Wood, Plastic, or Marble Cutting Board: A Bacteriologist's Take

There are many options in the market today when it comes to cutting boards; including wood, plastic and marble cutting board. A cutting board is an important kitchen item and choosing the right one is as significant as choosing the right knife. Chopping, cutting and slicing can be made easier with the right cutting board.

It is important, however, to think beyond aesthetics and ease of use. Bacteria can live in the cuts and creases on a cutting board’s surface; it is a recommended practice that separate cutting boards be used for cutting fresh produce, raw meat, seafood, cooked meat and other foods. Sanitation is an important aspect to consider when choosing cutting boards.

There are many arguments on which type of cutting boards is more sanitary: wooden cutting boards or synthetic cutting boards. Some say that wooden cutting boards have a natural protection since bacteria do not like wooden surfaces. Nonporous cutting boards such as plastic and marble on the other hand keep juices from penetrating the surface.

Wooden Cutting Boards

Among the oldest cutting board types are those made of wood. Wooden cutting boards have advantages and disadvantages over synthetic cutting boards.

Wooden cutting boards are more sanitary than synthetic ones since wood has natural sterile properties. Small gaps and cuts on wood can close on their own.

Wooden cutting boards should never be placed in a dishwasher or soaked in water for a long period because that will affect the glue and the wood.

Rinsing the wooden cutting board and then rubbing it with coarse salt will get rid of foul odors. Just leave the salt on the board for a few minutes and rinse it thoroughly with clean water.

Plastic Cutting Boards

A lot of people thought that plastic cutting boards were more sanitary than wood but tests results show this is not the case.

Also known as polyethylene cutting boards, plastic cutting boards can easily be cut by knives since the surface is soft. Unlike wood, the gaps and cuts made to plastic won’t close on their own. So even after washing the plastic cutting board, bacteria may still remain inside the cuts and gaps on the surface.

A dishwasher can be used to clean a plastic cutting boards but so can a very dilute bleach mixture; bleach is the best way to sterilize plastic cutting boards.

Marble Cutting Boards

Most marble cutting boards are not ideal for cutting. They are more costly than other types of boards but nevertheless, they are quite easy to clean and maintain. You can wash it using hot soapy water and they let it air dry. Since marble cutting boards don’t cut as easily as synthetic boards, you don’t have to worry about bacteria hiding in the cuts and gaps. It’s a more sanitary choice than the other types although the surface may be a little hard on your knives.

No matter what type of cutting board you choose, they all protect your kitchen countertop by offering an intermediary surface for cutting all kinds of food.