Which Type of Cutting Boards are Safe to Use?

Choosing the right cutting board can be challenging. Which materials are safest to use? Anything that comes into contact with your food can contaminate it and lead you to get sick. How do you know if a cutting board is truly clean? Some materials are more porous than others and can hold bacteria. 

Which Type of Cutting Board is Best?

Let’s examine the most common types of cutting boards in today’s market.

Marble: There are boatloads of white glass and marble cutting boars floating around in images on the internet that feature a crusty loaf of bread or charcuterie options, but the truth is, marble cutting boards are not the best option. Have you ever tried to slice something on a marble or glass board? The surface is sick and makes it easy for your hands or knife to slip – not to mention the material is hard on knives. Plus, moving a large marble cutting board is a chore in itself. These boards are best left to display your food or serve as a serving tray rather than using as a functional cutting board.

Plastic: Plastic is one of the most popular cutting board materials for the kitchen. Most plastic boards are tough enough to cut on but remain gentle on knives.  Plastic boards are lighter and more affordable than most other options, which is why so many people choose to use them. They are most commonly made of Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) – each of which are able to tolerate food-safe cleaning methods. 

Despite the benefits, plastic has a number of shortcomings. First, when the material is cut, it remains cut, leaving open areas in which bacteria can fester. One study executed at the University of Michigan found more bacteria to be found on plastic surfaces than wood. They are also more prone to retaining smells, stains and dirt with each use. This makes them more difficult to clean in the long run. Another problem with plastic is that they are typically made of a lighter and thinner construction, offering a less stable work surface. Using a lightweight cutting board that can easily slip while you are wielding a knife is not something culinary dreams are made of.

Bamboo: Wood cutting boards are the safest across the board (see what I did there?).  Many people are perplexed by this because wood is porous, isn’t it? The truth is, although wood is more difficult to sanitize (it can’t be put in the dishwasher), the material is naturally anti-microbial.

Although wood cutting boards can have crevices, the crevices are typically deeper than those in plastic cutting boards, meaning the bacteria eventually die and are less likely to come into contact with food. Furthermore, hardwood cutting boards, like bamboo cutting boards, are better at resisting bacteria.

Bamboo cutting boards are also better on your knives and don’t dull them as quickly as some surfaces. The subtle softness of wood is the perfect material to come into contact with a knife without damaging its blade.

Furthermore, bamboo cutting boards are 100% natural/organic and are not made of any plastic or artificial hazardous materials, making them better for your health. 

Bamboo is the Best

When shopping for a wood cutting board, we recommend looking for woods that are harder, such as bamboo. Soft woods, like cypress, may be less likely to dull your knife’s edge, but they do pose a larger risk where food safety is concerned. Hardwoods like bamboo have finer grains. These grains have the ability to pull down liquids, trapping bacteria, which are killed off/suffocated after cleaning once the board dries.

Bamboo proves to be the best material for cutting boards with its naturally durable and dense nature that delivers the perfect amount of flexibility to keep your knife safe.