Best Cutting Boards: Is Plastic Really Better than Wood?

by Sarah Green Living, Healthy LivingComments: 199

Cutting boards of various shapes and sizes are very important tools in any home where meals are freshly prepared.

As for the best cutting boards, however, which material is truly best for food prep safety?

Are plastic or wood cutting boards preferable?  The answer might surprise you!

Plastic has long been considered superior to wood, and people have generally preferred this type of material in the name of food safety.  The  prevailing wisdom is that plastic is less hospitable to bacteria, and therefore, would be safer.

Research simply does not bear this out in practice, however.  As it turns out, wood is much less likely to harbor pathogenic bacteria than plastic!

Wood by far makes for the best cutting boards!

The research was conducted by food microbiologists at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and they discovered that wood somehow killed bacteria that plastic did not.  The manner in which the bacteria perished on the wood but not on the plastic is not known.

The scientists found that 3 minutes after contaminating a wooden cutting board, 99.9% of the pathogenic bacteria had died, while none of the bacteria died on plastic.

In addition, bacteria held at room temperature overnight on a plastic cutting board increased in number, but the researchers could not find any bacteria present on wood treated in exactly the same manner.

So it seems that the prevailing “wisdom” that plastic is safer than wood is not true after all. Wood cutting boards are best after all.

I was happy to discover this information as I have always intuitively preferred wood over plastic cutting boards.  I find wood to be more stable than plastic and I have always thought that little bits of plastic or chemicals must be somehow released into the food from the repeated chopping with a knife.  I have no evidence of this; it is just a hunch and so I have stayed away from plastic and have always stuck with wood.

I have steered clear of plastic cutting boards with special antimicrobial surfaces for a similar reason.  Any product that boasts that it is antimicrobial screams “hormone disrupting chemicals” to me, so I avoid them like the plague.

For the best cutting boards, best to stick with old fashioned wood, and while you’re at it – choose bamboo if possible as it is a sustainable natural resource.

* As an aside, I have a theory about how the pathogenic bacteria are destroyed on the wood but not the plastic. Lactobacilli is a beneficial bacteria on the surface of all natural things, including our own skin, and it will kill off pathogens.  This is why grassfed raw milk is safer than pasteurized as the probiotics in the raw milk kill off any pathogens that might get into it (pasteurized just gets contaminated if the same thing were to happen).   Perhaps this is the same method for how pathogens on wood cutting boards are destroyed within 3 minutes yet this same thing does not happen on plastic cutting boards?

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Source:  Wood Cutting Boards, not Plastic, are Safer for Food Prep

Comments (199)

  • Barbara Lepley via Facebook

    I’ve been using Pampered Chef plastic ones for years. I guest they have to go.

    May 27th, 2014 9:37 am Reply
  • Anne Heroux Brenner via Facebook

    Glass boards kill your knives and the noise of cutting on them sets my teeth on edge! Wood forever!

    May 27th, 2014 6:33 am Reply
  • Stephanie Armstrong via Facebook


    May 27th, 2014 12:12 am Reply
  • Cheryl

    Bamboo can have lots of toxic glues so beware when buying. I love boards that are one piece of wood with no glue.

    May 26th, 2014 8:30 pm Reply
  • Jennifer DeMent via Facebook

    I like your aside on Lactobacilli. I would suspect the same. There are more bacteria on any one of us than our own human cells- declaring war on microbes never seemed wise to me. Isn’t the same message in front of us every day? Befriend natural predatory insects- give them an inviting environment, and they’ll keep the pests in check. But spray and both die- only the pests return far more quickly, and then have no natural predators to keep them in check. The same for our gut. The same for hunting wolves to the brink of extinction. Deer kill more people every year than most other wild animals! And human hunting? Approximately 1000 people in the US and Canada are shot by mistake in hunting accidents… Wolves don’t make those kind of mistakes. Where we leave the natural balance alone, or even better befriend it- it works!

    May 26th, 2014 1:22 pm Reply
  • Françoise de Rougemont via Facebook

    The best material is bamboo: strong, natural, pretty and ecological…

    May 26th, 2014 12:44 pm Reply
  • Sharon Suess via Facebook

    My plastic ones go thru the dishwasher. Clean up is easy. Sorry I won’t use wood

    May 26th, 2014 12:06 pm Reply
  • Marina Wright via Facebook

    Glass is certainly very easy to clean hygienically, but they are murder on the blade of the knife, making them very blunt very quickly.

    May 26th, 2014 11:15 am Reply
  • Dina Garcia via Facebook

    I have glass cutting boards too!!!

    May 26th, 2014 10:56 am Reply
  • Aubrey Mallory Heuerman via Facebook

    I like glass cutting boards personally!

    May 26th, 2014 10:49 am Reply
  • Pingback: Plastic or Wood? Which is better to use for a cutting board?

  • Maryanne Shostrom via Facebook

    February 27th, 2014 1:01 am Reply
  • Shannon Hanaway via Facebook

    and bamboo too.

    February 27th, 2014 12:30 am Reply
  • Leonie Ivey via Facebook

    Clean and dry. Wood is fine. If
    Not better. There is a lot of research supporting wood being ok. I searched ages ago for the infection control section where I worked. Plastic gets grooves that easily hold bacteria.

    February 26th, 2014 11:28 pm Reply
  • Aurelie Cous via Facebook

    i have read this “news” in a french news paper 15 years ago!

