The topic of removing garlic smells came up in an earlier thread and there was an idea that a baking soda paste might do a good job at removing the smells. I decided to give it a go.
The board is a Boardsmith 14x20 maple that I have had for a few years. It gets cleaned regularly but it still stunk like garlic so I think it was a good choice for the test.
I used 3 cups of baking soda mixed with 1 cup of water. This formed a stiff paste that I was able to spread over the top of the board. I used a dough scraper to get an even coat.
Next I let it sit for 11 hours over night during which time it formed into a thick crust. In the morning I broke apart the crust and scraped it into the garbage. Then I washed the board with soap and warm water. Lastly I dried it and oiled it with mineral oil.
The smell is mostly gone. Probably 95%. I can still smell something faint if I put my nose a few inches away from the board but I am very satisfied with the odor removal.
Other things I noticed was that the board was extremely dried out when I removed the baking soda and the joints of the blocks had become raised and were noticeable to the touch. Also the board seemed to darken or stain wherever the baking soda was applied. I don't know if the baking soda just pulled so much junk out of the wood that it just brought old stains to the surface or what but the surface looks different nonetheless. Personally I don't mind but my wife looked at me sideways and wanted to know what I had done to our cutting board. I just hope the re-oilling will smooth out the joints.
I have pics but it says that I can't post attachments, so pics to follow.