How do I refinish a soft wood dish rack so it is safe and durable?

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HI have disassembled the soft wood dish rack, sanded of as much of the mildew as I could and dropped all the pieces into a pan of bleach. I would prefer a dark finish that is durable, waterproof and safe to put dishes on to let them dry. Any recommendations would be appreciated.


  8 answers
  • William William on May 18, 2020

    Sorry. There is no stain that would be food safe. To preserve the wood wipe it down with mineral oil everytime you wash it.

  • You can add a wood stain and seal it with a few coats of polyurethane. Wood is not the best around water, so it may not last forever.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on May 19, 2020

    To get a durable finish you would have to coat it with something that will do that, polyurethane would work. Also William"s suggestion of mineral oil is a good one.

    A potential concern would be a possible bacteria or mold starting due to the repeated dampness.Best to you.

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on May 19, 2020

    Hi there, I would use a marine Polyurethane varnish. According to studies it doesn't present any known hazard as long as it's fully cured.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 19, 2020

    In order to kill all the spores, make sure to clean with vinegar. Contrary to popular belief, bleach won't do it. You can then stain the wood and seal with multiple coats of a marine grade urethane that will be water proof.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on May 19, 2020

    Wood racks are very architectural and interesting but perhaps a better sanitary solution is a plastic or metal dish drying rack.

  • Jason Van Duyn Jason Van Duyn on Nov 26, 2021

    Itll start with what your view on safe for food is. Safe for drying dishes on is probably different that looking for a food safe finish. That being said you may want to go with a food safe finish anyways. The biggest pain to me is using a film finish like poly or lacquer on a rack that has lots of gaps, grooves, etc. Getting a film finish to look good in that cause would be a pain. Id opt for a penetrating oil for a finish as its easier to apply. If you didn't have objections to a finish with solvents in it then you could look at a danish oil or other commercial blended penetrating oils. Most of them will have drying agents in them, but will probably offer more durability and water resistance. If you opt for the food safe route here are your choices for food safe wood finishes. In that case Id probably look at a walnut oil or a pure tung oil, you will get better depth of finish out of those two which offers more water resistance.