Many of the products in our home are made of wood but unlike furniture our wood utensils, counter tops, bowls and other items need special care. Not only will foods stain and constant use and washing deteriorate finishes but bacteria is also a major concern when using any porous surface in the kitchen.
It should be noted that all surfaces whether wood, plastic or other can harbor mold bacteria. Using a 10% Bleach solution that is kept wet for at least 15 minutes will kill most bacteria. This solution should be used on all cutting surfaces including plastics as needed.
To help reduce the damage and provide proper care for our wood products there are a number of different sealing and preserving finishes.
The two basic types of finishes include penetrating oils either drying or non drying types. The second category are finishes that form a film coating such as lacquers, varnishes, polyurethane.
Drying Oils are probably the best choice in most situations they include linseed, tung and other natural products that will penetrate the wood and dry. They will protect and seal the wood for a period of time but need to be reapplied relatively often.
Nondrying Oils include mineral and vegetable oils. Mineral Oils should not be used in the kitchen because they are a petroleum product. Vegetable oils like Corn, Safflower, Peanut and others can be used but will often go rancid. You should also take into account any allergies when using peanut oils. Treated products should be allowed to cure for several weeks before use.
Waxes including Paraffin Wax are good for butcher blocks and can be melted and applied to form a protective barrier. You can melt the wax in a small metal can then apply it to the surface. Extra wax should be scraped off with a plastic spatula.
Any product that you use around your food should have a label on it that says FOOD SAFE. You may find that there are a variety of different products that are similar but some may contain additives that could cause illness. When in doubt ask the manufacturer of the product. And remember that many wood products in our kitchen don’t need special finishes, like rolling pins, cooking spoons, drying racks. With proper care their natural finish will provide years of use.
The YouRepair Store carries a full line of wood refinishing products for your Kitchen and Home