There have been many talks and debates as well as actions taken to make the food we eat safer, healthier, and nontoxic.
But what about the area we process them on?
We often use wooden cutting boards, kitchen counter-tops, bar tops, etc. to process our food.
However, with long usage, our cherished mahogany boards or expensive cherry wood counter-top can become discolored and infected with various elements (e. g. moisture, water, alcohol, wine spill, etc.)
So, it’s natural to feel a need to fix those problems. But, this is where you need to be careful.
If you apply just any random wood stain that contains and emits harmful chemical emissions to rejuvenate your food processing wooden accessories, your health can be seriously compromised.
This is why, we created this guide to introduce you with food safe wood stain products whose ultimate priority is the safety of your health while serving a variety of extra features as an exciting, profitable side dish.
Watco, 241758 Tried and True, TTJV-PT
5 out of 5
Tried & True, Original Wood Finish
5 out of 5
FDC Chem, Pure Tung Oil Wood Stain
4.5 out of 5
Waterlox Original, TB 6044
5 out of 5
Tried and True, TTJV-PT
4.5 out of 5
Top 6 Food Safe Wood Stains in 2020
1. Rust-Oleum, Watco Clear Butcher Block Oil & Finish 241758
Watco provides in this package a wood stain with powerfully versatile features.
The stain is provided in a steel container, holding 473-milliliters of liquid. It can cover a maximum of 50-square feet area; an apt size for most kitchen tops and dining tables.
In case you pour an excessive amount of oil, the product has a “simple wipe” feature to make the cleaning process hassle free. It is manufactured to provide a streak-free coloring. That means, once you’re finished staining the surface, you won’t find any brush marks on it.
The 241758 has a quick drying time of only 2 hours. At this point, it becomes viable to touch without menacing the surface’s texture. However, for a full cure, it’s recommended to wait at least 3 full days. The recoating window is also fairly short, measuring at only 6 hours.
The product boasts an FDA 21 certification (Sec. 175.300). It’s been tested on many wooden food surfaces, such as salad bowls, butcher blocks, vegetable cutting boards, etc.
The oil is formulated using a toxicity free manufacturing process. Thus, after a full cure, you can use the surfaces to process food without worries of chemical contamination.
The package comes with a complimentary cleaning cloth. It also increases the glaze of the wooden accessories. Users have reported high satisfaction with its deliverance of a smooth finish and durability features.Highlighted Features:
2. Tried & True, Original Wood Finish
Tried & True first pulls you in with their somber yet elegant packaging. The container holds 946-milliliters of “Original Wood Finish” liquid.
The manufacturer employs a sophisticated formula using beeswax with linseed oil (containing a high polymer count) to produce an effective wood stain. Thus, it becomes a great product with minimal chemical damage.
The stain has abstained from using any form of petroleum-based distillate and derivatives. It is engineered to be purely solid, discarding intruding elements like heavy-metal driers and solvents to decrease hazards to your health.
Using their centuries old formula, the manufacturers provide you a stain that can be safely used to redecorate children’s toys, such as wooden cars, doll houses, etc. The FDA also approves the product to be safe for use, as it abides by the agency’s regulations (FDA 21 Sec. 175.300).
With a fantastic feature that makes the products more durable as they age, it also dries to a matte finish. This gives your wooden surfaces a sober shine and can be used to rejuvenate wooden antiquities.
The products perform as an overall protective coating, which can be used on most interior wooden settings and accessories, such as kitchen and bar tops, paneling, furniture remodeling, replenishing faded windows, etc.
Since the stain provides a general purpose finish, you can use it on anything made of wood without worries.Highlighted Features:
3. FDC Chem, Pure Tung Oil Finish Wood Stain & Natural Sealer for All Types of Wood
This product brings a new flavor to the wood stain market by using completely pure tung oil as its prime ingredient.
The oil is pressed directly from carefully chosen nut-seeds of premium-grade Tung trees. The stain seeps through the wood fibers. Thus, it endows all wooden accessories with a natural and dark finish, eliminating any unnatural gloss.
It contains 32-fluid ounces of wood stain. You can use this product on a wide range of food prepping areas. Users projected strong satisfaction in rejuvenating discolored or faded table tops, kitchen counter-tops, chopping boards, etc. using this product. You can also apply it on artificial as well as natural woods (e.g. cedar, oak, cherry wood, pine, etc.) with ease.
After the applied surface is properly cured, you get a highly natural finish with a hand-stroked look. Combining these features with a sober and wet appearance, all the applied surfaces grow in their habitual radiance rather than projecting a synthetic look.
While comparing this stain with other products using oils like walnut, soy, or linseed, we noticed a significantly faster drying and cure time. The first level of coating becomes dry to touch in less than 30 minutes. The idle time between recoating is a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 24 hours.
The manufacturing process keeps the stain free from all types of varnishes, solvents, and inhibitors. Thus, it becomes even more eligible to use around sensitive wooden areas like a cutting board.
The use of tung oil keeps many wood degraders, such as water, oil slippage, grease marks, alcohol caused damage etc. at bay by creating a moisture repellent coating on top.Highlighted Features:
4. Waterlox Original Satin Finish TB 6044
Waterlox Original challenges FDC Chem with an equally impressive tung oil based stain.
