As long as there have been boards, and things to cut on them, there has been the debate:
Is plastic or wood better for cutting boards?
We’re setting the record straight.
Plastic vs. Wood - a Cutting Board Showdown
It would be really easy to just come right out and say “Wood cutting boards are superior,” (because it’s true). But, we’re not about taking the easy way out. If you’re like us, you need more than just someone saying: “This is the way it is.” (Don’t worry. We get it.) So, we’ve put together a list of just some of the numerous ways in which wooden cutting boards out-perform their plastic counterparts.
There are numerous elements to consider when comparing and contrasting wooden cutting boards and plastic cutting boards. But, since the food you prepare on them is going to be going into your body, one of the first things that has to be taken into account is their relationship with germs.
Combating bacteria is a vital element of food preparation. The last thing you want is for your fresh food to become somehow contaminated with bacteria or germs. It can ruin what would be a delicious dinner, and send your guests running for the restrooms if the contamination is bad enough. To help prevent this type of unfortunate incident, it’s vital that you take the time to sanitize all of your kitchen tools… including your cutting board.
When it comes to keeping your cutting board clean, wood takes the prize for one simple reason: it’s naturally anti-microbial thanks to the fact that it’s made of wood. Which means, it automatically helps fight bacteria and germs that try to take up residence on it… something a plastic cutting board won’t do. So, while your wooden cutting board actively works with you to help keep it germ free, your plastic cutting board just sits there expecting you to take care of everything (like a child who won’t move out).
Not only do plastic cutting boards not have naturally antimicrobial properties that help it automatically fight germs, but also, because of the way that plastic works, it actually does the opposite. When you chop on a plastic cutting board, the board itself becomes covered with a series of nicks, cuts, and gouges. These various crevices then become refuges where germs and bacteria can hide (allowing them to survive washings and linger for the next time you’re prepping food).
Wooden cutting boards, in addition to being naturally antimicrobial, do not take damage the way a plastic cutting board does. Which means they are not subject to all the nicks, cuts, and gouges where germs love to hide. Any germs or bacteria that do manage to cling to your wood cutting board and endure its naturally antimicrobial properties can be easily removed with some hot soapy water.
For a detailed guide on how to clean and care for your cutting board, CLICK HERE.
Another factor which definitely must be considered when decided between a wood cutting board and a plastic one is durability. How long will the cutting board last? How long will it remain usable? How often can you use it? (Because, there’s no point in having a cutting board you can’t actually cut on without ruining it.) When considering the durability of the two cutting board types, the obvious victor is a no-brainer.
There’s no two ways around it, wood just flat out destroys plastic when it comes to durability. Plastic cutting boards take a lot of damage just from being used. Each knife cut scores and gouges into the plastic board’s surface, slowly wearing away at its structure. Over time, this damage becomes increasingly less gradual, until your cutting board is cracking and flaking apart all over the place (more on that later). Wooden cutting boards, on the other hand, do not damage the way that plastic boards do. They are resilient to destruction from being chopped on, and can actually even help preserve the blades of your knives (added bonus)! A properly cared for wooden cutting board can last for generations. While, a plastic cutting board can last a few years if you’re lucky. The winner here is obvious: wood all the way.
Want to know more about how to help your wooden cutting board last for generations? READ THIS >
Remember that flaking we mentioned earlier with the plastic cutting boards? This is where that comes into play.
As plastic cutting boards are used more and more, they begin to crack and flake off bits of their plastic layers with each use. (Not great, right? Just wait.) These plastic flakes have to go somewhere. And the place they often end up is stuck to your food. That’s something you do not want because (SPOILER ALERT) plastic is not good for eating. (Duh.) So, no matter how hard you work to keep your plastic cutting board clean, you might still end up getting sick just from ingesting the pieces of plastic that flake off of your perfectly clean plastic cutting board. (No thanks.)
Inadvertently giving your guests plastic poisoning is something you never have to worry about with a wood cutting board. That’s because wooden cutting boards don’t chip and flake from being used like their plastic counterparts tend to do. They also are made of wood, which (while not necessarily delicious) is not toxic if ingested like plastic is. The only potential side-effect of using a wooden cutting board is having well chopped food.
A cutting board is a kitchen tool utilized nearly every meal time, so it’s going to see a lot of time out in the open on your counter top or table. Take that into consideration when deciding what type of cutting board you would like to purchase.
When it comes to visual aesthetic, there’s no substitute for wood. The rich, natural look and texture of a wood cutting board make it a stunning addition to any kitchen. The same can’t always be said for plastic.
Over time, the disparity between a wood cutting board and a plastic cutting board will become increasingly obvious. As plastic cutting boards take on more wear and tear, they begin to crack and flake. This can cause them to look very haggard. Plastic cutting boards also tend to accumulate stains over time on the heavily utilized areas of their surface. These stains are unavoidable and cannot be removed, which creates an unpleasant aesthetic.
In contrast, wood cutting boards are not susceptible to staining. When properly cared for, wood cutting boards can maintain their pristine, natural beauty for generations. (Find out how to care for your wood cutting board HERE.) Also, the surface of a wood cutting board is resistant to damage, meaning it won’t end up gouged, cracking, and peeling like the plastic cutting boards will.
Without a doubt, a wooden cutting board will always win out over a plastic one when it comes to aesthetics.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But, if you’re asking us (which you kind of are because you’re reading this), the evidence seems too overwhelming to ignore. Wooden cutting boards are far superior to plastic ones when it comes to preventing the growth and spread of bacteria and germs. They last for generations if properly cared for, unlike their plastic counterparts. Wood boards won’t flake off poisonous plastic into your food. And a wooden cutting board looks aesthetically superior to a plastic one, hands down.
When it comes to the battle of the cutting boards, wood is the clear victor in nearly every category. So now, the only real question is: what do you want to have custom engraved on yours?