The manuscript is currently at 101, 152 words. It is still not over. Very tired now. Brain is also tired.
Coincidentally Kid 2 is finishing her project, so right now our mother-daughters interaction consists of whining to each other through text, “Why won’t it end?” and then staring at it blankly because there isn’t enough brain power left to make sentences.
I have a kind of off-the wall question for you today. I have an old wooden cutting board. I’ve had it for years, and I’m used to it. Long story short, someone squeezed some Heinz 57 steak sauce onto the board and then put it in the sink. Normally, I’d wash it right away, but somehow I didn’t notice it was there until this morning. It sat overnight.
Now the cutting board has a bright yellow stain on it. Like bright yellow. I can’t get it out. I tried Bar Keeper’s friend. I tried lemon. I tried baking soda, vinegar, and a combination of both. I can’t put it into the dishwasher as it might fall apart.
Any ideas? I know it’s just a cheap cutting board, but I like it and want to keep it.
the only other thing I can think of is peroxide. Good luck! I have one in the shape of Ohio I love and I refuse to use it to cut anything on.
NANCY K UPCHURCH says
what she says. Peroxide is a mild bleach, so that has the best chance of fixing it, although gotta say, vinegar is what they use to set dye. Good luck!
Sandra in Oz says
I agree the hydrogen peroxide is a good bet, maybe a light sanding? Alternatively coat with sauce to bring a uniform colour to that side of the board? Hope it works out.
>I have one in the shape of Ohio
That’s just calling out for my block “M” branding iron!
Put it in the sun if you use peroxide.
I was thinking the same thing – so seconded!
Linda Trainor says
I put nappy sand in a burnt pot with water and it cleaned easy. sorry it may be time to get a new one bamboo ones are good
You could try to sand off a layer of the wood.
Ms. Kim says
+1 sanding is tedious, but often effective….
Marian Bernstein says
At the very least you may remove enough of the stain that other methods might finish it off.
If you can remove the stain with sanding you will need to recondition the wood by dousing/ painting it and allowing to soak in more than 2 coats of a food grade oil. We have used olive and mineral oils for this purpose.
Judy B says
Wendy Sears says
I agree! We have a butcher block and if it stains badly just sand and re-oil with an food safe oil/wax.
AUDRA CARR says
Sand it! You can use just a sanding pad but if you have one or can borrow a hand sander it’ll go much easier! Then just coat with some food grade butcher block oil. Should be good as new! Granted you’ll spend more time and money getting this done than a new cutting board would be, but nostalgia knows no price!
This is what I was going to say! And do use the specific Butcher’s Block Oil that is intended for this purpose. Other food oils can go rancid after time.
If you do not want to sand, you might try taking a cloth completely saturated with plain veg oil and letting that sit on the stain for a prolonged time. It might lift the stain or spread/dilute it further, making it less visible. You could also put the saturated cloth in a jellyroll pan that fits the cutting board and then turn the board stain side down on top to maybe let gravity help.
Vinegar, peroxide, and other kinds of options are actually ways of changing the wood– like a pickled wood finish.
This was my thought too.
+1 . The whold board. Tedious but guaranteed that the whole board will end up looking the same. Not so tedious (and kinda fun) with a power sander
I thought this. Fine grit sandpaper
Marjorie Brooks says
Dawn platinum spray and make a paste with Oxy clean. I am pretty confident this will work
Mary Jayne says
Try the newer Dawn power wash. We have had good experiences using it to get stains off of everything!
Thank you for your efforts! This serial experience (and the comments on the blog) has been very cool! The Horde appreciates any and all of your words!
I hope there is a break or something fun in your near and long term future so you don’t get too tired/burned out!
I have to agree. I love buying the finished book, but getting to experience each episode, then dive into the comments to see everyone’s take on it is so much fun! Thank you IA for letting us follow along. 🙂
That’s one of my favorite parts of the blog is getting to see and talk with everyone about the episode. It feels like a big book club. We should start a book club for the books they release normally!
You can join rereads and discussions of Ilona Andrews books at:
There are over 1,000 members ???????? JoJo
Hang in there!
And the absolute final resort I can think of would be sanding it and re-oiling it, but that would really only be the very final resort…
Agreed. I was thinking the same thing, sand and re-oil.
I haven read all comments but cut lemon in half. Spread salt on the board and then rub with the lemon. if that doesn’t do it. sand and oil well.
220 or higher grit sand paper. anything lower will rough up the wood too much. it may take longer to get the stain out but will be better for keeping the wood smooth.
+1 Good, coarse sea salt and lemon and then set in sun.
+1 cover with coarse salt, rub with lemon cut in half, set in sun
Ms. Kim says
+100. There is butcher block oil to use after sanding. The salt works to takeout a dark stain. I don’t know about a bright yellow.
Elaine Matthews says
yes, agree this is your best bet. also give it time. you may have to do salt and lemon several times over some weeks, using the board between times. it should bleed back out over time.
Proud Bookworm says
I agree. Also, you can purchase food grade oil through Amazom.
have you tried fine sand paper to rub off the stained wood?
Rest as you need, we appreciate all your efforts, but please don’t burn yourself out.
Olivia S. from Gwada says
Thanks for the stories.
I have no idea on how to remove the stain but sanding and re-oil seems to be the better option. Just hoping that the stain did not go deep.
Please, please don’t burn yourself out. Take care.
Sand the wood? A light sanding should work, and it would be probably less damaging than using chemicals on it.
First, I’d say try sand paper to see how deep the sauce stain got. If that shows just a surface stain, give it over the the woodworker in the family to surface sand and buff it clean. Once its been through the sander once, clean it, oil it with food safe wood oil, and use it again.
I’m not sure how well it works on stains, but Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner is good for wood cutting boards. Maybe if it soaked that up, the stain wouldn’t show as much? I think how porous the wood is will determine if it comes out. Good luck! ????
Love Inn Keeper, I have all the e-books and the Graphic Audio editions. Thank you SO much for these as they have made so many days better.
Have you tried an orange oil cleaner on the cutting board?
I just found Sweep With Me by Graphic Audio and it is on sale till Friday 🙂
Except, (groan), I just spent way too much money buying way too many on sale audible books! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Honey Bunny says
What kind of dishwasher-soap du you use? If it’s liquid, maybe just soak the board overnight with it with a wet towel . If you use tablets, you could grind one, scrub the board with it and then do the overnight soaking with the wet towel. (sorry for my bad english, I had a long working day and my brain doesnt want to switch anymore)
On the other hand: thank you so much for the series, finding a new chapter is always one of the best moments every week.
trailing wife says
Electric sander to remove the stained layer. Then oil the whole board with food-safe oil to preserve the wood.
I assume Heinz57 sauce is yellow because of tumeric, which makes permanent stains.
Please don’t push yourself to burnout just to meet your self-imposed deadline, House Andrews. This work should be a joy for you as well as for us, so if you need it, we’ll go back and reread all the previous chapters until you’re refreshed again.
+1 to the board remedy – we had stain on butcher block style wood countertops. My husband used his electric sander and we used lots of the food grade / butcher block oil after .. worked till someone stained it again haha and then I gave up
Congratulations on the projects getting to the final stages!
Can recommend tea, either iced or hot!
Debbie B says
Per Cutting Board; try Hydrogen Peroxide
Not too sure about staining on wooden cutting boards. But I hope the tired ends soon, and there is rest for you all.
Sara B. says
Has probably soaked into the wood. Like wrinkles, consider it a sign of character?
You could try light sanding, and then cover whole thing with Heintz 57, to get a uniform colour? Maybe followed by application of a food-safe oil, like walnut or almond? (although those can go rancid on you – must be something better to use?).
Sigh – I spilled some strawberries on the wood butcher block sitting in the middle of my kitchen, and let it sit — I can’t get the pink stain out, and it bugs me.
I was going to suggest soaking the entire surface with Heinz 57 sauce at least that way it would be a uniform color change and not just a spot, of course that’s just a last resort fix.
Sorry about the problem with your favorite cutting board. I’m sure that didn’t help your exhausted state of mind.
I am taking so much Joy in reading your current innkeeper book (and comments) that I’m sorry you’re not having as much fun writing it as we are reading it and guessing what’s going to happen next.
Here’s hoping things are looking much better after a good night sleep.
