Are you tired of your beautifully finished wood surfaces turning yellow over time? I understand the frustration, which is why I embarked on a mission to find the ultimate solution.

After testing nine different products, I’m excited to unveil my top pick: Loba WS 2K Supra – Satin. With years of experience and a commitment to preserving the natural beauty of wood, I’ve scrutinized these options to ensure you get the best.

In this article, I’ll delve into the different non-yellowing polyurethanes. I’ll also guide you through the nuances of selecting the best poly for your specific needs.

So, say goodbye to the yellowing horror and hello to a lasting, crystal-clear beauty that stands the test of time.

Our Top Picks

LOBA WS 2K Supra - Satin
Jo Sonja Polyurethane Varnish Gloss 16oz Bottle…
Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Spray, Protective Wood...
LOBA WS 2K Supra - Satin

Best Non Yellowing Polyurethane

  1. Best Overall Non-Yellowing PolyurethaneLoba WS 2K Supra – Satin
  2. Best Bang for the BuckJo Sonja Polyurethane Varnish Gloss
  3. Fast Drying Non-Yellowing PolyMinwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Spray
  4. Most Environmentally Friendly Non-Yellowing PolyBona Traffic HD Commercial Extra Matte
  5. Best Non-Yellowing Polyurethane for FloorsStreetShoe Water-based Finish
  6. Best Non-Yellowing Exterior PolyurethanePallmann Pall-X 96 Matte
  7. Non-Yellowing Topcoat for White PaintBona Finish – Mega HD Clear Satin
  8. Most Durable Non-Yellowing PolyurethaneVarathane Crystal Clear Floor Finish
  9. Best Non-Yellowing Poly for Indoor UseZAR 32512 Water-Based Polyurethane

The Best Polyurethane That Doesn’t Yellow- Updated List

Polyurethane types that are much clearer and lighter tend to yellow the least. With minimal exposure to the sun’s UV radiation, the yellowing may remain negligible and imperceptible to the eye.

I have also noticed that cheaper water-based polyurethanes also tend to yellow more than the premium types. So if you are looking for a non-yellowing poly, you may want to spend slightly more money for the desired outcome.

Based on my research, here are the best non-yellowing clear coats:

1. Best Overall Non-Yellowing Polyurethane – Loba WS 2K Supra – Satin

LOBA WS 2K Supra - Satin
  • Lobadur
  • Environmentally friendly two-component waterborne finish
  • Easy to use: application with T-Bar, brush, lambswool or roller

The quest for a perfect non-yellowing polyurethane can be both an art and a science. After countless trials and rigorous tests, I can declare Loba WS 2K Supra – Satin as the undisputed champion.

From the moment I applied it, its excellence shone through. Not only is this polyurethane easy to work with, but it also delivered a flawless, satin finish.

My extensive testing encompassed various wood types, applications, and environmental conditions. In high-humidity environments, where some finishes tend to lose their luster, Loba WS 2K Supra – Satin remained steadfast.

The durability of this polyurethane is also remarkable, as it withstood the wear and tear of daily life.

It’s no secret that Loba WS 2K Supra – Satin is on the pricier side of the spectrum. However, as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for, and with Loba, you’re investing in excellence.

The premium price tag is a reflection of the unparalleled quality you receive. In this case, you’re not merely buying a polyurethane. You’re investing in the long-term preservation of your cherished wood surfaces.

Be assured that with the Loba WS 2K Supra – Satin, you’re making a wise investment in the beauty and longevity of your wood finishes.

What We Liked Most

  • The poly is environmentally friendly 
  • It is non-yellowing
  • It is highly durable, with the best customer ratings of all products in its range. 
  • Loba is low VOC, so it is safe to apply without requiring a respirator. This means you don’t have to incur additional costs to use it for your project. 

What Could Be Improved

  • The product is still relatively new in the market. 

2. Best Bang for the Buck– Jo Sonja Polyurethane Varnish Gloss

Jo Sonja Polyurethane Varnish Gloss 16oz Bottle…
1,029 Reviews
Jo Sonja Polyurethane Varnish Gloss 16oz Bottle…
  • Leaves a durable gloss finish.
  • Dries clear and easy to apply.
  • For indoor and outdoor use.

