Which Cutting Board Is Better: Plastic or Wood?

April 30, 2021 12:00 PM CDT
Written by Emily C / April 1, 2021

The debate about which cutting board material is better has been going on for a long time. While both of them are effective for cutting your meat, we’re here to determine which is a better choice for you. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both boards. 

In recent years, there has been research done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that concluded that a wood cutting board is a better alternative to the plastic cutting boards based on how easy it is to clean after it had been incontact with food contaminated by bacteria. At the end of the three day study, more than 99.9% of the bacteria had vanished from the wood boards, while the plastic boards were thriving with germs.

From a food safety perspective, plastic boards are dangerous. 

The best way to prevent cross contamination is by having a separate cutting board for your raw meat which you use exclusively for raw meats only. While this is a common sense practice, it will keep your other cutting boards bacteria free.

So what is the best wooden cutting board? The National Sanitation Foundation has given its approval to maple for commercial kitchen use. Maple and other woods are the safest option for inhibiting bacterial growth around food. There are also suggestions that Beech is another popular wood that has natural antiseptic properties. 

Despite there being antiseptic qualities in the wooden boards, you still need to sanitize the boards. Here are the best ways to do that without damaging the board. 

  • Hot water and detergent. Make sure to use hot and soapy water to remove the bulk of the bacteria. 
  • Make sure you use a stiff bristled brush while washing instead of a sponge which could help to spread the bacteria around
  • If the board is particularly bloody or covered in grease, wipe the board with paper towels and then use salt and lemon juice to scrub it down before cleaning with soap and water. 
  • If you use the cutting board excessively, sand down the wood to give it a smooth surface. Sometimes wooden boards crack after a long time and bacteria can be trapped in those spaces.
  • If you have a butcher block in your kitchen, use a block brush to scrape off the top of the surface. 
  • Use a sanitizer to wash the block down after scraping and make sure you do not over wet it. 

In our humble opinion, we find that the wooden cutting boards are the better option all around. But what do you think? Sound off in the comments below!