Moderator R says
I think it’s just a natural stage in every manuscript’s life ????
haha my first thought was also to just soak it in Heinz57 so its a uniform color
Well, you *could* always go the other way and put Heinz57 on the rest of it…
I am of the opinion that stains show well loved kitchen tools. There’s nothing wrong with a cutting board with a stain. Agree with the no dishwasher. You can put a lot of work into making it kind of be what it was, or you can embrace what it is. It still is a piece of wood upon which food is cut.
I’m feeling overwhelmed with resume stuff over here. I left my job and am finding a new adventure now. Plenty of options, good things all around. But I am still tired. Cover letters are the worst. I do good things, and can talk about them if need be. But I got the covid booster shot two days ago, so do I really have to write about all of them?
This is genius. Yes, cover the whole board!
Take care of yourself.
About the cutting board, if sanding doesn’t work, try using hydrogen peroxide.
Once it’s in the wood it is darn near impossible to get out if it’s a stain. Best option is to hope it’s a shallow stain and sand it out. Option #2. See if you can reverse the board. Flip it over and have someone refinish the bottom into a new top. I did that once with an older board that I loved but it wasn’t optimal and I don’t know if your board is reversible.
“The manuscript is currently at 101,152 words”… and it is brilliant. I appreciate you are tired; I am not a writer but I know what it is like to be close to the end of a project and just wanting it to be over. If it helps at all, we (BDH) are loving the book… Thank you for spoiling us.
I am sorry I have no solution for the wood. Time and use will take care of it, I expect but that is not immediately useful.
+1 on the brilliant manuscript. I particularly liked the change you made to the third trial. Having a Civilisation type game rather than the murder mystery you mentioned earlier on the blog was absolutely inspired! Letting us and the Dominion see the contestants’ strengths and weaknesses as rulers was fabulous. Thank you very much. 🙂
I agree with the idea that you embrace the stain and just coat the rest of the board in Mineral oil to re hydrate the wood. You remind me of Catalina.
I agree with everyone else peroxide… and for some reason using salt with a scouring pad is something my brain is pushing at me … salt I know is used as a food safe abrasive (like when seasoning cast iron or carbon steel pans) but it might also have some other benefit which I can’t recall exactly…either way safe to try and at worst it costs you a teaspoon of salt.
You could do just use the board with the stain.
I wouldn’t be concerned about contamination because after you do all the above … and the food stain didn’t go anywhere the cutting on it won’t release it either =)
Granted it would be something to “trigger” ocd … but it’s good to work through those brain hiccups.
Either way a food stained cutting board is better than a plastic cutting board because micro plastics NEVER decay.
The best method I have found is sanding with a palm sander using 600 or better grain paper. Make sure to sand the entire side to maintain a uniform surface. Coat the freshly sanded surface with FOOD GRADE mineral oil. It is colorless, odorless, and will maintain a stain resistant surface. I hope you continue to enjoy the use of the board.
Thank you for all you do for the Book Devouring Horde, I salute you.
Baking soda packed over the spot and add peroxide, let sit and bubble. Wipe clean. May take a couple times but it gets stains out of wood.
Lea B says
You can try a mixture of floor, linseed oil and turpentine (I used it once for a curry sauce stain on an old Ikea console and it worked very well !)
Moderator R says
I’m guessing flour.
I’d be leery of that combination on a cutting board, turpentine is definately not food safe.
Being lazy I say a little stain on a cutting board is a badge of cooking honor!
Proud Bookworm says
Turpentine on a food surface does not sound like a good idea…
I don’t think turpentine is a good idea for anything that touches food.
Also, organic things (rags, paper towels, etc) soaked with linseed oil can spontaneously catch fire by generating enough heat on their own, so keeping them in a non-combustible container outside & away from buildings is recommended until disposal.
Sanding was going to be my suggestion, but the salt & lemon rub followed by sunshine or the baking soda & peroxide may also work.
My advice to you would be keep it and stop fretting about the stain. The stain won’t prevent you from using the cutting board to dice and slice. Yes it’ll glare at you every time you use it but you’ve used everything you could to remove it. I declare in my full capacity of bystander dispenser of unsolicited advice that “It Has Become A Clean Stain And It Shall Remain As Such” !
TL;DR keep the cut board and stop trying to remove the stain. Just rest and do things that will relax you!
Mary Beth says
^This^ Wish I’d seen it before I commented above.
Jennifer Chang says
+1, unless you think the stain is flavoring other foods you are cutting. (I’m lazy!) Also, it will probably fade over time.
Virtual back pats and cups of tea. This is one epic tale and it cheers me p immensely to be able to follow along with it.
Sorry about your cutting board. No helpful thoughts except maybe stain it a different wood color? Re-stain it? Heck, name the spot after a character, or vice versa (make the named spot an annoying villain / place in an upcoming project).
Try Coca-Cola. The real (Mexican) version.
My grandma got a stain off my moms wood table by using mayonnaise of all things. She just let it sit for a couple hours. But I dunno if that would work the same cause it wasn’t steak sauce.
Yeah, I was going to suggest vegetable oil – slop some on, let it soak, then wash off. Should be a similar effect to mayonnaise. Don’t know if it works on wood, but it works REALLY well on food-stained plastic, like getting carrot or beet stains off a mandoline. And boards like to be oiled regularly anyway, so, worst case, nothing happens!
Of course, I also second the idea that a stain on a cutting board is a badge of honor…
Jocelyn Malone says
The stain may leech away over time as you use and wash it. I have a few surfaces like that that. I get most of it out the first time and then the rest gradually fades with time and further washings.
This approach — wait it out — has worked for us, too. Beet stains fade, for example. The Heinz customer hotline might have an idea? 800-255-5750
Washing soda, dish soap, and
Sodium percarbonate have been my go tos recently, in different combinations. Nancy birtwhistle, the GBBO winner, has an active instagram where she tackles stains and household cleaning.
The yellow stain is the chemical curcumin, from the turmeric in the sauce. Curcumin won’t dissolve in water or in soapy water. It much prefers to stick to the hydrocarbons in the wood. If you are going to wash it away, you could use a different solvent. 1) Pure ethanol (grain alcohol) might work. Curcumin is 1000 times more soluble in ethanol than in water. The purest food-grade alcohol that I know of is 190 proof Everclear. [Pure ethanol is 200 proof and never food grade] Ethanol might wash off the curcumin, if it hasn’t soaked too far into the wood. 2) Curcumin is also soluble in acetone. Acetone should evaporate afterwards without leaving much residue in the wood. Don’t use nail polish remover because it has too much other stuff in it. 3) Sodium carbonate (washing soda) is like baking soda, except stronger. It reacts with curcumin in a way that makes it more soluble in water. It also makes the curcumin turn dark red. Not to worry, if the curcumin doesn’t wash off this way, you can turn it back to yellow with an acid (vinegar or lemon juice). 4) If washing won’t remove the curcumin, bleach it. Bleaching agents work by destroying the part of the molecule that is colored. No color, no stain. I tested hydrogen peroxide. No luck with that. Clorox bleach will work. On a dry cutting board, pour a puddle of bleach on the stain and let it sit there for about ten minutes. Wash off the Clorox with lots of water and then air dry until it doesn’t stink.
Debra Ramsey says
I don’t know how committed you are to a non-toxic cleaning solution, but LYSOL® Bleach Multi-Purpose Cleaner works on everything! I even use it to get spaghetti stains out of Tupperware. Spritz it on affected area, let sit overnight, and clean very well with hot soapy water in the morning. Repeat as needed. I’ve used it to get stains out of bathroom grout, porcelain sinks, and the pink left by strawberry juice off my wooden cutting board (previous commenter mentioned this problem with her butcher block).
Reminds me of a recent good read, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.
Just be sure if you use Clorox not to combine it with any sort of acid or you will make chlorine gas – a typical cellulose (wood, cotton, etc) hypochlorite bleach (Clorox) is done at a pH of about 11 controlled by adding sodium carbonate (soda ash, washing ash)
2.5% of 100% hypochlorite
1% sodium carbonate
10:1 ratio weight of solution to weight of cutting board
Heat to 105F for 1 hour
Wash several times to remove all traces of hypochlorite
🙂 I’m a grad student and TA; just finished writing the textile processing preparation test – textile chem is the best degree 🙂
So. Much Science.
I find this post strangely fascinating , especially the ‚don’t worry if stain turns dark red‘ part.
So the ultimate BDH-approved solution would be “cover the board completely with Heinz, and than turn it dark red”…
If the Everclear doesn’t work, do you use the leftovers to make Jungle Juice and forget you ever had a stomach ???? Does this bring back painful memories
Good Luck! With whatever method you use
Cheer yourself up by re-reading the profile piece on you and Gordon (with a great picture) in the Book Review of The New York Times on September 15. I have included the link below for the BDH.