    February 26th, 2014 10:47 pm Reply
  • Shannon Wood via Facebook

    Sue Boersma Samara Boersma Tom Wood

    February 26th, 2014 10:08 pm Reply
  • Marlo Pabst Hughen via Facebook

    Wood all the way!!!

    February 26th, 2014 10:02 pm Reply
  • Belinda Constable via Facebook

    Shirley Unicomb for Dad

    February 26th, 2014 8:23 pm Reply
  • Darcie Mayo via Facebook

    My chef husband would never use his knife on plastic or glass cutting boards..nothing makes them duller faster.. (according to him)

    February 26th, 2014 8:06 pm Reply
  • Brush with Bamboo via Facebook

    In the ocean Plastic acts like a sponge and attracts pollutants and harbors bacteria.

    February 26th, 2014 7:30 pm Reply
  • Brush with Bamboo via Facebook

    In the ocean Plastic acts like a sponge and attracts pollutants and harbors bacteria.

    February 26th, 2014 7:30 pm Reply
  • Diane M. Barham via Facebook

    WOW !!

    February 26th, 2014 7:10 pm Reply
  • Diane M. Barham via Facebook

    WOW !!

    February 26th, 2014 7:10 pm Reply
  • Terri Martin-Marier via Facebook

    When will they get the facts straight?

    February 26th, 2014 6:16 pm Reply
  • Brenda Worley via Facebook

    Even better? Use glass.

    February 26th, 2014 4:52 pm Reply
    • Jackie

      Glass is not kind to metal knives. It will dull them in a very quick time.

      May 26th, 2014 1:25 pm Reply
  • Lucia Paterra Catania via Facebook

    I new wooden cutting bord it’s natural

    February 26th, 2014 4:32 pm Reply
  • Erika Queen via Facebook

    …ahem, Brian…

    February 26th, 2014 4:22 pm Reply
  • Samantha Dixon via Facebook

    Christopher L. Dixon!!

    February 26th, 2014 3:20 pm Reply
  • Ivy Wingate via Facebook

    Glass is HORRIBLE for your knives.

    February 26th, 2014 2:19 pm Reply
  • Bethany Leisure via Facebook

    Ryan Leisure

    February 26th, 2014 2:07 pm Reply
  • Dianne Wesley via Facebook

    I use glass

    February 26th, 2014 1:30 pm Reply
  • Ruth Morgan via Facebook

    I have a difficult time cutting on hard surfaces and prefer wood. Both my mother & grandmother used wood cutting boards and nobody ever got sick. There’s this great little thing called soap & water, and if used after cutting, will prevent contamination. Nobody has ever gotten sick from food I’ve prepared either. Also, my brother-in-law who was a chef, told me that wood cutting boards are easier on our knives.

    February 26th, 2014 1:29 pm Reply
  • Shawnie Price via Facebook

    Do you have a separate wood board for raw meat only?

    February 26th, 2014 1:22 pm Reply
  • Cheryl Grover via Facebook

    I have always preferred wood….

    February 26th, 2014 1:05 pm Reply
  • Ruth Kritzer via Facebook

    This has long been known – haven’t used plastic cutting boards for ages. Wood also feels, cleans and ages a lot nicer.

    February 26th, 2014 12:52 pm Reply
  • Sylvie Cormier-Arsenault via Facebook

    Good to know.

    February 26th, 2014 12:43 pm Reply
  • Christina Dominguez via Facebook

    Dana Lazzaro

    February 26th, 2014 12:35 pm Reply
  • Marie Gagnon via Facebook

    I always was a big fan of wood board. Yah!

    February 26th, 2014 12:12 pm Reply
  • Brittany Lindvall via Facebook

    I use bamboo

    February 26th, 2014 11:56 am Reply
  • Françoise de Rougemont via Facebook

    And it’s good to know that, when you squeeze a lemon, you can wipe your wooden board with it, for extra cleaning.

    February 26th, 2014 11:47 am Reply
  • Amy C Atkinson via Facebook

    we still have only wood, and my mother always told me that wood has something that kills/resists the bacteria!!!!mI hate plastic!!

    February 26th, 2014 11:45 am Reply
  • Carole Jeffus Goodwin via Facebook

    I use a glass cutting board and turn it over from item to item then wash before starting anything else.

    February 26th, 2014 11:45 am Reply
  • Cathy

    I saw a test on this on PBS about 20 years ago. Under a black light the plastic was scary. Glad I had a wood board then, and now.

    February 26th, 2014 11:45 am Reply
  • Chrissy Jacobson via Facebook

    Jill Jacobson… Im throwing your lil plastic one away. We will get a new wooden one 😉

    February 26th, 2014 11:29 am Reply
  • Marian Mitchell via Facebook


    February 26th, 2014 11:24 am Reply
  • Aimee J. Distel-Del Valle via Facebook

    I try to expose my food to plastic as much as humanly possible. It isn’t easy these days!

    February 26th, 2014 11:22 am Reply
  • Rhodie Brooks Green via Facebook

    And wood does not dull your knives as much as plastic does.

    February 26th, 2014 11:17 am Reply
  • Maria Castro via Facebook

    I knew it, ha!

    February 26th, 2014 11:11 am Reply
  • KaCee K L Kemper via Facebook

    oh wow! I have one plastic and one glass!

    February 26th, 2014 11:10 am Reply
  • Jamie Cuddy Durfee via Facebook

    I’ve said it before I’ll say it again. I love wood. Lol

    February 26th, 2014 11:08 am Reply
  • Erin Johnson Woodard via Facebook

    Makes me thankful for a husband who makes them!

