The Toxicity Of Hardwood Floor Sealers, Oils And Varnishes


I have been using Feast Watson floor sealer (tongue oil) do you know how toxic this is?


Dear Stewart

You must be from Australia, as this is the only place I could find info on this product. And the closest I could find was the Orica Woodcare products manufacturing co. They make the Feast Watson brand of finishes, along with Cabot and Intergrain. Here is a list of the stuff they put into this mildly toxic stuff. This was taken from the Cabot Danish oil web site, and this is most likely similar or the same as the Feast Watson.


Lighting kerosene 8008-20-6 HIGH

Synthetic polymer – HIGH

Light aromatic petroleum naphtha 64742-95-6 MED

Medium aliphatic hydrocarbon 64742-88-7 MED

Additives – LOW

Solvents in very low proportions – VERY LOW

Unlike here in North America they don’t have to list the percentages of the ingredients, but typically these oil/varnishes contain about 80% solvents. These range form the safest called odorless mineral spirits (also called light aromatic naphtha) to the more toxic trimethylbenzene (which is probably the synthetic polymer) and lastly and worstly the Kerosene. Kerosene is a possible carcinogen, a severe mutagen, (causes inherited defects) and a severe skin irritant. All the solvents have the effect of causing drowsiness, hallucinations and distorted perceptions. And are all very flammable.

So all in all I would say this stuff is very toxic and you would be exposed to less toxins if you thinned (with odorless mineral sprits) a good quality oil modified polyurethane and used this a first coat instead. I simply use a 14″ steel drywall trowel to apply a thin coat of my favorite poly (full strength) and avoid most all of these deadly solvents, and expense. But I do wait at least overnight for this to dry. But in most cases this is the end of a long floor sanding day, and I am glad to go home.

If you want to try a really non-toxic oil finish take a look at Tried And True oil/varnish at This finish has NO petroleum based solvents and no metallic dryers. But it may be too weak for floors. You would need to apply at least 5-6 coats over about a 2-week period, scuff sanding between all coats.