I placed some rusty steel pieces on a plastic or rubber kitchen cutting board and covered the pieces with several lubricants and solvents, including WD-40.

Although the combination loosened the rust successfully, my friend told me that the cutting board should leave the kitchen forever because there was no way to clean it thoroughly enough for it to be a safe food preparation surface. It was/is my favorite cutting board.

Should I move it to the workshop now or is there a way to scrub and rinse it well enough for safe food preparation?

  • 1
    you should never use chemicals on any food preparation surface .... it is only common sense .... common sense also dictates that such chemicals can never be removed from the surface
    – jsotola
    May 7 '18 at 7:03
  • 1
    your friend is right, move it to the workshop.
    – agentp
    May 7 '18 at 12:09
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it isn't about home improvement.
    – isherwood
    May 7 '18 at 15:44
  • 1
    @jsotola, literally everything is chemicals (including the cutting board itself and any food or detergent ever used on it). Your statement is scientifically absurd.
    – isherwood
    May 7 '18 at 15:48
  • 1
    The WD-40 MSDS is relevant here: wd40.com/files/pdf/msds-wd482671453.pdf
    – Freiheit
    May 7 '18 at 16:33

"several lubricants and solvents" - with no experience or knowledge, you are trying to invent a way to remove rust chemically using products from the local big-box store. That can kill you - mixing some of these products produces lethal vapors. (which is why you can't bring liquids on airplanes anymore). There is a way to do that, but it requires Tesla "smarts", not Edison "trying every single thing". It's also hazardous and not less complicated than homebrewing beer.

In particular, WD-40 is a generally useless product that suffers from all-too-good marketing, causing many wanna-be gadget freaks to believe it's an indispensable. It's not even a penetrating oil. Research its history: it's not wrong to say it's only for polishing your missile.

WD-40 has a particularly noxious tendency to do long-term damage to rubbers and plastics. I have destroyed several pieces of expensive equipment by using WD-40 to "help it along"; months later, rubber and plastic parts start catastrophically failing.

So toss the WD-40 in the trash and buy proper wasp killer for wasp nests, Kroil for penetrating oil, 3-in-1 oil and graphite for general lubrication, Sriracha sauce for seasoning -- and for rust removal, use mechanical removal or learn to pickle.

Also throw that cutting board in the trash, because the WD-40 will cause the plastic in the cutting board to break down and leach chemicals into the food. It's not a question of the WD-40, it's the other chemicals produced by the board reacting with it. Also, do everything you can to remove vestiges of WD-40 from anything else it touched, before it damages them too.

Except your Atlas missile. It's fine there.

By the way, the Atlas was made out of stainless steel, and the goal was prevent corrosion, not treat it retroactively.


The with several lubricants and solvents part of the question nails it, in my opinion: move it to the workshop.

A solvent is designed to dissolve stuff. It is quite possible that those products, or trace elements in them affected your plastic. There's no way you can be sure your board is still safe for food.


Put it into a dishwasher, use a strong 'fat removing' dish detergent. do this twice and it'll remove all the residues. If you don't want to use the dishwasher, fill a basin with rolling boil (at least 200F) water, same kind of detergent, wear a good pair of rubber gloves, get a sponge and start rubbing. You will see oily particles detaching from your mat.

Anyway if your surface is made of wood, just throw it away as wood absorbs chemicals and is almost impossible to remove them.

  • even plastic cutting boards are pretty porous. That's why they tell you not to use the same board for raw meat and vegetables.
    – agentp
    May 7 '18 at 12:14
  • Without a quality reference (say peer-review scientific) you're plain risking health issue for the question asker. Noone has a clue was mix of chemical were produced or leached out of that board.
    – Jeffrey
    May 7 '18 at 15:08

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