    February 26th, 2014 11:01 am Reply
  • Michelle Karwatt Anstadt via Facebook

    Plastic is never better!

    February 26th, 2014 10:56 am Reply
  • Natalie Grantham Friend via Facebook

    Not only that, but they are harder on your knives. Glass is the worst!!

    February 26th, 2014 10:52 am Reply
  • Rebecca Gill via Facebook

    What’s found in nature surely must have natural protections. Man-made petroleum based products cannot possibly compete. Changing out my entire kitchen. Using wooden spoons already. . .

    February 26th, 2014 10:52 am Reply
  • Sarah Heckemeyer Bixby via Facebook

    Found it! It wasn’t Maine, but Vermont…reading the comments, it looks like I wasn’t the only one!

    February 26th, 2014 10:51 am Reply
  • MaryPat Hofer via Facebook

    What do you think about buying wood kitchen items from thrift stores, estate sales, etc? It sounds like it’s ok then?

    February 26th, 2014 10:49 am Reply
  • Wendy Guerrero via Facebook

    Lila Fraire Glenda Briseno Yessenia Leiva

    February 26th, 2014 10:48 am Reply
  • Laura Genton via Facebook

    I grew up in a house with just one huge wooden cutting board that slid out from our lower cabinets. People were horrified that we used it for *every*thing and just cleaned it with a warm wet rag, lol. somehow, none of us died :)

    February 26th, 2014 10:48 am Reply
  • Alysa Klein Graves via Facebook


    February 26th, 2014 10:48 am Reply
  • Sarah Heckemeyer Bixby via Facebook

    I want to forward this to Laurie on Shark Tank. She turned down a man who made beautiful wooden cutting boards and supplies in Maine. She said she was nervous about wood because the big thing was “anti-bacterial”, and basically plastic cutting boards. I was so disgusted! Now I want to invest in him!

    February 26th, 2014 10:48 am Reply
  • Krista Feagan via Facebook

    I was just thinking yesterday about dumping my plastic ones. I have one huge wood one but need to replace the plastic one with a small wood one….time to research…what’s the best wood ones to get?

    February 26th, 2014 10:45 am Reply
  • Christina Chivers via Facebook

    I recently learned that plastic boards contain a substance that should not come into contact with chlorine or it becomes carcinogenic. What do you do with all boards when you’ve finished using them? You wash them in chlorinated water!

    February 26th, 2014 10:44 am Reply
  • Susan West via Facebook

    Imagine that. I have had my wooden cutting board for over 30 years. Not sure how I survived without this info ;/

    February 26th, 2014 10:42 am Reply
  • Corinda Ray via Facebook

    I have been only using wood for years because of this.

    February 26th, 2014 10:42 am Reply
  • Julie Homer via Facebook

    Karen, I PMed you

    February 26th, 2014 10:42 am Reply
  • Deborah Horvath Rowden via Facebook

    I read about this years ago! Good info!

    February 26th, 2014 10:42 am Reply
  • Sabine Burns via Facebook

    wow, thanks

    February 26th, 2014 10:42 am Reply
  • Karen Martin via Facebook

    I have come to the same conclusion, what has been used for thousands of years is still good today.

    February 26th, 2014 10:40 am Reply
  • Hannah Esparza via Facebook

    Wow…….all my cutting boards are plastic, but I do use a color system

    February 26th, 2014 10:39 am Reply
  • Iris Eastburn via Facebook

    Interesting maybe I need to get a wood one? Kolbrun Thorsteinsson Hoffritz Helen White Colleen Eastburn Megan Eastburn

    February 26th, 2014 10:38 am Reply
  • Julie Homer via Facebook

    Spray onguard essential oil to kill it.

    February 26th, 2014 10:38 am Reply
  • Jodi S

    Hmmm….then this would probably be true for bacteria on plastic toys, such as public daycare at the gym or at church????? Which is why I have not placed my kids in one for many many years. Especially since my oldest son had a horrible immune system/allergies/asthma and could catch something nasty really easily. #i’mparanoid

    July 10th, 2013 8:56 am Reply
  • Earth Friendly Goodies via Facebook

    I was just wondering this myself the other day…

    October 23rd, 2012 11:49 am Reply
  • Aaron Zober

    What’s your thought on acrylic cutting boards? I use one of those, because it doesn’t get scratched by knives when I cut on it.

    October 22nd, 2012 2:51 am Reply
  • Naphtali Marie Foster via Facebook

    Wood for me!

    October 21st, 2012 1:09 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Christensen via Facebook

    That was very informative. :)

    October 21st, 2012 11:28 am Reply
  • Scrappin Gramma via Facebook

    bamboo for us, we don’t use plastic ANYTHING

    October 21st, 2012 9:14 am Reply
  • Scott Fulghum via Facebook

    Wood, always wood. BPA free too!

    October 21st, 2012 2:26 am Reply
  • Marianne Else via Facebook

    …and if for a vegetarian – no worry about cutting meat… added blessing…

    October 21st, 2012 1:22 am Reply
  • Marianne Else via Facebook

    It is wood for me – has worked for thousands of years…

    October 21st, 2012 1:21 am Reply
  • Jennifer Caldiero via Facebook

    Glass is Best you can even put them in the dishwasher:)

    October 21st, 2012 1:07 am Reply
  • Tonia Townsend via Facebook

    I use a glass plate.. I have had several cutting boards but always think they are just space waster and get a dinner plate to cut on..

