Food Safe Wood Finish Makes
You and Your Wood Happy!
Let me explain!
Your wood utensils need a food safe wood finish to protect and enhance the wood. And you and your family need to be sure that the wooden utensils you buy have a food safe finish and not a toxic one.
I often see wooden bowls and utensils from China or overseas with nice looking finishes on them but very often they use cheap chemicalized glossy finishes that will wear off with time and use. This is especially true when used for warm or hot items like stirring a soup or serving something from the oven.
Yikes, little doses of poison over time...not my idea of safe eating!
So be wary of glossy finishes on your wooden kitchen utensils. Most often they are not really food safe and little by little will come off with use.
A food safe finish will wear off as you use your item but will be safe for you. No problem if you use the right finish but a big problem otherwise.
Food Safe Wood Finishes:
Using a food safe wood finish allows you to add some cutting board oil from time to time to keep the wood protected and looking great.
Cutting board oil is the name often used to describe what you can put on your bread cutting boards and wood utensils.
But do not oil wooden chopping boards or blocks used for meat! It is best to have the natural wood which inhibits germs.
But all other wood utensils, bowls and boards need a food safe wood finish.
You see, wood just loves oil! It drinks it up happily. The oil protects the wood and makes the wood gleam enhancing its grain. "Happy Wood" I call it then!
• Walnut Oil Wood Finish
Walnut oil is the perfect food safe wood finish. It is a completely natural oil and a drying oil. That means it will dry after you apply it, unlike olive oil and many others (which I would not use as they can go rancid).
The walnut oil is absorbed into the wood and when dry is not sticky. The other advantage of walnut oil is that it has virtually no smell. It enriches the wood with every application.
So use walnut oil wood finish often and feel confident that you have a food safe item.
It is my first choice as a wood utensil and cutting board finish. While more expensive than mineral oil, I like its natural feel and clean look as it brightens up your wood!
You can buy walnut oil at most grocery stores or health food stores. It also makes a great salad oil. I like to keep it in the fridge so it is always fresh.
Walnut oil was used extensively in Europe as part of the French polish finish for furniture and other household items. Those Louis XIV antiques had walnut oil as their finish! A time tested safe wood finish.
100% pure walnut oil is perfect for use on wooden utensils, such as spreaders, salad hands, servers, bowls and spoons. It creates a non-toxic finish that resists water and alcohol. It also has a a very slight fresh sweet smell. And it will not give any aftertaste to food.
Nut oil may affect people with nut allergies,
even when used as a finish.
Walnut oil wood finish can be applied with a brush, cloth or steel wool, or, what I like, is to use my fingers. When done, I just rub the oil into my hands. Feels nice! The oil will dry overnight but you can use it whenever you want.
I always recommend customers to rub oil into their wood often. Frequently is way better than not enough. Your wood will perk up instantly when you add your food safe wood finish just like adding water to a stone to see how nice it looks.
• Mineral Oil Wood Finish
Another good food safe wood finish is mineral oil. It too has no smell and will dry after application. It is far cheaper than walnut oil but it is a petroleum by-product. It is food safe. I just prefer the all natural walnut oil for its superior features.
You can find the mineral oil in the stomach section of your pharmacy. (It is mostly used as a laxative.)
Whichever oil you choose, use it often, as your wood dries out with washing and use. So add oil to your wood cutting boards and wooden utensils as frequently as you can to keep them looking great.
Oiling your wooden kitchen utensils allows you to enjoy the beauty of the wood.
• Coconut Oil Wood Finish
Coconut oil (or coconut butter as it is sometimes called because it hardens at 72 degrees or less) is another good oil to use but it could go rancid in hot climates according to one user. It is better than olive oil which can go rancid as can other vegetable oils. And you don't want rancid oil on your wood cutting boards and wooden utensils.
You may have to warm the oil in hot water during colder days to soften it, and like walnut oil is best stored for long times in the fridge. But my preference would be walnut, mineral or tung oils instead.
• Beeswax Wood Finish
I love beeswax for its soft and so smooth texture when applied to wood.
It is usually mixed with mineral oil or walnut oil to give a tougher finish than plain oil. It sure does help make it water-resistant but not water-proof.
It also has a delicious sweet scent. That's why beeswax candles are the very best!
You'll have to chip a piece off a candle or buy beeswax pellets that you can warm up inside a cup in a pot of hot water.
Apply to your utensils and wood bowls, cutting boards and blocks (non meat boards) while warm. And rub the rest into your hands. Beeswax is used in many natural bodycare products.
