8 Best Wood Finish Food Safe Choices: Expert Review with Buying Guide

Wood finishes are an important part of any home. Wood is used for furniture, countertops, floors, and more. Wood finish food-safe products are the best way to protect your wood from wear and tear. Food-safe wood finish products also provide protection against spills, and water damage and offer a beautiful look for your wood surface. In this blog post, we’ll have a look at the Best Wood Finish Food Safe Choices.

I discovered that there are a few finishes that everyone agrees are food safe after numerous discussions with chemists, regulatory bodies, finish producers, finishing professionals, and woodworkers.

However, food-safe wood finishes (sometimes known as cutting board finishes) are the least protective, with the majority of them remaining in a gray area because many experts believe that most are safe for usage with food while others advise against it due to unanswered safety concerns.

Summary Of The Best Wood Finish Food Safe Choices

  1. Linseed Oil
  2. Mineral Oil
  3. Sunflower Oil
  4. Tung Oil Wood Finish
  5. Tasteless Oil Wood Finish
  6. Walnut Oil
  7. Beeswax
  8. Carnauba Wax

8 Best Wood Finish Food Safe Choices


Best Wood Finish Food Safe Choices

Wood finish food-safe products are made of a variety of ingredients. The most common include the following:

1. Linseed oil

Woodworkers use linseed oil as an inexpensive, effective protective coating for their wood projects that have not yet been sanded or stained. Linseed oil is also used in many other industrial applications such as paint and varnish. Woodworkers use linseed oil to create a protective coating on their projects that will not darken the wood. This is especially useful when you are dying or staining your project because it can get messy if there’s any resin left on the surface of the wood after sanding, scraping, brushing, etc. Linseed oil dries by oxidation, which makes it a slow-drying finish.

2. Mineral oil

A type of petroleum oil, mineral oil is a non-toxic natural lubricant that has been used for medical purposes since the late 1800s. Woodworkers use mineral oil to make their wood products food safe because it coats the surface without leaving behind anything harmful like mineral spirits. It creates an even, shiny appearance on your project’s surface and won’t darken the wood. Woodworkers use mineral oil to protect their finished projects, but also because it is an effective way to make any project food-safe (even if you haven’t sealed or stained your wood yet).

3. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower Oil Wood Finish is another wood finish food-safe choice that is made of refined sunflower oils that have gone through several purification phases. Woodworkers use sunflower oil because it’s non-toxic, all-natural, and completely safe for food contact when cured properly. Woodworkers also love using Sunflower Oil Wood Finish Food Safe Products to protect their wood projects from water damage, stains, and scratches while adding a beautiful luster to the finished product style.

4. Tung Oil Wood Finish

Tung Oil Tung oil products are made from the seed of a tung tree that is native to China. Woodworkers use Tung Oil products because they create a protective barrier on wood surfaces and won’t darken your project’s natural color when applied properly on the wood. This all-natural finish is a great choice for those who want a food-safe wood finish that will preserve the natural beauty of their project. Woodworkers also use Tung Oil Wood Finish Products because they are easy to apply and widely available in most home improvement stores or online retailers of different quality.

5. Tasteless Oil Wood Finish

Tasteless oil products are made of edible oils that have gone through several purification processes. Woodworkers use tasteless oil Wood Finish to protect their finished wood projects from stains, scratches, and water damage while adding a beautiful luster to the surface. Tasteless Oil Wood Finish goes on clear so it won’t change the natural color of your wood project and it dries in a few hours. Woodworkers use tasteless oil Wood Finish because they are easy to apply, provide protection from damage and won’t change the look or feel of their wood projects like most other finishes will do.

6. Walnut oil

The walnut tree’s nuts are crushed to extract the oil. It is sold as a salad oil in health food shops and supermarkets. Walnut oil does not go rancid over time and is simple to apply.

7. Beeswax

The honey bee’s primary function is to collect nectar and pollen from plants. It may be combined with oil to create a more fragrant, somewhat more water-repellent finish. Woodworking and turning catalogs sell it.

8. Carnauba wax

carnauba waxMade from a type of palm tree native to Brazil. It’s more durable than beeswax and is better water-resistant. It may be used as a light protective layer or as a topcoat polish on woodware straight out of the box. It is available in woodworking and turning publications.

How To Apply Best Wood Finish Food Safe Choices on Wood

workers use wood finish products to protect their finished wood projects from stains, scratches, and water damage while adding a beautiful luster to the surface.

