5 Safest Non-Toxic Cutting Boards (No Harmful Chemicals)

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James Miller
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James is an environmentalist, sustainability expert and senior editor at TheRoundup, specializing in testing non-toxic, organic and eco-friendly products. James, his wife and two daughters believe in chemical-free and zero-waste living. They aim to leave the planet in a better state than we found it, for future generations to enjoy.
James Miller
Category: 
Updated: July 3, 2024

Are you tired of using cutting boards that expose your food to harmful chemicals?

Most people don't realize their food chopping board might contain BPA, microplastics, or even formaldehyde.

Some also trap harmful bacteria, while others can damage your expensive kitchen knives.

I'm the regular chef in our house and I chop food daily. So I set out to research and test the safest non-toxic cutting boards guaranteed to be eco-friendly, durable, and high-performing.

I've compiled a list of the best cutting board options on the market. You'll love them because they tick all the boxes and are affordable too...

My 5 Favorite Non-Toxic Cutting Boards

Materials: American Black Walnut Wood
Size: (L) 17", (W) 12", (D) 1.25"
Weight: 5.60 lbs
Warranty: 1 Year
Knife Protection: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Durability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Maintenance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why It's My #1 Pick: This stunning walnut cutting board is my #1 pick because it was the best all-rounder during testing.

The Amercian black walnut is robust and knife-friendly.

I was also impressed by the multifunctional design. It doubles as a beautiful serving platter.

Personal Experience: This is the best cutting board I've ever used. It's definitely a keeper!

The weight and thickness are just right for a stable surface. This is reassuring when working with larger or tougher ingredients.

The thoughtful juice trench design saved me from countless spills and cleanup sessions and made my cooking prep process much smoother.

I also use this board to serve snacks and appetizers during gatherings. Guests always comment on its beauty, and it often becomes a conversation piece.

The board came pre-treated with two coats of food-grade mineral oil. This was fine (it's non-toxic). However, I prefer to use coconut oil on all my wooden kitchen utensils. So, straight out of the box, I thoroughly washed it in warm, soapy water and allowed it to air dry.

I then applied a generous oil coating and let it soak in for three hours. This helped protect the board further and enhance the natural beauty of the wood grain.

About the Brand: You can read my detailed thoughts on the brand in my Our Place Review article.

Pros & Cons

Exceptional durability and knife protection
Versatile design suitable for cutting and serving
Aesthetic appeal with unique wood grain patterns
Environmentally friendly material sourcing
Food-safe glue (FDA, Prop65, and LFGB compliant)
Heavier than some other cutting boards
Requires handwashing and regular oiling maintenance (although very easy)
Made in China (but in a certified and ethically run factory)

Verified Customer Reviews

  • Great Addition to My Kitchen
    Really lovely solid chopping board. Big, statement, lovely dark color.

    Inge H
    ★★★★★

  • Beautiful Wood
    The board is beautiful, thick and stands up perfectly on the counter! Love it!

    Rita M
    ★★★★★

  • Great!
    High quality. Really nice. I specifically like that it's not flat so catches juices.

    Julie C
    ★★★★★

Materials: American Black Walnut Wood
Size: (L) 13.5", (W) 13.5", (D) 0.75"
Weight: 2.75 lbs
Warranty: 1 Year
Knife Protection: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stability: ⭐⭐⭐
Durability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Maintenance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why It's My Recommended Round Cutting Board: Most of the competition's round boards were made from thinner, cheaper wood that felt flimsy. However, this board is made from durable American walnut wood and excelled in every test.

Personal Experience: The quality was evident when I unpacked this round cutting board. The rich, dark tones of the walnut wood and the smooth finish were striking.

The first test was when I used it for a wine and cheese night. It was an instant hit. The board provided plenty of space for various cheeses, fruits, and nuts. The juice groove worked perfectly, catching stray liquids and keeping the table clean.

This board is not just a pretty face, though. The sturdy American walnut wood also stood up to heavy chopping and food prep during testing.

