How To Clean a Sour-Smelling Wood Cutting Board- Get a Fresh Board

Knowing how to clean a sour-smelling wood-cutting board is very important when you own one of these beauties. 

These cutting boards are one of the most versatile kitchen tools ever. They’re good for cutting up veggies, meat, and other food items, and you can also use them to serve your food. 

Cleaning these boards can be hard; if you don’t do it properly, you can fall victim to a sour-smelling board. 

If you clean them properly, you will guarantee that they stay beautiful without a sour smell. 

Let’s read all the hacks to make your wooden cutting board smell as fresh as ever!

How to Remove Smells from a Wooden Cutting Board

Non-porous boards such as glass, plastic, marble, or resin are often easier to clean because they cannot absorb any odors from the food you cut. 

However, wooden cutting boards are very porous and can absorb if you don’t clean them properly. 

It can also increase the amount of microorganisms, so follow these hacks to eliminate them!

Hot Soapy Water

Hot, soapy water is the best thing to do for your wooden cutting board.

 You must do this each time you use your cutting board to avoid the foul smells and bits and bits of food getting stuck in the cracks. 

Scrub your board with a gentle sponge and hot, soapy water. Use your gloves to not get burned by the hot water, and use mild, unscented dish soap.

 You must wash both sides of the board, even though you used one side. This prevents the board from drying unevenly, which can cause warping. 

washing a wood cutting board

(washing a wood cutting board)

Salt and Lime or Lemon

Lime/lemon juice are great cleaning agents and are acids that can eliminate bad smells. 

When you pair this with salt, which is abrasive, they take away the odors, go deep into the board, and kill bacteria and smells. 

Firstly, you wash the board with hot, soapy water as usual. Rinse the board and make sure all the soap is out.

 Add a teaspoon of salt to the board, and cut a lime/lemon in half to squeeze the juice onto the salt. 

Then, use the lemon or lime slice to scrub the board for 5 minutes. Rinse the board under running water until the juice and salt are gone. Leave your board to dry on the counter. 

rinsing board underwater

(rinsing board underwater)

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another household item with so many cleaning benefits.

 This simple pantry staple can be used for so much more except baking and cooking, and removing odors from your board is one of them. 

As usual, wash your board with soapy water and rinse properly. Make a baking soda paste with 1 part water and 3 parts baking soda. 

Apply this to the board and rub it with your hands. Rinse the board and leave it to dry. 

baking soda and vinegar

(baking soda and vinegar) 


Vinegar is another agent that works well with odors from fish and things like that. 

It is also good to use if you want to restore your wooden board to a clean slate. 

Put some vinegar on a clean cloth/rag and apply it to your board. Washing the board with soapy water before doing this is best. 

The vinegar will fight off any rancid odors, leaving your board smelling fresh and clean. 

Dry Your Board Completely

Experts say your board must be upright when you want to dry it. Wood can absorb the water and keep much of it after washing it. 

So, you have to make sure it dries evenly. If you put a damp board into the cupboard, you are at risk of mold, which also smells. 

When you stand the board on its edge, you will allow the broad section of the board to dry quickly and evenly. 

It ensures that one side does not dry faster than the other, which causes shrinking on the drier side. 

Season Your Cutting Board

When you own a wood cutting board, you would know that seasoning is very important. 

You also need to know what type of oils to use, as just any oil may make the board smell bad. 

Before oiling your board, use one of the above solutions to ensure it is clean. You cannot season a dirty or smelly board! 

Lay the board on a nice flat surface, like your countertop. Then, pour the oil onto the board and rub in with a dish towel. 

You can use coconut oil or beeswax for seasoning or buy a special wood cutting board oil. 

However, you must never use vegetable oils because they can soak into the board and cause more nasty smells. 

applying oil

(applying oil)


Wood VS. Plastic Cutting Board 

Wooden cutting boards can be made from maple, walnut, cherry or teak, making them durable, elegant and beautiful. 

While plastic cutting boards are lighter and cheaper, they are not hygienic. 

Wood cutting boards are the best overall because they are strong and hygienic. 

How to Sanitize Wooden Cutting Boards Used for Raw Meat

Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in a gallon of water and put this solution on the cutting board. 

Leave it to soak for some time and rinse with cold water. Leave to air dry or pat it dry with some paper towels. 

Remember, having different boards for different food items is always best, especially regarding raw meat. 


You have various ways to get sour smells out of your wood-cutting board. 

Remember, follow these directions properly and leave your board to dry before using it again. Seasoning your cutting board can also help prevent smells.