preparing fresh foods from reliable sources? Then a little soap and warm water should take care of it.

                If you don't have any specific infection you're going after, then the question is somewhat close to asking how to remove Cooties. And that's a really, really difficult question. Because even though we're all grown-ups and all, there seems to be a very specifically hardwired thing in our brains that makes imaginary contamination a very real thing. I've got an old cast iron pan, for example. And this pan sits on a shelf in the back of the garage and I'll probably never use it again. Because of something a cat did on it a half dozen years ago. And even though I know that absolutely every trace of what that cat did, as well as the cat itself, has vanished from the earth, it is impossible for me to ever again imagine eating a fried egg out of that pan.

                So if it's Cooties you're worried about, and with a pair of messy roommates that's a real possibility, then I'd suggest disinfecting as often as you feel like.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                  you are very funny. And how on earth did the cat get into the pan? What a visual.

                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                    "...wood vs. plastic "scientific" question has equal evidence..." -- citation needed. I've seen the evidence for wood (experimentation involving inoculating strains of common food poisoning bacteria onto each surface, and testing survivability), but I have never seen any literature for plastic boards. Please provide some information! Thanks!

                    1. re: mateo21

                      University of Arizona sez plastic is best:
                      http://web.archive.org/web/2008021200...

                      University of California sez wood is best:
                      http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/fac...

                      Somewhere around there's a French meta-study that studied a dozen other studies
                      and concluded that they were all flawed in one way or another.

                    2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                      Heh... ritual contamination! It's "just" in our heads, yes, but is it ever -firmly- in our heads!

                    3. I put my plastic ones in the dishwaser after every use. Tell your flatmates that you don't want to get sick and insist that they not cut raw meat and then not wash the boards. Washing something by hand never killed anyone -- but salmonella has.