    October 20th, 2012 11:24 pm Reply
  • Lisa Cauthers via Facebook

    I also haven’t noticed a smell with my bamboo boards and I’ve had some of them for years.

    October 20th, 2012 9:43 pm Reply
  • Lisa Cauthers via Facebook

    I used to use plastic boards thinking they could be sanitized in the dishwasher. Then I learned this about wooden ones being anti microbial naturally, so I immediately switched. I thought it was the oil in the wood, like how essential oils kill germs.

    October 20th, 2012 9:41 pm Reply
  • Kelly Kindig via Facebook

    My knives always slide on the glass any suggestions?

    October 20th, 2012 9:35 pm Reply
  • Kelly Kindig via Facebook

    Wood except for meat I have 1plastc and handful of disposable

    October 20th, 2012 9:34 pm Reply
  • Christal Brock via Facebook

    Ha! I knew it! Loved my wooden cutting board, then finally found a bamboo one for a great price. Btw, cutting on glass will dull your knives

    October 20th, 2012 9:13 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    I have small glass cutting board for my cheese. Glass is wonderful too in my experience.

    October 20th, 2012 9:02 pm Reply
  • Kathryn Estay via Facebook

    How is glass cutting board?

    October 20th, 2012 8:35 pm Reply
  • Marina Krupko via Facebook

    Thank you for the info! Its like a reminder for me as well. I watch documentary long time ago on this subject and you said almost same thing, also they said that bamboo boards make blades blunt compare to a regular wooden board.

    October 20th, 2012 7:32 pm Reply
  • Lisa Christine Pearson via Facebook

    I’ve only had this one for a few months. I haven’t noticed a smell yet. However, my mother used to wash hers every couple of months with dawn and a tbls of bleach. Maybe that does it?

    October 20th, 2012 7:19 pm Reply
  • Julie Gerasimenko via Facebook

    How do you keep it from smelling Lisa?? I’m so curious, because I definitely prefer bamboo.

    October 20th, 2012 7:09 pm Reply
  • Lisa Christine Pearson via Facebook

    I love my bamboo one! I had a glass one I loved, but no one in my family could stand the noise it made when I cut on it. :(

    October 20th, 2012 7:06 pm Reply
  • Julie Gerasimenko via Facebook

    Just switched to glass. Can’t stand how the wooden ones smell after a while!

    October 20th, 2012 6:56 pm Reply
  • Ken Jacobsen via Facebook

    Makes sense, Petrie dishes are generally plastic and culture a lot of strains. I love using Bamboo. It seems to give you better resiliency, clean up and is not as hard on knife edges.

    October 20th, 2012 6:52 pm Reply
  • Stacy

    Just for full disclosure’s sake, at which university is this college located?

    October 20th, 2012 6:36 pm Reply
  • Douglas Panneton via Facebook

    thank you Sara for always posting interesting and informative things that I’m interested in learning about.

    October 20th, 2012 6:33 pm Reply
  • Melinda Nelson via Facebook

    Yahoo! I have always preferred wood! I use wood chips in the coop for this very reason. Wood has natural antiseptic qualities to it. I think it is the same resin type stuff that the bees use to make propolis.

    October 20th, 2012 6:18 pm Reply
  • Jessica Klieman via Facebook


    October 20th, 2012 6:18 pm Reply
  • Evie Andrews via Facebook

    I have wood. For me it’s a no brainer, plastic has only been around for a couple hundred years wood on the otherhand has been around for eons.

    October 20th, 2012 6:06 pm Reply
  • Kathryn Simmons McDonald via Facebook

    I have both. I cut meat on plastic and veggies on wood

    October 20th, 2012 6:03 pm Reply
  • Taryn Gray via Facebook

    I can’t stand plastic! I use bamboo and glass.

    October 20th, 2012 6:03 pm Reply
  • MunchTalk via Facebook

    I didn’t know this!! awesome. :) Thanks for the share!

    October 20th, 2012 5:59 pm Reply
  • Retro Momma, Vintage Wife via Facebook

    I only use glass for meat :)

    October 20th, 2012 5:54 pm Reply
  • Edward Cantrell via Facebook

    I have “plastic” and I am considering throwing it out and get wood instead…

    October 20th, 2012 5:53 pm Reply
  • Edward Cantrell via Facebook

    wooden board has been in use for hundred years and plastic board is new thing…. probably not more than hundred years though…

    October 20th, 2012 5:52 pm Reply
  • Anna Drozdova via Facebook

    we use wood only

    October 20th, 2012 5:47 pm Reply
  • Amy Lemmon via Facebook

    I use wood and love them! Mine are ancient now and would like to someday invest in bamboo!

    October 20th, 2012 5:45 pm Reply
  • Sandy Tuttle Williams via Facebook

    I use a glass one. The only bummer is that it seems to dull my knives more quickly but that way you don’t have to worry about the other issues.

    October 20th, 2012 5:35 pm Reply
  • Jeffrey Joseph via Facebook

    Plus, you get little bits of plastic in your food when cutting on plastic.

    October 20th, 2012 5:32 pm Reply
  • Estee Wilson via Facebook


    October 20th, 2012 5:30 pm Reply
  • Sarah Bayless via Facebook


    October 20th, 2012 5:27 pm Reply
  • Lezley Troxell via Facebook


    October 20th, 2012 5:26 pm Reply
  • Axiom at Home via Facebook

    Really interesting! I had wondered which was really better.

