Why You Should Always Put a Damp Towel Under Your Cutting Board

This simple kitchen hack will make meal prepping easier than ever.

It’s a kitchen mishap many home cooks experience: You’re preparing your vegetables for a delicious homemade dinner, and during the slicing and dicing process, they never want to stay in one place. Thankfully, there’s a hack that ensures you won’t have to deal with this annoyance ever again: stabilizing your cutting board with a kitchen towel. Because you likely already have one in your kitchen, it’s extremely easy to make into a regular habit. Here’s how it works.

How to Try This Hack In the Kitchen

All you have to do is grab any one of your kitchen towels and run it under your sink. Be sure to squeeze out the majority of the water so that it’s only slightly damp.

Thinner towels work best because they won’t raise your cutting board up and are less likely to create an uneven work surface. You can even use a slightly damp paper towel under the board to keep it in place. If you have a slightly thicker towel that’s made of a textured fabric, test it out without wetting the towel. The grooves in the fabric might be enough to keep your board from shifting without having to use water; just make sure to try it before you start chopping to avoid any accidents.

Round wooden cutting board with blue towel underneath

Luda311 / Getty Images

The idea behind this hack is that the wet towel causes enough friction to keep your cutting board from sliding around, which reduces the chance of knife accidents and prevents your produce from falling onto the floor.

On a related note, make sure to oil down your wooden cutting board after washing it. This is the easiest way to eliminate the spread of lingering bacteria that lives on your board and can spread back into the food you’re preparing. 

Kitchen towels are one of the sneakiest ways that bacteria is spread around your home and into your food. You should avoid reusing them if they've come into contact with uncooked meat while trying this hack, as they could become contaminated while under your cutting board. 

A 2015 study found that kitchen towels were the single-most contaminated item in kitchens across the U.S. The easiest way to avoid the spread of bacteria from kitchen towels into your food is to solely use them for single-use purposes. Make sure to never cross contaminate a hand-drying towel with a towel you use to wipe spilled food off your counter. 

Follow these tips and you’ll have a simple, stable way to chop vegetables while keeping harmful bacteria from spreading—all at the same time.

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