Throughout history, most cutting boards have been made from wood. It was only in the 1900’s when plastic cutting boards started to gain popularity. It was marketed as a cheaper alternative to wooden cutting boards, as well as being easier to clean(or so they thought).
In the 1980’s, a researcher named Dean Cliver from University of California Davis began studying if plastic cutting boards were actually superior to wooden cutting boards.
His founding’s proved that plastic cutting boards are generally harder to sterilize than wooden cutting boards. Plastic is a weaker and softer material than wood, which means it will incur much deeper scratches and more signs of wear and tear. The only way to fully sanitize a plastic cutting board is by putting it in the dishwasher where the excess moisture and hot steam will kill the bacteria.
However, wooden cutting boards do not require a dishwasher to become sanitized(it’s actually super bad for a wooden cutting board to but put in the dishwasher). Certain woods have excellent natural anti-bacterial properties. Woods with a primarily closed-grain structure are the best woods for cutting boards. When moisture and bacteria lies on the surface of a wooden cutting board, it is sucked up by the grains of the wood. Once the board’s surface is cleaned and is drying, the bacteria will be killed because of the evaporation of the moisture. Bacteria need moisture to reproduce and exist.
This process is best executed when the wooden cutting board is regularly maintained by keeping the pores oiled with mineral oil. We recommend using one side of your board for cutting meat, and the other side for cutting fresh vegetables and well as serving food.
Another argument also arises when you consider which option is more natural. When cutting on any type of cutting board, whether it be wood or plastic, it is inevitable that small microscopic pieces of cutting board remnants will find its way into your food. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather consume small pieces of naturally grown wood, then mass-produced cheaply made plastic.