This round board will last years with a bit of love and care (handwashing only and regular oiling).

About the Brand: Virginia Boys Kitchens is a family-run business. They're committed to quality, sustainability, and community values.

Despite the name, the company prides itself on being inclusive and diverse. It has a deep love for wood, particularly walnut, which it uses to craft beautiful, high-quality kitchenware.

All Virginia Boys Kitchens products are locally made to support local economies. This also eliminates the ecological footprint of overseas shipping.

Pros & Cons

Local production for lower carbon footprint
Durable and long-lasting
Beautiful, unique grain patterns
Versatile for both cutting and serving
Made in the USA, supporting local artisans
The shape makes it difficult to stand the board on its end to dry
Often out of stock due to bespoke production methods
Materials: Natural Wood Fiber Composite
Size: (L) 19", (W) 14", (D) 0.25"
Weight: 2.49 lbs
Warranty: Lifetime
Knife Protection: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Durability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Maintenance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why It's My Recommended Dishwasher-Safe Cutting Board: Most of the dishwasher-safe cutting boards I tested were made from plastic. And some of the composite ones were made with questionable materials and toxic glues.

However, I was very impressed with this board from Elihome. It's non-porous, made from high-density pine leaf fiber wood, and certified non-toxic by NSF International.

Personal Experience: I was impressed by this cutting board's versatile design during testing. It performed brilliantly in all types of food preparation.

I was equally impressed by the non-porous surface. It didn't absorb odors or stains, even after cutting garlic and beets.

This is also the largest board I'm recommending. If you need a large surface area, this could be the board for you.

However, cleaning is where this cutting board excelled. After each test session, I popped it in the dishwasher, and it came out looking as good as new every time!

About the Brand: Elihome has over thirty years of experience in the global kitchen and housewares business.

Pros & Cons

Eco-friendly and sustainable material
Durable and resistant to damage
Non-porous and knife-friendly surface
Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
Heat resistant up to 350°F
Juice groove design keeps the kitchen clean
Not as naturally beautiful as wooden cutting boards
Materials: FSC-Certified Birch Wood
Size: (Small) 10" x 7", (Med) 14" x 10", (Large) 17" x 12"
Weight: (Small) 0.85 lbs, (Med) 2.67 lbs, (Large) 3.55 lbs
Warranty: 1 Year
Knife Protection: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stability: ⭐⭐⭐
Durability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Maintenance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why It's My Recommended Cutting Board Set: Most of the sets I tested for this article were either poor quality or very expensive. But this set from Caraway was different.

It's made from high-quality FSC-certified birch wood which is both sustainable and durable.

The set includes three sizes catering to a wide range of kitchen needs. During my tests, whether chopping vegetables, slicing bread, or preparing meat, there was a board that fit the task perfectly.

Personal Experience: The first thing I noticed during testing was the quality of the birch wood. The boards felt solid and well-made, with a smooth finish that was gentle on my knives.

Having three sizes to test was incredibly useful. It allowed me to switch between tasks without repeatedly washing the boards.

I loved the inclusion of a storage organizer. It kept the boards upright and air-dried. So they remained in excellent condition and I saved counter space.

The boards are finished with food-safe mineral oil and wax. However, as with the Our Place board, I thoroughly washed all three boards in hot, soapy water. I then applied a generous coating of coconut oil to keep it it top condition.

About the Brand: Caraway focuses on making non-toxic, eco-friendly products for home cooks.

Every Caraway product I've ever tested has been shipped in plastic-free, recyclable packaging.

Pros & Cons

Sustainable and eco-friendly materials
Durable and long-lasting
Three versatile sizes
Non-toxic and safe for food preparation
Convenient storage organizer
Made in China (but with BSCI and SMETA-certified manufacturers)
Materials: Cherry Wood
Size: (L) 18", (W) 7.25", (D) 0.75"
Weight: 5.50 lbs
Warranty: 1 Year
Knife Protection: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Durability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Maintenance: ⭐⭐⭐

Why It's My Recommended Single-Piece Board: The cherry wood used is robust, with a beautiful grain pattern. It was the most visually appealing of all the single-piece wood boards I tested.