Even though Loba WS 2K Supra claims the throne as the best overall non-yellowing polyurethane, Jo Sonja Polurethane varnish gloss wears the badge of being the best budget-friendly alternative.

This option, while not achieving the same level of perfection as the top pick, delivers a reliable and cost-effective means of protecting your wood surfaces.

It offers a durable gloss finish that can stand up to its pricier competitors. It also maintains a clear and user-friendly application process.

Versatility is one of its key strengths. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, it can even double as a painting medium for artists and crafters. Trust it to add an artistic touch to your woodworking projects.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable yet budget-friendly option with creative potential, the JO Sonja polyurethane caters to a wide spectrum of needs.

What We Liked Most

  • Provides a stunning, high-gloss finish that enhances the vibrancy of your artwork.
  • This varnish dries clear and maintains its crystal-clear appearance over time.
  • It can be used in various painting mediums.
  • It is easy to apply.
  • Suitable for all skill levels.

What Could Be Improved

  • It is more expensive.
  • Has a noticeable odor that some users may not like.
  • Has a longer drying time.

3. Fast Drying Non-Yellowing Poly– Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Spray

Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Spray, Protective Wood...
  • PROTECT WOOD SURFACES-Minwax Polyurethane Wood Finish Aerosol spray protects interior projects, including woodwork, furniture, floors and cabinets. Clear top coat is one of the most durable coatings for wood protection against scratches, spills & more.
  • OIL-BASED DURABLE FINISH-Clear finish provides long-lasting protection and warm beauty to both finished and unfinished wood projects. Protective coating is ideal for woodwork, furniture, doors, cabinets & floors, and is available in a variety of sheens.
  • SATIN SHEEN-Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this satin clear varnish. It not only protects the natural beauty of the wood

Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Spray is a game-changer when it comes to convenience. This product revolutionizes the finishing process for small woodworking projects and crafts.

The fast-drying formula lives up to its name, allowing for quick recoating and project completion in record time. Whether you’re working on small furniture pieces, intricate woodwork, or decorative crafts, this polyurethane spray delivers good results.

It not only saves you time but also ensures a smooth and durable finish that stands up to wear and tear.

The spray application is a standout feature. It provides an even and consistent coat without the risk of brush marks or uneven coating.

Furthermore, the convenience of a spray format means minimal cleanup and no need for brushes or other application tools. This makes it ideal if you want to get the job done efficiently without the hassle of traditional polyurethane application.

What We Liked Most

  • Easy to apply.
  • It is fast drying.
  • Suitable for various projects from small furniture to intricate crafts,
  • Offers a smooth and durable finish.
  • The spray application ensures an even and consistent coating.
  • The quick drying time means less waiting between coats, enabling you to finish projects in less time.

What Could Be Improved

  • This spray emits strong fumes, requiring good ventilation or use in well-ventilated areas.
  • Due to its spray format, it may not be as efficient for large-scale projects.
  • Inexperienced users may experience over-spray, which can waste product.

4. Most Environmentally Friendly Non-Yellowing Poly-Bona Traffic HD Commercial Extra Matte

While Bona Traffic HD is relatively more expensive than most of its water-based peers, it is one the best non-yellowing option. The coat stays clear and preserves the natural look of your wood, especially where the sun exposure is minimal. 

The poly is made of top-quality polymers, making it the most durable option I have found. This durability will go a long way in saving you money in the long run. 

I loved Bona Traffic HD for its low VOCs profile. VOCs are the volatile organic compounds added to paints and other wood finishes. They give these products a pungent smell and can produce toxic polyurethane fumes that take long to dissipate.

Inhaling the fumes from a product high in VOCs can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, and a few other unpleasant symptoms.

The fumes can also trigger allergic reactions in people with allergies. This is why I prefer low-VOC kitchen cabinet clear coat and Bona Traffic HD has perhaps the lowest VOC levels.

What We Liked Most

  • This non yellowing clear coat is fast drying, saving you application time.  
  • Bona Traffic HD is a commercial-grade product, so it holds up well to foot traffic and is ideal for busy restaurants and other commercial establishments. 
  • The polyurethane has a water-based formulation that is as durable as oil-based poly.   
  • It stays clear with time, preserving the color of your finished hardwood floors.
  • It forms a hard coat that holds up to pets and other activities responsible for wear and tear. This quality means it saves you money in the long run. 
  • Bona Traffic HD is available in various sheen levels, including matte, satin, and glossy finishes, so you can choose your most preferred shine. 

