How to Nourish and Revive Chopping Boards

Sometimes it’s the little jobs that we put off for so long that they become bigger than big.  That’s how it became with me and my wooden chopping boards.  They were looking unloved, dull, with a paint splatter or two and a little mould on the sides where they had sat too long damp (yuk).

So this week I dedicated 30 minutes to researching how this is done and discovered that if you want to avoid mineral based oils (petroleum based), then Tung oil is a great option provided it is 100% pure.  The oil is pressed from the seed of the nut from the Tung tree, and is non-toxic and food safe.   If interested, a good supplier of this in New Zealand is The Natural Paint Company  I was keen to order but impatient to get started and not willing to wait for the oil to arrive from the South Island….

In searching online I had stumbled across a beeswax based ‘butter’ that is simply made with only two ingredients; beeswax and a neutral oil.  While I also found detractors of this method – due to the vegetable oil becoming rancid over time – it seems many people have used this butter for some time with no trouble.  (And I remember a local guy who sells chopping boards at markets telling me he uses vegetable oil to protect his.)  But don’t try this if concerned!

This led to me needing to find good quality beeswax, and I remembered reading about an online store based in Auckland who supply high quality oils and ingredients for soap making etc, direct to the consumer.  So I placed an order for a small amount of organic beeswax from Pure Nature and it arrived the next day.

I followed the recipe posted by The Kitchn.  The ingredients are given in ounces so I’ve shown what I used in metrics below.  (Oh and this is HALF the recipe which made heaps….enough to fill an empty peanut butter jar, 10cm high.)


  • 60g quality organic beeswax (I purchased a 100g bag)
  • 120ml neutral oil (I used Rice Bran Oil)


The instructions are so well written on The Kitchn website, so click the link here if you are keen to give this a go.  It really is easy and once you have the water simmering, you can be doing other things with only minimal attention required.

To prep my boards I gave them a good sand (took 30 minutes by hand)…but you can skip this step and simply give them a good scrub if your boards aren’t as neglected as mine!


I quickly scanned my kitchen for other wooden things that could do with reviving, and noticed my GIANT spoons bought in Thailand years and years ago.  They were both a dark brown colour, and funnily enough I found when cleaning them, that the largest one is actually bamboo – not wood – and it’s actually a gorgeous golden colour – not dark brown at all!  I think it had actually been coated in smoke residue from being in a basic home in Thailand where the cooking was being done inside.  It came up beautifully with a scrub of baking soda and white vinegar.  Who would have known!


This is how it looks after approximately 20 minutes in the pot of water.


And after another 20-30 minutes with some stirring, it becomes this lovely creamy texture  as it cools. And it smells divine.


Even the soap dish has been ‘revived’…





Author: The Coastal Creative

Living close to the beach encourages a relaxed way of living and this influences my work as an interior designer. I am drawn to the eclectic, faded colours, rustic timber, the imperfection of things hand made, and objects that tell a story.

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