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Follow these steps to clean wooden cutting boards

A sharp knife - Photos butchers helping customers PaulinMeMarket; some shots showing selectimeat; if you can shot one butchers holding

A sharp knife - Photos of the butchers helping customers at Paulina Meat Market; some shots showing the selection of meat; and if you can, a shot of one of the butchers holding up a big cut of meat or a bunch of sausages. This is for our cover story on experts' advice on how to shop for meat, seafood, wine etc. ** Janet Fuller request for a story slugged: secrets13 **(Photo by Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times)

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Updated: July 1, 2012 11:34AM

Q. I can’t throw my wooden cutting boards in the dishwasher, but I want to make sure they’re clean. Can you help?

A. The dishwasher may be a foe to most wooden cutting boards, but not to worry. Getting a board extra-clean doesn’t require much beyond some products likely found in your home.

† Rinse immediately after use. Studies show that a pre-wash rinse eliminates enough bacteria so that levels are safe, while submerging the board in dishwater immediately after use transfers pathogens to the wash water. Since wood is a porous surface that absorbs water, submerging a dirtied board could also cause it to split and warp.

† Disinfect using 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Pour over board and spread it around using a clean sponge. Let it stand for a few minutes as it fizzes to kill germs. Wipe off with clean sponge; repeat as needed.

† Remove stains with coarse salt or baking soda. Dry the board completely and sprinkle it with the salt or baking soda. Scrub out the stain using a sponge or a brush dipped into hot water, and repeat as needed.

† Deodorize with white vinegar. Keep a spray bottle filled with white vinegar and use it to regularly spray down a cutting board. The vinegar will neutralize odors while working as an all-natural disinfectant.

† Sanitize using diluted bleach. An occasional extra-deep cleaning is a good idea, particularly after working with raw meat, fish or poultry. Add 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 quart water and flood the board with this solution. Let stand for a few minutes before rinsing with hot water.

Courtesy of Teri Tsang Barrett on foodnetwork.comScripps Howard

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