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Cutting Boards- Plastic or Natural Wood?

As much as we love to cook, we’ll be the first to admit that food prep can be a bit of a hassle. Some ingredients are difficult to cut and chop, some require extra care and attention, and others leave your kitchen looking messy. The good news is that there are plenty of products out there designed specifically to make your life easier, including cutting boards. These come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials.

But before you go ahead and buy the first one you see, it’s important to consider what kind of cutting board is right for you. For example, if you’ve got a small kitchen or limited counter space, you may want to invest in a foldable cutting board. This is easier to store away when not in use. Or perhaps you’re looking for something more specific, like a cheese board set that comes with cheese knives and other accessories for entertaining guests.

Whichever type of cutting board you prefer, here’s what you need to know about buying the right one for your needs:

Size

How big do you need your board to be? Anyone who’s ever tried to chop an onion on a tiny cutting board knows just how important it is to have the right size for the job.

If you’re cooking large quantities of food at once — say, dinner for 10 or 20 people — then opt for something larger than the average size. This way, there’ll always be room for you to work. But if you only ever cook a small amount of food at a time, then get a smaller board that can fit in the dishwasher.

Maintenance

Is your cutting board going in the dishwasher, or will it need to be washed by hand? Some wooden boards must be hand-washed, which means keeping them oiled, so they don’t warp and crack. Plastic boards are usually dishwasher-safe and can be recycled once they’ve reached their service life.

Material

What material do you prefer? It all depends on personal taste and how often you cook. If cooking is an important part of your life, then consider buying a nice wooden cutting board that can last for decades with proper care and maintenance. 

Color

For easy identification, choose a color that will help you track which board is used for raw meat and which is used for cooked foods. If you don’t have color-coded boards, consider using different patterns or textures instead.

Care and cleaning

Some cutting boards require special care and cleaning to maintain their optimal condition over time. For instance, one should not wash wooden boards in the dishwasher because this can cause the wood to crack and split. Plastic boards are generally dishwasher-safe but should never be run through it with sharp knives as this can damage them.

Weight

How heavy is the board? It would be best if you had some heft to ensure it stays in place when you use it. But if the board’s too heavy, then moving it from one kitchen area to another might be a challenge!

Function

What do you plan on using the cutting board for? A smaller breadboard will likely suffice if it’s just for slicing bread. But if the majority of your cooking involves chopping ingredients into small pieces, then go with a larger cutting board.

The idea of the perfect cutting board is a toss-up between whether it’s plastic or one made from natural wood. Both have their ups and downs, from the durability to the ease of cleaning and even using your sharp knives on them. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two everyday kitchen items and decide once and for all which is better: plastic or wood?

Plastic Cutting Boards

Plastic cutting boards are typically made from high-density polyethylene, a form of plastic that is completely food safe. They come in various sizes and thicknesses. Some are flexible, while others are stiffer and more rigid. 

For decades, plastic has been the cutting board of choice for most home cooks. Yet, somehow, it has developed a bad reputation. There are plenty of good reasons to use plastic cutting boards, and many people have fallen victim to myths about their disadvantages.

Advantages of plastic Cutting Boards

Less expensive

Plastic cutting boards are less expensive than wooden cutting boards. You can find them in various sizes, shapes, and colors at your local supermarket or superstore or online. Look for one that is dishwasher-safe so you can clean it in the dishwasher and use it again.

Easier to clean

Plastic cutting boards are easier to clean than wooden cutting boards. Plastic is not porous like wood, so bacteria cannot penetrate the surface. Clean your wooden cutting board with a brush and hot water to remove bacteria from deep inside the wood.

Less porous

Plastic cutting boards are less porous than wooden cutting boards. Porous surfaces absorb moisture and harbor bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. These may cause food poisoning symptoms such as abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you use a dishwasher to sanitize your plastic cutting board, wash the board after each use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you clean the board by hand, use a scrub brush to remove food particles, then rinse it with hot water and soap before drying it with a paper towel.

Washing in the dishwasher is okay

While you should never put a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher, plastic ones are fine to wash this way. This is another advantage of having a plastic cutting board instead of a wooden one; you don’t have to worry about being extra careful when it comes time to wash it.

Pros

  • Plastic is not as sanitary as other materials because it absorbs odors and bacteria. This can be a problem if you cut raw meats and fish on the same board without cleaning it properly in between.
  • Although dishwasher safe, plastic cutting boards are more difficult to clean than wooden boards. This is especially true when you have to scrub out stains.
  • Plastic is harder on your knives because of its hard surface. Your knives will dull faster with continued use on plastic boards.
  • Most plastic boards are too heavy for people to lift; they may be more cumbersome than other types of cutting boards.
  • They’re also prone to warping after a few months of use and can crack or split if you cut on them improperly or drop them on the floor.