The homemade beeswax and organic coconut oil polish also set it apart from the competition. It protected the wood and gave it a rich, warm glow.

Personal Experience: The first thing that struck me about this cutting board during testing was its weight and stability. Both immediately gave me a feeling of durability.

The board performed exceptionally well. It provided a stable, non-slip surface for chopping. Its size is perfect for both small and large tasks.

The board was easy to clean in hot, soapy water. I found the added care instructions helpful for keeping it in good condition. However, because this is a solid piece of wood, you do have to be extra careful to dry it thoroughly to prevent warping and cracking.

About the Brand:  Adirondack Kitchen has a history of fine woodworking.

It uses locally sourced wood and organic finishes. The brand also prides itself on its plastic-free packaging, using kraft paper instead.

Pros & Cons

High-quality handmade construction
Eco-friendly and sustainable materials
Durable and long-lasting
Easy to maintain with provided care instructions
Useful handle for hanging storage
Extra care is needed to prevent warping and cracking

How I Tested

I rigorously tested every recommendation in this article across extensive criteria.

Here's how I approached testing to ensure that every board was the best option for your specific needs.

Material and Sustainability

  • Composition: The materials used must be natural, sustainable, and non-toxic to be included in this article. I also looked for cutting boards without harmful added chemicals or finishes.
  • Certifications: I sought trustworthy certifications such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or NSF International.
  • Place of Manufacture: Supporting ethical, local production should always be a priority. So, I focused on boards made in factories with strong labor laws and environmental practices.
  • Shipping: Quick and eco-friendly shipping matters. I favored brands that minimized waste with their packaging.

Design

  • Size: I tested how well the board's size suited various kitchen tasks. A board must accommodate everything from chopping vegetables to prepping meats. All while fitting comfortably on your worktop.
  • Special Features: Some cutting boards have features like juice grooves or handles for easy carrying. I carefully considered whether these features were functional or just gimmicks.
  • Stability (1-5): A board should remain stable on the counter while cutting. I considered things like anti-slip grips, rubber feet, or a sufficiently weighty base to prevent sliding.

Performance and Value

  • Knife Protection (1-5): A good quality cutting board should protect your knives rather than dull them. I checked whether the material was too hard or abrasive.
  • Damage Resistance (1-5): I used multiple knife styles and tested the board with repeated use and cleaning. Minor scratches are inevitable. But the board should not splinter or develop deep gouges that can attract bacteria.
  • Price: I considered whether the cutting board provided good value relative to its price, quality, and the health benefits it offers.
  • Reviews: I considered feedback from other users. This helped me better gauge long-term durability, maintenance, and performance.
  • Warranty: Strong warranties show manufacturer confidence. I looked for boards that offer comprehensive coverage for a reasonable period.

Cleaning and Maintenance

  • Ease of Cleaning (1-5): I tested whether each cutting board could be hand-washed with mild soap. Or whether it was safe to put in the dishwasher.
  • Maintenance Needs: I looked at how often maintenance, like oiling wooden boards, was needed. I also checked if any instructions from the manufacturer were clear and easy to follow.

What Are the Benefits of Non-Toxic Cutting Boards?

Switching to non-toxic cutting boards is one of the simplest ways to make your kitchen a healthier and greener place.

Non-toxic wood boards will keep your food chemical-free and reduce your carbon footprint.

testing a non-toxic cutting board for raw meat

What are the Safest Cutting Board Materials and Which Should I Avoid?

Wood

Verdict: Safe

Hardwood cutting boards are a traditional favorite and the only type I use. I love them for their durability, natural beauty, and knife-friendly surfaces.

You either get a board made from a single piece of wood or pieces of wood glued together.

A single piece is often considered superior. However, without extra care, it can warp and crack.

I prefer cutting boards made from large pieces of sustainable wood glued with non-toxic, food-safe glue. This usually results in a stronger and more warp-resistant board.