It comes in a white plastic container with a brown screw-in cap and provides 946-milliliters of tung oil. The company uses natural resources to produce almost 90-percent of the resin that is used in the production. They’re also one step ahead in terms of environmental safety preservation by using organic solvents in the production.
The product uses an oil-based formula. Once fully cured, it creates a matte, satin finish, providing you a gloss range between 20 to 25-degree Celsius.
The stain is engineered to steep deep into the wood fibers, providing you molecular level penetration. Thus, instead of staying merely on the surface, it brings out the natural color cadence of your interior wooden accessories and settings.
In terms of food-safety, it’s one of the few stains available that offers you a protective layer that is flexible at the same time. It further makes your bar top, cutting boards etc. immune to moisture, water, and random spills. You can apply it on the outdoors to protect wooden pathways from scratches caused by friction from heavy foot traffic.
The product contains enough liquid to safely repaint multiple wooden surfaces. However, the number is majorly dependent upon the nature of wood it’s being used on.Highlighted Features:
5. Tried and True, Dark Walnut Food Safe Wood Stain TTJV-PT
Formulated with linseed oil for a more effective penetration, this product stands out amongst the competition. It also uses organic pigments for health safety.
The stain provides you with 1 quart of usable liquid.
It has been highly praised for its efficacy to remodel interior woodwork settings. You can use the product to bring to life old cribs and toys, meat processing surfaces, and even old furniture around the house.
The manufacturing process is completely solvent free and provides a zero VOC count. Thus, it is engineered to be safely be touched without risk of rashes, itches, and irritation.
The stain offers an evenly concentrated texture with a soulful finish. Unlike standard paints, it doesn’t provide an artificial sheen to the surface. Rather it brings out the organic coloration and grain pattern of the original wood. So, it can become your go-to choice for remodeling antiquities.
With a surface coverage of 1000-square feet delivered by each gallon, the stain can be easily used for largescale outdoor projects. It takes almost 8 hours to cure, which is remarkably faster than other wood stains on the market.
The manufacturer recommends adding multiple coats and hand-rubbing (with 0000 grade steel mesh or a soft cloth) to enrich and unleash the full potential of the product.Highlighted Features:
6. Howard, Butcher Block Oil, Conditioner and Cutting Board Cleaner
When it comes to health-safety, this product takes great responsibility on every aspect.
The package is a combination of a wood stain, conditioner, and cleaner. Each one comes in a plastic bottle with an easy-to-use flip cap, holding 355-milliliters of liquid.
Its production procedure is kept clean from common allergy inducing elements, such as gluten, nuts, etc. The formula uses two types of waxes (Carnauba wax from brazil and organic beeswax) and blends them with pure USP mineral oil which has a food-grade certification.
The mineral oil increases the penetrative ability while combined waxes makes the applied surface waterproof. It’s also able to prevent drying and cracking of the color’s texture and hides deep knife dents on the cutting board.
The stain also performs well on directly health-related surfaces, such as cooking utensils and wooden bowls. It increases durability of the wooden accessories as well. This color, taste, and odor free stain not only meets but precedes the regulatory rules of U.S. FDA.
It avoids any harmful substances that can make the chemical structure of the wood fragile. Also, it’s blessed with the capability to stave off unwanted odors through cleaning neutralization, which prevents flavor mismatches in your cooking.
The product provides a satin-style wax finish and can be used for seasoning chopping boards while providing you a smoother flow of cutting.Highlighted Feature:
Tried & True, Original Wood Finish
No heavy metal driers/ solvents
FDC Chem, Pure Tung Oil Wood Stain
Waterlox Original, TB 6044
20°- 25° gloss level
Tried and True, TTJV-PT
Zero VOC count
Howard, Cutting Board Oil
Clean from common allergic elements
Food Safe Wood Stain Buying Guide
1. Non-Toxic Production
This is obviously the top priority when choosing a food safe wood stain. We recommend looking for these features to ensure that your wood stain is produced in a non-toxic way-
a) Low VOC Count: We recommend purchasing wood stains with a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) count. This will significantly reduce the toxicity of your wood stain, making your food processing area safer.
b) Petroleum Distillate and Derivative Free Wood Stain: Choose a petroleum distillate and derivative free wood stain.
c) Wood Stains Manufactured From Pure Oil: Buy wood stains that are manufactured from pure oil sources, such as pure tung or china wood oil. This is not only beneficial to your health but also provides a faster drying and cure time.
d) FDA Certification: Ensure that the wood stain you are purchasing is approved by the FDA. You can look for the FDA 21 certification (Sec. 175.300) on the label of the container or in the product description to discern food safe wood stains from volatile ones.
e) Harmful Solvent, Varnish, Inhibitor, And Heavy-metal Drier Free Manufacturing: We recommend choosing a wood stain that doesn’t use any health hazardous chemical elements like solvents, varnish, inhibitors, heavy-metal driers, etc. in its production process.
2. Protective Features
We recommend choosing a wood stain that provides a variety of protective features while maintaining a nontoxic production and healthy usage.
