How to Remove Garlic Smell from Plastic Cutting Board

How to Remove Garlic Smell from Plastic Cutting Board

A pungent garlic smell lingering on your plastic cutting board can be quite the culinary nuisance. Regrettably, plastic cutting boards have a knack for absorbing odors, particularly the potent aroma of garlic.

It’s hardly surprising that home cooks across the globe are eager to discover effective methods for banishing that stubborn garlic scent from their trusty kitchen companion.

In this comprehensive guide, we will not only unveil the top-tier techniques to eliminate garlic odors from your plastic cutting board but also reveal strategies to maintain its freshness for the long haul.

Why Does Garlic Smell Stick to Plastic Cutting Boards?

Why Does Garlic Smell Stick to Plastic Cutting Boards?

The tenacity of garlic odors on cutting boards arises from the absorption of its volatile compounds by the porous surface of plastic cutting boards. This porous nature makes plastic boards exceptionally susceptible to trapping odors.

As you continue to use the cutting board, these trapped odors are liberated into the surrounding air. Hence, the importance of regular cleaning and disinfecting cannot be overstated, as it serves as the first line of defense against the buildup of unpleasant odors.

How to Remove Garlic Smell from Plastic Cutting Board

The crème de la crème of garlic odor removal from plastic cutting boards involves a magical concoction of baking soda and water. To embark on this olfactory journey, follow these simple steps:

Create the Baking Soda Potion:

Combine two parts baking soda with one part water to form a thick, paste-like mixture.

Apply the Mixture:

Gently spread the baking soda and water mixture evenly across the entire surface of your tainted cutting board.

Let It Rest:

Allow the paste to work its magic for a duration of approximately 20 minutes to an hour. The exact time required may vary depending on the intensity of the garlic odor.

Wipe Away Odors:

After the stipulated duration, take a clean cloth or sponge and wipe away the baking soda concoction. Rinse the cutting board thoroughly with warm water.

Repeat if Necessary:

For stubborn odors, don’t hesitate to repeat the process until your plastic cutting board is odor-free and as fresh as a daisy.

Alternate Methods for Banishing Garlic Odors from Plastic Cutting Boards

While the baking soda and water remedy reigns supreme, there are alternative methods in your arsenal for tackling garlic odors:

Vinegar and Baking Soda

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda to form a paste.
  • Spread the paste over the affected cutting board and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Wipe off the paste and rinse the cutting board with warm water.

Lemon and Salt

  • Sprinkle salt generously over the cutting board.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the salt-covered surface.
  • Use a sponge to scrub the lemon and salt mixture into the cutting board.
  • Allow the concoction to rest for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Combine a few drops of dish soap with hydrogen peroxide to create a paste.
  • Spread the paste over the cutting board and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Employ a sponge to scrub the paste into the cutting board.
  • Conclude the process by rinsing the cutting board with warm water.

Preventing Garlic Smell from Building Up on Plastic Cutting Boards

Prevention is often the best cure, and the same holds true for garlic odors on plastic cutting boards. By adopting these proactive measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of odors making an unwelcome return:

Thorough Cleaning After Each Use

  • Initiate the post-cooking ritual by scrubbing your cutting board with hot, soapy water. This initial step is vital for removing surface residue and odor.
  • Follow up with a generous application of a solution comprised of one part white vinegar and one part water. This potent combination serves as a disinfectant.
  • Conclude by rinsing the cutting board meticulously with hot water and allowing it to air dry completely.

Proper Storage

  • Optimal storage is key to maintaining a fresh cutting board. Store it in a well-ventilated area, such as on your countertop, allowing air to circulate and prevent trapped odors.

In Conclusion

Bid farewell to the days of grappling with a malodorous cutting board, especially when it’s crafted from plastic. Fortunately, a plethora of methods are at your disposal to vanquish garlic odors from your trusty kitchen companion.

While the baking soda and water concoction stands out as the undisputed champion, alternatives like vinegar and baking soda, lemon and salt, or dish soap and hydrogen peroxide can also prove effective. However, remember that a proactive approach is the best course of action.

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting your cutting board after each use, and storing it appropriately, will ensure that the battle against odors is won, leaving your kitchen smelling fresh and inviting for your culinary adventures.

Can garlic smell permanently stick to a plastic cutting board?

The lingering aroma of garlic on a plastic cutting board can indeed be a concern for many home cooks. While plastic cutting boards are generally less porous than wooden ones and are easier to clean, they can still retain the smell of garlic if not properly handled.

The scent of garlic is primarily due to sulfur compounds present in the garlic cloves. These compounds can be absorbed by the plastic material of the cutting board, especially if the board has cuts, scratches, or grooves where garlic juice can seep into.

