How Do You Remove Black Stains From A Wooden Cutting Board?

Cutting boards are one of those weird kitchen products that no one really knows a ton about. We all have them, and we all have multiple of them. We do our very best to keep them clean, but sometimes spots and stains still happen, especially with wooden cutting boards. There are various ways to keep them clean, but one of the biggest questions is how you remove black stains from a wooden cutting board?

How Do You Remove Black Stains From A Wooden Cutting Board?

You can use natural cleaners, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or more non-abrasive cleaning measures such as kosher salt and lemon juice to remove mold from a cutting board. We’ll cover each cleaning method more thoroughly below. 

how do you remove black stains from wooden cutting board

Unfortunately, wooden cutting boards are prone to get black stains due to the various molds and food contaminants they are exposed to. If the wooden cutting board is made of a porous piece of wood, the black spots are more noticeable. 

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Removing Mold and Stains From Wooden Cutting Boards

Soap and Water

First, you can wash the cutting board with hot water and soap. Next, you can scrub the surface with a sponge or scrub brush, and that might remove whatever stains were left from preparing your food.

If soap and water don’t work, it’s likely the black stains are actually mold. You can try some of the more abrasive cleaning methods below to remove mold from a wooden or plastic cutting board. 

Glass cutting boards are not susceptible to mold because they are not designed from porous materials and don’t scratch easily. 

Use Vinegar 

Most people think about bleach when they want to kill mold. However, studies have shown that vinegar is much better than bleach at killing mold. This is because bleach is good at eliminating mold on nonporous surfaces such as sinks, tiles, countertops, etc. 

Many people (myself included) believe that soaking a cutting board in bleach will help remove mold. Unfortunately, it won’t. But it can be used to remove harsh stains. 

If your cutting board has mold, then try using vinegar. According to Service Master Restore, vinegar contains a mild acid that kills 82% of known molds. 

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Pour white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle without diluting it. 
  2. Spray directly onto the mold and let it sit for up to an hour or more without scrubbing. 
  3. If it has heavy mold, combine one teaspoon of baking soda with two cups of water. Use a brush or scouring sponge the paste directly on the mold spots and let them soak. 
  4. After an hour, rinse with warm water to remove the solution.  
  5. Spray with vinegar again and let it dry.

 You may have to repeat the process more than once, depending on how much mold is on the cutting board. 

Natural Solution – Lemon and Kosher Salt

For a less severe problem, you can use kosher salt and lemon juice. The kosher salt is chunky and will give the board a rougher clean. 

The lemon juice works as a disinfectant and can help with the removal of stains as well. You can also use vinegar with this method as another disinfectant. Both will help remove the stains.

  1. Wash the cutting board in hot water to help loosen the bonds that cause the black mold. 
  2. Wipe the cutting board until it is completely dry.
  3. Place the board on the counter and sprinkle salt directly on the mold. 
  4. Next, take the lemon and squeeze the juice over the cutting board and salt. 
  5. Use the squeezed lemon half and scrub the board until the black stains are removed. Be sure you clean the entire board with the lemon. 
  6. Use a wet towel to remove the salt and lemon from the board. Use a dry towel to remove any excess remnants. 
  7. Apply a coat of mineral oil to the surface of the board to prevent cracking or warping. Make sure you coat both sides of the board for protection.

Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

Most people don’t think about looking in their medicine cabinet to clean a moldy cutting board. However, hydrogen peroxide is much safer to use than bleach because it is better for the environment and doesn’t leave a toxic residue. 

Regular 3% hydrogen peroxide is highly effective for killing molds on surfaces. Here’s how to utilize it as a cleaning solution:

  1. Pour 3% non-diluted hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the cutting board until it is completely saturated.
  3. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Use a scouring sponge to scrub the moldy stains. 
  5. Use warm water to wash and wipe down the surface.
  6. Towel dry the cutting board.

Tea Tree Oil

Another natural solution to killing mold is using tea tree oil. You don’t need a lot, and tea tree oil is an antifungal that can prevent bacterial growth and keep surfaces clean. 

Opt for tea tree oil that contains 30% Terpinen 4-ol, and 10-15% cineole. This 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree oil will work perfectly for removing mold and providing other benefits. 

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  • Supreme Quality Essential Tea tree Oil - This Pharmaceutical Caliber Australia Tea Tree Essential Oil is 100% pure, natural, unadulterated and untainted just to keep the efficacy most intact. A purified product of steam distilled fresh leaves. Non-Toxin, No Additives, No Preservatives, Unfiltered and Undiluted with no Fillers and No artificial ingredients added. Therapeutic Grade. Bottled in USA.
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Here’s how to use this all-purpose cleaner on your cutting board or on any surface in your home. 

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with one cup of water. 
  2. Spray the surface of the cutting board with tea tree oil and let it sit for an hour.
  3. Use a toothbrush or scouring pad to scrub the moldy areas.
  4. Repeat the process if necessary.
  5. Wash and dry the cutting board before using.

Preventing Mold on a Wooden Cutting Board

Proper Washing Techniques

The best way to prevent mold from happening in the first place is to ensure you’re washing the cutting board thoroughly after each use. Glass and plastic boards can be washed using the dishwasher. Wooden cutting boards should always be hand washed and allowed to air-dried before putting them away. Stand the board upright to allow the water to drain completely. Once every week, use white vinegar to clean your cutting boards.

Oil the Boards

Wooden cutting boards and butcher blocks should be given a regular coat of oil once a month to prevent mold. Use a food-grade mineral oil such as; Thirteen Chefs Food Grade Mineral Oil that can be purchased on Amazon. 

Thirteen Chefs Mineral Oil - 12oz Food Grade...
  • FOOD GRADE - This butcher block conditioner is lab tested to ensure that it meets food safety standards, and is also colorless, odorless, tasteless, and gluten free.
  • PROTECTION - Use this mineral oil for cutting board restoration and protection to prevent cracking and drying. It also magically restores your knives, kitchen appliances, and more!
  • EASY APPLICATION - This butcher block oil has a push-applicator cap and squeeze-bottle design that makes maintenance a breeze. Apply generously with a rag or by hand and let sit for 4 hours.
  • TREATMENT - A single bottle of mineral oil for wood cutting boards can last for years! A Thirteen Chefs 1oz oil treatment every 3 months is all you need for a cutting board up to 18".
  • MADE IN THE USA - Our 100% pure food grade mineral oil for cutting board cleaning undergoes regular safety testing and is bottled in FDA compliant facilities in the United States

It’s one of the safest products that can be used on bamboo and wood cutting boards. It can also be used on wooden salad bowls, utensils, and countertops. 

Related: Should You Season Your Cutting Board?

Sealing a Wooden Cutting Board

To seal it again, you need to sand the surface of the wooden cutting board. First, clean the board well, and then use low grit sandpaper to sand off the surface, gradually working your way to high grit sandpaper. 

By the time you get to the high grit sandpaper, the cutting board’s surface should be free of scars and stains. 

After you are finished sanding the board, clean it once again, being sure to remove any sanding dust. Let it dry thoroughly, and then refinish the surface of the board with oil. Go over the board a few times, letting it dry in between each time, and then your board will be good as new!

Final Word

Wooden cutting boards can be beautiful, especially when they are brand new. However, without proper care and maintenance, they will get mold. Ensure you take the proper measurements to prevent mold.

Hopefully, the techniques above will help you get rid of the mold if they have already accumulated mold. If after you’ve tried all the methods above and you’re still getting mold, it may be time to replace the cutting board.

After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!


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