In today’s DIY world, countless people are discovering just how easy it is to refinish an old piece of furniture. Not only have DIY projects gotten easier, but they’ve also become more eco-friendly. Milk paint environmentally friendly wood finishes can help you turn an old piece into a one-of-a-kind treasure for both your home and the environment.

In past decades, a limited market meant DIY fanatics had few options when it came to wood-finishing products. In order to protect wood from water and natural wear, consumers were forced to opt for oils filled with dangerous additives. These toxic finishes released hazardous air pollutants upon application, putting both humans and the environment at risk.

Luckily, you no longer need to put your health at risk to give your wooden furniture a smooth, durable finish. Thanks to new eco-friendly finishes, solid wood decor will stay pristine for years to come.

Eco-Friendly Wood Finishes: Free From Volatile Organic Compounds and Linseed Oil

During the 70s and 80s, boiled linseed oil was the most popular choice for wood protection, but it contained harmful metal additives that were damaging to the environment. These toxic finishes contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which let off harmful vapors and could damage the air quality of your space.

For a nontoxic finish that will keep you safe from harsh chemicals, it’s important to choose one with zero or very low VOCs. This typically means you’ll look for a water-based stain that uses acrylic or polyurethane compounds as binders. Nontoxic finishes also often contain all-natural ingredients that will keep your furniture looking sleek and brand new. These can include:

  • Walnut oil
  • Tung oil
  • Raw linseed oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Clay fillers
  • Shellac flakes

With so many options today, choosing a wood finish can be overwhelming. But one thing is certain: When it comes to quality and eco-friendly wood finishes, there’s no better choice than natural milk paint wood finishes. Made from natural oils and fully nontoxic, here are five eco-friendly wood finishes that will protect bare wood without harming the environment.

1. Tung Oil Wood Finish

PureTungOil 32oz RealMilkPaintCo Web 2019

Also known as Chinawood oil, Pure Tung Oil finishes are derived from the tung tree. Tung oil finishes are made with zero VOCs and no additives or petroleum distillates, maximizing their eco-friendliness.

These oil finishes differ from standard wood stains in that they start absorbing oxygen immediately upon application rather than evaporating into the air. This makes for a natural finish that penetrates porous surfaces with ease. Tung oil also resists abrasions and acids, has a long shelf life, doesn’t blister or peel and resists mold.

Tung oil is a great option for projects where you don’t want a glossy finish topcoat; no matter how much you apply, you’ll end up with a sleek matte finish. This nontoxic finish is also completely food-safe, making it perfect for projects that require a food-grade finish such as bowls, butcher blocks or even cutting boards.

2. Dark Raw Tung Oil

DarkTungOil 32oz RealMilkPaintCo Web 2019

Dark Tung Oil is extremely similar to pure tung oil, but there’s one factor that sets the two apart: Dark raw tung oil contains a nontoxic, naturally occurring resinous hydrocarbon. This extra ingredient is responsible for giving raw wood a deep brown color.

This specialty tung oil is noncarcinogenic and completely free from PCBs. Like standard tung oil, this pigmented version effectively penetrates the surface of wood surfaces and prevents damage caused by water or other wear. It cures by oxidation rather than evaporation to give you better results with your natural milk paint projects.

Dark raw tung oil also forms a flexible waterproof sealer and resists abrasions, making it great for wood flooring. Plus, this nontoxic, food-safe finish is perfect for pieces that will make their home in your kitchen.

3. Half Pure Tung Oil and Half Citrus Solvent

Half and half light mineral oil Products

While pure tung oil benefits from its thick consistency, it sometimes needs to be thinned in order to penetrate smaller wood pores. When you’re in need of a penetrating sealer, our Half & Half finish is the perfect tool.

This eco-friendly wood finish is made from equal parts tung oil and citrus solvent. This nontoxic finish is perfect for all types of projects, from cutting boards to hardwood floors. Unlike other wood stains, Half & Half is thin enough to penetrate natural stone and concrete floors while still supplying the perfect protective finish.

4. Dark Half

DarkHalf 32oz RealMilkPaintCo Web 2019


This eco-friendly wood stain is completely nontoxic and safe for use around people with chemical sensitivities. Similar to our Half & Half, it is a combination of our Dark Tung Oil and Orange Oil Natural Citrus Solvent.

If you’re looking for the easy application of 100% tung oil, yet a darker, more aged look to the wood, Dark Half is the perfect natural option.

5. Hemp Oil

Real Milk Paint Hemp Seed Oil is made from pressed hemp seeds

Hemp Oil is a favorite among the DIY crowd — and not just because of the subtle nutty aroma it leaves behind. Hemp oil is food-safe and suitable for everything from bare floors to chalk paint. Plus, it dries into a luxuriously matte finish that gives life to old wood finishes. This natural oil also has a thin viscosity that allows it to penetrate surfaces with thin pores.

Bonus: Orange Oil Natural Citrus Solvent

CitrusSolvent 32oz RealMilkPaintCo Web 2019

Our Orange Oil Natural Citrus Solvent is a perfect natural solvent alternative to use rather than paint thinner or mineral spirits for thinning oil-based finishes and cleanup. Made with just 2% water and 98% pure citrus peel oil extracted from orange peels, it protects wood and helps the planet, all while smelling good.

Natural oil finishes make sense for the modern crafter. Traditional stains are not only harmful to the environment but can also be toxic to humans. Whether you’re looking for a food-safe wood oil for cutting boards, non-toxic paints, or simply a durable finish that will leave your furniture looking brand-new, eco-friendly wood finishes and paints from the Real Milk Paint Co. are just the right tool for your next project.