Here are some effective tips to prevent garlic smell from permanently sticking to your plastic cutting board:

Immediate Cleaning:

After chopping garlic, wash the cutting board with hot, soapy water immediately. This helps remove most of the garlic residue and odor before it has a chance to penetrate the plastic.

Baking Soda Scrub:

Sprinkle baking soda onto the cutting board, scrub it with a damp sponge or cloth, and then rinse thoroughly. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can help neutralize garlic odors.

Lemon Juice:

Rubbing the board with lemon juice can also help eliminate lingering odors. The acidity of the lemon juice helps break down the garlic compounds.

Vinegar Solution:

Create a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar and soak the cutting board in it for a few minutes. Then, rinse and wash with soap and water.


On a sunny day, place the cutting board outside in direct sunlight for a few hours. Sunlight can help dissipate odors and freshen the board.

Use a Dedicated Garlic Cutting Board:

Consider having a separate cutting board exclusively for garlic and other strong-smelling ingredients. This can prevent cross-contamination and minimize odor transfer to other foods.

Regular Maintenance:

Periodically check your plastic cutting board for deep cuts or gouges. If you notice any, it might be time to replace the board, as these deep crevices can trap odors.

By following these practices, you can effectively manage garlic odors on your plastic cutting board and maintain a fresh kitchen environment. Remember that consistency in cleaning and maintenance is key to preventing permanent odor retention.

What causes the strong garlic smell to linger on plastic cutting boards?

The enduring aroma of garlic on plastic cutting boards can be attributed to a combination of scientific and practical factors. This phenomenon is not only fascinating but also relevant for those seeking to understand the intricacies of culinary chemistry.

Let’s delve into the reasons behind this tenacious garlic scent.

Porous Surface:

Plastic cutting boards, although seemingly smooth, are actually porous to some extent. These microscopic pores provide a perfect hiding place for the volatile compounds responsible for the strong aroma of garlic.

When garlic is minced or chopped on a plastic board, these compounds can seep into these tiny openings, becoming trapped within the board’s structure.


Garlic contains a powerful sulfur compound called allicin. When garlic is cut, crushed, or minced, enzymes in the garlic convert alliin into allicin. Allicin is highly volatile and responsible for the pungent odor of fresh garlic. This compound is released into the air during cutting and also permeates the plastic board’s surface.

Chemical Affinity:

Plastic is not chemically inert. It can interact with substances like garlic, especially when they’re cut into it. The allicin in garlic can chemically bond with the plastic, making it even more challenging to remove the odor.

Residual Oils:

Garlic also contains natural oils that can adhere to the plastic surface. These oils contain aroma compounds, which can persist long after the garlic itself has been removed.

Cleaning Challenges:

Plastic cutting boards are often cleaned with detergents and warm water. While this may remove surface contaminants, it may not be sufficient to eradicate the garlic odor deeply embedded within the plastic’s pores.

Additionally, repeated washing may further drive the garlic compounds into the board’s structure.

Age and Usage:

The age and usage of a plastic cutting board play a role. Older boards with more wear and tear tend to retain garlic odors more stubbornly, as the pores may become enlarged and more accommodating to odor molecules.

To mitigate the persistence of garlic odor on plastic cutting boards, consider using alternative materials like wooden or bamboo boards, which are less porous and naturally antibacterial.

Frequent and thorough cleaning, possibly with baking soda or a mixture of vinegar and water, can also help in eliminating lingering garlic scents. Ultimately, understanding the science behind these culinary quirks empowers us to make more informed choices in our kitchens.

How can I remove the pungent garlic smell from my plastic cutting board?

Eliminating the stubborn odor of garlic from your plastic cutting board is a common culinary challenge, but fear not, for I’m here to provide you with an effective and straightforward solution.

The pervasive scent of garlic can linger long after your chopping endeavors are over, but with a few simple steps, you can banish it for good.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

To begin, gather the following items:

  • Your garlic-scented plastic cutting board
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A scrub brush or sponge
  • Lemon (optional)
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap

Step 2: Create a Vinegar Solution

Mix equal parts white distilled vinegar and warm water in a bowl or container large enough to submerge your cutting board. If you’d like to add a pleasant citrusy twist, squeeze the juice from half a lemon into the mixture.

Step 3: Soak and Scrub

Place your plastic cutting board in the vinegar solution, ensuring that it’s fully submerged. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes, allowing the vinegar to penetrate and neutralize the garlic odor.

After soaking, use a scrub brush or sponge to gently scrub the board, paying extra attention to any stubborn garlic remnants or stains.

Step 4: Baking Soda Boost

After scrubbing, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the cutting board. Baking soda is renowned for its odor-absorbing properties. Scrub the board once more with the baking soda to ensure thorough coverage, and then allow it to sit for another 15-20 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse and Clean

Rinse the cutting board thoroughly with warm water, making sure to remove all traces of vinegar and baking soda. Finish by washing the board with dish soap, giving it a final scrub to remove any remaining odors.