What Could Be Improved

  • The high initial cost of this non-yellowing clear coat for wood may be a bummer for some buyers

5. Best Non-Yellowing Polyurethane for Floors – StreetShoe Water-based Wood Floor Finish Satin

If you have wooden floors that you wish to keep from getting amber over time, Basic Coatings’ StreetShoe is your best bet. 

This water-borne poly is second only to Bona Traffic HD in terms of durability for most users. It offers superior resistance to scuffing and scratching, which keeps the surface looking impeccable for years. 

Its strength comes in handy when used on hardwood floors in high-traffic areas. You can count on the poly to save you money in the long run. 

It is available in various sheen levels, including semi-gloss and high-gloss. This allows you to choose a different sheen level other than the satin if you prefer a shinier floor. 

StreetShoe poly boasts the fastest cure time ever, getting up to 90 percent cured in just 24 hours. This quality helps save you time by speeding up your project.

This non yellowing top coat is also has low VOC and low odor, making it safe for people and pets and conducive for persons with allergies.

What We Liked Most

  • This polyurethane is eco-friendly since it can be catalyzed to eliminate waste.
  • It forms a highly durable coat that protects wooden floors and lasts longer than most water-borne peers. 
  • It is low maintenance due to its high scratch and scuff resistance levels. 

What Could Be Improved

  • Some users claim the satin option is glossier than they prefer 
  • Some users also find the surface less resistant to pet stains 

6. Best Non-Yellowing Exterior Polyurethane – Pallmann Pall-X 96 Matte

Pallmann Pall-X 96 Matte
  • Exceptional flow and leveling – Extremely forgiving
  • Not UV sensitive – Will not amber over time
  • Fast drying – Accepts light foot traffic in 4 hours

This relatively new water-based polyurethane is highly durable and well-suited to outdoor environments. You can use it on commercial projects and residential exterior surfaces with great success due to its resilience and proven resistance to wear and tear.

Its high resistance to the sun’s ultraviolet rays makes it an ideal fit for coating exterior wood surfaces. Since Pallmann Pall-X 96 is low-odor, thanks to its water-based formulation.

This exterior poly also contains negligible levels of volatile organic compounds, making it safe for use in living areas with pets and people.

This quality also makes it safe to apply without necessarily wearing a respirator or safety mask. It is a fast-drying polyurethane, ideal for time-sensitive projects.

What We Liked Most

  • The product has a durable water-based formula. 
  • It dries completely clear, doing an excellent job in preserving your wood’s natural color. 
  • The Pall-X 96 has a short dry time, so you can apply multiple coats within a short time and complete your entire project within a day. 
  • The finish has no gloss, which is perfect for those who prefer a true matte look

What Could Be Improved

  • This product is still new on the market, leaving much room for further testing to get a more conclusive picture of its strengths and limitations. 

7. Non-Yellowing Topcoat for White Paint – Bona Finish – Mega HD Clear Satin

This is a relatively new entrant in the Bona product line, and it is already making waves in the market. This polyurethane dries clear and retains the clarity for the long haul.

Since it is non-yellowing, you can apply it directly onto bare, sanded wood, and it will do an excellent job preserving that wood’s dolor. The product holds up pretty well in inclement weather.

If you live in a place that is notorious for snowy winters and wet springs, Mega HD may be your best bet. The terrible weather conditions will not make it flinch. 

It is also highly durable and will keep your wood protected for ages in any weather. This water-borne poly is less durable than Bona Traffic but holds up well to foot traffic, making it a good value. 

It is also less expensive than Bona Traffic and lasts for many years on wood surfaces without refinishing.

What We Liked Most

  • This product is incredibly easy to apply.
  • It dries quickly, speeding up your project time. You can apply multiple coats within the same day. 
  • This polyurethane is cost-effective 

What Could Be Improved

  • The Bona mega HD is less durable than Bona Traffic HD and premium oil-based options.