If you have a plastic cutting board, it’s important to take care of it properly. Here are some tips.

  • If you have a dishwasher, put your plastic cutting board on the top rack, and run it through a regular wash cycle. If you don’t have a dishwasher, use hot soapy water.
  • Dish soap is better at cleaning than bleach or vinegar, which can dull the surface of your board. If you’d like to disinfect it with bleach or vinegar, that’s fine. Just make sure to clean it with dish soap after you’re done.
  • Plastic cutting boards are easier to clean than most other types of cutting boards. This is because they don’t absorb water or bacteria. That also makes them more sanitary than wood or bamboo boards.
  • However, since plastic can scratch easily, never use abrasive cleaners. You should also avoid using steel wool pads to clean them. This is because tiny metal particles can get left behind on the board and end up in your food.
  • You can prevent scratches on your plastic cutting board by storing it properly.
  • Plastic boards can be warped by heat and sunlight, so store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight when not in use.

Wood Cutting Boards

Wooden cutting boards are an essential tool in most kitchens. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can buy smaller boards that are perfect for cutting onions or garlic or larger boards that one can use to chop up a whole chicken.

There are two main reasons to pick a wooden cutting board: its beauty and utility.

It’s often the first thing people notice about your kitchen — and if you’re a chef, it’s likely the centerpiece of your workspace. While the material has changed slightly over the years, wooden cutting boards have remained popular. This is because they’re easy to care for, relatively inexpensive, and have a simple charm.

Wooden cutting boards are generally made from hardwoods like maple, walnut, and cherry. Some are also made from bamboo, which is technically grass but is often referred to as wood.

So how do you know if a wooden cutting board is suitable for your kitchen? Here’s what to consider:

Pros:

  • They are sturdy and durable. Most wooden cutting boards last for years with proper care, and some wooden cutting boards may even last a lifetime.
  • They look beautiful and make a statement in any kitchen! You can find wooden cutting boards in various sizes, shapes, and patterns.
  • Wooden cutting boards are generally more affordable than other cutting boards (although end-grain butcher blocks are more expensive).
  • Most wood cutting boards are reversible, meaning you can use either side to cut on. This is helpful because you can use one side when it’s heavily soiled while keeping the other side looking clean and ready for guests!
  • Wood is easier on knives than plastic, which means that your knives will stay sharp for longer periods when used on a wood cutting board.

However, there are also some downsides to using wooden cutting boards, including:

  • Wood is porous, which means it absorbs liquids easily – even after washing. This can leave stains behind and make it more difficult to tell if the board has been cleaned properly. In addition, this absorption also leads to bacteria growth, which may be harmful when consumed in food.
  • These boards tend to be heavier than plastic ones, making them more difficult to handle when moving or cleaning. 
  • Wooden cutting boards require regular maintenance through oiling and cleaning to prevent warping or cracking, leading to bacterial contamination if not handled properly. 

Woodcutting boards are a popular item for food prep, but proper use and care are essential for safety.

A few tips for using a wooden cutting board:

* Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and another for fresh fruits and vegetables.

* Wash the cutting board in hot soapy water after each use to kill bacteria. Rinse well and let dry thoroughly before storing.

* To disinfect a wooden cutting board, apply a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water to the board’s surface. Allow it to sit for several minutes before rinsing with clear water. Air dry or pat dry with clean paper towels. Cleaning your cutting board in this way will not damage it, but repeated cleanings may cause some lightening of the wood.

* Do not immerse a wooden cutting board in water or wash it in the dishwasher. This will cause the wood to crack and split.

* For best results when cleaning a wooden cutting board, wash it immediately after using soap and hot water.

Takeaway

Choosing between plastic or natural wood cutting boards is ultimately a personal preference, but there are some things that you should know about both. Knowing the right way to clean, store, and handle these different types of cutting boards can help you reduce your risk of food-borne illnesses while also extending the life of your cutting board.

In the end, there is no definitive answer as to which type of cutting board you should use in your kitchen. But that’s a good thing — you can use different types of cutting boards for different situations.

At FISSMAN, our boards are sold to many of the world’s leading vendors, companies, and supermarkets. We are committed to providing only the highest quality cutting boards that are competitively priced and delivered on time. Our industry-leading knowledge base and cutting-edge research will continue to drive product innovation so that we remain a global leader in the industry. We take great pride in our success, so come test them out today!

References

Cutting Boards | Cutting Boards Sets | Chopping Boards | Fissman

Wood vs. Plastic Cutting Board: Which is Better? (jesrestaurantequipment.com)

Wood Or Plastic Cutting Boards: Which Is The Better Option? – Sophistiplate LLC