Is Tung Oil food safe? Pure Tung oil is food safe once it has been cured. It is the go to finish for wooden countertops, wooden toys, table tops etc. It enhances the color of wood, offers superb protection, and is friendly to the environment.

Natural tung oil comes from tung tree nuts and is a perfect food-safe wood finish. However, some Tung oil products contain heavy metals unfit for human consumption.

It would help if you were cautious when buying a tung oil finish. Unless a product contains such terms as “100% Pure Tung oil,” that wood finish may be anything else but a food safe finish.

Read on to know everything about Tung oil finishes.

What is Tung Oil?

Tung oil is derived from Tung-tree nuts that originated in China and South America. It is a natural drying oil that people have used for centuries to finish wood, such as butcher blocks and cutting boards, if not used as chopping.

It improves the color of wood, provides excellent protection, and is environmentally friendly.

How many coats of tung oil do you need to apply for a professional finish?

The majority of projects will need four to six coats. The more coats you apply, the darker and more glossy the finish will become, and the more protected the surfaces will be.

Treating your wood with Tung oil is a continuous process because it takes days or weeks to cure, depending on the humidity levels. The more coats you apply, the longer it will take to dry and cure.

Types of Tung Oil – How to Pick the Correct Type of Tung Oil Finish

Three types of tung oil finishes are penetrating pure tung oil, varnish blends, and wiping varnish. They are both durable, water resistant, and offer a gorgeous color.

Pure Tung Oil

Tung oil, or Chinese wood oil, is one of the world’s most widely used and well-known wood finishes. It is completely food safe.

Its use dates back thousands of years in Asia, and it’s been used as both a sealant and an adhesive as well as an ingredient in paints and finishes. It’s also one of the most sought-after antique furniture finishes due to its durability and beautiful lustre.

It creates a beautiful, natural lustre that enhances the wood grain. Tung Oil is an entirely natural product, making it one of the best food-safe finishes when cured for thirty days. It’s durable and hardwearing, making it ideal for floors and furniture.

It is easy to apply and requires no special equipment or skills. The only few downsides of PureTung Oil are that it is a drying oil, meaning that it will harden, and cracks might form if it’s not applied correctly.

It also takes a long time to cure, so you need to have the patience of a saint when using it. Pure Tung oil can also be quite expensive, depending on where you purchase it.

Varnish/ Oil Blends And Wiping Varnishes

varnish blends were developed to hasten the pure tung oil’s drying times and make application easier. It achieves this by incorporating artificial resins and solvents to keep the resins in solution.

If the label says “contains petroleum distillates,” know it is one of these wood finishes.

The differences between them are subtle. Blends are made up of oil (or oils) blended with a varnish. Wiping varnishes are ordinary varnishes that have been significantly thinned to be applied with a dry cloth. The resin binds all of the oils in a varnish.

Sadly, manufacturers rarely use the terms “oil/varnish blends” and “wiping varnishes” to classify their tung oil products. Please read the application instructions carefully to tell them apart.

It’s a blend varnish if the instructions advise you to wait specific minutes after applying the finish before wiping up or buffing off the excess material. If you don’t wipe up the excess oil, it will wrinkle and require sanding. 

If the instructions do not specify a second wipe, it is a wiping varnish, which will dry smooth and hard. You won’t need to sand.

Also, find out the difference between tung oil and polyurethane.

Which Tung Oil Finish Should You Use to avoid Cross-contamination?

Pure Tung Oil is the go-to finish to use on surfaces where food safety is a big concern. Here’s why

It’s a natural product– It is entirely additive-free, making it non-toxic and safe to use on different items. It prevents the wood from drying and helps it repel water, protecting it from rotting. It is suitable for sealing bare and unfinished wood, preventing marking and discoloration.

It is ideally food safe– Pure Tung Oil is a natural product, therefore a fantastic choice for food prep surfaces, such as kitchen surfaces, children’s furniture, and toys, and exterior wood surfaces such as decking.

Water-resistant – Finishing kitchen surfaces and cutting boards with Pure Tung oil will give them water resistance. It is helpful for cutting boards because they are continuously exposed to water.

It is scratch-resistant – Tung oil creates a protective coating on your cutting board that protects it from scuffs, dents, and cracks, letting you use them for many years.

It gives the surfaces a beautiful finish – Although Pure Tung oil is clear and does not yellow with time like other finishes, it also has a glossy finish that makes your wooden countertops stunning.

It’s effortless to Apply – Tung oil is simple to apply and reapply, which adds an excellent level of ease to your projects.

Although Pure Tung Oil is simple to apply with a foam brush, your hand takes longer to dry and is pricey.

Also, if you’re seeking information about wood stain that is safe for a vegetable garden, read our detailed guide for expert insights and recommendations.