Maria F says
Thanks for this! I had not seen it.
Karen the griffmom says
Peroxide or strong denture cleaner solution? I use denture cleaner tablets in warm water to foam out scum/grunge in glassware.
Mary Beth says
I’d try peroxide first.
If that doesn’t work, and the stain isn’t all the way through to the back, just flip it over and use the back.
Or, you could sand the whole thing down past the stain and refinish it.
My mother’s done all the above for her favorite old butcher block cutting board.
My father made it for her and as long as it holds together she’ll use it. It’s a beast, at least 3 inches thick.
I bleach my wooden cutting board whenever I cut raw meat on it. I would try the earlier bleaching technique Michelle suggested. Good Luck!
My husband cares for our butcher block areas in the kitchen & per him, sanding is what gets the stain out. He seals them with with a mix of beeswax & mineral oil, half & half is about the right consistency. It needs to be soft enough to get out of the jar. Smear it on and let it sit overnight & then rub it/buff with a paper towel. If you keep up with conditioning the board, it will resist stains somewhat & stains usually come out with rubbing hard with a paper towel or very fine sandpaper. Just make sure you reapply the beeswax mix to that area. Every couple of years he takes them outside & sands the top to smooth everything out. He’s been doing this for 30 years to the kitchen nook table, small counter & a large cutting board. They look great. Good luck!
Also, just leaving it is always and option. I am less bothered by the stains, my husband-not so much.
Wishing you some sort of distraction or activity that lets you & your brain get a break with high quality sleep in there somewhere. The end of a project is always hard cause you just want it to be done, done, done so you push, push, push. Take care.
For those who don’t want to mix your own, I’ve used Daddy Van’s All Natural Beeswax Countertop Care for years. Beeswax, olive oil, and carnauba wax – that’s it. I use it on our soapstone counters and wood cutting boards – though not nearly as often as I should, of course. It’s a great product.
I’m thinking you may have to sand and re-oil the cutting board. sounds like the stain is into the wood.
I hope you all can rest and recharge for the final slog!
A light sanding can do wonders. My woodworker hubby has done that, as well as re-glued a few of our cutting boards over the years.
Just as a crazy suggestion, I had a wooden cutting board that got used with beets. It was stained so badly, I took part of the leftover borscht and painted the non stained areas of the board to match the beet stain. I left the whole thing sit on a cookie sheet over night and then washed it with blue Dawn dish soap in the morning and re-oiled. It was a peculiar color for a week or two but it mellowed into a very pretty color and salvaged the board.
In a pinch, you could always just coat the rest and let it sit. 🙂 Then you have a board that is a somewhat uniform color.
(Vinegar and citric acid are mordants that set natural dyes)
Best of Luck!
I know there are wood bleach products (worked in a paint store), but I don’t know if they are safe for things that will contact food. You may have to sand a couple of layers off; that would also possibly offer you a lighter stain that might bleach out better with what you’ve been trying. Then sand super smooth and possibly apply a food safe oil.
I would try Soft Scrub with Bleach . Rub it on the stained area and let it sit for a while. Then scrub off. If it works reasonably, can try again or maybe a light sanding. I use this stuff on so many things both at home and in my lab that have weird stains. Mostly successfully. Good luck!
You guys have been going all out for months so I’m not surprised you’re tired. I suppose it’s no consolation, but the BDH sure appreciates all your work! I hope you’ve got a nice little vacation planned post finishing?! Y’all deserve it,
Roswita Hildebrandt says
Is it thick enough you can sand the stain out?
William B says
It will make it thinner, but an electric hand sander should be able to remove the stained material. Start with a medium grit (course grit might be too aggressive), finish up with increasing finer grit all over and use food grade mineral oil at the end.
If it were me I would embrace the stain. maybe add a few others too, make is look like it should be multi coloured ???? but hubby’s OCD would have a fit ????
Like everyone else said, I hope the tired feeling gets better soon, think of it like a Wednesday, over here in UK we call it hump day because it’s downhill to the weekend after it. ????
Letha Owens says
If it’s solid wood you can sand the stain out. Or ignore it…. Or cover the whole thing in The secret sauce to even up the dye.
Thomas Janice says
We just sand ours, clean well and oil.
Anne McCulloch says
Sand it off.
Rub some soft scrub on it and let it sit for 10-15 mins. It should bleach out. Bleach the whole board though or you may have a lighter spot.
Good luck with the manuscript 🙂
Erin MJ says
Try leaving your cutting board in the sunshine for a day or two. Sunshine is the most effective way to get New Mexico red chile stains out of white cloth, maybe it will work for your board.
Christine Peters says
My father is a woodworker and makes/sells cutting boards among other things. Sanding it might work if it’s real wood but you’ll have to be careful to be even and not take off too much. He wants to know if you’ve been keeping it oiled with olive (or vegetable) oil because a) it needs it to stay healthy especially in dry climates like TX and b) it protects the wood from stains like the one you’re currently dealing with. Also he says kudos for not putting a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher. ????
I have had immense luck with oxyclean for dried turmeric stains, months old, on colored fabric. I was super surprised. That said, if oxyclean and wash wash wash is still not food safe, try whitening toothpaste also. I saved the accidentally bought one & found it magically removed stains from my white countertops – you the quartz ones that are pretty ubiquitous now?? Those will stain from anything and every little thing, which in an Indian food cooking situation, is a constant nightmare. Lastly, turmeric on the tiles & cabinets I had success with magic erasers + lot of scrubbing. All the best, hope something clicks & works for you, I feel yours and BDH’s pain of stains on well loved things.
Colleen Whitley says
Add lemon juice and leave in the sunlight for 2 days?
Or risk leaving a distinctive taste. 🙂
Maybe as a last resort? Then it can be the steak cutting board!
I’d be tempted to coat the whole board, let it sit overnight, and then wash. Then you’d have a rare yellow cutting board!
I have heard of using tea to “stain” cloth and to cover scratches on a wood table. Wonder if it would help cover up the yellow stain? Hope you find something to take care of it. Thanks for all your hard work. it is much appreciated and enjoyed.
In my experience the stain will fade slowly over time.
Try some boos board cream or other wood board conditioning creams. It’s counterintuitive but it took some stains off my wood board!!
Lisa M says
Coming from a background in food service, at this point, it’s just discolored, not ruined. Wash with a 10-20% bleach /water mix, then let dry. The stain might lighten up if you let it dry in sunlight, but no guarantees.
You can also sand it down, and refinish the surface. A little more labor intensive, but probably the only way to absolutely get rid of the stain.
try putting it in the sun if you get it faded a bit, sounds crazy but that’s what takes stains out of cloth diapers and it can’t hurt to try
I’ve also had good luck using oxi-clean on a turmeric stained carrera marble (old and so porous!) countertop. Mix some into a paste, slather on stain and leave overnight.
I’d leave it alone. It’ll probably fade in time. Gives it character! Somebody (husband) occasionally puts a cast iron or sooty pan from outside cooking on the grill right onto the cutting board that sits out 24/7. It’ll have a black hideous ring for awhile. It’s ugly for a bit then fades away. Even oil spots fade and it’s a cheap IKEA board.
Catherine Sarah Johnson says
Could you sand back to unstained wood, then oil it…maybe?
Sorry you’re so tired, I hope you’re done soon so you can allow yourself a decent break. Your supreme effort and talent are appreciated more than you can know!
Valerie in CA says
I recently saw a show for treating wine stains on tables….And I can’t frigging remember what they said to use. Toothpaste?!?! Heck….
Wikihow also has two great methods. One is using ammonia on a soft cloth. Blot.
Search removing wine stains/rings on tables. I know not a wine stain, but the science has to be the same. I hope.
I feel the same about two of my cutting boards. Everyone is aware, touch them and die. Same with my knives.
Dye the rest of it yellow to match.
Or sand it down and refinish.
I am begging you to only use Food Safe chemicals on the cutting board. Wood is porous and will soak up/then leach out whatever you put on it. At our house the rule is, “Other than soapy water, if you can’t eat it, then it’s not safe the cutting board”.
My suggestion is to take a photo of the cutting board and then ask the BDH where they’ve seen it or something similar in size and quality. The item will likely be located in minutes. Best of luck Ilona!
If it’s superficial you could just sand it and put some mineral oil and beeswax on the exposed wood.
Bleach? Mr Clean Magic Eraser?
Thank you for your words. They make my life better.