    October 20th, 2012 5:26 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Louise me too. Love my bamboo!

    October 20th, 2012 5:25 pm Reply
  • Emily Cudd via Facebook

    I’ve been wondering about this!! I have both wood and plastic and never knew which one to use. Thanks!

    October 20th, 2012 5:24 pm Reply
  • Louise Butler via Facebook

    I love my bamboo cutting board.

    October 20th, 2012 5:22 pm Reply
  • Jessica Draper via Facebook

    I use glass and wood. I only use glass for meat.

    October 20th, 2012 5:21 pm Reply
  • Rachel Cobb-Chamness via Facebook

    bamboo! I heard it’s better too

    October 20th, 2012 5:21 pm Reply
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  • Chef Joel

    Plastic cutting board are actually dangerous , there is no way to sanitize them properly .if you chop meat or any protein you are actually injecting the protein in the plastic , yes all these nasty black mark and the health dept for years has been teaching the wrong way to handle food , whemn you cut open these black mark weeks , months afterward you are releasing that rotten food into your fresh food , my recomendations do not buy and throw away these plastic cuttung board . in 44 years in the industry I

    October 11th, 2011 1:11 am Reply
  • Back to the Kitchen: Healthy Living with Real Food via Facebook

    Interesting info ~ I have both wood and plastic, but wood feels “right” with my knives.

    August 26th, 2011 6:07 pm Reply
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  • Beth

    I assume mineral oil is not desirable on cutting boards since it’s petroleum-based, and I had heard that olive oil goes rancid. I appreciate the tips above to use antimicrobial, antifungal coconut oil on cutting boards. Hadn’t thought of that. I just got a big bin of expeller pressed CO for cooking and some raw centrifuged for smoothies from Wilderness Family Naturals — would either work equally well for cutting board purposes? Any thoughts out there?

    August 23rd, 2011 11:44 am Reply
  • Homestead Homemaking (@HomesteadHome)

    Is Plastic Really Better than Wood for Cutting Boards? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 22nd, 2011 3:29 pm Reply
  • Raine

    We have two bamboo boards we use and have had them for at least 6 or 7 years. One is long and narrow and the other is a square shape. I love them and find that they are what I use for most of my cutting needs. We also have glass cutting boards which we only use for slicing meats (mostly because it’s easier to cut them on glass). We make sure to sharpen our knives when we are finished. I ditched my plastic cutting boards years ago, as I have many other plastic pieces from my kitchen. For storage I use glass containers, plates and bowls from our cupboards, and also wax paper or tin foil. I have completely stopped storing any of my produce in plastic in the produce drawers in my refrigerator. Instead, I take them out of the plastic and put down a roll of wax paper on the bottom of the drawer.

    August 22nd, 2011 3:12 pm Reply
  • Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz

    I prefer wood, but I have some plastic ones and hate them! Time to replace them all with wood and bamboo :) Thanks for the info!

    August 21st, 2011 8:05 pm Reply
  • Supercharged Food (@LeeSupercharged)

    Is Plastic Really Better than Wood for Cutting Boards? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 21st, 2011 6:19 pm Reply
  • Bianca

    Maple wood…. excellent! have had a huge kitchen island with a 2″ thick maple top
    for over 40 years… It is beautiful, easy to care for and the best material for your
    knives. wood is very forgiving and “heals” nicely… I just wash w soap/water/rinse then
    use mineral oil several times a year and let it soak in overnight (don’t gasp) for a beauty treatment… mineral oil also works beautifully on slate, etc. just wipe any excess of
    w paper towels and you’re good to go ..

    As for logging: we have many acquaintances who are loggers…. I defend them and hate the propaganda out there against them. trees die… culling and maintaining forests is a science
    to get the best, healthiest trees growing. Don’t be so quick to fall for false information. always consider the source ! Wood: another gift from God

    August 21st, 2011 5:28 pm Reply
  • Michael Acanfora (@BayonneChiro) (@BayonneChiro) (@BayonneChiro)

    Is Plastic Really Better than Wood for Cutting Boards? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 21st, 2011 5:05 pm Reply
  • Marianne B

    I bought a bamboo cutting board a couple of years ago, and it has seen heavy duty work, since we chop up chicken backs for our dogs’ breakfast about 5 days a week. I was just noticing that you can barely see any scratches, much less gouges, in the surface! it is one of the best cutting boards I have owned and would recommend one to anyone. I do have a glass one I use for mostly cheese and presentations. I like the bamboo better overall.

    August 21st, 2011 3:22 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I agree. My bamboo cutting boards are so much more durable than the hardwood cutting boards I have had in the past.

      August 21st, 2011 4:18 pm Reply
  • Brenda

    At a craft show I bought cutting boards made out of Corian…… the counter tops. I don’t know what Corian is made out of but I would think chemicals would be involved. I used them for awhile but also bought some made of bamboo. When we had a garage sale and moved I randomly decided to get rid of the Corian ones. I think they are harder on my knives and I just like the feel of cutting on bamboo instead of such a hard surface. Now I also wonder how healthy the Corian ones were……….probably not. Glad they are gone. Since then I have read that bamboo is naturally anti-fungal. That even when growing it pesticides are not necessary because bugs don’t like it. It seems like it is more durable than wood to me. My bamboo boards are holding up and lasting longer than when I had some wooden ones in the past. So I am sold on the bamboo for many reasons.

