Cutting boards are functional as much as they’re decorative, and maybe you have one that you really love. Like all things, frequent use has rendered it a bit worse for wear, and you can only recall its former shiny, smooth and water-resistant state. Fortunately, there’s a simple fix — refinishing!
You want to use 150-180 grit sandpaper to restore your cutting board. This grit will remove most of the knife marks without leaving it too rough. If you have a few deep cuts on the board, you want to use coarse grit sandpaper, between 100 and 200 grit.
Instead of replacing your old cutting board, let’s see how you can quickly restore it to its beautiful self, using a few sheets of sandpaper and taking 30 minutes out of your afternoon.
What Grit Should You Use To Sand Cutting Boards?
Don’t worry about buying the “right” type of sandpaper.
You essentially want to buy coarse, medium, and fine-grit sandpaper — this way, you can remove the deepest knife marks while still leaving behind a smooth cutting board.
Generally, the sandpaper will start at 50 grit (coarse), 80 grit (medium), and 100 or 120 grit (fine).
If you don’t have too deep cuts in your cutting board, it’s advisable to start with a medium grit and skip the coarse grit altogether.
Once you’ve successfully removed all the deep cuts and stains from your board and finished sanding with the fine grit, you have the option to use superfine sandpaper (like a 220 grit or higher).
The fine sandpaper will leave you with a super smooth finish that 120 grit won’t get you, but it’s not vital to the cutting boards’ longevity.
How To Restore Your Cutting Board Using Sand Paper
Restoring your cutting board using sandpaper and some finishing oil is a super fast and straightforward fix that you can start during your 30-minute lunch break (if you want to, of course).
So, let’s look at the step by step instructions on how to sand down your cutting board and finish it using sandpaper:
1.Using your hands or a sanding machine and 50 grit (coarse), 80 grit (medium), and 100 or 120 grit (fine) sandpaper, work your way from the coarsest to the finest sandpaper, remembering to sand with the grain of the cutting board.
Note: If the wood isn’t too deeply damaged, skip using the coarsest sandpaper and start with medium grit.
2. Remove the wood dust from the surface with a damp cloth.
3. Using a finishing oil, pour an equal ratio, about 15ml (½ fl. Oz or 1 Tbsp), of Tung oil and solvent in a container and mix thoroughly.
4. Using a soft cloth, dab it into the Tung oil mixture and apply it onto your cutting board in a circular motion. Ensure that you rub down the sides, top, and bottom of the cutting board evenly.
Note: Make sure not to leave behind too much oil — you want enough to cover the board evenly without leaving behind too much Tung oil.
5. Wait 15 minutes for the tung oil solution to absorb into the wood before using a clean, soft cloth to buff and rub off the remainder of the oil. You don’t want any excess oil to remain behind.
6. Leave the board to dry overnight or up to a day and a half (24 to 36 hours) in a dry place.
7. Once the drying time is up, make sure the cutting board’s surface is dry to the touch before continuing to use an 800 grit sandpaper for sanding it smooth.
8. Repeat steps 3 to 6 for another 4 layers of Tung oil. You want 5 layers of Tung oil in total.
Note: Each time you add another layer of Tung oil, the board will absorb less and less of it.
9. After applying the final layer of Tung oil, leave the board to dry without sanding it down again.
Alternatively, you can also do steps 1 to 2 and oil the board using mineral oil or beeswax. After letting the oil or beeswax sit for a few hours, wipe off the excess and regularly apply these whenever needed.
How To Keep Your Cutting Board Clean & Maintain It After Sanding
Cleaning and maintaining your cutting board is super simple.
Here are some protips to keep your cutting board clean:
- Wash your cutting board by hand using gentle dish soap and a cloth.
- Wipe your cutting board dry after washing it and allow it to finish air-drying on its side.
- Don’t soak your cutting board in water or put it in the dishwasher — the heat and moisture will cause the wood to warp and swell.
- Deep clean the cutting board using a lemon and baking soda scrub.
- Keep away harsh chemicals and cleaners to prevent the wood from drying out and cracking.
Here are a few simple ways you can maintain your cutting board:
- Frequently wipe down your cutting board while preparing food to make cleanup easier.
- Wash your cutting board when you’re done cooking to prevent food odors and juices from penetrating the wood.
- Sanitize your cutting board when you’re done preparing raw meat by using white vinegar or a weak bleach solution. Alternatively, use another surface altogether.
- Freshen up your board by rubbing half a lemon over the surface of the cutting board, let the lemon juice sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it off using a clean cloth.
- To remove stains left behind on your cutting board, you want to rub baking soda on your cutting board using a damp cloth.
Keeping your cutting board clean will make food prep and kitchen cleanup a quick and easy process. By maintaining your cutting board, you’ll be able to put off sanding it again for the next year or two!
As you can see, sanding down your cutting board is a quick and straightforward job that will leave you with lasting results.
Make sure you use the coarse grit sandpaper before moving on to the finer grit sandpaper. That way, you’ll be able to remove all the deep cuts while leaving a super smooth finish on your board.
Once you’ve oiled up your board, you’re good to go. Make sure to keep it clean, and your time cooking in the kitchen will be an absolute feast!