How to Stain a Cutting Board


Wood cutting boards add warmth, beauty and function to kitchen decor. Proper sealing and maintenance are critical to the durability and safety of these popular kitchen tools, whether you use your board only for food prep or also for cutting. Preserve the beauty and usefulness of either a new or old board in a few basic steps.

Step 1

Clean and thoroughly dry a used cutting board before attempting to refinish it.

Step 2

Place a new, unfinished board or a used board on your work surface. Check for nicks or splinters that might break loose or embed in food.

Step 3

Use fine sandpaper to smooth the top, bottom and edges of your board. Remember to use a lightly dampened rag to remove any sawdust, and then use a clean kitchen towel to dry the board thoroughly.

Step 4

Pour food-grade mineral oil onto a clean, dry rag. Liberally apply the oil to your cutting board, moving in the direction of the wood grain. Continue applying mineral oil until you cover the entire surface of your board, being careful to coat the sides and bottom of the board, as well.

Step 5

Stand your board on its end or on its side, and allow it to absorb the oil for 15 minutes.

Step 6

Use a clean, dry rag to remove any excess oil remaining on the surface.

Step 7

Repeat Steps 4, 5 and 6 two to three more times to ensure that your cutting board is thoroughly coated. This also improves the board's water resistance.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't substitute vegetable or olive oil for the mineral oil in the finishing process. Both have limited shelf lives and can become rancid. Don't use chemical finishes or lacquers on your wood cutting board. They're often toxic and unsuitable for food prep. Plus, finishes that create a shell-like film over the surface of the wood will crack and allow knives to penetrate the board. This allows bacteria to grow and moisture to seep into your board, which is held underneath the remaining finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Food-grade mineral oil (room temperature)
  • Clean, dry rags
  • Kitchen towel


  • Smart, Stylish Cutting Boards

Who Can Help

  • Lee's Wood Projects
  • A Woodworker's Bench Notes
Keywords: cutting board, finishing cutting board, refinishing cutting board

About this Author

Writing professionally since 1998, home education veteran Glenda Embree began as a writer for her own business, composing web content, book reviews and a monthly newsletter. She studied elementary education at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln from 1979-1982.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Stain a Cutting Board