Maintenance of endgrain cuttingboards
The Smetsson endgrain cuttingboards are treated with food grade mineral oil (paraffinolja: vit mineralolja av medicinsk renhetsgrad). This is a 100% foodsafe oil, which is tasteless, odorless and colorless and has been used to cure butcherblocks for decades. Avoid using organic oils like olive, vegetable and nut oil. They all contain natural fats and will turn rancid over time.
Oiling the board will season it: it prevents staining (for instance when cutting red paprika) and prevents absorption of food odors and bacteria. Seasoning also makes the surface of the cuttingboard water repellent. This is very important, since the endgrain exposes all the open woodfibers. Therefore, unseasoned endgrain cuttingboards could soak up too much water, which can lead to warping or even cracking.
Mineral oil does not harden, therefore it doesn't built a film on the surface. This makes it very easy to use, since you can never apply too much oil. It also means it doesn't protect the wood by making it stronger, it just fills all the pores, so there is no room left for water and food particles.
How often you need to season your cuttingboard depends on how often you use and clean it. Normally, cleaning with lukewarm water will do the job. With daily use of the board, re-oiling once a month can be a guideline. Frequent cleaning with soapy water however, will dissolve the oil more rapidly.
A quick test: put a droplet of water on the board and watch it: if it's still sitting on top of the surface after a minute or two, your board is fine. However, if the water is absorbed into the wood, your board needs re-seasoning.
Always apply oil in equal amounts on both sides, even if you never use the underside. Unequal seasoning can lead to unequal moisture-content which can result in warping of the board.
How to apply mineral oil: just put a liberal amount of oil on the board and rub it in with a soft cloth, a paper towel or just your hands. Keep on adding oil until the board does not longer soak in any more oil. Just to give you an idea: a very dry board can soak up about 100ml of oil.
Never put an endgrain cuttingboard in the dishwasher!
Scientific research has shown that wood is pretty good at killing bacteria through dehydration.
But if you are still worried about hygiene, you can sanitize your cuttingboard using salt and a lemon. Sprinkle the salt on the surface and squeeze the lemon over it. Then use the lemon itself to scrub the salt over the board. Both the salt as well as the acid in the lemon juice will kill any bacteria present.
After oiling, your Smetsson endgrain cuttingboard has been polished with bees wax. This gives your cuttingboard a more lasting seasoning, since wax isn't washed of as easily as the oil. The wax keeps water out and the oil in.
If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
The Smetsson team