Can you recommend a durable, nontoxic clear satin sealer for unfinished bamboo kitchen cabinet doors?

Asked by Ghassan
Mc Lean, VA

Need a durable, nontoxic clear satin sealer for unfinished bamboo kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Preferably a sealer that can be sprayed. Looking into AFM Safecoat's Acrylacq. Not sure if it's a good option for bamboo or if it will be "blotchy."


AFM Safecoat makes several good clear satin sealers that may be applied to any wood or bamboo surface.

  • The Acrylacq is like a lacquer substitute. It dries hard, can be brushed or sprayed, and thins out easily with water. It comes in satin and gloss, but you must use gloss as the first few coats and use satin as the last coat if you want the clearest finish; otherwise it could look cloudy.
  • While Acrylacq is a good topical protective sealer, it is not as durable as Polyureseal BP, which has much more solids content and therefore has better abrasion- and moisture-resistance. It's designed for flooring and furniture, and is applied the same way as the Acrylacq, i.e., gloss first and then the satin.

We have not experienced any blotchy appearance except when the surface was contaminated by oils or a previous finish. Just make sure it is sanded well, cleaned properly with dry tack cloth, then damp tack cloth, and the conditions for spraying are in accord with the manufacturer's instructions.


Both of these products have a slight odor when wet, and when dry have virtually no odor or offgassing.

  • They both dry quickly and require the same amount of coats, which in the case of cabinets will require about three coats.
  • The first coat is a sanding sealer that will raise the grain.
  • Once sanded down, you will need two additional coats and maybe three depending upon how much protection you need.

Polyureseal BP will last longer

The Polyureseal BP is more expensive than the Acrylacq but is a longer-lasting product and worth it, in our opinion.

We've used it on bamboo cabinets and everything from flooring to countertops and furniture with very good results. It holds up very well to scratches, heat, moisture, and chemicals.

We also find that our chemically sensitive customers can tolerate it better than most other water-based polyurethanes, as most have some type of nasty solvents.

Follow the directions

Please read the instructions twice and make sure your painter reads them as well.

  • Often painters assume that water-based finishes apply the same way as traditional finishes they've used before, but they don't.
  • They are different and respect needs to be paid to every word of the instructions if you want good results.

Don't take my word for it

If you have questions about what the sheen will look like or whether it will have some odor, don't take my word for it. Get a small sample and try it for yourself, then you'll know for sure how it will appear and smell. You can also compare it with the Acrylac finish.

Good luck and if you have further questions, please feel free to contact me.


For more information:

Read "Selecting Healthy and Environmentally Sound Clear Wood Finishes," our clear coatings backgrounder.

Tagged In: natural wood finish, green cabinets

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