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Is there any way to keep plastic cutting boards from warping?

c
Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 09:00 AM

I've owned 3 plastic cutting boards since I've started cooking and each one has started warping in less than a year. I know putting them in the dishwasher can cause this, but all of mine started warping before I ran them through the dishwasher for the first time. Plus aren't plastic cutting boards supposed to have the advantage over wooden cutting boards of being dishwasher safe? If I can't even do that without warping the board, then to me that completely eliminates one of the advantages of plastic.

I keep my plastic cutting boards in place on my countertop with an Architec gripper mat, but when so little of the board makes contact with the mat due to the board's warping, the board still moves on the countertop when I'm trying to cut.

My current plastic cutting board and the one before it were both 0.25" thick. The one before that was even thinner. I've never even seen a plastic cutting board thicker than 0.25". Do they even exist?

At this point I'm thinking about just buying a Boos board (or maybe a boardsmith). Surely they would be much less likely to warp if properly cared for?

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  1. j
    janniecooks RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 11:38 AM

    It is possible that the boards you're getting are too thin. I have three plastic cutting boards that I've been using regularly for years, with thicknesses ranging from 3/8" to 7/16". I both hand-wash and put them in the dishwasher with impunity. They are not now and never have been warped.

    Perhaps plastic cutting boards are now made thinner; haven't been in the market for one lately. Try this test next time you're shopping: if you can bend the cutting board in the store, take a pass. I'd imagine that your 1/4" thick boards are easily bent by hand. The plastic boards I have are rigid.

    And there is a whole spectrum of boards in between 1/4" boards that warp and Boos boards! While Boos boards are great, (I do have a boos butcher block) I really prefer using the plastic boards for certain tasks, like cutting raw meat and seafood, and chopping garlic and onion. And it seems like just about every time I cook I'm using garlic and/or onion, so in order to avoid getting more than one board dirty if it can be avoided, I almost exclusively use the plastic boards.

    I also have a couple of Epicurean cutting boards, you might look into those. They are thin, however, about 3/8", but they are rigid and haven't warped. I treat them the same as the plastic boards. I don't dislike them, but for some reason I turn to the plastic boards before the Epicureans.

    1. r
      rasputina RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 12:10 PM

      I've never had them warp, but I also never put them in the dish washer.

      1. Chemicalkinetics RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 12:50 PM

        Really? Plastic boards usually do not warp like wood board do, and the fact that your plastic boards warp with one single usage is very strange.

        As for your Boos boards and Boardsmith boards question, I think (someone please correct me) that end grain cutting boards are less likely to warp.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          TraderJoe RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2013 01:05 PM

          End grain boards are less likely to warp. That should be true no matter who makes them as long as it's standard hard wood. I can't suggest Boos though. Too many problems with them cracking, even the 3" end grain. Either Michigan Maple Block or Boardsmith would be my choice. If you use Boardsmith just make sure you talk to David and let him know what you want. He was supposed to update his site to have blemish free Maple but I'm not sure he's done that yet. His Walnut and Cherry boards are quite nice. The only plastic boards I've used are thicker commercial style boards. If you want to use plastic you could look at a restaurant supply for plastic boards that will not warp even in a commercial dish machine.

          1. re: TraderJoe
            petek RE: TraderJoe Jan 9, 2013 02:00 PM

            "The only plastic boards I've used are thicker commercial style boards. If you want to use plastic you could look at a restaurant supply for plastic boards that will not warp even in a commercial dish machine."

            All the plastic boards we use at work have warped,even the large ones that don't fit in the machine that I wash by hand.
            It drives me friken crazy!!

            1. re: petek
              TraderJoe RE: petek Jan 10, 2013 04:49 AM

              Yeah a warped board would drive me knuckin futs. Most of the poly board we had were .5 but IIR we had a few that were .75".

        2. boogiebaby RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 01:07 PM

          I use the plastic boards from KitchenAid and they are about 1/2" thick, if not slightly thicker. They don't warp at all. I got them from Costco, and I run them through the dishwasher almost every day. 3 years old and still going strong.

