How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board

A few months back I was at an estate sale and ran into a thick butcher block cutting board. It was dirty. And gross. And I almost didn’t take it because it looked absolutely disgusting. But, I do have a deep love for cutting boards

I also knew I could restore it back to its former beauty, so today I’m showing you how to do just that. Here’s how to clean & restore an old cutting board that’s definitely seen better days…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

Here’s what it looked like before… yuck and double yuck!

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

There was absolutely no way that thing was coming in my house until it had a good scrub.

So, I grabbed the white vinegar and went to work…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

I poured about a 1/3 of the bottle into our sink, then set the cutting board face down into the vinegar…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

Because it was nasty, I let it soak for about an hour, then used my scrub brush and started scrubbing…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

Here’s what the vinegar looked like… holy gross!

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

Then, to sanitize it, I grabbed the hydrogen peroxide and poured it all over the top…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

Again, I started scrubbing away…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

I didn’t notice a ton of white bubbles, but this board didn’t have hardly any deep cuts in the wood.

I rinsed it off, then let it dry over night…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

There were still a few bad spots, so I soaked it another hour in the vinegar and kept scrubbing away…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

I ended up soaking it three times to get it clean. Then, to give it a rich finish, I grabbed my coconut oil…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

I just warmed it up and started rubbing it into the wood…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

The wood really absorbed the oil and drastically darkened…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

I only applied one coat, but if it starts to dry out, I’ll add another one.

It’s such a lovely piece!

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

And now that you can actually see it, I absolutely adore the pattern of the butcher block…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

It’s going to be just perfect for styling and sitting out…

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

Those little feet are quite adorable as well..

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

And let’s not even get me started on the combination of the wood and my new vintage napkins that I bought at The Vintage Whites Market

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

She’s a beauty!

How To Clean & Restore an Old Cutting Board by The Wood Grain Cottage

And even though I probably won’t be using this as a cutting board, it is food safe and ready to go if I ever change my mind! But who am I kidding, it’s probably going to be best friends with my growing iron stone collection…

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Lovely comments so far...

  1. Wow! It looks amazing. You did an awesome job!

  2. Couldn’t you have just sanded it to restore it?

    • Hi Karen! I could have sanded it down, and I thought hard about it, but since there weren’t any big cuts in the wood, I just decided to use vinegar. Plus, I wanted to see how well the vinegar method would work! :-D

  3. It was worth the work–lovely. I have been using coconut oil on all of my wood pieces lately.

  4. I have a thing for cutting boards too! This one turned out to be beautiful. Your determination paid off!

  5. I’ve always read that coconut oil can spoil and shouldn’t be used in this way. Have you had any experience with using it long term? I would love to use it on my cutting board if it’s safe.

    • Hi Jen! From the research that I’ve done, coconut oil is perfect to use on cutting boards because it doesn’t spoil. Olive oil or vegetable oil will turn rancid, but coconut oil lasts for years. You can also use mineral oil, but I had a hard time finding it. :-D
      I hope that helps!
      -Shayna

      • Shayna,
        You can find mineral oil at drug stores, if you have a Walgreen, it’s with the laxative stuffs. I guess since it’s for internal use, it’s food safe.:-)

        • Shayna says:

          THANK YOU so much for the tip, Lee! I looked all over our local Walmart… including by the laxatives. Next time I’m at a Walgreens, I’m going to grab a bottle! :-D

  6. It came out beautifully! I just saw one similar at Williams-Sonoma and they’re asking ….. wait for it….. $139.00 and it’s not even half as nice as yours! Wish I could add the picture of it so you could see for yourself! Great find, and now it’s beautiful again!!

  7. Great post!!! I just purchased two cutting boards from the thrift and had no idea how to go about cleaning & restoring them – thank you for sharing.

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