How to Disinfect Cutting Boards and Countertops

How to Disinfect Cutting Boards and Countertops

Try these tips for hassle-free cleaning of two of our most-used items in the kitchen.


Solid countertops and a good cutting board are unsung heroes in the kitchen. They provide us with valuable space and are used for almost everything involving a meal.

Which is exactly why we have to be extra careful about their sanitation.

Cleaning a Countertop

Although we may want our countertops to shine, regardless of the material it’s made out of, it’s imperative that whatever we end up using doesn’t figuratively poison the well. Whether it’s stripping the shine (if it has one) or making it hazardous to even drop food on, our choice in what we use to clean our countertops comes with consequences.

For a surefire way to clean pretty much any countertop, use a mix of rubbing alcohol and water and follow these steps.

  • Whether your countertop is laminate, granite or nearly any other material, use a solution of half isopropyl rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle as the cleaning agent. This mixture will not harm either surface and works as a disinfectant and leaves a nice shine if dried with a soft cloth.
  • Spray down the surface and simply clean. The alcohol itself dries extremely quickly and kills bacteria on contact. If the smell becomes too offensive, there are scented versions of rubbing alcohol available for use as well.
  • Wipe down the surface with a soft cloth — this is the secret to regaining shine. Think about buffing a metal surface.
  • This solution can also act as a general household disinfectant and cleaner.

Cleaning a Cutting Board

Cutting boards are made out of all sorts of materials that are naturally porous and may retain bacteria after heavy usage. Disinfecting these can be a little trickier, as not all are dishwasher safe and, if improperly cleaned, could hold residual cleaning solutions inside it, making it both hazardous and smelling like whatever it is you used to clean it.

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Take note: Just because a cutting board is made of a certain material does not make it safe to clean with a solution specifically made for it. Remember that this is the surface on which you’re cutting the food you will eventually ingest. Using polish or chemicals meant to make it “pretty” are to be avoided, as it could be soaked into the board itself.

For wooden cutting boards:

  • Firstly, use warm, soapy water after use. Allow it to dry completely as well. Do not soak or put it through the dishwasher, as this could begin to warp the board itself.
  • After drying, spray white vinegar on the solution, rinse off with cold water and let it dry completely. You can also use a heavily diluted bleach solution (1 tablespoon per about 25 fl. oz.) to wash over the top. You may also use hydrogen peroxide. Use a paper towel or cloth wet with hydrogen peroxide (don’t pour it onto the board itself) and wipe the surface before rinsing it off.
  • If you your wooden cutting board is beginning to smell, the vinegar solution often does the trick. If not, pouring salt on it and using lemon juice on top as a mixed-solution helps get rid of both garlic and onion odors.

For glass cutting boards

  • Going through a dishwasher or cleaning with hot, soapy water should do the trick.

For plastic cutting boards

  • Many can be run through the dishwasher, which should work fine.
  • If you’re facing tough stains or stubborn smells, the heavily diluted bleach solution in the wooden cutting board section works as well.

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