How to clean plastic cutting boards – instructions and tips against stains and odors

Written by Kremena Ruseva

Unlike wood, plastic isn’t as porous, which can be an advantage in the kitchen when you need to clean a plastic cutting boards. However, it often happens that these utensils become discolored or catch leftovers that are difficult to remove. Unfortunately, the dishwasher cannot help much in such cases unless the kitchen board is not very dirty. Luckily, there are proven home remedies and cleaning methods you can use to naturally clean plastic cutting boards. Learn below how to remove stains using just hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, or dish soap.

Do not use bleach to clean your plastic cutting board

baking soda odor eliminator for cutting boards made of plastic


There’s a never-ending debate about the benefits of wooden vs. plastic cutting boards. As a rule, the latter are less maintenance-intensive, as they can be cleaned with only soap and water. In addition, plastic cutting boards do not require maintenance such as oil or wax like wooden cutting boards. They are also great for slicing fruits, vegetables, bread, raw meat, etc. This type of material will last longer, but as soon as there is too much wear and tear from knife cuts, you might want to consider buying a new one.

clean plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher


If you clean your plastic cutting board, you should do it by hand so it can last longer. The thinner models don’t just deform due to the heat in the dishwasher, but also tend to decay much faster. The steps are actually pretty similar to cleaning wooden cutting boards. Although plastic is incredibly convenient and easy to care for, bacteria can grow in the grooves made by the knife, damaging the surface over time. Bleach can kill many of these bacteria, but not everyone wants to introduce this chemical into their kitchen — let alone their food prep surfaces. With that in mind, here’s how to remove stains from your plastic cutting board without using bleach.

Easy cleaning method with dish soap and water

use a scrubbing brush and clean up the knife cuts on the kitchen board

You can clean your plastic cutting board by simply treating it with mild dish soap and warm water. First, rinse off any leftover food from the board. If doing this manually, you should use hot, soapy water and a scrubbing brush. A rag or sponge will not get into the knife grooves that are found on any used cutting board.

before and after cleaning plastic cutting board

Use a scrubbing brush to work the water and soap into the crevices and remove any food debris and bacteria. Thoroughly wash the cutting board, making sure to clean both the front and back. Rinse the board with warm water, removing all soapy water, and then allow to air dry.

Combine baking soda with white vinegar to clean plastic cutting board

use a paste of baking soda and vinegar to clean plastic chopping boards

Mix equal parts baking soda and white vinegar into a paste. Spread the paste on the stained area and leave it on for at least 5 minutes. Then rinse the board thoroughly with water. Basically, the combination of baking soda and acetic acid acts as a cleaning and disinfecting agent at the same time. In addition, many kitchen utensils and household items can be cleaned with the tried and tested baking soda/vinegar combination, although you may have to repeat the process if the board is very dirty.

Use hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach on kitchen boards

eco friendly cleaning methods with baking soda and vinegar in the kitchen

Use simple hydrogen peroxide to remove stains from plastic cutting boards. This is an alternative solution to bleach that also helps disinfection. Additionally, simple 3% hydrogen peroxide will bleach stains from cutting boards if given enough exposure time. It is a natural bleach that whitens surfaces, kills bacteria and neutralizes odors. It is crucial to give the hydrogen peroxide several hours to work on the stain.

rely on natural agents to clean plastic cutting boards

To do this, place the cutting board in a sink and spray or pour hydrogen peroxide over the cutting board until it is wet. Leave it on for several hours or overnight. You should be able to see that the stain gets much lighter. You can then rinse the cutting board again with washing-up liquid and water and let it dry.

after cutting meat remove stains from plastic cutting board with scrubbing of baking soda

Mixing hydrogen peroxide with dish soap and baking soda also makes an easy-to-apply paste that bleaches stains on cutting boards. To do this, make a paste of 3-4 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 1-2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. The mixture should be easy to spread but not too runny. Spread the cleaner on one side of the cutting board and leave it on for several hours or overnight. Wipe or rub off the paste, rinse the cutting board with dish soap and water, and let dry.

Try the lemon cleansing method

use lemon juice to clean plastic cutting boards

Another eco-friendly option is to use the juice of a lemon to clean plastic cutting boards. This also removes stains and also eliminate discolouration on the surface. However, you may get better results if you repeat the process as this is a natural product and does not contain any harsh chemicals. Also, let the cutting board dry in the sun for a few days afterwards, as sunshine can also act as a natural bleaching agent.

fight bacteria on kitchen boards with a solution of white vinegar and washing up liquid

In addition, this method requires a little more time. So if you want to quickly remove stains from your cutting board, you should try one of the options above. Still, this is a great cleaning method when you have time and don’t want to put in a lot of effort. To do this, simply cut a lemon in half and then squeeze the juice while rubbing it all around the stained cutting board. After that, put the board outside and leave it in the sun all day.

Tips for disinfecting and removing odors from plastic cutting boards

How to clean plastic chopping boards

  • Vinegar is a great all-natural home remedy that can disinfect your plastic cutting board. It eats the bacteria and enables fresh cleaning. Just pour some white vinegar over your chopping board regularly after cutting and leave for 1-2 minutes. Then you should rinse it off with warm water.
  • Rinse your cutting board with mild dish soap after disinfection to ensure you’ve eliminated any bacteria. Some people use diluted bleach to disinfect their kitchen boards, and it can work just like vinegar. However, the above methods are preferable as the cleaners do not contain chemicals.

use hydrogen peroxide to clean plastic cutting boards instead of bleach

  • If possible, put your cutting boards in the dishwasher. One of the advantages of non-porous plastic is that it is also dishwasher safe. The hot wash cycle in the dishwasher is therefore one of the best ways to disinfect your cutting board.
  • If your plastic cutting board is soiled with grease and odors, you can simply treat it with baking soda. Baking soda is also a great odor eliminator. Sprinkle and spread with a little water on the board when rinsing. If soap and water doesn’t remove the onion smell from your cutting board, baking soda certainly will.
  • Even with stubborn stains, leave the baking soda on for a few minutes and then scrub the stained area thoroughly. If the stain is stubborn and won’t come off, add a little more and leave it on a little longer.

 

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