A cutting board is a staple to have in your kitchen. When preparing any meal you will find yourself reaching for a cutting board to do the job and protect your counters. You can purchase a wood or polypropylene board to meet your needs. You may even want both in your kitchen!
Although contrary to popular opinion, wood cutting boards actually kill bacteria. Even though plastic is non-porous and can't absorb liquids, it is very difficult to clean. With frequent use, the surface becomes scarred by knives, leaving it to harbor potential bacteria. Since wood is a natural surface, it is renewable and biodegradable. Wood cutting boards also protect your knives and won't dull them like glass or ceramic boards.
To care for your wood cutting board, wash it in warm, soapy water after each use. Let it air dry for the best results. Soaking it or putting it in the dishwasher may ruin your wood cutting board. Take care of it by seasoning it regularly with a good quality cutting board oil to maintain its appearance and use.
Plastic cutting boards are inexpensive and lightweight. They are also not as prone to staining as the wood cutting boards. For vegetables and other non-meat items, plastic boards will do the trick. They can be washed in the dishwasher or by hand, but you need to make sure to avoid cross contamination. Buying different colors can help you decide which boards to use for which food items.
Both types of cutting boards will eventually show wear. They should be replaced when deeply scratched to avoid potential bacteria from forming.