          1. BIGGUNDOCTOR RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 01:11 PM

            It all depends on what type of plastic is used, as some plastics absorb more water than others. When I had my machine and fab shop I worked with wineries making bottling equipment. UHMW was terrible for warping no matter the thickness. I have yet to see a commercial kitchen where the boards (up to 5/8" or so thick) were not warped.

            1. Chemicalkinetics RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 01:12 PM

              <The only plastic boards I've used are thicker commercial style boards>

              To follow up with TraderJoe's suggestion above, you (Citizen Snips) may want to also consider restaurant/commerical rubber cutting boards too. I am not full blown suggesting it. I have one, and it has its pro and con. However, you should look to see if a rubber cutting board will work for you

              http://www.nytimes.com/1999/08/04/din...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                TraderJoe RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2013 02:19 PM

                I'm pretty sure you can order the commercial rubber boards on line from JB Prince.

              2. m
                mikie RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 01:26 PM

                I've spent years in the plastics business, so I feel compelled to throw in my 2 cents. A quarter inch board is thin and the thinner, the more likely to warp. However, this should take place after the board is ejected from the mold and not after you have had it 3 months or a year. The typical plastic cutting board is high density polyethelene, with a melting point of about 266 to 285 degrees F, so if anything approaching that temperature is in the environment of the cutting board it could allow the molecules to move. Plastic molecules can move and rearrange themselves at temperatures above their glass transition temperature, for HDPE that's - 275 C, so it is possible that this could happen at any time, although odd with regards to the timming, as I mentioned, this is more expected while the part is cooling after being molded. Molding can create alot of stress in the part and it wants to releave that stress, that's why a hot pan could also cause or allow it to warp. I have seen many 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick HDPE cutting boards and although they did have some initial warp in them, they may be less prone to warping than a 1/4 inch board. One last thought is that these are just not high quality cutting boards and the correct molding density was not achieved, thus making them more prone to warping.

                1. g
                  GH1618 RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 01:43 PM

                  My large plastic board is 1/2 inch. My smaller board is 3/8 inch. I wash both in the d/w and neither has any significant warpage.

                  1. MikeB3542 RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 04:21 PM

                    Maybe the real question is whether a less-than-perfectly-flat board is a problem. If using directly on a hard surface, yes, it is not safe to be using a sharp knife on a surface that is spinning around. Just setting the board on a rubber mat or dishcloth will help manage that mischief. There are also plastic cutting boards with soft rubber pads at each end that help keep the board from shifting around...here's an example http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-1... good luck

                    1. JayL RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 04:51 PM

                      I have used plastic boards for years (along with wooden boards) at home and at work. Never have I had one warp.

                      1. Bacardi1 RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 9, 2013 05:12 PM

                        I'm thinking it's the thickness/quaility of your boards. I've had some of my plastic cutting boards for almost 20 years now, they've all been run through the dishwasher probably thousands of times, & absolutely none of them have ever warped.

                        1. c
                          Citizen_Snips RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 10, 2013 12:08 AM

                          Based on the replies, it looks like I have a couple options for plastic boards:

                          1. Epicurian
                          2. KitchenAid

                          Can anyone else recommend a thick and/or high-quality plastic cutting board? (I can't believe this is even an issue - I assumed all plastic cutting boards were more or less alike)

                          FWIW, I actually did buy my cutting board at a restaurant supply store. Here's a link to the exact board if anyone's curious:

                          http://www.acemart.com/kitchen-suppli...

                          I did notice that negative review before I bought the board, but I figured a sample size of 1 wasn't enough to draw any conclusions. Maybe I was wrong.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Citizen_Snips
                            Chemicalkinetics RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 10, 2013 01:12 AM

                            <Based on the replies, it looks like I have a couple options for plastic boards:

                            1. Epicurian
                            2. KitchenAid>

                            Epicurean boards that I know are not plastic boards. They are wood composition boards. I had one when I was in college and it was fine.

