Food Grade Finishes

Written by: UpCycle Girl Tara

I recently redid my built in cutting board. It was glass, but I wanted to bring in a wood element so I replaced the glass with hard maple.

I needed to treat the wood keeping in mind whatever finish I chose had to be safe for food consumption.

Becca and I do research upon research to insure anything that we do is the correct way to do it so that the information that we provide to you is accurate. So after quite a bit of researching we found a few different products that we felt were worth sharing with you.

First let’s talk about what not to use. While food-derived oils such as coconut or olive oil are effective, they can go rancid. However there are some oils that are refined you can use such as this coconut cutting board oil. Alternatively, exterior wood oils such as teak oil are NOT safe for food consumption. Also refrain from certain cleaning products on your cutting boards, like bleach and other kitchen cleaners – Not only are they unsafe products to risk coming into contact with your food, but they can ruin your wood. Wood in general – even hard maple – is like a sponge, so anything you put on it will be absorbed to some extent. Once you get a rancid or toxic oil in there, you are going to have a heck of a time removing it.

I personally ended up optingfor a Butcher Block Conditioner, which is food grade mineral oil and waxes. It was very easy to use with a wipe-off method of application. Whichever product you end up choosing, be sure to follow the exact instructions and adhere to warning on the label.

I am very happy with the results of the conditioner I chose – It perfectly brought out the natural features in the beautiful new maple in my countertop. Also, I feel the need to note that, in true UpCycle Girls fashion, the maple I used was composed of scraps that were cut planed and glued together.

There are a couple of other products that we love as well, that might work for you. Both are made by General Finishes. One is their Salad Bowl Finish. Since this is considered a topcoat, it is mainly used for visual purposes on surfaces that come in contact with food. Recognize that it should not be used for items that commonly come into contact with heavy heat or sharp knives (like wooden spoons and cutting boards). It does however, work great for your other wooden kitchen items, like – you guessed it – salad bowls. 🙂 The other product GF makes is Butcher Block Oil (mineral oil). This is a food-grade protectant that will be like most other food-derived oils in that you need to apply continually over time as needed, and it is perfectly safe to come in contact with your food.

Have you recently conditioned a cutting board? We would love to hear about your experience and the products you used!

Thanks for reading and happy junking!


* This blog contains affiliate links. Affiliate link purchases do not effect your shopping experience or price. However they will kick back small amounts back to me for sharing this information on my blog. We only recommend products that we believe in and use ourselves. 


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