With just a little bit of effort, you can greatly extend the life and ensure performance of a wood cutting board or wood utensil. When new before the first use, the cutting board should be oiled with a butcher block oil or cream. Do not use a vegetable oil or olive oil as these will turn rancid over time. A butcher block oil, on the other hand, will remain food safe and prevent moisture from entering the wood grain. Over a time period of 4-5 weeks, the oil or cream will begin to dry, and the cutting board wood will take on a lighter color. It is then time to apply more oil.
To oil, simply pour some onto the board and spread it around with your hand. You cannot oil too much, so do not be afraid to use a generous quantity. Allow a couple of hours (or overnight) for the oil to soak into the grain, then wipe away the excess. Two excellent products for cutting board maintenance are the Block Bros. All-Natural Block Oil and John Boos Block Cream with unbleached beeswax.
To clean your cutting board, wash it by hand using anti-bacterial soap and warm water. Do not submerge. Add a small amount of bleach or vinegar to the water for extra bacterial killing power after chopping raw meat, fowl, or fish. You also can rub the cutting board with half of a lemon to kill bacteria. Dry by hand.