Food Safe Wood Finishes

Food Safe Finishes for Wooden Bowls, Wooden Utensils, Rolling Pins and Wood Cutting Boards

**As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.**

People after wonder what are the best food safe wood finishes. After numerous research hours on sites of finish manufacturers, finishing experts, and woodworkers Q&A online, I found that there are a few finishes that everyone agrees are food safe. In the plethora of contrary opinions concerning which finishes are food safe and which are not, a few naturally derived, nontoxic finishes stand out. Definitions directly from Wikipedia.

Pure Tung Oil

Tung oil or China wood oil is a drying oil obtained by pressing the seed from the nut of the tung tree (Vernicia fordii). The oil and its use are believed to have originated in ancient China and appear in the writings of Confucius from about 400 BC. Extracted from the nut of the china wood tree. Used as a base in many blended finishes. Available from catalogs and hardware stores. Difficult to apply, requires many coats, good water-resistance. Purchase here:

Raw Linseed Oil

Linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil or flax oil (in its edible form), is a colorless to yellowish oil obtained from the dried, ripened seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum). The oil is obtained by pressing, sometimes followed by solvent extraction. Pressed from flax seeds. Not to be confused with boiled linseed, which contains metallic driers. Listed as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Very long curing time, good looks, low water-resistance, frequent reapplication.
Purchase here:

Mineral Oil (Not to be confused with Mineral spirit.)

Mineral oil is any of various colorless, odorless, light mixtures of higher alkanes from a mineral source, particularly a distillate of petroleum,[1] as distinct from usually edible vegetable oils.

The name ‘mineral oil’ by itself is imprecise, having been used for many specific oils over the past few centuries. Other names, similarly imprecise, include ‘white oil’, ‘paraffin oil’, ‘liquid paraffin’ (a highly refined medical grade), paraffinum liquidum (Latin), and ‘liquid petroleum’. Baby oil is a perfumed mineral oil. Although derived from petroleum, it is colorless, odorless, tasteless and entirely inert. Sold as a laxative in drug stores and as a wood finish in hardware and kitchen-supply stores. Simple to apply, low water resistance, frequent reapplication. Purchase here:

Walnut Oil 

Walnut oil is made from walnuts that are pressed until all oils have been extracted from the nuts. It’s a golden-brown oil with a sweet, nutty flavor that becomes slightly astringent when heated too much because walnut oil is an ingredient with a low smoke point. It’s really not a cooking oil that you want to use over high heat. Pressed from the nuts of the walnut tree. Sold as a salad oil in health food stores and in large grocery stores. Walnut oil dries and won’t go rancid. Easy to apply, frequent reapplication.
Purchase here:


Beeswax (cera alba) is a natural wax produced by honey bees of the genus Apis. The wax is formed into scales by eight wax-producing glands in the abdominal segments of worker bees, which discard it in or at the hive. The hive workers collect and use it to form cells for honey storage and larval and pupal protection within the beehive. Chemically, beeswax consists mainly of esters of fatty acids and various long-chain alcohols. The work of the honey bee. Can be mixed with an oil to create a better-smelling, slightly more water repellent finish. Sold in woodworking and turning catalogs. Purchase here:

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba (/kɑːrˈnɔːbə, -naʊ-, -nuː-, -nɑːˈuː-/;[1][2] Portuguese: carnaúba [kahnaˈubɐ]), also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax of the leaves of the carnauba palm Copernicia prunifera (synonym: Copernicia cerifera), a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazilian states of Ceará, Piauí, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Maranhão and Bahia.[3] It is known as the “Queen of Waxes”.[4] In its pure state, it is usually available in the form of hard yellow-brown flakes. It is obtained by collecting and drying the leaves, beating them to loosen the wax, then refining and bleaching the wax.[5] As a food
additive, its E number is E903. Derived from the Brazilian palm tree. Harder than beeswax and more water-resistant. Can be used straight on woodenware as a light protective coating or a topcoat polish. Sold here:

We hope this information helps you to choose the best food safe wood finishes for your wood products! If you have any questions, please contact us! We are always happy to help!