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Cutting-Board Cleanup

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2010

If you can't use a dishwasher (which won't work for wood, bamboo, and some composite boards), is bleaching the next best method for eliminating bacteria from your board?

If you can’t use a dishwasher (which won’t work for wood, bamboo, and some composite boards), is bleaching the next best method for eliminating bacteria from your cutting board?

We sent a stack of boards to a lab, where they were colonized with salmonella, then washed with hot soapy water or sprayed with bleach solution or undiluted vinegar. All methods were equally effective at reducing bacteria to less than 10 CFUs (colony forming units).

We asked an outside lab to compare wood, plastic, bamboo, and composite cutting boards to see if any particular material harbored more bacteria after washing. Bamboo boards actually have antibacterial properties that help kill off bacteria, but all of the materials we tested came back perfectly clean.