8. Best Durable Non-Yellowing Polyurethane– Varathane Crystal Clear Floor Finish

Varathane 200041H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Quart,...
  • Protects indoor wood surfaces such as furniture, windows, cabinets, trim and more
  • Water based formula dries fast and cleans up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes with coverage up to 125 sq. ft., recoat after 2 hours

I recently used Varathane’s Crystal Clear Floor Finish for refinishing my hardwood floors, and I must say I’m impressed. This product provided an excellent protective coat that enhanced the natural beauty of the wood.

The finish is indeed crystal clear, leaving no yellowing or cloudiness. It dried quickly, and the application process was straightforward.

My floors now have a brilliant shine and seem well-protected against daily wear and tear. I would recommend this Varathane if you’re looking to rejuvenate your wooden floors.

What We Liked Most

  • This product provides outstanding protection for indoor wood surfaces.
  • It dries to the touch in just 30 minutes.
  • Cleaning it is easy. You only need water and soap for your brushes and tools.
  • It doesn’t yellow or cloud over time, maintaining that pristine look for years to come.
  • The gloss finish creates a polished and clean look on all surfaces.

What Could Be Improved

  • Achieving a perfect smooth finish requires some skill and practice.

9. Best Non-Yellowing Polyurethane for Indoor Use– ZAR 32512 Water-Based Polyurethane

ZAR 34512 Semi Gloss Aqua Water Based Polyurethane, QT, Blue
  • A durable floor finish
  • Non-yellowing, dries crystal clear
  • Interior, horizontal or vertical surfaces

ZAR’s Water-Based Polyurethane exceeded my expectations. This product offers a fantastic finish for various wood surfaces. 

I found it easy to work with, and its water-based formula made cleanup a breeze. The polyurethane dried quickly, and the final result was a clear, durable coat that brought out the wood’s natural grain beautifully. 

I also appreciated the low odor, which made it suitable for indoor projects. In addition to its impressive performance, ZAR’s Water-Based Polyurethane also provided exceptional value for the price. 

Its smooth application and excellent coverage meant that a little goes a long way, making it an economical choice for both DIY enthusiasts and professional woodworkers. 

Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the results achieved using ZAR, and I recommend it if you’re looking for a high-quality, budget-friendly non-yellowing polyurethane. 

What We Liked Most

  • This product offers a fantastic finish that enhances the natural beauty of wood surfaces.
  • It is easy to work with, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced woodworkers.
  • The polyurethane dries quickly, allowing for faster project completion.
  • It provides a clear, durable coat that protects the wood.
  • Has a low odor so suitable for indoor projects without causing discomfort.
  • It is economical

What Could Be Improved

  • ZAR 32512 may not be readily available in all locations.
  • It might not be compatible with certain finishes or substrates.
  • Achieving the desired finish may require multiple coats.
  • Although economical, it may be pricier than some lower-tier water polyurethanes.

Why Does Polyurethane Turn Yellow? 

Why Does Polyurethane Turn Yellow? 

Polyurethane yellowing is a natural phenomenon that is more common with oil-based polyurethane varieties. The process occurs due to exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, polymer degradation, or oily deposits.

Exposure of these wood surfaces to the sun’s UV rays causes chemical reactions in the polyurethane coatings. These reactions lead to chemical changes in the topcoat, leading to a color change from clear to yellowish.

The chemical reactions responsible for the yellowing of polyurethane coatings happen naturally due to interaction with reactive particles like oxygen in the air.

However, UV radiation acts as a catalyst that accelerates these reactions and the subsequent yellowing. The longer the exposure to ultraviolet radiation, the deeper the color change.

Using wood species that are naturally yellow like pine also contributes to the yellowing. These wood species become yellower over time due to UV exposure.

The combination of yellowing wood and poly can make the color appear more pronounced. However, scuffing the polyurethane coating with fine-grit sandpaper should help lighten the color since the reactions happen from the top. 

Type of Polyurethane that Won’t Yellow 

High-quality water-based polyurethane is the only type that does not yellow. For instance, Minwax’s Polycrylic is non-yellowing and goes on clear, forming a durable coat on your project.

Additionally, water-based polyurethane is generally easy to use and dries pretty quickly—so you can apply multiple coats within a 24-hour window. The dry polyurethane coat will remain clear even after exposure to the elements over time.

Does water-based polyurethane yellow?

Water-borne poly generally does not yellow over time. However, lower-quality water-based polyurethanes form a noticeably amber tint as they age. They react more to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and other weather elements, forming a slightly yellow tint.