So, you should look for wood stains that have weather resistant features, such as protection against moisture, water, dust, debris, etc. This will especially come in handy if you are using the stain to replenish outdoor wooden settings (e.g. a patio) as they often have to bear loads of heavy foot traffic on a regular basis.
Also, make sure that the stain penetrates deep enough to protect against damaging spillages (e.g. red wine, cooking oil, molten butter spill, etc.) as well as strain & scratch marks.
3. Ability To Provide A Natural Shine
Since you’d be using the wood stain in food processing areas, it’s safe to assume that the surface will be heavily used on a regular basis.
Therefore, if you want to retain the natural texture of your counter-top or cutting board, purchase a wood stain that replenishes the natural color of the wood instead of creating a synthetic finish that looks out of character.
4. Quality of Penetration
Unlike standard wood paints, wood stains don’t simply stay on the surface. Instead, they penetrate into the very fabric/molecules of the wood, which brings out the natural color of the wooden surface. Thus, they don’t super-impose a synthetic shine that looks artificial and is less durable.
Also, the quality, depth, and efficacy of a stain’s penetrating ability largely determine its value.
So, look for a wood stain that has a well-engineered manufacturing formula that allows it to penetrate deeply and effectively into the wood. This will increase the longevity of the surface its used upon and provide a multitude of protective features.
5. Short Drying Time, Recoating Window, And Cure Time
Purchase a wood stain with a short recoating window, drying time and cure time. This will fundamentally increase the speed of your workflow.
6. Well-Sealed Container
Though usually sold in medium amounts with a targeted use time of a day or two, a properly sealed container assures that the quality of the stain will remain constant.
7. Ease of Application
Look for stains that provide a streak free layering, hides accidental brush marks, and engineered with specialized pigment depth to maintain consistency of texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Difference Between Wood Paint and Wood Stain?
Answer: Wood paints mostly stay on the surface. They are not engineered to penetrate the wood fibers at a molecular level. If you paint a wooden accessory with a standard paint, essentially you’re simply putting an extra layer of paint over the surface.
However, wood stains work the opposite way. They seep into the chemical structure of the wood. Thus, they bring out and rejuvenate the original color of the surface instead of creating an artificial layer of paint.
Also, due to this penetrative mechanism, they can fill up cracks and dents of woods, which provides a better protection and longevity than standard paint.
2. What is the Strongest Indicator of a Food Safe Wood Stain?
Answer: The strongest and most reliable indicator of a wood stain that’s safe to use around food processing areas is an FDA certification. If the product is tested and certified by the FDA to be non-hazardous to your health and in terms of food management, you can use that stain without worry.
You can also look for a low VOC count on the product description or at the back label of the stain to ensure that it doesn’t emit any harmful chemicals.
3. Can I Use Wood Stain to Repaint Children’s Toys?
Answer: This is a pretty common concern among parents as children are more sensitive to harmful chemicals.
However, if you follow this guide, you’ll certainly buy stains that are safe to use around children once the surface is fully cured. We have looked at numerous important data and facts to make sure of that.
4. What Type of Wood Stain Should Be Used to Rejuvenate Antique Wooden Cutting Boards?
Answer: Many chefs and aspiring home cooks have a special bonding with their long trusted cutting board. Maybe it has been passed down to you by a loved one or perhaps you bought it at an auction for its antique beauty.
However, due to the nature of old wooden surfaces, they tend to fall prey to discoloration and quality degradation. Also, since this accessory comes into direct contact with your food, you need to be really careful about what type of wood stain you use on it.
This is why we recommend using a nontoxic, FDA approved wood stain to remodel your antique cutting board.
Also, the mentioned wood stains on our list bring back to surface the organic color of the wood unlike a synthetic glaze delivered by standard paints. Thus, it’s not only safe but a more appropriate choice to handle this task.
5. What is the Difference Between Drying and Cure Time?
Answer: Drying time dictates the amount of time you need to wait before you can safely touch the newly stained surface. In other words, after applying the first layer of coating when the surface becomes dry enough to touch without smudging your finger is known as the drying time.
However, to use the surface at its full capacity, passing the drying time is not enough. You must allow the area to be fully cured. Cure time is significantly longer than drying time.
6. Why Should I Get A Solvent and Dried Metal Free Wood Stain?
Answer: Because it’s safer and less hazardous to your health.
Also, go for stains produced from organic, renewable raw materials to protect your surrounding environment. For example, you can choose a wood stain made from pure tung oil.
We all love food and we also love to be safe. However, most of us usually become content at buying a batch of healthy foods, completely forgetting about the area upon which they are processed.
Most of our cooking and food accessories are often made of wood. Wooden accessories have aesthetic value and they tend to last a long time. But, the moment you involve food processing in the scenario, things get a little complicated.
If you simply slap on a random wood paint on those areas, chances are these paints can emit toxic chemicals, severely harming your health.
The solution is buying food safe wood stains that have been certified to be safe around food processing areas.
These stains will not only look after your well-being but also provide superior features than standard paints, such as natural color rejuvenation, weatherproofing features, increase in durability etc.
Hopefully, this guide will come handy in acquiring such products.