How to remove oil stains from teak wood


Teak furniture is made out of wood that is naturally resistant to fading and damage from the outdoors than other types of wood. Due to this, many outdoor furniture is often made out of teak wood. Although it is resilient, teak furniture requires proper care to make it last longer. Generally, a quick scrub with soap and water is enough to clean your teak furniture. Over time, you must consider staining or applying oil to protect your furniture. 

Since wood is generally porous, it can soak up oil rapidly, often resulting in an unappealing stain. Whether you are dealing with cooking oil spills on flooring and benches, getting rid of oil stains can be a challenge. Luckily, with a bit of elbow grease and a few techniques, you can easily get rid of oil stains from teak wood. Read further to learn how to remove oil stains from teak wood. 

Steps on how to remove oil stains from teak wood

If you are dealing with a recent oil stain on your teak furniture or flooring, you must treat the stain right away to prevent the oil from embedding deep into the wood. Let’s take a look at the steps.

  • Blot the stained area using paper towels or newspaper. Press firmly until you are certain that the oil has been fully soaked. 
  • Prepare a solution by mixing mild detergent in a bowl of warm water. Stir the solution to create suds.
  • Apply the suds from the solution on the stained area using a clean cloth and rub. Just be careful not to scratch the wood, but just enough for the suds to penetrate into the wood grain. For a stubborn or deep stain, scrub the suds using a soft brush. Avoid using abrasives such as a steel brush since it can scratch the wooden surface. 
  • After cleaning, rinse the stained area with clean water or wipe it down with a clean moist cloth or towel. This will get rid of any leftover oily residue or suds. 
  • Pat the surface with a clean towel or cloth and allow to air dry. Once it is completely dry, check the stained area. If a trace lingers, you need further treatment. 

How to use mineral spirits for stubborn oil stains

For stubborn or deep oil stains, simply follow these steps.

  • Moisten a corner of a clean towel or cloth with some mineral spirits. Firmly rub in a circular motion over the stained area in small sections at a time, just be careful not be saturate the wood. For a light stain, it should vanish at this point. For a stubborn stain, you need to repeat this process a few times. 
  • With a clean cloth, wipe away the mineral spirits with a solution of warm water and detergent. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry the site with a cloth or towel.
  • Once the wood is dry, check if the stain is gone. If a trace lingers, you need to repeat the process. 
  • When the stain is completely gone, you should polish the wood to restore its luster. Apply wood polish sparingly using a soft cloth. Rub in circular motions until the polish is soaked up by the wood. 

How do you get an oil stain out of wood?

Grease or oil stains can be unappealing to look at on wood surfaces, especially on flooring or furniture. Whether the wood is finished or unfinished, you can get rid of the unsightly oil stain with various methods. Just remember to avoid saturating the wood with too much water which can loosen the old glues and cause the formation of new stains.

  • Mineral spirits. Mineral spirits such as paint thinner can be used to dissolve a grease or oil stain on both unfinished and finished wood. Moisten a clean, soft cloth with a small amount of the spirits and rub into the surface, working with the grain to get rid of the grease. You can repeat the process as often as needed until the oil is completely dissolved.
  • Oxygenated bleach. You can also get rid of an oil stain from finished or unfinished wood using oxygenated bleach. When preparing the solution, wear protective gloves and combine one scoop of powdered oxygenated bleach with a cup of warm water. Add a small amount of the solution into the stain with a soft towel. Scrub on the wood carefully using a soft-bristled brush, running in the same direction of the grain. Wipe away the solution using a soft, dry cloth and repeat until the stain is completely gone.
  • Ammonia. Prepare a solution by mixing 1-part household ammonia and 4 parts warm water. Soak a clean cloth into the solution and wring out the excess before wiping it over the stain. Repeat the process as needed until the oil stain vanishes. Since ammonia might cause discoloration in certain types of wood finishes, try out the solution first on a concealed area to check a reaction.
  • Mixture of boiled linseed and gum turpentine. Another method that can get rid of an oil stain is to prepare a solution by mixing 2 tablespoons of gum turpentine together with 4 tablespoons of linseed oil that has been boiled for every gallon of warm water. Soak a soft cloth into the mixture and squeeze out the excess before rubbing into the stained surface. Do the process again as needed until the stain is gone. Dry the surface and buff using a different soft cloth. For finished wood, polish it with surface wax or lemon oil.

Video: How to get stains out of teak wood

What is the best oil to use on teak wood?

Teak oil treatments consist of linseed or tung oil and solvents. You can also find dedicated teak oils that shield against UV rays. 

Prefer videos? Check out the How2RemoveStains channel.

A recommended oil for indoor teak furniture is Danish oil. Just like teak oil, Danish oil has a penetrating quality made out of linseed, tung, or rosewood oil along with other ingredients. If you are going to buy Danish oil, make sure that you will choose a “natural” variant. Some Danish oil is colored and can change the color of the wood.

  • Clean your teak furniture thoroughly and allow it to dry.
  • Remove any previous treatments. 
  • Apply the first coating of teak oil. 
  • Wipe away the excess oil using a clean lint-free cloth.
  • Allow it to fully dry, usually 2-4 hours.
  • Add more coatings until the oil is no longer absorbed into the wood. This depends on the condition of your furniture. In some cases, you need 4-5 coatings of oil.
  • Repeat the coating process once the furniture dries out or turns gray. Take note that the oil must be reapplied every 2-3 months. Before every application, your teak furniture must be thoroughly cleaned and allowed to dry completely.

How do you get stains out of teak?

If you have teak furniture, you might encounter certain forms of stains. Teak has a natural oil that sets it apart from other types of wood. It does not require the same amount of care and maintenance that cherry, maple, oak, and walnut tables need. Teak was originally used to create boats and has been a popular material for outdoor furniture due to its durability. Getting rid of stains from teak is easier and there are several methods available.

There are types of watermarks that you should be familiar with. The water rings are different since they form due to condensation and moisture once glass cups are placed on wood without a coaster.

  • Surface stains. These stains are lighter in color with a whitish appearance. This is moisture that is trapped beneath the film coating of your teak furniture. 
  • Wood stains. The dark teak water stains occur once water penetrates deep into the wood. The minerals within the teak react with moisture and produce the stain. 

Final thoughts

When you have teak flooring or furniture, it is important to keep it clean and free from any stains, particularly oil stains. With the techniques described on how to remove oil stains from teak wood, you can readily deal with the stains and restore the beauty of your teak flooring or furniture. 

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