    August 21st, 2011 1:40 pm Reply
  • Jill Nienhiser (@farmfoodblog)

    Is Plastic Really Better than Wood for Cutting Boards? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 21st, 2011 1:18 pm Reply
  • Beth

    One of my cutting boards is the Epicurean brand Kitchen Series, nice because it’s 1/4″ thin and lightweight. I’ve often wondered how these compare to wood. They’re a pressed wood fiber pressed with food safe resin. The company website says they’re sustainably harvested, bacteria resistant, eco-friendly, 100% USA-made, won’t dull your knives, and can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher, no oil necessary. I wonder what’s in that “food safe resin” and what its health effects might be, if any. Any thoughts or findings on this?

    August 21st, 2011 11:25 am Reply
    • Michelle M

      Please post when you find out! I was asking this same question of the culinary store staff!

      August 21st, 2011 6:20 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Many of the bamboo cutting boards are advertised as green and sustainable. They use food grade, nontoxic glues and no dyes or artificial stains.

        August 21st, 2011 9:15 pm Reply
        • Addy

          I’m not 100% certain, but I don’t think they would have the anti-microbial properties that actual wood has. We are putting in butcher block countertops, so I was reading a lot about this same topic. There was some amount of argument, but many people were able to back up with research that staining, sealing, or otherwise finishing the countertop would prevent the bacteria from absorbing into the wood where they are killed by some enzyme. I would think the glue would do the same thing for the wood fibers in those boards.

          August 22nd, 2011 12:04 pm Reply
          • Beth

            I continue to ponder this. The Epicurean website says their boards are bacteria resistant. I wonder if they have been tested for this and for any health effects from the resin (I’m not sold that just because something is called “food safe” that it actually is, as in so many plastics used in food packaging these days). Would be nice if some reliable, unbiased studies were posted on their website or elsewhere.

            August 23rd, 2011 11:51 am
  • SueTrussell (@SueTrussell) (@SueTrussell)

    Is Plastic Really Better than Wood for Cutting Boards? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 21st, 2011 10:55 am Reply
  • Sarah Smith

    This makes so much sense considering that plastic storage containers really like to hold on to the smell of the food. After hand washing, even the lids on my glass pyrex containers will hold onto the smell of whatever food was in the container. The dishwasher seems to be the only way to get the smell out, but of course that has it’s own problems (way too hot for plastics but I’m okay with it for a lid that won’t touch the food). Seems like cutting boards would be the same. Too bad all of my cutting boards are plastic, but maybe someday they’ll get replaced.

    August 21st, 2011 8:29 am Reply
  • Eastin & Parker (@SimpleHealthNet)

    I have always suspected this . . .

    August 21st, 2011 6:58 am Reply
  • Hilary

    Does anyone know anything about the wooden boards used in the plastic vv wood experiment? What kind of wood, and how new? I’m just thinking that if they used freshly cut pine, for instance, the essential oils in the wood would be powerfully anti-bacterial. The same wouldn’t be true of an older board, or of bamboo.

    August 21st, 2011 5:39 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      You can always add oils to older wood boards after washing them.

      August 21st, 2011 8:38 am Reply
  • Merry Lynn

    I was debating getting new cutting boards because mine are all plastic, but all the ones I can find in the stores have “issues” that I wonder about. The wooden ones are pieced together like a pretty quilt so I wonder what kind of glue they used to glue all the pieces together. The bamboo ones seem to have some kind of finish on them, like a varnish or a polyurethane coating on them. Won’t that end up in the food in little pieces when I am cutting stuff up? I really don’t want to feed my family glue or varnish any more than I want to feed them plastic. Suggestions?

    August 20th, 2011 11:18 pm Reply
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    I know this is a really weird reason why I have always hated plastic cutting boards, but I hate the sound that they make when the knife hits the plastic. So annoying and not at all natural. The sound of the knife hitting the wood is so much more pleasant and relaxing as you go about your work in the kitchen – at least to me.

    August 20th, 2011 10:46 pm Reply
  • Cindy (Clee)

    Love my wood boards. My husband makes them and they last forever!

    August 20th, 2011 10:01 pm Reply
  • Paul Hardiman via Facebook

    I like wood for cutting boards and utensils. Wood has a great feel.

    August 20th, 2011 9:16 pm Reply
  • Susie

    Wood all the way! Thanks for the thoughts on the reasons why.

    August 20th, 2011 9:07 pm Reply
  • Ali Grevillea via Facebook

    wood all the way for me.

    August 20th, 2011 6:05 pm Reply
  • Tamara Ward via Facebook

    I have two wooden cutting boards and one plastic; the plastic one sometimes winds up with a terrible smell and has to be scraped and disinfected. Bleecch!

    August 20th, 2011 5:37 pm Reply
  • Jen

    Sarah, do you use oil to condition the wood? Mineral oil is always recommended, but I’m not comfortable with it since it’s a petroleum product. I’ve read that olive and other vegetable oils can go rancid, and can support bacterial growth. That’s my big dilemma with using wooden cutting boards.

    August 20th, 2011 5:24 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I don’t condition my cutting boards with oil, but I probably should. I would use coconut oil as it very anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral.

