Maintenance of your board is absolutely crucial to giving it a long and healthy life.
All wooden boards will split, crack, or get smelly if not cared for properly.
These are my tips for getting the most mileage out of your board:
1. NO DISHWASHERS
This may sound obvious, but it needs to be said. Prolonged exposure to heat and water will absolutely cause your board to warp.
2. HAND WASH GENTLY
Warm (not scalding) water, a sponge, and the tiniest drop of mild dish soap. Or, if you're like me and only want to use natural products on your board...sprinkle some baking soda all over the board, then cut a lemon in half and rub it all over! Boom. Natural disinfectant AND deodorizer in one fell swoop. Thanks, nature.
3. ADDRESS STAINS IMMEDIATELY
ESPECIALLY on lighter woods like Maple and Ash.
4. AIR DRY EVENLY
Wood will naturally absorb water and expand accordingly. As it dries, it will contract as the water evaporates. If you place a wet board on a flat surface, the top will dry faster than the underside, and it will expand/contract unevenly. Instead, towel it off as best you can and then prop it upright or place it in a dish rack.
5. REGULARLY OIL BOTH SIDES
I recommend a food-safe mineral oil for general upkeep. You can typically find this in your pharmacy section. Food-based oils (like olive oil) will go rancid over time, and it's generally never a good idea to use on a cutting board.
6. SANDPAPER IS YOUR FRIEND
Over time, after repeated washings and the general wear and tear of use, you may notice your board isn't as smooth as it once was. This is perfectly normal. I suggest going to the hardware store and picking up a fine-grit sandpaper (400-600 grit is what I use) and giving your board a good sanding to knock down any texture that has developed. Reapply mineral oil when you're done. Or, if you're local to me, just bring it back to my shop and I'll fix it right up again!