Removing stubborn food odors from a wooden cutting board


I love your show but I have a question; I have a wooden cutting board and it smells like onions. I have tried to clean it hundreds of times and the smell won’t come out. Help!

Thank you,


Dear Erma:

Wooden cutting boards are great but tricky to clean because you can’t put them in the dishwasher. Sometimes, despite regularly cleaning with hot soapy water, stubborn food odors can linger, and even impart their flavor to whatever you are cutting (onion-flavored apples? Yuck). I would suggest getting a plastic or acrylic dishwasher-safe cutting board for onions, garlic, etc., and another one for meat too while you are at it.

One method to try to remove the onion odor from your wooden board is the following:

1. Scrub the board really well with a green Scotch-brite scrubber, dish soap and hot running water (as hot as you can stand). Let sit 10 minutes or so.

2. Scrub again under running water to completely remove the soap.

3. Then, scrub again with a generous amount of baking soda (dump it all over the board) to form a heavy paste. Let sit until dry. Scrub off the soda and rinse with hot water.

4. Saturate the entire board with undiluted white vinegar. Let dry completely.

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