The benefits of wood
That said, it’s not an open and shut question of whether plastic or wooden cutting boards are safer. You might think that because plastic cutting boards are easier to clean and sanitize, so that would logically make them safer. “However, plastic cutting boards tend to be more easily damaged than wooden boards,” Heil says. “Once your plastic cutting board gets scratched, there are more places for pathogens to hide and it’s harder to get them fully clean.”
Researchers who compared the number of bacteria found on plastic cutting boards to the amount on wooden cutting boards found that wooden cutting boards, regardless of whether they were new or used, had fewer bacteria after cleaning than used plastic cutting boards, Heil says. Another study showed similar results. Learn about some other everyday items that are dirtier than a toilet seat.
In general, wood is tougher than plastic, so knife scars don’t go as deep. The type of wood the cutting board is made from is also important, Heil says. The FDA recommends that you look for a hard, close-grained wood like maple, which is more resistant to water damage.
Author: Jen McCaffery