How would you feel if you made the whole board yellow? If you can’t remove what’s there, then staining the rest might be an option.
A little bleach?
Elizabeth Mancz says
you might try sanding it off.
use the other side?
otherwise baking soda paste.
then use a food safe oil on it.
I would try IPA or rubbing alcohol. You can get sharpie off a countertop if you rub it enough times with IPA. I know this because I am endlessly trying to figure out what resists isopropyl alcohol. 22 years of experience says “nothing”. You may also make a whole in your board, depending on how deep the stain goes. So it kind of defeats the purpose…
IPA Isopropyl Alcohol is not potable. Probably not a problem if most has evaporated but why chance it?
If you’re going with alcohol, try the Everclear it’s Ethanol and food grade.
Whatever gunk you use, wash with soap and water afterwards, then oil/wax.
Acetone is a bit chancy but might be ok. It’s soluble in both oil and water, so you’d have chance of pulling the color into solution. Just do it before it dries
– you’ve obviously already hit it with soap and water. Finish with it too
– 1 hydro hyper oxide
– 2 lemon juice salt a sun
– 3 Oxyclean
– 4 sanding… start with 120 cause you’ll need to take off a bit, the progress to finer grades, until your happy. 600 is too fine, suitable for a really fine finish and this is after all a working surface.
Apologies to the 600 person
Lastly after all that it might no quite get there so something that adds alittle color. Cut up some tomatoes or chili peppers on it and rub in the juice. 🙂
Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
Re : The salt, it kills a lot of bugs
I use a lot of turmeric and periodically it stains one of my counters or cutting boards. I ignore it, and over the course of a few weeks it goes away. I hope your yellow stain will too.
Thank you for Innkeeper. It always makes me smile.
Thank you for Innkeeper!
As for the stain, if you have a few hours of direct sunlight available I would give it a rinse and let it sun bathe.
No idea if it will work, but the sun gets stains out of my clothing that bleach can’t even touch, so maybe?
sorry if that seems like a stupid suggestion ????
Is it a stain or has it removed the color from the wood. Hydrogen peroxide might remove the stain. If the sauce removed the color of the wood, try rubbing walnut or other nut over the wood to transfer color the wood.
Amber Wright says
Might want to do a light sanding and then coat in food grade mineral oil or wax?
It sounds like you need some “you” time. I hope you are able to relax and come back refreshed.
Dawn dish detergent cleans almost everything. Try leaving undiluted Dawn on the stain for awhile and then wash. Good luck.
We accidentally had some tomatoes spoil and leak onto my mom’s butcher block counter while she was out of town. The stain was well set when discovered. What finally made a dent was 3% hydrogen peroxide left to sit for 1 minute then wiped away with a paper towel saturated with vinegar and then left to dry overnight. It took a few retreatments but we got it to the point where you could only find the stain if you looked really hard.
Preceding this we did use every combination of baking powder, bakkng soda, lemon, salt and vinegar we could find recommended on the internet which did lighten it a little.
It’s been a couple of years now and our mom has no idea anything ever happened to it, but I can still spot a faint shadow if I search it out.
David Suitor says
Stain it yellow.
we are all loving frinnkeeper! I’m so sorry its wearing you out. it didn’t show at all.
Have you tried cooking oil on the cutting board?
Emily Louise says
Bleach. We used to have to clean the wooden chopping block at camp with it e very day.
Sand and re oil with mineral oil from drug store
I have an ancient and much-loved cutting board that has experienced severe stains several times through the years. I consider them badges of honor! And here’s the important thing: they eventually fade away to nothing.
If all else fails, you could try sanding the stain off.
I have no idea if this would work on ketchup but I’m working on a very old stain on my bedroom floor with repeated applications of peroxide and ammonia. The stain is getting lighter and the edges have become blurry, so it is doing something.
I’ve seen many comments that suggest staining the whole thing and I like that idea, but have an alternate suggestion. If you’re really bothered by the stain (to the point that you won’t use it as is), what about using it as an opportunity for creative wood staining? Maybe get a kid or both involved? You could try different natural items and try to stain patterns in it or maybe use actual stains? It might be a fun creative endeavor. Or it might be incredibly frustrating. Depends on your mood and thoughts about wood projects. ????
Dawn Emerson says
Would sanding the surface work? I sand mine with 200 grit every year or so, and then oil it with mineral oil and let that set for a day or so.
Its just an ugly old board, but my Grandfather made it, so it is a treasured possession
I’m sorry you’re tired but I hope you know that the BDH appreciates all your struggles with giving us amazing stories! ❤️
As far as the cutting board goes, I’m repeating what many others have said: sand it down, wash it and seal it with a food grade cutting board oil. Hope it comes out – good luck!
Julie Molzahn says
Put a smiley face on it so you smile when you use the cutting board or put Oro on it
Lydia Chen says
You might try a baking soda paste. cover it with plastic wrap and leave it over night. Someone just told me this approach with stained marble and granite. Hope it works. If it lightens some but not enough just repeat
Viktoria Goikhman says
Try using alcohol to clean it
Or pink stuff from Amazon
It cleans almost all household blemishes to my initial surprise
And I totally understand how you feel regarding the being tired
D McMurray says
sand it down and get some butcher block oil at hardware store.
I “inherited” my mom’s old chopping board that got stored for a while so it had a lot of stains. I wanted to repurpose it and hang it on our own kitchen walls. I tried all known and “google” methods but there was still a lot of the stains embedded on the wood.
My husband sanded it. It looked like new!
Mod R, have we named the guy in the picture? I feel like he needs a name. He deserves it for being an honorary member of the BDH. ????
I’ve always thought he looked like his name could be Mortimer. Maybe Edgar. I like the current picture with the quill pen clenched in his teeth and the look in his eyes!
I like those! I was thinking Horatio or Bertrand maybe? Definitely an old fashioned name. ????
Oh, I like Bertrand! It has possibilities.
yes – I was going to suggest Mortimer too !!
Joe Ellett says
Squirt Heinz on the entire board and let it sit, so you turn the entire board a cheerful yellow.
Try white paste toothpaste.
Angel Mercury says
Consider the stain a beauty mark and let it fade over time. Sounds like the board has been cleaned beyond the usual and you risk damaging it more with aggressive cleaning (it’s probably old enough the antibacterial properties are long dead anyway). If the stain isn’t too deep it’ll likely fade with use but at this point seems to be a cosmetic issue. A bit of character for your favorite board.
Get some sandpaper out & sand the side back until the stain is removed. Easeir if you have a sander rather than doing it by hand. One you have done that, clean it off with metho then oil it before you use it.
Lots of salt. Wipe it with a damp cloth and pour a snow drift of coarse salt on it. let it sit overnight.
If the stain is too strong for that moisten with vinegar and then pour salt on it. And let sit and dry overnight.
Years ago I asked a local butcher what they did with their wooden cutting counter to clean and sterilize it – they used salt. the counter was bleached almost white from decades of being treated with salt every night.
This may sound weird… but you could always make it into an art project. You could do a painting or do a carving. Does it really need to remain a cutting board?????
Try a little bleach and water mixture like you would to clean it after chicken or other raw meat. Ultimately it may just need a light sanding, then rub the whole thing down with mineral oil.
Put steak sauce on the entire thing and leave it overnight. It won’t get rid of the stain, just unify the entire board in stain-ed-ness. 😉
Try lemon juice and sunshine. Then, when that doesn’t work well enough, get out a sander and take a layer off with two round of sandpaper, one coarse then one fine. Follow up with board butter, which is the best thing ever for wooden cutting boards and wooden knife handles. (You can make it or buy it at places like Home Despot, also called wood conditioner, just buy one that says it is for cutting boards and butcher block counter.) I rescue old cutting boards once or twice a year from estate sales.
peroxide then bleach is what I’d try
Andrea D. says
Why don’t you flip it and use the other side?
Or as the others suggested sand it and massage olive oil into the wood.
You might try a poultice; they are great for pulling red wine stains from marble. Just make a paste of baking soda and water and apply a nice thick blob to the stain. Cover with a damp paper towel. Let it sit for 24 hours; re-dampen the paper towel with a half spoonful or so of water as needed if it starts to dry out. Then remove everything and wash with soap.
I ????Innkeeper. Thank you for creating such amazing work. I don’t have a solution to fix the stain other than sanding/refinishing. Hope advice above works.
