How To Maintain and Sanitize Butcher Blocks
Whichever kind of butcher block, cutting board, wood plastic or glass you use, all should be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Some techniques recommended for end grain wood butcher blocks are as follows:
Hot water and soap - Scrub board with hot water and soap. Rinse and dry thoroughly. NOTE: NEVER submerge cutting boards in a sink of water! Wood is porous and they will soak up water causing the cutting board to crack when it dries.
Vinegar - To disinfect and clean your wood butcher block or countertop, wipe them with full-strength white vinegar after each use. The acetic acid in the vinegar is a good disinfectant, effective against such harmful bugs as E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Vinegar is especially good for people with chemical allergies. Keep a spray bottle of undiluted vinegar handy for easy cleaning and sanitizing.
Hydrogen Peroxide - 3% hydrogen peroxide can also be used as a bacteria-killer. To kill the germs on your cutting board, use a paper towel to wipe the board down with vinegar, then use another paper towel to wipe it with hydrogen peroxide.
Bleach - Sanitize both wood and plastic cutting boards with a diluted chlorine bleach or vinegar solution consisting of one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach in one quart of water or a one to five dilution of vinegar. Flood the surface with a sanitizing solution and allow it to stand for several minutes, then rinse and air dry or pat dry with paper towels.
To learn more about studies using vinegar for disinfecting cutting boards, check out this very interesting scientific article: The Microbiology of Cleaning and Sanitizing a Cutting Board by O. Peter Snyder, Jr., Ph.D.
All butcher blocks, and other food surfaces, should be kept dry when not in use. Resident bacteria survive no more than a few hours without moisture. Keep moisture of any type from standing on the block for long periods of time. Beware of moisture collecting beneath the board if you leave it on the counter. If you can, prop one end up when not using your board.