Not all pallets have the same life. Some may have carried grocery products, some protected home furnishings, while others may have been used to handle hazardous chemicals. When utilizing used wood pallets, you may be exposing yourself and your family to harmful waste.
Choosing Your Pallet
To lessen the risk, it’s important that you inspect your pallet carefully for stamps that indicate what they were used for and treated with. Stamps with the letters MB on it, means that the wood was treated with methyl bromide (a potent pesticide) and should be discarded. You should also stay away from dyed pallets (owned by pallet rental companies) and those with EUR stamps (old system). Pallets with no stamps are fine to use.
Check for stains and odor too. If you see discoloration on your pallet and are unsure of where it came from, it may be better to dispose of it and get another one. You also don’t want to work with pallets that have mold in it. Old wood is fine, but it should still smell of wood and not of chemicals.
Steps in Washing Wooden Pallets
- Check for safety. Thoroughly check your pallet for any protruding nails or fasteners and remove them. These can be a hazard while cleaning your pallet or working on your project.
- Power wash. If you have a power washer, use that along with a disinfectant to thoroughly clean the wood of dirt. But if you don’t, you can give it a good scrub down with soapy water mixed with a bleaching solution.
- Dry. The best and cheapest way to dry out the wood is to leave it out under the hot sun. However, if the weather in your area does not permit it, you can use fans or a heat lamp to help the process along.
Preparing Your Wooden Pallets
If you’re using the pallet indoors or as a furniture piece, washing and drying it out won’t be enough. You still have to make your pallet go through a few more steps to make sure it’s completely safe to put your food atop it, lie down on, or bring inside.
- Sand them. Sanding your pallets will smooth them out and further remove surface dirt. This process will also make painting over the wood easier. Do note that over sanding the pallet will remove that rustic character, if that’s what you’re after, so make sure not to overdo it.
- Wipe. Run a wet or damp cloth over the sanded wood to remove all of the dust. Then dry it out again.
- Prime or Stain. Applying a primer over the wood will prepare it for painting. However, you can skip this process if you don’t want to cover up that beautiful wood with paint. Apply stain instead and then seal.
Now that you’re done washing and prepping your pallets, you’re ready to start crafting! There are so many easy projects you can do such as this garden tool rack, canned food dispenser, or mail sorter. The possibilities are endless.
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Need safe wooden pallets for your next crafting project? Give our team a call at (303) 660-0084 and we’ll help you out!