The Best Tung oil Products Currently in the Market

1. HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil, Waterproof Natural Wood Finish and Sealer, 16 Fl Oz

HOPE'S 100% Pure Tung Oil, Food Safe, Premium Waterproof...
  • Easy to Use - Tung oil is a natural oil recognized by craftsmen to offer the ultimate hand-rubbed finish for all fine woods; just wipe on and allow the oil to cure at room temperature
  • Permeates - Unlike other finishes that form a film on the wood’s surface, tung oil penetrates deep into the wood fibers, cures to a flexible non-oily solid, and becomes part of the wood itself
  • Protects - Resistant to moisture, alcohol, oil, and everyday wear for lasting beauty and protection; lasts many times longer than mineral oil and wax based products

Tung oil is a natural oil that woodworkers recognize as providing the supreme hand-rubbed finish for all woods. Just wipe on and let the oil cure at an average room temperature.

It penetrates the wood fibers and cures to a versatile non-oily solid. Unlike other oil finishes that create a film on the wood’s surface, this product penetrates the wood and becomes part of it to protect it from the inside out.

Apply several coats instead of one thick coat and wait for the first coat to dry to the touch before recoating. On top of that, it helps the wood repel moisture, grime, and everyday wear and tear for long-lasting beauty.

What We Liked Most

  • Works as marketed
  • Effortless to use
  • You can use it on different surfaces

What Could Be Improved

  • If you fail to wipe off excess oil after an hour, it may form wrinkles.

2. Best Waterproofing Food Safe Finish – Godora 32 oz Pure Tung Oil for Wood Finishing

Godora 32 oz Pure Tung Oil for Wood Finishing, Wood Sealer...
994 Reviews
Godora 32 oz Pure Tung Oil for Wood Finishing, Wood Sealer...
  • 【100% Pure】 The tung oil is made of the seed from the nut of the tung tree in East Asia. It is natural, environmentally friendly, food-grade pure tung oil, furniture craftsmen's choice. Godora pure tung oil brings protection & luster to your wood finishing.
  • 【Waterproof 】 Our tung oil can be used as a waterproof wood sealer. Pure tung oil can form a waterproof finish for your wood products. After using pure tung oil, your wood products will have a protective barrier on the surface, and you will no longer have to worry about your wood products being damaged by moisture and stains.
  • 【Multi Use】 Tung oil works amazingly on almost any surface that the oil can penetrate - Tung oil can be used to finish countertops, cutting boards, unfinished wood, wooden furniture, wood floors, decks, concrete, bricks, stones, and more.

If you are looking for a food-grade wood finish, your search could end with this product. It is a pure Tung oil product made from Tung tree nuts from China.

This product is one of the best food-safe finishes preferred by professional woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts because it is waterproof.

You can use it on your countertops, cutting boards, bare wood, children’s toys, wooden furniture, wood floors, decks, concrete, bricks, stones, and other surfaces that permit oil to penetrate.

Applying the oil is a breeze. Just wipe on with a towel and leave it to cure at room temperature. Give it twenty-four hours to cure completely.

What We Liked Most

  • It’s an excellent product and easy to apply
  • It’s completely waterproof and food safe
  • It gives the surfaces a beautiful color

What Could Be Improved

  • It takes longer to dry

3. Best Food Safe Tung Oi Blend – Hope’s Phineas Rose Wood Finish and Sealer

Hope's 16oz Phineas Rose Wood Finish, Pack of 1, Clear, 16...
  • Natural and Non Toxic — Optimized blend of premium non-toxic drying oils including pure tung oil and lemongrass oil; it is safe both when applying and after drying
  • Professional — Developed and used for more than 20 years by wood joinery expert Richard Gordon, this oil blend penetrates deep into wood to become part of the wood itself rather than remaining at the surface
  • Durable — The finish requires only simple maintenance to develop a rich luster over time and become better looking as it ages; repairs are easy if they are needed

With this product, you can improve the resistance of wood surfaces to moisture and beverages. It is n optimized mixture of superior food-safe oils such as Pure Tung oil and lemon grass.

You can use it on surfaces inside and around your home. It is safe during and after drying. However, it does not mean it’s fit for human consumption. Just let it cure to be on the safe side.

You can upgrade wood surfaces with this natural finish that offers superb moisture and wear resistance. It may take weeks to apply the finish, but it is surprisingly simple, and the results are worthwhile. You don’t need special skills to use the finish.

What We Liked Most

  • Simple to Use
  • Non-Toxic
  • It injects life into old wood
  • It’s water resistant
  • It looks better with age

What Could Be Improved

  • It needs a lot of sanding and takes weeks to dry, but it’s worth it.

4. Best Multi-purpose Food Safe Wood Finish – 128 OZ Pure Tung Oil for Wood Finishing with Wood Brush

OAIEGSD 128 OZ Pure Tung Oil for Wood-Finishing with Wood...
  • 【Specialized Brush】Compared with other tung oil for wood finishing on the market, we offer you a specialized wood brush as a gift, which makes you more convenient, so use the pure tung oil and the brush to maintain your wood furniture, cutting boards, floors, wooden toys, cabinets, doors, etc.
  • 【Protection & Penetration】Our tung oil provides excellent waterproof to your wood products, so it is often used as wood sealer. Pure tung oil penetrates deep into the wood fibers and becomes part of the wood, giving your wood products not only a wonderful waterproof surface, but also more luster. Perfect choice!
  • 【100% Pure Natural】OAIEGSD tung oil food grade is 100% pure natural, which is extracted from natural tung seeds, without any additives and chemical ingredients, so it can be great for contact with food, you can use it safely. After using the pure tung oil, your wood products will have a longer life.