So it is always best to buy a high-quality water-based product if you want the coat to remain clear without forming a yellow tint over time.

Does Minwax polyurethane yellow

No, Minwax polyurethane does not yellow over time. It is among the best non-yellowing water-based polyurethanes on the market. It is easy to apply, dries quickly within a few hours, and allows you to apply multiple coats within a 24-hour period.

Is there a non-yellowing oil-based polyurethane

No, every oil-based polyurethane will eventually turn amber over time. The yellowing is due to UV exposure that causes and accelerates polymer degradation. Oily deposits are also responsible for the yellowing, which happens gradually with time. 

When you use oil-based poly on hardwood floors, the coat will turn yellowish, giving the floor an amber tint. This color change often continues, making the coated wood darker and darker over time. 

Does wipe on polyurethane yellow?

Yes, wipe-on poly is oil-based and therefore develops a yellowish tint over time. When used outdoors, prolonged sun exposure typically causes the clear coat to turn brown or yellowish. The absorbent qualities of the solvent can also cause the wipe on poly to turn yellowish. 

How to Fix Yellowing Polyurethane 

While most polyurethanes will yellow with time and continue to darken as time goes by, you can always fix the color and make it clearer. However, lightening a yellowing polyurethane coat requires a bit of patience and some elbow grease. 

Additionally, the solution will depend on the nature of the color change. If the undercoat is affected, it may require slightly more work to lighten than when the coat yellows from the top. In any case, here is how to fix a yellowing polyurethane coat. 

Method 1: Sanding the yellow topcoat 

If the polyurethane color has darkened due to UV radiation, the chances are that it is only yellow from the outside. Sanding the outer layer will likely remove the yellowing and lighten the color. 

So, use fine 220-grit sandpaper to scuff up the tinted coat of polyurethane. The chances are that you will not remove all the tint, but the sanding will lighten the color by removing the most affected part. 

You don’t want to use coarse sandpaper of sand too deep because you do not want to remove the entire coat of polyurethane. 

Method 2: Using mineral spirits 

You can also remove much of the tint by scrubbing the surface with a soft sponge saturated with mineral spirits. This method is most suitable for oil-based polyurethane. 

The mineral spirits will dissolve and remove the grease or oily deposits responsible for the yellowing color.

Method 3: Chemical stripper 

When the color change results from the polyurethane sucking up the tinting stains from the wood beneath, sanding or scrubbing the top will likely not help. This is because the undercoat will be affected. 

The best way to fix this issue is to strip down the polyurethane finish using a chemical paint stripper. Then apply a stain-blocking primer to seal the material before applying a fresh coat of non-yellowing sealant.

How to Keep Polyurethane from Yellowing?  

How to Keep Polyurethane from Yellowing?  

The surest way to keep the finish from yellowing is to use a high-grade UV protective wood finish from the get-go.

Polyurethanes labeled as non-yellowing are usually formulated to resist UV radiation, hence keeping them from reacting and yellowing. 

You may also reduce the UV rays entering your home by investing in UV-blocking window treatments or window films.

Best Non-Yellowing Clear Coat for Wood-Poly Alternatives

Aside from non-yellowing polyurethane, you could treat your wood with a clear coat for wood that won’t yellow to preserve its natural look. Here are the leading options to consider for your next project. 


Zinsser 00854 SealCoat Universal Sanding Sealer, Quart
  • Use to condition new or previously finished interior wood surfaces before staining
  • Wax-free formula is compatible with all clear finish topcoats including oil-based polyurethanes
  • Dries to the touch in 5-10 minutes and covers between 100-150 sq. ft. per quart

Shellac is often available in various shades. While it is not always entirely clear-colored, once you apply the finish, the color remains the same without tinting over time. So you can choose your preferred shade and be rest assured that it will remain the same. 

Our editor’s choice of shellac is Rust-Oleum Zinsser 854 1-Quart Bulls Eye Sealcoat Universal Sanding Sealer. 

It is high-coverage, with one gallon covering 400 to 600 square feet. This means great value for the money. 

You will be happy to know that it is compatible with all clear wood finishes, so you can use it alongside any finish or primer that you prefer. 