  • Environmental Impact: When sourced sustainably, wood cutting boards are long-lasting and biodegradable. Certifications like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) ensure responsible forestry practices.
  • Health Impact: Solid wood has natural antibacterial properties that help resist contamination. Proper care (hand washing and oiling) minimizes the risk of bacteria hiding in cuts and cracks.

Plastic

Verdict: Avoid

Plastic boards are popular for their affordability, lightweight nature, and ease of cleaning.

They come in various colors and are often dishwasher-safe.

But they are bad for the environment and can contain chemicals.

  • Environmental Impact: Plastic cutting boards, by their nature, are made from petroleum-based materials and are non-biodegradable. They can break down over time, leading to microplastic pollution.
  • Health Impact: Over time, plastic cutting boards develop grooves and cracks that can harbor bacteria. They may also contain harmful chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which could leach into food.

Composite (Epicurean, Bamboo, etc.)

Verdict: Safe only if Certified

Composite boards blend natural fibers with resins to create durable, eco-friendly surfaces.

Epicurean cutting boards use paper-resin composites.

Bamboo cutting boards are usually made from strips of bamboo that are glued and pressed together.

  • Environmental Impact: Composite boards made from renewable resources are more sustainable than petroleum-based plastics. Bamboo, in particular, grows quickly and regenerates, making it highly renewable.
  • Health Impact: Composite boards often have fewer toxic chemicals than plastic boards. However, Some brands may include petroleum-based resins or glues containing formaldehyde. To avoid this, look for eco-friendly and non-toxic certifications.

Glass or Ceramic

Verdict: Safe

Glass and ceramic cutting boards are sleek and non-porous, making them popular for their hygienic surfaces.

They're also stain-resistant and easy to clean.

  • Environmental Impact: Although not biodegradable, ceramic and glass cutting boards are recyclable if they break. They don't harbor bacteria and require less frequent replacement, provided you're careful not to drop them.
  • Health Impact: They're non-toxic and won't absorb bacteria or odors.

Rubber

Verdict: Safe only if made from Natural Rubber

Rubber cutting boards offer a flexible, resilient surface.

They're often used in commercial kitchens because they're durable and easily resurfaced.

  • Environmental Impact: Natural rubber is biodegradable, while synthetic rubber is not.
  • Health Impact: Rubber boards are generally safe. However, it's crucial to confirm that they're free from phthalates and other toxic chemicals.

Silicone

Verdict: Safe but not great for the environment

Silicone cutting boards are soft and flexible, allowing them to be easily folded or stored.

Their non-slip surface is particularly helpful in the kitchen.

  • Environmental Impact: Silicone is less damaging than plastic but not fully biodegradable. It's relatively stable and can be reused for years, reducing overall waste.
  • Health Impact: Silicone cutting boards are generally BPA-free and non-toxic. They don't easily retain odors or bacteria, making them hygienic and safe for food preparation.

Stainless Steel

Verdict: Safe

Stainless steel cutting boards are durable, sleek, and often used in professional kitchens.

They are rust-resistant and can handle heavy-duty chopping.

  • Environmental Impact: Stainless steel is recyclable and can be used indefinitely. However, its initial production is energy-intensive.
  • Health Impact: Stainless steel boards are non-porous, don't retain odors, and don't attract bacteria. Depending on the type of stainless steel used, they're usually non-toxic.

For a more detailed look at the potential toxicity of stainless steel, check out my non-toxic cookware article.

Marble or Granite

Verdict: Safe but not eco-friendly

Marble and granite cutting boards are luxurious, non-porous, and suitable for rolling out dough.

Their cool surfaces also make them excellent for working with chocolate or pastry.

  • Environmental Impact: Marble and granite are natural but not renewable. Quarrying is an energy-intensive process that can be environmentally damaging.
  • Health Impact: The non-porous surface resists bacteria and odors.

What is the Best Non-Toxic Wood for Cutting Boards?

Maple

Maple is a popular choice because of its tight grain structure and high density. Both of which make it resistant to moisture absorption and less prone to staining.

