Can You Sand Plastic Cutting Boards? How to Sand Cutting Boards

You use the same plastic cutting board for outside grilling and indoor cooking. Eventually, it starts looking faded and rough. Is there anything you can do to make an old dull, and unsanitary plastic cutting board look good again? You can sand your plastic cutting boards and give them an extended life instead of replacing them right away, and we’ll show you how. 

Can You Sand Plastic Cutting Boards?

Plastic cutting boards can be restored by sanding. You will need a medium grade paper elbow grease or a Dremel contour sander. Once resanded, the cutting board will look brand new again and ready for use. 

can you sand plastic cutting boards

There’s a huge dilemma online about wood cutting boards vs. plastic. I’m not here to argue which one is best. While I believe that wooden cutting boards are better, they are also more expensive.

*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

For those of you who have a plastic cutting board and don’t want to keep investing in a new one every time it starts looking dingy. Here’s what you need to know about sanding your plastic (polyethylene) cutting boards. 

But first, let’s take a look at the different types of cutting boards that can be refurnished. 

What Kind of Cutting Boards Can Be Sanded?

There are a few different kinds of cutting boards out there. There are glass boards, wooden cutting boards, and plastic cutting boards. The glass ones can’t be sanded for apparent reasons, but both wooden and plastic boards can actually both be sanded.

Wooden ones can be sanded since they are made of wood and will refinish fairly easy for the most part. It is recommended not to do this with bamboo boards as they are finer and can splinter easily.

Here’s how to remove black stains from a wooden cutting board, using natural methods.

Plastic cutting boards are the surprise here. Even though they are made of plastic and not wood, they can still be sanded pretty easily! You just have to be very gentle with them and not use heavy sandpaper.

Why Would You Sand A Cutting Board?

Sanding a cutting board allows you to refinish the surface of the cutting board and extend its lifespan. Cutting boards typically need to be discarded when they start to stain, smell or have too many cut marks.

Staining and smells occur from foods not being properly washed off and can also come from a wooden board not being properly sealed. Scarring happens when you use knives on the chopping board, and they leave little grooves where you chopped on the board. 

Once your sponge or dishrag catches on the scars, it is time to replace the board.

However, sanding a cutting board, whether wooden or plastic, will fix the stains and scars and give your board new life.

What Kind of Sand Paper for Cutting Boards?

If you’ve never used sandpaper before, you may be confused about what type to use for different types of cutting boards. This video walks you through the types of sandpaper to use for various cutting boards.

In the video, he talks about choosing the type of sandpaper based on the cutting boards’ surface. He mostly discusses wooden cutting boards.

If you’re sanding a plastic cutting board, you’ll want to a sandpaper that is a 25 grit through 80 grit. You don’t really have to worry about the type of sandpaper you use for a plastic board, as it shouldn’t cause any issues.

What You’ll Need:

  • Old cutting board (cleaned and ready)
  • Sponge
  • Sander or elbow grease
  • Sandpaper
  • Gloves
  • Clamps
  • Eye protection
  • Dish soap

I’ve used this one but any sander will do. Find one that you’re comfortable holding and preferably has a dust box which makes it easy to reach those hard to reach places.

How To Sand A Wooden Cutting Board

There are a couple of reasons to sand a wooden cutting board. Many people find vintage cutting boards at thrift stores or flea markets and want to restore them either for display or to use again. 

Sanding will also help your current cutting board last longer when it seems to be nearing time for a replacement.

To sand a wooden cutting board, you need a fine, medium, and coarse grit sandpaper, vinegar, salt, lemon, and whatever oil you want to use to seal the cutting board with at the end.

Before sanding, disinfect the wooden cutting board. For this, you can use vinegar, salt, lemon. The vinegar is for wiping the board down and disinfecting it first. 

You can even let it sit for a few minutes to make sure it soaks in and thoroughly cleans the board. Once that is done, sprinkle some salt over the board’s surface and rub it in with the lemon. 

The salt gets into the grain of the wood, and the lemon further disinfects the board. Again let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it down.

After that is dry, start with the coarse sandpaper and give the wooden board a good scrub. Gradually move to the fine-grit sandpaper. By the time you get to the fine-grit sandpaper, your board should be nice and smooth and look almost new again!

After you have sanded the surface to be smooth, you need to seal it to protect the board. A mixture of coconut oil and beeswax is the most recommended method to seal your board. 

The coconut oil will keep your board moisturized and keep it from drying out. If your board dries out, it can crack and become ruined. Remember, whatever you use to seal your board will touch your food, which will touch your mouth, so it is best to stay away from anything with chemicals in it. This site has a great tutorial that will help you recondition your wooden cutting board.

Once you have sealed your wooden board, you are good to go!

How to Sand A Plastic Cutting Board?

Sanding a plastic cutting board is a little easier than sanding a wooden cutting board. While you have to clean, sand, and refinish a wooden board, you don’t have to refinish a plastic one.

You still want to make sure your plastic cutting board is clean before doing this, but that’s a pretty simple task. You can use a diluted bleach mixture to clean it or even run it through the dishwasher.

Once it’s clean, use an orbital sander with coarse grit sandpaper (lower number) and sand off the stains and scars from the knives. 

Gradually move to fine-grit sandpaper (higher number) and sand until the cutting board’s surface is entirely smooth. If you don’t get it completely smooth, the cutting board can still harbor bacteria in the grooves, and you won’t be able to wash and clean the board properly.

After sanding the plastic cutting board, make sure you clean it thoroughly to get off any remaining plastic flakes, so they don’t make it into your salad tomorrow!

How Often Do I Have to Sand My Cutting Board?

A plastic cutting board should only be sanded when it isn’t able to get clean with bleach or a good handwashing, or it has a lot of cut marks on it. The time between sanding will vary depending on how often you use the board and the knives you use.

You will want to either sand or replace your plastic cutting board if it has too many deep grooves in it. Otherwise, you risk cross-contamination and making your family and guests ill. 


Most cutting boards can be sanded, except the glass variety. You will need a few minutes of patience, a sander, and some household cleaning materials. You do not have to take them to a professional, and you do not have to replace them the second you see a stain or scar!

Overall, cutting boards, whether wooden or plastic, can be sanded to preserve their usage and safety. A cutting board is not of the things you have to worry about replacing every time it starts to show signs of wear and tear. 

Pull out your sander and fix it up yourself!

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