      August 20th, 2011 5:27 pm Reply
      • Jen

        Thanks! I don’t know why I never thought to use coconut oil… duh! I have to condition my wooden boards. I can’t stand when they’re all dried out and flaky. :)

        I hate to admit that I much prefer wood/bamboo to plastic, and I have been using mineral oil to condition. I just wipe it all off as much as possible, and let the board “dry” well before I use it again. I cringe everytime I use them though, because I know we’re consuming small amounts of mineral oil. I’m definitely doing coconut oil from now on! Thanks again.

        August 24th, 2011 3:19 am Reply
  • Andrea Hall via Facebook

    We use glass.

    August 20th, 2011 5:00 pm Reply
  • Anita Messenger via Facebook

    My parents had a grocery store when I was growing up with a small meat dept. We had a big wood butcher block for cutting meat, etc. We used a scraper to scrape the wood top clean of meat, blood, etc. We were actually taking a small layer of the wood off each time but it’s made of hardwood and it takes forever to lose much of it. We never sprayed it with anything or put soap or water on it. We scraped until we could see fresh clean wood again. Presently I have a small plastic cutting board that I don’t use very much. I seem to find other ways to cut up any food I’m working on. I would be very happy to find a good wood cutting board, though. Or a butcher block like we used to have.

    August 20th, 2011 5:00 pm Reply
  • Ginger Jilek via Facebook

    I love the statistics that they found!! Thank you for this.

    August 20th, 2011 3:52 pm Reply
  • cindy l.

    Can’t wait to hear of a study to find the “secret” formula that they can then patent and add into plastic!

    I have always used plastic boards. They’re light weight and usually thinner than wood. I haven’t been concerned about bacteria hiding out in them. Our family is almost never sick, we see the Dr. maybe once a year for an ear infection or sore throat and that’s about it. We’ve elminated most food additives from our eating and I’ve seen a huge improvement–even in seasonal allergy symptoms, since about the last 2 yrs. Stomach ‘bugs’ don’t seem to plague our family. But don’t think that means I don’t use common sense with plastic boards. We do meat and veggies on separate ones, and wash with hottest water and sterilize in the dishwasher about once a week.

    August 20th, 2011 3:28 pm Reply
    • D.

      Plastic and the hot temperatures of a dishwasher? Wow. That just doesn’t sound like a good mix, nor does it sound logical. I’m not a fan of plastic and I never put mine in the dishwasher if I do use something plastic. Same with microwaving. I hardly ever use a microwave but if I do I don’t use plastic in there! Something is released in plastic when there’s heat involved. I ain’t no scientist so I don’t have anything “scientific” to add (as if that would or should matter).

      I’ll stay with my wooden cutting board. I have taken a black marker and put a small “V” on one side and a small “M” on the other ( for veggies and meat) and we use it accordingly. I wash mine in the sink with warm water and a dab of Sal Suds, let it dry in the rack and then use coconut oil to treat it. Been doing it this way for years and seems to work ok.

      August 21st, 2011 11:39 am Reply
      • Cindy

        Didn’t think about that. I use the DW because I know that plastic is porous and never feel they get clean with hand washing. Thanks for that food for thought!

        I actually like the new bamboo ones–but they are so unnecessarily expensive!

        August 21st, 2011 4:01 pm Reply
      • Wallflower

        “Plastic and the hot temperatures of a dishwasher? Wow. That just doesn’t sound like a good mix, nor does it sound logical”.

        Look inside your dishwasher – it is probably a stainless tub with a plastic components and a plastic/rubberized rack. Sterilizing a plastic cutting board in the dishwasher is recommended. We use both plastic and wood CBs – both have a place, and both can be safe.

        February 26th, 2014 11:08 am Reply
  • Barbara Grant

    Quite a few years ago there was an article in Reader’s Digest about how wood naturally killed off germs and was safer than plastic.

    August 20th, 2011 1:49 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, the data that wood is better than plastic is quite a few years old, but for some reason, the myth that plastic is safer still persists!

      August 20th, 2011 2:36 pm Reply
  • Fola

    I like using hot soapy water and letting it dry. Treating with olive oil helps keep it from cracking. I’ve used lemon juice when I feel like it’s needed. Hate the small plastic board that came with a set of knives I bought once. Check Etsy for some really nice wood ones. I’ve seen shops that have a wood business and then make boards out of their leftovers.

    August 20th, 2011 1:45 pm Reply
    • Pavil, the Uber Noob

      I never use soap on wooden utensils and boards. I rinse, dry and coat with virgin coconut oil (VCO). The medium chain fatty acids in the VCO are hostile to pathogens in addition to being an excellent wood treatment. It seems to me that soap is way overrated for wood and cast iron.

      Ciao, Pavil

      August 20th, 2011 9:10 pm Reply
      • Sandra

        Pavil, thanks for that advice. Will do.

        August 21st, 2011 8:57 am Reply
  • Fola

    I like using hot soapy water and letting it dry. Treating with olive oil helps keep it from cracking. I’ve used lemon juice when I feel like it’s needed. Hate the small plastic board that came with a set of knives I bought once.

    August 20th, 2011 1:44 pm Reply
  • Kim Buesing via Facebook

    Thank you for the info!

    August 20th, 2011 1:40 pm Reply
  • Doris

    lol, can you explain to me why bamboo is more sustainable than wood? That’s just propaganda to justify shutting down our logging industry and turn this country into a third world type so we’ll buy into the new world order. A shame that we just follow rather than think for ourselves. . . .

    August 20th, 2011 1:37 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Bamboo grows really fast while hardwood trees that are cut down would take many years to regrow. My neighbor has bamboo and it grows like a weed. There is no doubt it is a better material to use than chopping down hundred year old trees! I am sorry it harms the logging industry but cutting down trees is not the way to go environmentally speaking!