Wileen Upton says
don’t fight the stain. my mom w p uld have said. gives it character. or use bleach
Hit it with boiling water, salt the board, and s rub with the cut side of half a lemon. Rinse with boiling water. Or, if it’s thick enough, a lumber yard might be able to run it through a mechanical plane. Or, look at the stain as a trophy for having wonderful meals with family and friends.
cover the entire thing in A-1, let it soak, and learn to love yellow 😉
Thanks for Ruby Fever, you made my vacation perfect!!!
You could try coke. Coca-cola is the best. It’s a mix of the bubbles, the pH and some of the contents. Also, if you can get it, just plain tomato ketchup (no spices or anything).
You’d want to be cautious with both because they might stain it but generally they’re good at cleaning stains.
Cover the whole thing in steak sauce for the night and celebrate having a bright yellow board? ????
acid alcohol is my go-to for getting rid of stains. It worked in the lab to remove extra dye in that cool red and blue double stain (H&E?) and it works great in the kitchen too. plain old ethanol, 70% ( hand sanitizer!) take a 1/4 c and then add a tablespoon of white vinegar. apply to stain, let it sit a bit, rub a bit, and rinse off. if it doesn’t come all the way clean, try full-strength peroxide with the same amount of vinegar, it is a stronger oxidizer with the vinegar. last ditch is the sand paper, for me.
Mine is not that old but I use bleach ( weakened with water) n let it stay. then will soak it in water n let it dry
Bill G says
Take all the rest you need, please. That’s more important than any self-imposed limits.
Best of luck with the cutting board; I’m clueless. (And would likely use it, anyways.)
Cover the rest of the board in sauce, let sit in the sink over night. Start a new trend with bright yellow wooden cutting board.
Tanja Balzer8 says
I would try putting it into the sun for a couple of hours. that is hoe I used to get rid of tomato stains in my childrens clothes.
I can suggest paint thinners as an option before sanding.
Well, you do sculpture a beautiful full-bodied Innkeeper this time – brilliant, charming and powerful. Similar to Lady Wexyn herself, isn’t it?
Please, allow her to come fully to life. And please, please don’t set her on a diet!
On a more serious note – I respect and appreciate you and your work, HA. Your abilities to cut and polish your writing to brilliance, and to persevere through challenging conditions. And I trust your decisions on what is best for you yourself, SotH, and future books. Hugs and support from me to you.
May work and it may not. When my family was building our log home, we bleached the logs. You just wet a cloth with bleach and scrub the wood surface. Let it sit and the wood (stain) should lighten over a few days. Or that is the theory.
Take the board outside, cover the stain with bleach, let dry then soak in hot soapy water for 15 vminutes, then rinse thoroughly then dry. (cooked professionally for 24 years)
Tanja M. says
My only possible solution is putting it outside in the sunshine for a few hours and see if that bleaches out the stain. Works with curry and tomato stains in plastic tupperware, no clue if it works on wood as well tho. At least if it doesn’t work, it won’t do any damage.
This feels like a naive question, but is there anything wrong with just continuing to use it, stained or not, if you like it that much? The stain doesn’t impair its function, right? I get that the stain isn’t pretty, but so long as it’s clean and there’s no risk of bacteria, why not just use it? It’s not like it’s a business suit jacket or a white guest bed bedspread. I’ve had stuff like white washcloths that got badly stained, and they gradually faded to their original color with repeated use and washings.
That said, I’m guessing the yellow stain is caused by turmeric. I would try an alcohol to pull the moisture/stain out of the wood the same way I do with my hands to pull red dance dye out of skin. Wood is kinda like skin and plant textiles since stains can sink below surface. Then scrub. Repeat a couple times as needed.
Gunn M. says
This sort of remind me of my first meeting with Kate and all the good advice for removing nasty smelly puke from her boots…
The boots was ruind, by the way.
Have you tried lemon and sea salt? Also, treat the cutting board with food grade mineral oil. if all else fails you can sand it out.
Kathy Spencer says
Try sanding the whole affected side of the board to keep it even and restain it a matching coloured stain.
This whole discussion has made me rethink my desire for butcher block counter tops. I’m too messy (and lazy) to have counter tops that need that much attention if (when) I spill something and it stains…
I don’t know if I said it, but thanks for the extra episode! And really for all of Innkeeper!
Barb Mansavage says
I watched Gordon Ramsay do this. Flip it over.???? Sorry couldn’t resist. My husband lightly sanded mine, stained and resealed. Looks beautiful. Its 37 years old. I use it almost every day. Good luck.
My wooden cutting board chances colour almost daily. Some time it’s green of herbs, sometimes yellow of tumeric or red of tomatoes.
Don’t worry. Just use it. The colour will fade by time.
Real Simple happened to tweet about this this morning. They said that lemon and salt may be able to remove stains.
If you don’t come up with a way to get the stain out, what about staining it with something darker so it’s not so eye-popping (or splotches of other bright colors so it’s artsy) and just have a different color cutting board?
Possible a light sanding with a fine grit sand paper? Then a scrub with salt and lemons? Followed by a coat of food grade oil sealer for cutting boards?
I’m late to this so if someone has already said this sorry. ????
Paula G says
Make sure it’s really rinsed well, and try some bleach on it. Comet, or liquid bleach.
Turn it over and use the other side.
The only things I’ve heard of with tomatoe based stains would be adding peroxide, putting it into the sun, a neutral oil or shaving cream. Not sure that will take it put of wood though.
Hang in there, good luck!
I was going to say if nothing else works, then sand the board – and reseal it.. should be good as new!
Karen Shannon says
Chlorine bleach takes out most organic stains. The problem is, how far has it sunk into the wood? Good luck
Please try hydrogen peroxide. Read this hack and use it on all my cutting boards, cheaper than rubbing alcohol. An the nice bubbly fix is cool. LOL
Mary Kate Birge says
Sand it off. Get several pieces of sand paper that range from coarse to fine and sand it off. Myself, I would ignore the stain and just use it. Good luck! Mary Kate
Kosher salt rubbed in with 1/2 lemon
This may not feel like it’s helping, but we’ve had a wooden cutting board for years, and stains (from mustard, strawberries, etc.) just seem to … fade away with time. If you’re not in a terrible hurry, you could maybe just wait it out!
Martha L says
You can always try staining over the stain. Minwax makes some nice stains.
Kat W says
Don’t overthink it. The stain will out as do many things over time.
Mm… if nothing else works, learn to love the yellow?
Cynthia Van Landingham says
Try a light sanding with fine grit sandpaper. Be sure to oil with a little mineral oil after cleaning.
Nikki S. says
did anyone suggest that you cover the rest of the board in the sauce and leave it in the sink again overnight, so it will all be bright yellow? just a thought.
Moderator R says
Many times over ????, I don’t want to start team #MellowYellow, but I could hehe.
Kate Daly says
It’s clean. It may be unsightly, but the stain is unlikely to taint your food. Why not just call it a battle scar and keep on chopping.
The dishwasher won’t help anyway. Forget that. If you’re really desperate, you could try planing it down.
I’d just sand off the top layer and through on some oil to recondition it.
Sand it or plane it (if it’s super deep), then re-treat it with a food-grade oil?
If it doesn’t work out, Etsy has some lovely ones. A friend of mine made a gorgeous one with purple heart wood and something else
Rebecca Dorin says
The same thing happened to me. Your stain will fade with time. You just need to be patient.
You could also try sanding it, but it might not work because the stain is too deep.
Thomas Coakley says
If a cleaning solution doesn’t present itself, a cutting board could be sanded down and refinished. An orbital sander should make short work of removing the stain and then a food-grade mineral oil to refinish it.
Vanessa V Kilmer says
I worked for a butcher and we cleaned the wooden butcher block tables with bleach all the time.
Cover it in the sauce and let it sit overnight, wash, and presto! Fashion statement! 🙂 Kidding – it might wear off over time. or you could try hydrogen peroxide?
Mary Foley says
Create a paste with baking soda and water.
Apply it to the stain.
Allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
Wipe it away.
Combine 2 cups of water, ¼ cup of vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of Dawn.
Dip a sponge in the solution and scrub the area.
Rinse and repeat as needed.
If need extra abrasion, use salt.
I agree that peroxide might do it… Just remember NEVER mix vinegar and bleach!
I thought it was bleach and ammonia that you couldn’t mix together
I’m thinking perhaps a light sanding with fine sandpaper, then a few coats of food safe oil and beeswax.
Try a soap and bleach combination. Scrub it well. Then let it sit for about an hour, and then scrub it again with soap to get all the bleach out. I have a cutting board that I love, too, and that works for me. I’ve had a variety of things stain it, like beets, and that combination has gotten the stains out. Good luck.