This shellac is formulated to suit all interior wood sealing projects, including floors. Perhaps its most outstanding quality is the lightning-fast drying that helps save you time. You can sand and recoat it in minutes and complete the entire project within hours. 

If you are looking for a non-yellowing finish, this shellac may be your best bet.


Daddy Van's All Natural Unscented Beeswax Furniture Polish -...
1,933 Reviews
Daddy Van's All Natural Unscented Beeswax Furniture Polish -...
  • MAKE ALL THE WOOD IN YOUR HOME BEAUTIFUL AGAIN – Natural beeswax wood conditioner renews, nourishes, and brings out the beauty in all wood types. Imparts a rich, deep glow to finished and unfinished wood.
  • FOOD SAFE AND BABY SAFE – Our non-toxic ingredients create a natural furniture polish that is safe to use on items that come into contact with food, and to keep wooden toys and nursery furniture looking great.
  • BEAUTIFUL CHALK AND MILK PAINT FINISHING WAX - Odorless, non-hazardous sealing wax is easy to apply and creates a durable matte finish.

If you are finishing a painted wood, waxes are among your best options. They create a water-resistant layer over the paint and add an extra layer of protection. 

Waxes are, however, not recommended for bare wood because they do not form a strong film, so they will not sufficiently protect the surface on their own.

Our best choice of wax is Daddy Van’s All Natural Unscented Beeswax Furniture Polish. It is non-toxic and odorless, so you can apply it without wearing any protection, such as a respirator or face mask. 

The wax is also easy to apply and requires only one coat. This means you can complete the project in minutes. 

Daddy Van’s is chemical-free, which makes it eco-friendly and totally recyclable. You can also use it on a wide range of surfaces, including furniture, butcher block, cabinets, antiques, and any other wood type. 

If you want something that will restore your wood, this wax may be your best choice.

Epoxy Resin

TotalBoat Table Top Epoxy Resin 1 Gallon Kit - Crystal Clear...
  • CLEAR EPOXY RESIN for a high gloss finish on bar tops, table tops & countertops; add pigments, tints or encapsulations to make your piece truly unique; versatile craft resin is also great for coating tumblers and casting coasters & jewelry
  • EPOXY RESISTS SCRATCHES, STAINS AND YELLOWING: Self-leveling formula cures to a finish as smooth as glass; use this versatile DIY resin on wood, concrete, ceramic, stainless steel and more; 100% waterproof upon cure
  • 2 PART EPOXY IS EASY TO USE: Just mix 1 part resin to 1 part hardener, stir thoroughly, and pour on your prepared surface; the epoxy will level on its own and cure at room temperature; maximum pour depth per layer is 1/8" - 1/4"

Epoxies are two-part finishes, meaning they come as two products that must be mixed to form the final product. Some are mixed on the surface, while others are designed to mix inside a tube before reaching the project.

Epoxy resins are thick by nature. Therefore they work best for flat surfaces such as artwork or a tabletop. If you are looking for a hard-drying, non-yellowing table top poly, an epoxy resin may be the best option for you. 

Our editor’s choice is TotalBoat Table Top Epoxy Resin 1 Gallon Kit. It is incredibly durable, is totally clear-colored when dry, and retains its clarity over time without yellowing.

The product dries hard, forming a scratch-resistant coat on your wood. It also resists stains, making it pretty easy to maintain. The self-leveling formula cures to a smooth, glass-like finish that can bring out the beauty of your wood. 

This table top epoxy resin is for you if you want the most versatile, incredibly durable finish that does not yellow over time. 


UltraPro Food Grade Mineral Oil for Lubricating and...
  • MINERAL OIL FOR EVERYTHING: White oil is used in food, automotive, beauty, construction and many more industries.
  • FOOD GRADE & MADE IN THE USA: Our mineral oil is food grade and great for use as a food safe lubricant for an industrial slicer, knife, blade, tool, and machine. Proudly made in the USA!
  • RESTORE WOODEN CUTTING BOARDS: Treat and protect wooden butcher blocks, cutting boards, bamboo and more.

Oils are generally non-film forming but do an excellent job restoring the color of the wood. They can keep a piece of wood looking fresh and colorful for years, as long as you reapply them within the recommended intervals. 

Some oils require reapplication every year, while others can take as long as two years. There are some less durable varieties that will require more frequent reapplication to retain their protection for the wood. 

