How to Remove Garlic Odor From Wood Cutting Boards

After years of debate, most studies now state that wood cutting boards harbor less bacteria than plastic ones. The wood does like to hang on to strong odors, though, such as onions and garlic. A thorough cleaning followed by seasoning with mineral oil will keep your wood cutting board fresh and odor-free.

  1. Thoroughly wash the cutting board with a mild detergent. Avoid using steel wool or scouring sponges, because they will scratch and damage the wood. Rinse well and set out to dry.

  2. Use a soft cloth and about 1/4 cup of white vinegar to wipe down the board. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and will neutralize odors.

  3. Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side of the lemon over the entire surface of the cutting board. Give the lemon an extra squeeze to release all of the juice, and then repeat with the other half. The lemon is a natural cleanser and will also neutralize odors.

  4. While the board is still wet with lemon juice, sprinkle 1/2 cup of kosher salt over the board and gently massage the salt on the surface. Let the salt and lemon mixture sit on the board for at least four hours, or overnight. The salt and lemon will draw the odors out of the wood.

  5. Rinse the lemon and salt mixture off of the board and let dry completely.

  6. Use a clean cloth to rub 2 tbsp. of mineral oil over the entire cutting board. The mineral oil will season the board and create a seal to prevent strong odors from being absorbed.


  • Do not try to season a cutting board with vegetable or olive oil, as the oil will go rancid.