                            <I did notice that negative review before I bought the board>

                            :) I thought that was you because it states the board warped.

                            You sure you don't want a rubber cutting board?

                            1. re: Citizen_Snips
                              g
                              GH1618 RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 11, 2013 02:29 PM

                              That board is described as 1/2 inch thick and you wrote in your original post that your boards are 1/4 inch.

                              1. re: Citizen_Snips
                                w
                                wyogal RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 12, 2013 10:51 AM

                                Yep, you were probably wrong. I don't think I would have bought it. Then if I did, and it warped, well, there it is. Yes, it's a small sample size, but if it were a better board, I think there would have been more reviews that would have countered that negative review. It also seemed very low-priced.
                                Live and learn, I guess.
                                We had plastic cutting boards while in cooking school, and at the restaurant where i worked. Although they were occasionally stained (all those endless hours practicing knife skills cutting carrots), none warped. I think they probably cost more and were a higher density plastic.
                                I have an epicurian, a thin plastic one (not sure where I got it, it is small, kinda thin, but not warped), and the rest are wood.

                                1. re: Citizen_Snips
                                  TraderJoe RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 12, 2013 01:51 PM

                                  I'd suggest one of the rubber boards from JB Prince (Or similar) before either of those. You can choose either .75 or even 1" thick.

                                  http://www.jbprince.com/pc_combined_r...

                                  1. re: TraderJoe
                                    c
                                    Citizen_Snips RE: TraderJoe Jan 13, 2013 08:07 AM

                                    I've never seen a rubber board before, except for those flexible cutting mats that you can easily fold. How hard/soft are these boards?

                                    Also they seem very expensive for rubber, but maybe there's something I'm missing.

                                    1. re: Citizen_Snips
                                      w
                                      wyogal RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 13, 2013 08:10 AM

                                      As you can probably attest, you get what you pay for.

                                      1. re: Citizen_Snips
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 13, 2013 08:12 AM

                                        Rubber cutting boards are very dense (heavy) and can be expensive compare to plastic cutting boards. A thin one is about $30. A thick large one can be >$90. I wrote a quick review about my thin Sani Tuff rubber cutting board. My language was a bit incoherent :)

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725933

                                        Read the new york times article too, which the link is here somewhere.

                                        I find it to be very durable cutting board, easy to clean, you can also regenerate these cutting boards by sanding them. I have tried sanding mine, and it definitely works. You cannot or should not sand a typical poly plastic cutting board. However, the rubber cutting board seems to dull my knives faster than my wood cutting board though, and it is very easy to stain.

                                        It feels soft. Knives can easily make a dent on it.

                                  2. j
                                    jaykayen RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 10, 2013 01:21 AM

                                    The only plastic boards I've seen warp are when I worked in a restaurant, none of my home boards warp even though they are in the dishwasher constantly.

                                    I can only guess that standing water/liquid during long prep periods warped the restaurant boards. They were the standard color-coded ones.

                                    1. JayL RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 10, 2013 04:12 AM

                                      I'm confused as to why you are using a board that is .25" thick, and you claim to have never seen one thicker than .25"...but you give a link to the board you purchased, and the company lists it as being .5" thick.

                                      Are you sure you know what you have?

                                      I have a .25" thick plastic board that has been used for years at home with no warpage.

                                      1. JayL RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 10, 2013 04:13 AM

                                        How do you store your cutting board? Laying down or standing on it's side?

                                        1. c
                                          Citizen_Snips RE: Citizen_Snips Jan 12, 2013 10:37 AM

                                          OK, I took a ruler and measured the cutting board I'm using now and it is indeed 0.5" thick. My original post was incorrect, but I did link to the correct item description. In any case, both this board and my previous two (which WERE 0.25" thick) have all warped in a relatively short amount of time since I bought them.

                                          The cutting board is always stored flat on top of an architec gripper mat (http://www.amazon.com/Architec-Grippe...) on my countertop.

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