Now you'll have a superb utensil and cutting board finish and a food safe wood finish at that!
I make my own mixture of walnut oil, beeswax and orange oil that I apply to my Ultra and Supreme Selections of my wood crafts for sale.
It adds a lovely feel to the already very smooth sanded pieces! One day I will make it and market it to the public. I just seem to have too many pieces of wood to make in the meantime. :-)
How To Care for Your Wooden Cooking Utensils & Bowls
and Wood Cutting Board Care
You can wash your wood items in warm soapy water and then rinse and dry. Do not put in a dishwasher as the heat will damage the wood.
Wood cutting board care sometimes requires you to sanitize the wood. You can rub with a bit of lemon and then rinse off, or wipe them with white vinegar. Vinegar is an excellent disinfectant, killing E. Coli bacteria, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus.
Cutting boards are best placed at an angle after washing so the water drains. Dry boards don't breed germs which like moist surfaces.
Every now and then you may need to get some sandpaper to refinish your wood items if it is rough or stained.
Sandpaper is graded from roughest to smoothest by number. So very rough is 40 grit, then 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 220, 280, 300, 400, 600 and more.
You should start with around 80 or 100 grit unless you have a real serious flaw to remove. Then use progressively higher grits. You can usually skip a grade in between and go from 100 to 150 then 220.
I go all the way to 3000 grit ultra super smooth sandpaper on my Supreme Selection wood craft gifts.
After sanding, proceed to add your food safe wood finish in several coats ideally allowing time for it to dry in between.
Remember wood loves oil! Add often for Happy Wood!
Go from Food Safe Wood Finish to Arbutus Arts Home Page
Go to Wood Craft Gifts Shopping Page
Food Safe Wood Finish
Questions and Answers
Just add your question here and I can answer it and others can comment as well and perhaps help you if I cannot.
Your email address is not posted unless you add it in your comment. In fact I never even get it myself! So come back to see comments to your posting.
What Other Visitors Have Asked
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Wood plastic coating Not rated yet
I would like to apply an epoxy or a plastic layer on the wood pièces I make like cutting boards ect..
So it would be 100% waterproof and even …
i want to ask about glass finishing Not rated yet
Hello i love the article its helping me as newbie on foodsafe finishing
i want to ask now i make glass not from the solidwood i try to using plywood …
how to darken my natural cutting board Not rated yet
Hi I have just purchased my thick butcher block style cutting board. the problem is I was hoping to find a dark wood but no luck. is there a way I can …
beeswax finish Not rated yet
What is the ratio for the walnut oil to beeswax for a good finish? I'm making some beer mugs out of wood. This all natural finish is the way I want to …
sealant for wooden platters Not rated yet
Looking to find what could be used that is food safe for platters that could be used for hot meat entrees.
Arbutus Ron here... …
Safety of Tembusu Wood Not rated yet
Are Tembusu Wood eating utensils non toxic? Looked but could only find that it is usually used in making furniture and flooring because of its hardness …
Alcohol Resistant finish Not rated yet
I would like to turn a whiskey tasting glass (a Glencairn shape) on my lathe but I'm not sure of what kind of finish to use it? Ideally something that …
food safe oil for light coloured wood Not rated yet
I have a pair of pale coloured wooden salad servers and would like to know what oil I could use to care for them that wouldn't change the …
finish safe for children Not rated yet
I make puzzles that children will enjoy, but they could put it in their mouth, I need an acrylic that is safe. Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you. …
Raised planting beds Not rated yet
What would you recommend for a food-safe finish for raised garden beds at a school? Our beds were made of untreated cedar and have been lined with landscaping …
Raised planting beds Not rated yet
What would you recommend for a food-safe finish for raised garden beds at a school? Our beds were made of untreated cedar and have been lined them with …
zebra wood? Not rated yet
I have a piece of zebra wood that I would like to use in a cutting board my concern is it has little pin holes in it. I am worried about food and germs …
How do I seal a wooden sink? Not rated yet
I have some dead locust trees on my property from which I want to build a farm sink, of my own design, for my kitchen. This wood is very hard and should …
Engreaved wooden cutting boards Not rated yet
I engrave cutting boards but want to know if using mineral oils etc would this darken the picture from the board as obviously you need to be able …
Canteen Not rated yet
I'm making Bamboo Canteens and I am seeking a way to seal the inside of the Bamboo cross section.
