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Dec 12, 2006 01:27 PM

Non toxic oil for a wooden countertop

Hey Hounds,

Wondering if any of you know of a non-toxic oil that I could use to treat my new wooden countertop? I won't be doing any chopping on it, as such, but after sanding, I'd like to treat it so that is is benign to all the usual food handling sloppiness of a young family.

I'm thinking linseed oil, but that's just a hunch. Some expertise would be welcome.


- Sean

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  1. Sean, I think that a coat or two of mineral oil would do the trick. You can find it in drugstores or in building supply stores. I've used it on my formica counters for years.

    1. No expert here, just thoughts: There's always butcher block oil. It's 100% non-toxic and won't turn rancid. With that said I'm pretty sure linseed oil is fine too, especially if you're not doing any food prep directly on it. Linseed is more of a traditional wood treatment and should make the counter look great.

      1. mineral oil is the way to go. the more frequently you apply it, the better. eventually it will become nearly indestructible.

        i had a butcher block counter installed in may. i do use it for food prep, and have been oiling it once or twice a week. its water-resistance is already impressive.

        just beware putting hot stuff directly on it.

        1. Butcher block oil = mineral oil

          I'm not a huge fan of petroleum products, but mineral oil is supposed to be non toxic (people actually consume it).

          Linseed oil will go rancid and start to smell bad. Any nut/vegetable oil, will, over time, go rancid.

          Use the mineral oil.

          1. Food grade linseed oil is expensive (really expensive, it's a "supplement"), and anything else would be unwise, if not toxic, carcinogenic, etc.. Much of what's used as a solvent does contain toxic additives, and none of that would be reliably tested for ontaminants that don't affect it's intended purpose, which isn't human consumption.

            It also smells really unappetizing to me, anyway. I like the smell of oil paint, but not so much while I'm eating.;)

            5 Replies
            1. re: MikeG

              MikeG, I think you're confusing mineral oil with mineral spirits.
              Spirits is the solvent, while mineral oil is what is the food-safe oil used on butcher block. Mineral oil is not Harmful Or Fatal If Swallowed...vets use it medicinally.

              1. re: pitu

                And you can buy it at the pharmacy - used for humans, medicinally, as well.

                Great for wooden prep surfaces.

                1. re: cayjohan

                  Yep, the stuff you buy at the pharmacy is USP grade which is safe for consumption. It is commonly used as a laxative.

                  It is certainly safe to use on wooden counter tops or cutting boards and is what is typically recommended.

                2. re: pitu

                  Since this thread popped up again, I just noticed this and I'll note that I was talking about the inadvisability of using linseed oil, which the OP mentioned in their post, not mineral oil.

                  I've also used both "food-grade" as well as USP mineral oil from drugstores, which is easier to find. The food-grade oil is usually thinner than the drugstore version and so presumably penetrates wood better, but I don't know if it makes a noticeable difference.

                3. re: MikeG

                  Food grade lnseed oild, otherwise known as flaxseed oil is not a good choice. It requires refrigeration and is very unstable. It goes rancid very easily.

                  The boiled linseed oil you often see as a furniture finish is typically linseed oil with some solvents added.

                  Don't confuse the two and don't think that food grade linseed oil (aka flaxseed oil) is a good cutting board oil any more than corn oil would be good for this.