Step 6: Air Dry

Place your cleaned cutting board in a well-ventilated area to air dry completely. This step is essential to ensure that any lingering odors dissipate entirely.

Step 7: Optional Repeat

If the garlic smell persists after the first attempt, you can repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the results. Sometimes, especially strong odors may require multiple treatments.

By following these steps, you can reclaim your plastic cutting board from the clutches of garlic aroma and have it ready for your next culinary adventure, free of any lingering scents. Enjoy a fresh and odor-free cutting board once more!

Are there any natural remedies to eliminate the garlic odor from plastic cutting boards?

Tired of that lingering garlic scent on your plastic cutting boards? Fear not, as nature has some remarkable remedies up its sleeve to help you bid farewell to that pungent odor. Here are a few natural solutions that will leave your cutting boards smelling fresh and clean:

Lemon and Baking Soda Magic:

Begin by generously sprinkling baking soda onto the affected plastic cutting board. Next, cut a fresh lemon in half and use it to scrub the surface vigorously.

The lemon’s natural acidity, combined with the deodorizing power of baking soda, will neutralize the garlic odor and leave your board smelling citrusy and clean.

Vinegar Soak:

Prepare a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar in a large container. Submerge your plastic cutting board in this solution and let it soak for a few hours or overnight. Vinegar is well-known for its odor-neutralizing properties. After soaking, rinse the cutting board thoroughly with water and pat it dry.

Coffee Grounds Absorption:

If you have some used coffee grounds at your disposal, spread them evenly over the surface of your cutting board. Coffee grounds are excellent at absorbing strong odors. Leave them on for a few hours or overnight, and then brush or shake them off. Wash the board with soapy water and rinse well.

Activated Charcoal:

Place a few activated charcoal briquettes or tablets on your cutting board. Charcoal is highly effective at absorbing odors. Leave them on the board for a day or so, and the garlic odor will be absorbed. Remember to rinse the board thoroughly afterward.

Sunlight and Fresh Air:

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. Leave your plastic cutting board in direct sunlight for a few hours. The UV rays will help break down the odor molecules. Additionally, fresh air and sunshine work wonders in naturally deodorizing plastic surfaces.

Essential Oils:

Mix a few drops of essential oils like tea tree, lavender, or eucalyptus with water and use this solution to wipe down your cutting board. Essential oils not only mask odors but also have antibacterial properties.

Remember to wash your plastic cutting board with mild dish soap and warm water after using any of these methods to ensure it’s clean and safe for food preparation. With these natural remedies, you’ll have your cutting board smelling fresh and ready for your next culinary adventure in no time!

Are there specific cleaning products or techniques that are effective in removing garlic smell from plastic cutting boards?

When it comes to banishing that persistent garlic aroma from your plastic cutting boards, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several effective cleaning products and techniques at your disposal. Garlic’s potent odor can linger on plastic surfaces, but with the right approach, you can ensure your cutting boards remain fresh and odor-free.

  1. Baking Soda and Water Solution:
    Start by creating a paste using baking soda and water. Apply this mixture generously to the surface of the cutting board and scrub it thoroughly. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that helps neutralize garlic odors effectively. After scrubbing, rinse the board with water and dry it.
  2. Lemon and Salt Scrub:
    Lemons are renowned for their natural deodorizing properties. Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle salt on the cutting board, and then use the lemon halves to scrub the surface vigorously. The acid in the lemon juice helps break down garlic odors, while the salt acts as an abrasive for deeper cleaning. Rinse and dry the board afterward.
  3. Vinegar Soak:
    Another effective technique is to create a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Submerge the plastic cutting board in this mixture and let it soak for several hours or overnight. Vinegar is excellent at neutralizing odors, including garlic. After soaking, rinse the board thoroughly and allow it to air dry.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide Solution:
    For stubborn garlic smells, you can mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water and apply it to the cutting board. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse and dry. Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful disinfectant and deodorizer that can help eliminate lingering odors.
  5. Dishwasher Cycle:
    If your plastic cutting board is dishwasher-safe, running it through a hot dishwasher cycle with detergent can effectively remove garlic odor. Make sure to place it on the top rack to avoid exposure to excessive heat.
  6. Baking in the Sun:
    On a sunny day, consider placing the washed cutting board outdoors in direct sunlight for a few hours. Sunlight can naturally help dissipate odors.

Remember to wash your cutting board thoroughly with soap and water after applying any of these techniques to ensure it’s safe for food preparation.

By employing these methods, you can bid farewell to garlic odors and maintain your plastic cutting boards in a fresh and clean state.

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