Wood versus plastic cutting boards

Since cutting boards are an essential part of any kitchen, it’s best to have a cutting board that fits your question. But that in itself begs the question: which cutting board is best? There are several types of cutting board materials: plastic, wood, bamboo and glass, so what should you go with? Wood versus plastic cutting boards? Bamboo versus glass cutting boards?

Each cutting board has its pros and cons; there is no such thing as a perfect board. Obviously, you don’t want a board that absorbs lots of bacteria or dulls your knives, so let’s take a look at the different cutting board materials and which should be used in your kitchen.

Plastic Cutting Boards

Along with wood, plastic is a popular material for cutting boards. True, they are not as visually appealing as wood boards, but they are easy to clean, dishwasher safe and durable. Plastic cutting boards are often cheaper than their counterparts and require no maintenance. They are durable, flexible and lightweight, too. Plastic boards usually come in HDPE, or high-density polyethylene.

However, although plastic cutting boards are nonporous, they are known to get scars and gouges from knives more often than wood or bamboo boards. These cuts can house bacteria and are difficult to clean out, but the fact that plastic cutting boards are cheap means it is easy to replace them. In fact, plastic cutting boards are the best option when it comes to boards that need constant replacements. 

Plastic cutting boards are also not the best option when it comes to eco-friendliness, as plastic can lasts for hundreds of years.

Wood Cutting Boards

Wood cutting boards are heavier and tougher than plastic and are the best material for knives. They are natural-looking and eco-friendly by being biodegradable and renewable. Maple and beech are some of the best options for wood cutting boards.

Another advantage for these durable boards is that they don’t have to be thrown out; you can simply sand down the surface, and then you’re good to go. 

On the other hand, wood cutting boards can be more porous, meaning they absorb bacteria, and therefore should be avoided when dealing with meat.

They also require much more maintenance than a plastic one. They are not dishwasher safe and must be washed and dried carefully. Wood boards also need to be oiled regularly. 

Bamboo Cutting Board

While many people consider bamboo cutting boards a type of wood cutting board, they are actually incorrect. Bamboo is a fast-growing grass, so these boards are harder, tougher and less porous than wood boards. They are dense and durable, and they easily resist scars from knives and won’t dull them too much. Bamboo cutting boards are known for their aesthetic looks, and they are eco-friendly.

Like wood boards, bamboo boards require oiling and are not dishwasher safe. However, if maintained properly, bamboo cutting boards can last a long time.

Glass Cutting Boards

The least known cutting board material is glass. These boards are nonporous and easy to clean, but they have many cons.

Glass boards dull knives quickly, and they create a loud noise when being cut on. The smooth surface can also cause knives to slip more easily.

In fact, glass cutting boards are so bad for actually cutting that they are usually recommended for only making dough.

So Which is Best? Wood Versus Plastic Cutting Boards?

Honestly, there is no clear answer. Many studies claim wood cutting boards are better than plastic, and other studies counter that plastic cutting boards are better than wood. The debate is still raging on which is better.

It all comes down to preference. If you replace cutting boards often and want something easy to clean, plastic is your best option. If you want something eco-friendly and good with knives, go with wood. Bamboo cutting boards are known for their aesthetics, and glass ones are completely nonporous.

If anything, you can mix and match cutting boards for the perfect combination. Use a wooden cutting board for fruits and vegetables and a plastic cutting board for meats. 

No Matter What…

No matter which cutting board material you decide to go with – wood versus plastic cutting boards – there are some core rules you should keep in mind.

  1. Replace your cutting board when it gets warped or grooved. Again, this is why plastic cutting boards are the best option if you need to constantly replace your cutting board.
  2. Avoid cross-contamination by cutting your vegetables and meat on different boards. Different colored boards can symbolize different food groups. For example, red is often meant for meat. Use a different knife, too. 
  3. Maintain your cutting board by cleaning it properly. Remove all food particles after cooking, especially any raw meat. Plastic is dishwasher safe, but bamboo and wood have to be washed by hand. Wash it in warm, soapy water, but don’t soak it. You can also disinfect it with vinegar. Don’t forget to oil it, either; make sure it is completely dry before oiling. To remove any odors, scrub the board with a lemon half and some salt. For stains, sprinkle on some baking soda and scrub with a damp cloth. Once washed, the board needs to be completely dry before being stored.

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