Sand that side down and oil it with food grade mineral oil.
Rita B. says
In the might help/can’t hurt category, plain yogurt will sometimes remove food stains that nothing else can. Spread it on the board, cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight. Meat tenderizer might be a solution as well, dampen board lightly and sprinkle with tenderizer. The enzymes in both help break down the stains. They work well on laundry that can’t be bleached, including blood stains (butcher’s granddaughter, BTW, not axe murderer, here).
My comment is more of a distraction, plotting mischief is always a mood lifter for me.
1) source some large glow in dark googlie eyes
2) Find a tree or bush to attach them to
3) Imagine the reaction to folks randomly stumbling upon the eyes >;-)
Lemon and sunshine. Leave it out on the patio all day.
Try leaving it in the sun for a day or two.
If that doesn’t work, try Clorox.
Here’s what you do for your cutting board. Absolutely nothing. The yellow stain is now part of the board’s history. If anyone has a problem with that–and why on earth would they–tough. Maybe leaving some blueberry syrup or red berries or wet spinach on it over night might convince critics that they don’t appreciate abstract art. But if it’s a member of your household, you like it, it’s clean and it’s functional, that’s good enough.
I kind of think stains on the cutting board are marks of usefulness. Just let it be, it will wear away after a while. ????
So, what about leaving the stain (if it causes no harm to food, etc.)? Maybe it is simply part of the board’s life experiences and adds character (as does most of our life experiences). We have a beautiful coffee table in our tv room that has lived many years accumulating family experiences. Lots of character and we love it and use it daily.
Elizabeth White says
Is the yellow turmeric?
Try wetting the board and drying in bright sun. Works on fabric so may help?
You could try sprinkling baking soda on it and scrubbing it with a lemon. Baking soda is usually pretty good for stains, but if the stain is deep you might have to try it a few times. Salt is also good to scrub out some stains. May have to do this a few times.
My miracle stain remover: Benzoyl peroxide + light.
Apply benzoyl peroxide cream (the kind they sell for acne) liberally over the stain. Expose to bright light (sunlight or just a lamp) for at least several hours up to a couple of days. Scrub cream off of surface, and presto! The stain is gone.
This is a trick I learned from Mattel (they recommended it for removing ball point pen ink from Barbie doll skin), but I’ve since used it for a variety of colored stains on different surfaces where bleaching the original color isn’t a concern (it’s not a good idea on fabric). It works like magic to remove ink and sharpie from computer screens—screens are their own light source, so just apply to the stain and keep working—bath crayon stains on plastic shower surrounds, food coloring stains on soap stone, etc. The only thing I’ve tried that it didn’t work on was paint pen; I don’t imagine it would work for things like glue or nail polish, either.
I haven’t tried it for this particular stain, but it might be worth a shot. (FWIW benzoyl peroxide is used in food processing, but I’d still scrub it off really well before using the cutting board again. It’s not water soluble, so use your favorite board oil as one step in cleaning.)
Ignore the stain. Because, who really cares?
Try sanding it and then seasoning it with mineral oil. That’s how we used to clean our butcher’s block counters.
baking soda and peroxide together might work. also, kosher salt to scrub it. and food grade mineral oil after to seal it.
I vote for dousing the rest of the cutting board in the sauce and loving your new bright yellow cutting board!
as long as you have cleaned it thoroughly, its cool…the stain will fade (or atleast diminish) over time…indian cooking does this to wooden boards so we’re used to it..
It is probably too deep to remove the stain. Dye the entire board with the Heinz57, then recondition with food grade mineral oil. At least it’ll be one color.
Would it be terrible to stain the entire board a darker color?
I have gotten marks off a wooden butchers block using Milton. Not sure if you have it in the US, it’s a food safe bleach slquid used for sterilisation of baby bottles. I use the liquid version neat for stains.
Kimberly Campbell says
You are going to have to sand it out. 🙂 sorry
Hello. Re that cutting board. Sand and refinish maybe? Hope you got some rest, we need to feeling good to keep those amazing works coming. Smile. Be well!
That cutting board – how thick is it? Sand it down with an electric sander or something. Stain is there to stay but you can shave off a bit from the top if it’s not gone down too far? Fine grade as you want a smooth surface.
Put the dishwasher soap on the stain and leave it for at least 12 hours then wash.
If the stain is from turmeric in the sauce, you might try soaking the stain in oil to redissolve it before treating it with the baking soda, vinegar, etc. methods that everyone is recommending.
According to the Queen of Clean, you can apply lemon juice to a wood cutting board, let it stand for 15 minutes, rinse, and dry to remove a stain.
“Why won’t it end?” “Must finish” This is VERY funny to me now bc I am leaving New jersey tonight for Berlin, where I will run(attempt to, anyway) the Berlin marathon Sunday. I am not a fast or good runner, and I am 62, so basically, I am old and slow and will be thinking those exact thoughts!!! Liz
Kat in NJ says
Good luck in the marathon (from a fellow 60+ NJ native!) Don’t worry about being ‘old and slow’: there are plenty of ‘youngsters’ who have never run (or even thought about running) in a marathon…you rock!!!! ????
Katy Anderson says
Try hydrogen peroxide. And UV light. And some rest for you!!!
I’m sorry you’re so tired. As for the cutting board, is it something you have to get rid of if you can’t get the stain out? Will it bug you until it’s gone?
If yes, try making a bleach & water solution and wet some paper towels with the solution and put them on the stain. When they seem in danger of drying, wet more towels to replace the first batch. Or use white washcloths, if you are concerned about trash. It works, although it may take several changes. Don’t make the solution stronger than 10:1, and use gloves. The last two are things you surely know, but a reminder never hurts.
Marjorie Brooks says
Dawn platinum mixed with Oxy clean should do it!
Elaine Morton says
I suspect the stain is from the turmeric in the sauce. Since it is not toxic, can you live with a stain. Or maybe stain the entire surface the same?
Can you try lightly sanding it with steel wool? I’ve done that on my cutting boards and it’s worked. If not try actual sandpaper before tossing it out.
Laura J says
If everyone else’s cleaning tips don’t work, you don’t need to worry. Just keep using the board normally, washing it after each use. Within a month or so at the outside, the stain will fade and likely disappear. That’s what happens with mine, anyway. Mine gets bright yellow stains from turmeric root, and red from beets. Nothing persists forever. It just takes time. No idea why that is true, but for me, it has been.
Ona J. Bass says
Hmmm. Maybe rub the rest of the board with the stuff that caused the stain and go with it? You would preserve the board, and be able to use it. Someone suggested peroxide. That might work because it will pull up the stain out of the wood. If it wasn’t a favorite, I’d say get a new wooden board. Or, go to the lumber yard, get a board and cut the right shape and sand it down. (this is a concession to the difficulty getting real wood just about anything now).
My mom was a scientist and very aware of bacteria she used bleach every once and a while on her sinks and wood cutting boards
Use straight Clorox liquid let sit for a half hour through rinse after
Try letting food grade wood oil soak into the stain – it should darken it
Try all the suggestions. Use the other side until
1. the stain fades.
2. you get used to the stain as part of the story of the board.
I have a chopping board that is something like fifty years old, it has been stained with all sorts of things over the years including tumeric. All of the stains have washed out over time, so I would recommend continuing to use the board – the stain WILL disappear. 🙂
If the board is one piece of wood I would be careful about leaving it in the sun, Mr J did that to my beloved board and it warped slightly, so now it is very slightly curved. Just enough to rock slightly every time you cut if you use it the wrong way up. I did ask him to sand the problem away, but he isn’t sure he won’t make the problem worse.
I’m adding my thanks for all of the Innkeeper stories, I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a chronic pain problem; when the pain is bad I need books from authors that I trust, who won’t suddenly go grimdark on me – or at least if they do they’ll be clear up front so I can leave the book for when the pain isn’t so bad! So thank you for stories complex enough to mke me forget the pain, it is an incredible gift!
it’s wood. sand a 1/4″ of wood of the top to resurface it
Monica M says
Use sandpaper to sand out the stain. Then rub in olive oil to rehydrate the board.
Quoting a health dept inspector who wasn’t even worried about mold or whatever on a wooden cutting board versus a plastic one: “Wood never gives up what it takes in, so we don’t have to worry” [regarding contamination onto new food if it’s really in the wood]. If you like the board, can you live with the new bright yellow look?