      August 20th, 2011 1:44 pm Reply
    • Jordanna

      Bamboo is more sustainable because it grows up very quickly. So if you chop it down to make something, you can grow it right back up and use it again in a matter of months. Trees do not grow as fast, so when you chop one down, it take a lot longer for it to grow back up to a usable size.

      I personally don’t like bamboo cutting boards, I find them to be a slow surface to cut on.

      August 20th, 2011 1:55 pm Reply
    • Michelle M

      With bamboo boards, what glue holds the small pieces together? Something healthful?

      August 21st, 2011 6:16 pm Reply
  • Maverick Morgan (@maverickking) (@maverickking)

    Is Plastic Really Better than Wood for Cutting Boards?

    August 20th, 2011 1:23 pm Reply
  • MaryAnnKelley (@maryannkelley)

    Although I own a couple of plastic cutting boards, wood is my preference. I had read about research a few years…

    August 20th, 2011 1:21 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    I have a glass cutting board for my cheese .. it so pretty I don’t generally use it and use my small bamboo one instead.

    August 20th, 2011 1:17 pm Reply
  • Melissa Johnson Knight via Facebook

    I have a glass cutting board because it just *feels* safer, plus it is slim and can be lid away easily in my cabinet. :-) Wood sure is a lot prettier, though.

    August 20th, 2011 1:10 pm Reply
  • Sarah Sparkles via Facebook

    we have wood and glass

    August 20th, 2011 1:10 pm Reply
  • Amber Moon via Facebook

    Actually..let me restate that..if the GOVT makes ANY claim whatsoever on anything..we know it isn’t true.

    August 20th, 2011 1:10 pm Reply
    • Sandra

      Sadly that is being more and more true.

      August 21st, 2011 8:43 am Reply
  • Margaret Ruby via Facebook


    August 20th, 2011 1:00 pm Reply
  • Margaret Ruby via Facebook

    @ Jill diluted white vinegar in a spary bottle

    August 20th, 2011 12:59 pm Reply
  • Barb Moroney (@underhermantle)

    Is Plastic Really Better than Wood for Cutting Boards? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 20th, 2011 12:56 pm Reply
  • Dorothea

    Most of the bamboo I’ve seen comes from China (like everything else). Any suggestions where to buy bamboo cutting boards? Does ‘made in China’ make a difference?

    August 20th, 2011 12:52 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I don’t think made in China is a problem though domestically sourced bamboo would certainly be preferable. Bamboo grows like a weed so no matter how it’s harvested, it grows right back and very quickly from what I’ve read.

      August 20th, 2011 1:25 pm Reply
  • Amber Moon via Facebook

    BTW…do we want to know who is behind it all?

    August 20th, 2011 12:52 pm Reply
  • Ramona Chiasson via Facebook

    I have a cutting board made of wood from a rubber’s really quite pretty. I can’t say the same of any plastic one I’ve ever seen.

    August 20th, 2011 12:46 pm Reply
  • Amber Moon via Facebook

    I came to the realization years ago that if the FDA, USDA CDC or any other GOVT entity makes a claim on ANY health related topic, you can just go ahead & do the opposite & you will be on the right track. Think about it..keeping people sick keeps people employed in govt jobs..

    August 20th, 2011 12:44 pm Reply
  • Traci

    I’m curious about how a glass cutting board would fare. While they can be porous, wouldn’t you think with proper cleaning they’d be safe as well?
    Thanks :)

    August 20th, 2011 12:43 pm Reply
    • Angela

      I was wondering the same thing!

      August 20th, 2011 12:52 pm Reply
      • Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green

        I use a glass cutting board all the time. LOVE it! Not porous, can go in the dishwasher and no gross chemicals.

        August 20th, 2011 1:14 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I have no data on this but I have a small glass cutting board myself for cheese. I would imagine since it is a natural material like wood, that it would be comparable in safety.

      August 20th, 2011 1:23 pm Reply
    • Rachel

      I think the only issue with glass cutting boards is that they can dull your knives…….I don’t know this for a fact, it’s just something I’ve heard before and sounds reasonable :)

      August 20th, 2011 4:34 pm Reply
      • Julie

        Rachel – this is absolutely true. I spent a small fortune on my first Global chef’s knife. A few months later it was so dull. I took it back to the knife store, where I bought it. The owner asked me -first thing- “what kind of cutting board do you use?” I told him glass. He said glass is terrible on knives…it dulls them quickly. I went home and put my glass cutting board in the Goodwill box.

        August 21st, 2011 5:38 pm Reply
  • Jill Walker-Larson via Facebook

    Oh thank god! Mine is wood.. lol. Do you know the best way to clean it?

    August 20th, 2011 12:40 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I just wash mine in warm soapy water. Some folks use white vinegar which seems to be an excellent way to do it.

      August 20th, 2011 1:26 pm Reply
      • Sande

        My parents used to have a wooden chopping block in their kitchen and they would slice a lemon in half and rub it around the wood.

        August 20th, 2011 2:04 pm Reply
        • Sande

          Oops, I should clarify they used the lemon AFTER washing it with soap and water.

          August 20th, 2011 2:06 pm Reply
  • HealthyHomeEconomist (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon)

    Is Plastic Really Better than Wood for Cutting Boards? – The Healthy Home Economist

    August 20th, 2011 12:38 pm Reply

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