How to Remove Oil from a Wooden Cutting Board…Naturally

Ok, doesn’t anyone else find older cutting boards/bread boards at thrift or garage sales? And if you do, they are usually well loved and either in need or oil or have waaaay too much oil.


In my case, waaaay too much oil. I found this vintage cutting board shaped like a piggy at an estate sale for $1.00, yep, $1.00. The children were hosting the estate sale and didn’t understand what they had. Their mom had probably used this nearly everyday of their lives and created wonderful meals for them. It was used, oiled and loved quite a bit.

In trying to keep it beautiful and useful, their mom oiled it frequently, too frequently and now it’s sticky and unusable. But for me, it’s perfect to display! I just need to get rid of some of the stickiness.

I searched and searched online for a way to remove oil and grease from wood, cutting boards, bread boards, cabinets, anything to get rid of this. There are all kinds of posts and videos for removing oil and grease with harsh products, but I want to remove it naturally in case, I might want to use it one day. You can’t use harsh chemicals on a surface that touches your food. There are even posts and videos for how to apply oil to wood…um, I got that one covered.

I finally found a video about removing grease naturally from kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately, I cannot find it again.  She started out using apple cider vinegar and oil and it worked on the lightly greasy areas, but not on the heavily greasy part, you know, where the handle is? She then tried using a combination of 4 tbsps. baking soda to one tbsp. of olive oil. She rubbed it on and it worked really well.


Oh, I forgot to mention the elbow grease, you need to use elbow grease to remove grease. 🙂

So, I thought I would give it a try. I made the paste and spread it on with a cake knife (you can use a butter or putty knife, I just like this one). I let it sit for about five minutes…don’t know why, I just did, sounds good, right?  I dampened the end of an old washcloth and began rubbing in a circular motion all over the little pig. I couldn’t tell if it was getting rid of the oil or just the years of use. Once I was finished, I rinsed it with warm water. I still couldn’t tell so I rubbed my hand over it and it felt less oily except in two places. You know how it feels when you wash your hair and as you run your hands over it, it squeaks? That’s what the cleaner areas felt like, but no squeaking.

I continued to wash the two oily areas, rinsed and let dry. And to my most awesome delight, it worked!! It now looks like my grandma’s cutting board, which I haven’t oiled since I got it…ahem…30 years ago…cough…sputter.

You can see the difference here. This is the side I did and this is the side I still need to do.

After I washed both sides, I rough, then fine sanded.  I could have had my hubby plane it to get rid of all the use, but what’s the point of getting a vintage cutting board if you’re just going to get rid of the patina.  I love the patina.


I then wiped it down with a wet rag, still keeping with no chemicals and when it was dry I rubbed hemp oil on it.  You can use olive oil or any food safe oil, I like hemp oil though.  To me, it’s less greasy.  I waited an hour and then wiped up the excess.  There wasn’t much excess because the olive oil and baking soda pulled out the old oil so well.  The wood just soaked it up.  And as you can see, it looks so cool!  I can still see the knife marks where she prepared dinner.


Just look at that patina!


So if you ever find a beautiful cutting board, but it feels oily and gross, don’t pass it up! Just clean it up!


This has a second coat of oil…beautiful


What do you think, will you buy that old cutting board or just pass it on by? If you pass it up, let me know, I’ll come get it!


This entry was posted in bread board, cleaning, crafts, cutting boards, DIY, Home Decor, organization, Uncategorized, vintage board. Bookmark the permalink.

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