Jean Reads says
1) If you have washed it, the color residue is probably harmless. Just keep using it. The stain adds character. It may or may not fade eventually, but does it really matter in the scheme of things? The board will still serve your cutting and chopping needs.
2) Flip the board over and use the other side if the stain annoys.
Elizabeth McWay says
To clean your cutting board, take out a putty knife. Gently scrape off the surface, which likely has knife scrapes. Put your board in the sink and rinse off any fine scrape crumbs left. Sprinkle comet or even Tide powder to make a covering paste, allow to sit ten minutes, rinse well and pat down dry. This works for old apartments with pull out breadboards.
Try Pink Stuff, it works on all kinds of things and has no odor.
Helen Wawrejko says
I always cleaned my giant bakery table with white vinegar and let it set on it overnight. You can also sand it.
Bill from NJ says
I would use a fine grit wet/dry sandpaper ( try 800), used wet. It should take out the stain without making the wood looked scratched.
Turn. The. Board. Over. ????????
Foolish mortal, it has a groove in it. 😀
Rebecca G says
Mr. Clean dry eraser.
maybe baking soda and hydrogen peroxide left on 30 minutes. it takes stains out of grout?
As a last resort, I would try putting a little bleach on it and letting it set, checking it frequently, of course.
You could always put more sauce on it and have it all yellow.
Or you can use it regardless of what it looks like.
I really have no idea. Bleach maybe, but that might do bad things to the wood.
Hope things get better soon.
Maria M. OToole says
I recommend just keeping and using the cutting board.
Eventually, the stain may fade. Or it may not. Either way, all the best gloves cutting boards probably have stains (I know mine does).
What you’ve done so far certainly will have saved it from any bacterial contamination…not that wooden boards are prone to that anyway.
Mary K. Cervenka says
Peroxide might help. When I stain mine or it gets deep cuts, I use my palm sander to sand down to good wood. Rinse well and restore with beeswax/coconut oil mixture. I let it soak in a few hours then reapply to soak overnight. Next morning I wipe off any excess and buff. Voila! Works for me. My board is over 50 yrs old.
When I’ve had bad stains like that on my wooden cutting boards, I sand them down with an orbital sander. Then I oil them with a food-safe oil and yay, back to normal!
You may also wish to try sanding the board with some heavy grit sandpaper to remove the upper layer.
Andrea Smith says
I was reading a Board & Spead cookbook a few months ago. They recommended cutting a lemon in half and salt. Dip the lemon in salt, clean your board using small circle motion.
It stuck with me because I’ve been doing it wrong???? I have tried it and it works. Hope it helps you out.
Bleach soaked rag let it sit overnight
Re: cutting board
I just heard that mayo (egg stuffs, ew) is good for getting stains out of wood. Idk it might work if you haven’t tried it?
Bleach soaked rag let it sit overnight. Re apply food grade mineral oil to treat.
Just be patient. Wood actually eats bacteria, which makes them better than plastic cutting boards. That will slllooowwwllllyyy fade.
Re apply food grade mineral oil to treat.
Jean Morgan says
Start by sprinkling a liberal amount of salt or baking soda on the cutting board surface. Then, take a sponge or brush, soak it in hot water, and scrub the affected area until the stain is gone. For an extra touch and fresh aroma, cut a lemon in half, sprinkle salt on the flat side, and then scrub the stained area.
I’ve been seeing all the chapters come up and thinking “wow they are like a train booking it to the end!” haha
I actually haven’t read them for a couple months now since I’m kind of on a non-stop train express of my own… I can’t keep the chapters straight in my head for the life of me with all the stuff I have going on.
But I’m waiting for the whole thing to come out and devour at once… I’m excited! I have some theories on caldenia and would love to know if I’m right 🙂
As for wood stains… I just use mine with the stains included if I can’t get it out, I may be a barbarian lol . Honestly though, after multiple washings they tend to fade by themselves eventually
I had bamboo cutting boards, butcher block boards… they’ve been replaced with resturant-level chemically inert ones.
My cutting boards, if they weren’t kept oiled, always stained. And they needed oiling after almost each time I used them for any strong cutting session. That they were delaminating was the last straw. And I’m skipping the whole part where wood cutting boards can hold hosts of bacteria–that aren’t killed in a dishwasher setting.
Much as I hate the soft plastics of kitchen appliances, these hard boards are a real savior. And no oiling required.
I am loving this thread and all the kitchen scientists we have in the BDH – who knew? (also taking notes for when this happens to my beloved boards)
Secondly, am sending moral support and calming breaths to Gordon and Ilona – pls don’t burn yourself out on our/BDH’s account (we are loving SoH with all its twists and turns and gasps). Quality self-care time may be in order !
NK in AZ says
How about Ichabod for the name?
Flip it over and use the other side. HeHE.
Then send Lady Wexyn after the culprit.
Doris Gray says
I have a much loved and much use cutting board my Son made me. It has been stained a few times. There is no way I will sand my board. I have used lemon to clean it with and continued to use it as usual. Soaking in water or any liquid is out. One should never soak a wood cutting board. After cleaning I rub it with a biodegradable wax. My stains have disappeared over time.
Good luck finding a solution.
Corse (sp) grained salt, scrub it in with lemon. Rub oil into the board to recondition it.
If it’s a pretty bright yellow, maybe ‘stain’ the rest of the board?
Learn to like yellow??
You could try sanding it down just a titch to remove the outer layer (or sand the whole thing to match) then add some vegetable oil and rub it into the wood. I’ve done that in the past for small stains.
thanks for all your hard work…as for the stain make it into something arty, with more 57 than seal and call it good. Think over time it will fade after other cleanings, but the stain won’t annoy you as bad, making it a design
I checked the ingredients of steak sauce. It contains turmeric. That is probably the source of the yellow. turmeric breaks down in sunlight. put the board in sunlight for a few days and it should bleach out.
Brilliant! I wondered about a yellow stain coming from Heinz steak sauce, but turmeric makes perfect sense. Turmeric stains everything! good to know how to remove that! 🙂
12% food grade hydrogen peroxide. (Peroxide dissolves organic materials like blood, turmeric). If that doesn’t remove it, sunshine. If still need more, oxyclean soak for a couple hours on the stain only. (Oxycleannpowder plus a smidge water)
for cutting board try Hydergine peroxide
Lee Greer says
This reminds me of A Questionable Client. Where Kate has leucrocotta blood on her boots and all the mercs had differing ideas on removing it. Except you are certainly keeping said cutting board.
My advice, keep it as is. It is like my surgery scars. You grow to accept it as life experience.The stains do not cause harm and adds ambience of your kitchen.
Take a deep breath, relax and take a walk. Just breath in the air. A change of view and moving your body may help. Deadlines are tough!
Try Kosher Salt and lemon. Spread the salt and rub it in with a cut lemon. I hope it helps. With all the things you’ve already tried you should use some Spoon/Wood butter on it. I think you can buy it but I made my own. Great for reviving wooden spoons and cutting boards. Google Spoon butter for recipes.
I don’t know how to get the stain out, but I do have an off the wall fix. You could use the Heinz 57 steak sauce to stain the rest of it the same color. You could also change the color with food coloring. Alternatively, beet juice, crushed strawberries, pomegranates, boiled red cabbage and blueberries and things like that also stain things quite well.
Robin Šebelová says
Have you already tried 96% ethanol? I would recommend a hexane, but this is a cutting board for food…
Shannon Craycraft says
Could you sand it down?
I restored a cutting board from my grandmother that was stained and neglected. I used a wood oil/cleaner and it worked great. I don’t have the oil anymore, but this is a similar product I just looked up on Amazon —Bayes High-Performance Food Grade Mineral Oil Wood & Bamboo Conditioner and Protectant – Cleans, Conditions and Protects Wood, Bamboo, and Teak Cutting Boards and Utensils –
Lin Wallberg says
Sand the stain away on the cutting board and ther oil it again.
This worked on my stubborn hardwood and shower floor stains,
Mix half white vinegar and half DAWN extra strength
Spray stains thoroughly
Let sit for at least 1 hr
Use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe mixture off.
For your cutting board try a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide. Work for me. Leave on a few minutes the scrub off with warm water.
Natural Borax Laundry Detergent is a safe cleaner. I’d try borax this if the circumstance was mine.
have you tried a bleach product? Soft scrub with bleach? How about a clothing stain remover?
I found this on the internet – maybe salt will help?
How do you remove stains from a wooden cutting board?
Start by sprinkling a liberal amount of salt or baking soda on the cutting board surface. Then, take a sponge or brush, soak it in hot water, and scrub the affected area until the stain is gone. For an extra touch and fresh aroma, cut a lemon in half, sprinkle salt on the flat side, and then scrub the stained area.
