How To Know If Wooden Pallets Are Safe To DIY

Repurpose / Refurbish Tips and Fixes
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We recently received a comment left by one of our HomeJelly readers on our “Wooden Pallet Sofa” project that stated it was basically safe to paint or seal chemically treated wooden pallets. Immediately, my ears perked up, mainly because something didn’t sit right. I quickly jumped onto my internet board and surfed around for more information on the topic. Yep. I knew it. Painting or sealing doesn’t make pallets safe for using in DIY projects.

I perused several sites, then landed on “How To Know If Wooden Pallets are Safe” posted by diyready.com. It was fabulously written, so, today, I decided to step off the stage and let them rock out with the excellent information they’ve provided. Before handing over the mic, here are my key points to their article:

FIRST: Examine your found pallet: be sure it’s clean, without stains (oil, food) or spills, or strong odors.

Found wooden pallets

Found wooden pallets. source: fromgardeners2bergers.com

SECOND: Look for stamps and markings: most pallets have a stamp that can usually be found on one of the sides. Click in to the article link above to learn what these stamps mean with regards to pallet safety.

Stamps found on wooden pallets

Stamps found on wooden pallets. source: diyready.com

3. Do NOT paint or seal a pallet w/o checking its safety. As stated on a post by pallettruth.com, “According to an EPA and U.S. Product Safety Commission study, while certain sealants reduced instances of arsenic exposure, no sealant could fully eliminate the exposure risk.” In other words, you should always assume a pallet is chemically treated and follow the steps on the article link above.

DIY'd repurposed wooden pallet coffee table

DIY’d repurposed wooden pallet coffee table. source: homejelly.com

GREAT TAKEAWAY TIP: if you don’t want to hassle with any of this, buy new or recycled pallets online.

If you wish to make something like this pallet sofa or other larger pallet furniture, go for it! If you’re looking to make something smaller like a wooden pallet coffee table (as seen in the photo above), a source for FREE pallets is “Where to get pallets for free” on diyready.com. But, still, you should apply the same safety steps even from these sources. ALWAYS assume your pallets are unsafe, then prove them otherwise.

Do you have any information on pallet safety? Share with us, won’t you?

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Written By Skaie Knox

Skaie Knox is a storyteller on a quest to provide sparkling content through copywriting, songwriting and video production. She is founder of HomeJelly, Ruggable.com's key copywriter, a published singer/songwriter (Fervor Records/ASCAP) and kid's book author (Big Bug Lunch!). For doable DIY video tutorials, subscribe to her HomeJelly YouTube channel (for link, click on my nose!).