  1. You’ll need some lint-free rags and nitrile gloves to apply an oil finish. Pour some oil on the cloth or directly on the wood surface.
  2. Remove any packing materials from the surface of the wood. Then, using the grain of the wood as a guide (it’s fine to apply it quite thick), distribute and massage it throughout. It’s really simple, and you’d be lucky to mess up!
  3. Allow to soak for 10 minutes, then wipe off any excess moisture with a clean cloth. After the previous coat is dry to the touch, apply additional coats.
  4. Before the first coat has dried, you can sand it with a finer grit to produce an even smoother finish. Fill small pores with a slurry made of 400 or 600 wet/dry sandpaper after the first application and before it dries for an incredibly smooth surface.
  5. Wipe it down lightly with the same cloth that has some oil in it (not enough to pool up on top) to remove sanding slurry build-up, then let it dry before applying the next coat.

RELATED: Top 5 Best Wood Finish Paints 2021: A Complete Buyer’s Guide

What To Consider When Choosing The Best Wood Finish Food Safe Choices

It’s best to wait a few weeks before using the same finish on dishes, even if it says “ready to use.” Keep in mind that many finishes are safe to use on dishes with adequate time for curing. When applying them to wooden plates, however, you should be aware of a few things.

1. Avoid Oils That May Spoil Wood

There have been a few who advocate the use of vegetable oil or olive oil as a cooking utensil coating. My advice: Don’t do it! These oils are produced from vegetable fats.

These oils have a shelf life and will spoil over time, as you would expect. I’m not aware of any short-term ailments caused by eating rancid oils, but they do include free radicals that might raise your risk of developing various kinds of cancers. When the utensils are used, these oils won’t stay on the surface and can easily get into the food.

2. Keep In Mind Curing Time

Is your finish dry after it has dried? No, it isn’t. There’s a difference between drying time and curing time.

Some pre-made wood finishes have a drying time on the label. This is the amount of time the manufacturer recommends you wait before applying additional coats. With most products, the surface layer will feel dry to the touch, yet the substance beneath it will not have dried.

Pre-made goods will also include a curing period for each item, which indicates how long you must wait before utilizing the completed thing. It will be completely dry from the surface to the deepest penetrations.

3. Toxicity Levels

When it comes to food-grade finishes, there are a lot of varying opinions about which finish is the most secure. woodworkers, as well as culinary specialists, have personal favorites for non-toxic wood finishing solutions that won’t taint your meals with hazardous chemicals or off-flavors.

How Will Heat Affect The Finish?

Once again, there are two possibilities to consider. The first issue to consider is the product’s temperature range in which it should be kept and used. Chemicals can deteriorate or ignite at temperatures below freezing or above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, as determined by the manufacturer. Furthermore, for optimum outcomes, you should adhere to the producer’s recommendation for the ideal temperature range.

What time should you apply it?

To finish, the best time is after about one-third of curing time has passed since the last application (more on that later). If you don’t want to wait for an hour or so, use a hairdryer set to low heat and medium speed.

The second factor involves examining the way heat will affect the finished item. If you cook food at high heat, particularly on a large range or grill surface like in an oven, there is no guarantee that your finish won’t get burned off after repeated uses. On the other hand, if it’s applied evenly and smoothly to prevent leakage of harmful chemicals into the dish, then it could last for a long time.

How Can You Clean Wood Finishes?

I always recommend that you use the same product to clean your dishes as the one used on them originally, but this is especially true when it comes to wood finishes. Even though many food-grade products are designed not to taint or off-flavor foods with toxic chemicals, you should avoid using them on non-stick or Teflon pans.

The best way to clean your dishes is as follows: use a mild dishwashing liquid as recommended by the manufacturer and warm water. Wash each pan with soapy hot water first, then rinse thoroughly in clean cold water before drying it off with a towel after you have finished washing.

How Should You Store the Finish?

Once again, I recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on storage times and temperature ranges for optimal results with your finish. It generally is good to store it in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat. If there are any doubts about whether chemicals may be harmful, then you should follow the storage guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Will The Finish Hold Up?

In many situations, a hard-surfaced finish will be required. You may choose not to apply this in certain cases, such as when finishing a cutting board. If the wooden item will be sliced or pounded on, you might want a softer finish that leaves a little residue so that your food does not get nasty because of flaking that may cling to the food.

How much should you apply?

With many products, it is recommended that only one coat be applied per day. The best time to do so is after about one-third of curing time has elapsed since your last application (more on that later). You can use a hairdryer set to low heat and medium speed to speed up the process if you want.

Best Wood Finish Food Safe Choices: Conclusion

So, we went through the nine finest food-safe wood finishes, as well as the differences between surface sealers and penetrating oils, non-drying oils, and drying oils, how to apply them correctly, and why commercial wood finishing may be considered hazardous for food-grade projects.

Reference: FineWoodworking