I'm not sure what type of food safe wood …
food safe woods Not rated yet
What type of wood is safe for cereal bowls?
I have two Lime wood bowls. My partner used them once for food and the finish went from smooth to rough. …
Epoxy resin food finish? Not rated yet
What finish You recommend for platter . I would like to use knife ...fork etc when i am eating from platter ...would epoxy be a good choice?
food safe finish for green turned bowls Not rated yet
I usually turn my bowls from green wood,turning them to finished thickness and sanded , then apply a linseed, varnish,turpintine mix one to one …
wood wine cups Not rated yet
Can I uses polyurethane inside the wood cups that will be used for wine.
Arbutus Ron here...
Well that is up to you. I wouldn't as I bet little …
Cake stands Not rated yet
I am making cake stands out of logs. Will this oil kill insects also? or should I use something else?
---- Arbutus Ron here...
If the oil won't …
Boat Interior Teak Not rated yet
I'm experimenting with coatings for old, dry, partially salt-water-stained boat interior teak. I want to stay away from petroleom-based or hard-glossy …
Wooden Salad Bowl finish coming off Not rated yet
Hello. I recently purchased a wooden salad bowl in Mexico. The finish is coming off in some places. Wondering if it is food safe and what I should do? …
Pyrographic Utensils Not rated yet
I have made a beautiful set of wooden utensils designed with pyrography detailing. I also made a bowl with some designs in it and a cutting board also. …
Is Walnut oil a safe finish for wood? Not rated yet
I want to gift a wooden chalice to a priest, I finished it with 100% pure walnut oil. It dried nicely, and I want to know is it safe to drink wine from …
walnut oil Not rated yet
Hi, I would like to ask a question about walnut oil. If I wanted to blend walnut oil with pure beeswax, what walnut oil would be suitable. I live in the …
Painting Wooden Utensils: Food Safe? Not rated yet
I want to paint wooden spoons, spatulas and rolling pins and have decided to just paint the handles because I cannot find a non toxic acrylic paint anywhere. …
Baby safe wood feeding spoons Not rated yet
My husband bought some very pretty little olive wood spoons from a market in France and I wanted to know if you thought they would make safe …
Smelly furniture wax on hutch Not rated yet
I bought two hutches imported from Mexico last month, only to discover that they had a repulsive chemical smell. After a few weeks, the hutches don't …
Wood Finish for drinking cups Not rated yet
I have just started woodturning and I plan to make and use cups and goblets but what do you use as a finish they will be used for both hot and cold drinks. …
Easy care food-safe lacquer Not rated yet
What is easy care food-safe lacquer?
Arbutus Ron here...
No idea at all! Lacquer is made with chemicals. Some people claim that once …
Storing bread in a cedar box Not rated yet
Is it safe to store bread and other food in a cedar box? I know that cedar oil can be toxic.
Arbutus Ron here:
As long as the …
Honey dippers wood finish Not rated yet
What wood preservative is suitable for honey dippers?
Arbutus Ron here:
I would use walnut oil as a food safe wood finish.
Food Safe Wood Finish Not rated yet
Recently I started "studying" the issues of oil finish of wood used for utensils and hand tool like planes or chisels.
Some experts recommend linseed …
chopping board moss removal Not rated yet
Hello, I am planning on cutting a block of tree trunk down for a chopping board. I have found your information on food-safe finishes very helpful but before …
Polyurethane on bread box Not rated yet
My son made me a bread box in wood class. He brought it home and stained it, then applied a coat of polyurethane. We let it air out for a couple of days. …
Parker & Bailey Lemon Oil Polish Not rated yet
Can Parker & Bailey Lemon Oil Polish be used for wooden cooking utensils?
Arbutus Ron here:
It is a furniture polish but does not say …
How to finish wooden steak plates Not rated yet
I'm making a set of wooden steak plates and wondering what finish to use in order to keep them looking good and safe to use.
Polyurethane on wood bowls Not rated yet
Is polyurethane safe to use on wood bowls? Does it need to be reapplied?
Arbutus Ron here:
Polyurethane is not food safe unless …
Tung Oil Wood Finish Not rated yet
I will try the walnut Oil & bee wax.
I have been using Tung Oil many years. What is the experience opinion?
Arbutus Ron here:
For food …
Food Safe Walnut Oil and coffee Not rated yet
I coated our ikea wood block counter top with coffee that was steeped overnight. I absolutely love the look and colour. Then in order to keep things …
Click here to write your own.