Everyone likes a freebie. Right? This is your product if you need a pure Tung Oil product with a free brush on the side.

It is an FDA-approved Pure Tung Oil product with a gift, making it effortless for you to maintain hardwood floors, a cutting board, butcher block, door, cabinet, wooden furniture, etc.

You can use it as a sealer to waterproof the surfaces, giving them a beautiful, durable finish. Apply two or three coats of Tung oil on the bare wood and allow it to absorb the oil.

Wipe away the excess wood oil with a clean, dry towel to stop it from forming wrinkles that necessitate sanding. Allow the oil to cure at room temperature for thirty days. The longer you wait, the better the outcome.

What We Liked Most

  • Works as marketed
  • It’s versatile
  • It’s waterproof

What Could Be Improved

  • You’ve to be patient with it as it takes much longer to dry depending on the weather.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Tung Oil as a Food-safe Finish

Before spending a dime on any Tung Oil product, consider the following factors


How much are you willing to spend on the product? Pure tung oil is pricey depending on where you purchase it.

If your project is big and surface porous, you’ll need a lot of oil, meaning you’ll spend a lot. You may consider Tung oil blends and varnishes as they are more affordable.

The Size of Your Project

How big or small is your project? If your project is enormous, buy the gallon-size product instead of many small cans to save time and a few dollars. You save more when you buy in bulk.


Pay extra attention to the brand you want to buy to ensure you get an authentic product. Some brands combine tung oil with additives and chemicals and sell it as pure Tung Oil.

If you want pure Tung Oil, ensure it states 100% Pure Tung oil on the product’s packaging. In other words, keep an eye on the product’s components.

Tung Oil Alternative Food safe Finishes

If you don’t want to use Tung oil for one reason, you could choose the following food-safe wood finishes.

Raw Linseed Oil

Raw linseed oil is a great wood finish and is a perfect alternative to pure Tung oil because it is non-toxic, eco-friendly, and versatile.

However, raw linseed oil for decking takes longer to cure, making it slightly less desirable to some folks. It is one of the best natural finishes you can use for finishing wood.

Read more on our article “Is linseed oil food safe?” to gain a comprehensive understanding of its potential applications in culinary settings.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is odorless, tasteless, and takes much time to cure. Although it needs regular reapplication, it is perfectly food safe and a superb treatment as it enhances wood’s durability and beauty.

It soaks into the grain of the wood and coats the wood fibers with a water-repellent liquid. This prevents wood fibers from absorbing water, thereby preventing them from rot and decay.


Beeswax comes from honey bees, just as the name suggests, and has been used for centuries to treat food prep surfaces and other wood surfaces.

Although It is a perfect wood finish with no harsh chemicals or additives, it needs regular reapplication. It should be mixed with oil for a more straightforward application.

Related reads:

Is Minwax polyurethane food safe?

Is polycrylic food safe for infants?


Is Tung Oil Safe For A Cutting Board?

Yes. Tung oil is safe for a cutting board because it is natural. It is easy to apply and relatively durable. Note that even if it is water-resistant, it’s not entirely waterproof. It will absorb moisture if it is continuously soaked. Also, your sharp chopping knives may cut right through the finish. So, there’s a good chance that tiny bits of cured Tung oil may find their way into your food. If you’re concerned about whether Tung oil causes wood darkening, consider reading more on the topic to make an informed choice for your cutting board.

Is Tung Oil Safe For A Cutting Board?

Watco Tung Oil is not food safe because it’s not pure Tung Oil. It contains additives for faster drying time. Though it is not a food contact oil, It won’t darken with age; you can apply coats as needed to restore the gloss and renew the finish. It’s painless to apply and dries faster just like Minwax tung oil.

Interesting Posts:

Can You Use Tung Oil Over Stain?

Can you use polyurethane over tung oil?

How to remove tung oil

The process of removing tung oil from surfaces begins with wiping away excess oil with a cloth. Then, scrub the affected area with warm, soapy water and a soft brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary. For stubborn stains, use mineral spirits or acetone, followed by cleaning with soapy water.

Related read: Can Danish Oil be Used Safely with Food?

Is Tung Oil Food Safe? – Summary

Is Tongue oil food safe? Yes, cured Pure Tongue Oil is ultimately food safe when fully cured because it is all-natural. You can use it on your kitchen surfaces not exposed to water continuously to avoid ruining the finish.

Finding pure tung oil can be challenging because most tung oil products are not pure. So, if you need a food-grade wood finish, go for 100% Pure Tung Oil products to avoid cross-contamination.

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