It's also relatively inexpensive and has a neutral appearance. A good quality maple cutting board will complement any kitchen.

Walnut

Walnut is softer than maple but still provides a durable cutting surface that's gentle on knives.

Its dark color and attractive grain pattern make it a stylish and sophisticated option.

Teak

Teak wood is known for its natural oils and moisture resistance. It's highly durable and can withstand heavy use.

The natural oils also give it a high resistance to mold and bacteria. Perfect for a cutting board material.

Cherry

Cherry is a medium-density hardwood. It offers a gentle cutting surface.

Its fine grain structure makes it resistant to moisture. Over time, its rich reddish-brown hue develops a beautiful patina.

Rubber Wood

Rubberwood is a renewable resource. It's harvested from rubber trees after they stop producing latex.

This type of wood is dense, durable, and resistant to staining or warping.

Care and Maintenance Tips for Wooden Cutting Boards

The basic care and maintenance tips for any cutting board are simple:

  • Handwash (even if it's dishwasher safe) in warm, soapy water
  • Dry thoroughly and store in a dry place

However, caring for a non-toxic wooden cutting board takes slightly more effort, but it's worth it!

Sanitizing

Cleaning your cutting board is not always enough. Occasionally, sanitize the board to kill any lingering bacteria.

Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water and wipe down the board's surface.

Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing off with warm water and drying thoroughly.

Removing Stains and Odors

Sprinkle coarse salt or baking soda on the board, then rub it with half a lemon to scrub away stains or odors.

Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly.

Proper Drying and Storage

After cleaning, dry your board immediately with a clean towel to prevent moisture absorption.

Store it upright or in a well-ventilated rack to allow airflow around it. This keeps the board dry and reduces the risk of mold growth.

Oiling

The best oils for non-toxic cutting boards are coconut oil, linseed oil, or beeswax. You should apply them every 2-3 weeks.

Pour a small amount onto the board, then spread evenly with a clean cloth.

Allow the oil to soak in overnight and wipe away any excess in the morning.

Use the Right Tools

Using the right tools on your cutting board can significantly extend its lifespan.

Always use sharp knives, as dull blades can cause more damage to the board's surface.

Avoid using electric knives or heavy cleavers on wooden boards. These can create deep cuts and grooves that are harder to repair.

Avoid High Temperatures

Avoid placing hot pots or pans on the board. The heat can weaken the wood fibers and lead to damage.

Rotate Your Use

Use both sides of the board for cutting tasks to distribute the wear evenly.

Resurface When Required

Over time, even the best-cared-for cutting boards can develop grooves and cuts. When this happens, it's essential to resurface the board to maintain a smooth, safe cutting surface.

Use fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand down the surface. After sanding, clean the board thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of oil to restore its protective finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between edge-grain and end-grain cutting boards?

Edge-grain boards are made by gluing long strips of wood together, with the grain running parallel to the surface.

End-grain cutting boards are constructed by gluing the ends of the wood strips together, creating a checkerboard pattern on the surface.

Are Microban antibacterial boards toxic?

Potentially, yes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has raised concerns about triclosan and its potential toxicity.

What cutting boards should you avoid?

Avoid cutting boards made from materials that may contain harmful chemicals or toxins, such as plastic and antibacterial coatings.

The Final Word

Choosing a non-toxic cutting board is vital to prevent harmful glues and coatings from leaching into your food.

In this article, I've detailed the best options. I've also highlighted their safety, durability, and environmental benefits.

My #1 pick is the stunning Our Place Walnut Cutting Board.

However, every recommendation in this article will help keep harmful chemicals out of your food prep area. All while supporting sustainable manufacturing.

Happy non-toxic cooking!

James Miller
James Miller
James is an environmentalist, sustainability expert and senior editor at TheRoundup, specializing in testing non-toxic, organic and eco-friendly products. James, his wife and two daughters believe in chemical-free and zero-waste living. They aim to leave the planet in a better state than we found it, for future generations to enjoy.

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