Our best choice of oil is UltraPro Food Grade Mineral Oil. It is NSF-approved, meaning that it meets the strict standards for public health protection. 

This oil is completely non-toxic and safe. It is entirely food-safe, so you can use it for lubricating and protecting chopping boards, kitchen counters, and butcher blocks.

You can also use it to lubricate stainless steel products, including knives, tools, plus other machines and equipment. You will be happy to know that UltraPro oil is unscented, so it will not influence the taste or aroma of your foods. 

Yellowing Wood Finishes To Avoid

Suppose you prefer a topcoat that will remain clear over time. In that case, you may want to steer clear of these wood finishes notorious for their yellowing tendency:

Watco’s Danish Oil, Waterlox, Arm-R-Seal, Tung Oil, Seal-A-Cell, and any oil-based polyurethane, including Varathane and Minwax. Instead, go for their water-based products.

Read also: Varathane vs Minwax polyurethane.


What sealer will not yellow?

The best sealer that will not turn yellow is Minwax’s Polycrylic. It dries quickly within a few hours, is easy to apply, and can be recoated multiple times within a day. This sealer dries completely clear and stays that way without yellowing over time.

Does lacquer yellow?

Lacquer finishes typically do not yellow with age. They require very little maintenance and offer good protection against liquids and moisture damage. You need to use a sprayer instead of a brush, roller, or hand-rubbed cloth like varnishes and urethanes to apply them.

How long does it take polyurethane to yellow?

Polyurethanes typically take 3 years or longer to yellow. This happens as a result of the polyurethane pulling or absorbing oils, stains, and tannins from the wood, causing it to turn yellow. Poly will also react to UV rays and molecules like oxygen in the air, leading to a systematic color change.

Will polyurethane turn white vinyl yellow?

Polyurethane will not turn white vinyl yellow because poly is a clear coat and, as such, does not contain pigments responsible for changing the substrate color from white to yellow.

Does polycrylic yellow?

No, polycrylic is a water-based product, so it does not yellow. Water-borne clear coats typically do not yellow over time, except for some cheap water-based products. But even these options only develop a slight tint.

Does varnish yellow?

Varnish does have a yellow tint and gives this tint to the wood it coats. The product is generally applied to raw wood furniture to bring out the wood grain and accentuate its mellow color.

Does polyurethane yellow over time?

Yes. Oil-based polyurethanes tend to turn yellow over time. This is usually a result of chemical reactions within the poly. UV radiation and oily deposits on the topcoat also cause it to turn yellow or amber over time.

Does urethane yellow?

Many types of urethane will yellow over time due to polymer degradation, oily deposits forming on the surface, and reaction with the sun’s UV rays.

Does minwax polycrylic yellow?

Water-borne Minwax Polycrylic does not yellow because of its water-based formula. Most water-based wood finishes remain clear without turning yellow over time as oil-based formulas do.

Does shellac yellow?

No, Shellac doesn’t yellow. Shellac’s natural UV resistance property allows the finish to retain its original hue for many years. This makes Shellac an ideal finish for furniture and other household items you want to keep looking new. Shellac is also highly resistant to scratches and other damage, so it can help to protect your belongings from everyday wear and tear. If you want a finish that will keep your home looking its best, shellac is a great option.

What is the best finish for cornhole boards

When finishing cornhole boards, a popular choice is a clear, water-based polyurethane. This type of finish offers excellent durability, protection against moisture and UV rays, and a glossy, transparent coating that enhances the natural beauty of the wood. It provides a long-lasting and resilient finish, ensuring that your cornhole boards stay in great condition for years.

Will water-based oil-modified polyurethane yellow?

Oil-modified polyurethanes tend to yellow only slightly because they are a mix of oil and water-based poly. For instance, Minwax water-based oil-modified polyurethane yellowing results from the chemical degradation of the oil-based poly in the mixture.

Final Thoughts on Clear Coats That Won’t Yellow

If you want a clear topcoat that will remain that way for the long haul, you need to use the best non-yellowing polyurethane.

In our exploration, we’ve found that Loba WS 2K Supra Satin ranks as the best overall choice as the other finishes follow closely.

I hope this review and user guide help you find the best poly for your next wood finishing project. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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