When there was a water stain on my wood kitchen table … an internet hack suggested a hair dryer and I tried it …
It worked … I blasted it with a blow dryer!
But it was a white water stain on a black wood table
Good luck !
You also might try lightly sanding the area.
Try putting it in the sun for a couple of hours – tomato juice is photosensitive and sun works on clothes stained with tomato juice. Or try a laundry stain remover if residual oil is the problem. Good luck!
Peroxide or oxyclean might bleach it out
If it is wooden/ maple spray it with a 10% bleach water solution let it sit 10 minutes and rinse. Sometimes this will work with plastic too. I have some wooden cutting boards I won’t part with. Some have stains but the bleach will lighten them. And I like cutting on block maple over plastic…
Leon Robbins says
I’m a woodworker hobbyist.. if it’s old and scarred, just sand it down.. that will remove the stain and all the scars/scratches.. the finish it with a good cutting board oil.. I refinish ours every 2-3 years..
you can also try cutting a lemon and squeezing the juice on to the stain & let sit.
Oops just reread & saw you did try lemon ????
Would it be possible to sand a fine layer off to get rid of the stain? Could also try a half lemon cut side dipped in salt as a scrubber. Best of luck!
Just use it until it either the stain fades or you get used to it.
My kids like art. The more it stains the more they like it. I have found there’s not much hand sanitiser doesn’t get out (or rubbing alcohol but hand sanatisers much more accessible these days). Not sure if it would work on wood or sauce but it may be worth a try.
Sharon Leahy says
Hi, Ilona, if you can’t get the stain out, you could over-dye it to bring the color more in line with the background color of the rest of the board. There are lots of natural dye options — like, everyone’s experienced cutting beets and then having purple fingers … so, I’d suggest heading in that direction rather than using a chemical dye that might get into the food. There are a lot of books and info on natural dyes from plants nowdays as many fabric and yarn dyers are heading in that direction. I have even seen “natural food colorings” made from plant materials. Best of luck!
A bleach water solution?
Zaena B says
One of the nicest things about wooden cutting boards is, is when there is a permanent stain on it, you can sand it off. Either by hand, or with an electric mini-sander. Saved many cutting boards doing that! *S*
The stain doesn’t matter to how it is used. You can just use it as normal.
Carmen James says
Try sanding it back, how thick is the board?
A nice gentle sander are Brillo Pads (green sponge things). I finish wood with them.
If your wooden cutting boards have no marks, stains, burns… are you really even cooking? Those marks add character and are testament to the love you put into your work.
If your hands aren’t sore, your back stiff and your mind feeling a little mushy are you actually a writer? ????
Deep breath, please don’t kill the book. It’s fighting for it’s life and while we support “my mind, my story decisions ” BDH is starting to do the dance of worry. (She said she’s gonna kill the book. And we don’t have any answers for the parents yet. And Orro hasn’t published a cookbook yet.. and what about Maude? We want a wedding right? We don’t know where the new link to the inn will open. Dance, dance,worry worry dance)
I also have a couple of old cutting boards. one from my mom that my brother made in shop and one my kids gave me. They were rode hard and put away wet. What I did was take a palm sander to them with a pretty high grit. It got rid if the stains and smoothed out some of the rough spots from kids whacking cleaners. Then I seasoned it with cutting board oil. Worked like a champ.
Janet N Loughheed says
The interesting thing about wooden cutting boards is they are NOT inert. Stains get absorbed, and released over time as they react with the cells of the wood. I would say try oxidation, ie oxy-clean or other oxygenating cleaner: baking soda and vinegar.Then give it a shot of reduction cleaner, simple pink or lemon juice and salt in the sunshine, and then let it be for a few weeks of regular use and retreat with both types of cleaner. As you use the cutting board, the knife edges open up cells that are stained and mush closed other cells, and over time the stain may just fade away. I have a nice 2″ thick board that has acquired and lost stains over the years. Love it and keep using it, stains and all.
Jenn Marr says
Sand down the stain then re-oil the cutting board
you could cover the whole thing in sauce and let it set, the it would all be the same color lol. good luck
Barbara Swanson says
I use bleach. It will fade with drying, and if you wash off, let dry, 2 times, there isn’t really a bleach taste left IME
have you tried a light sanding and food grade mineral oil?
Angela Michalicek says
Have you tried hydrogen peroxide?
Kat in NJ says
Sorry I didn’t see this earlier…I hope something already worked by now! ????
I’ve used liquid dishwasher detergent to remove stains (such as beet juice) from cutting boards, my white kitchen counter, etc.
Just pour a little bit of dishwasher liquid on the stain and lightly manually scrub it, then rinse. In my experience, it gets rid of the stain within seconds, so it doesn’t need to soak.
I’d hand sand it with a block till I removed the stain, get the rest of the board to the same grit/sanding finish, and then refinish it with a food safe conditioning oil. Will look gorgeous!
Apply some food safe oil to the board to darken it?
Lex Keating says
I is sorry yous is tired. I feel your pain. You deserve the sleeps.
Sun bleaching can remove tomato stains (just setting it in a strong bright sun for a few hours), and requires no experimental procedures.
Maybe sand paper it a bit?
One random thought- maybe try just sanding it off, if it’s not too fragile or stain is too deep. Then put some oil on it
Try sublight. I have been putting my colored cutting boards in the sunlight and the color just vanishes. Good luck.
Coat with a darker sauce let it soak in and then give it a good scrub. Back in the days of table cloths they used coffee or tea to dye a slightly stained table cloth ivory.
Maybe a light sanding and then apply a stain remover?
Ann Rovetto says
You can sand Cutting boards. Depending how deep the stain is this could work. However if it is most of the way through the board obviously don’t try it. Sanding will also remove the patina that that has built up over the years
as a wood worker, I would say that the only thing is to plane it downand reoil it. there is always the chance that the stain has gone too deep, in which case you would have to just accept it and let it fade with time.
My wife and I make cutting boards to sell. Sand the whole surface with 220 grit sandpaper until the stain is gone. Treat the raw wood with mineral oil, then get a board wax of Amazon to finish it. Easy peasy.
Maybe sand off the top layer and see if you get all the stained wood?
Make a slurry of 1/2 cup of baking powder, and 1/2 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar, spread over the entire board.
Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then give it a good rinse.
Joanie Holmes says
My step-grandmother used to swear by good ‘ol’ salt. Just rub it in really hard, then rinse in cold water and dry it. We have a cutting board in the shape of a pig that my son made for me years ago. I love it!
All the comments about sanding, made me think of that time I used…… Salt….. To scrub something clean. And it worked. I dont know how. I forgot what. But it worked.
Might be worth a try.
Also, even though i love your chapters, if your mind needs a break, please take it. I can wait.
Lmao, posted this, then saw a comment about salt. Sorry about the doubleness
Yes! I know the answer to this one. Rub it with lemon again and put it in the sun. This works quick in Australian sunshine with high UV, so it may take a day with no ozone hole?
Then very important, oil it after this to bring back the colour
My mother and grandmother would keep it. I would keep it. Remember how our parents, grandparents, great grandparents lived. Use the board!
Very fine grit sandpaper, super strength Dawn, Oxy Clean, salt & sun in combination should help.
Good luck & please let us know what (if anything) works!
It’s just “patina”. It will moderate to unnoticed eventually. Don’t stress. Just like us, it is aging gracefully.
Sandpaper to sand the stain off?Start with a rough grit, then go finer and finer. Or, if you can, turn it over?
That is what I did when my Mom scorched my favourite wooden cutting board by putting a overly hot pot on it. She literally melted the bottom of the pot off by forgetting it on the stove. Sigh.
Heather A says
I did not read through the thousands of comments, heh, but mineral spirits, if it hasn’t been said. It’s what we use to keep our board oiled and fresh and it takes care of stains. Use a small amount on the stain and then work your way up to the whole board. Keeps it fresh and brings out the wood. Someone made me a board that’s like 5lbs of wood (not sure what type) but it’s gorgeous and that’s what he said to use. Hope it helps!!
Uh oh. Bright yellow…does the stain have feathered edges? If so, frame the cutting board and hang it on the wall because the yellow could be a fungus or bacterium.
Sand your cutting board
I read course ground kosher salt with lemon juice was effective.
Have you tried making a paste of baking soda and water, and letting that dry on the stain? I’ve used that to pull some nasty stains out of things.