How to remove oil stains from unfinished wood

how to remove oil stains from unfinished wood

Unfinished wood brings warmth and a natural feel into a home or backyard, but it is very delicate and susceptible to staining easily. Accidents happen all the time, so it’s next to impossible to prevent your unfinished wood from getting stained.

The most common stains on wood flooring or furniture in the house are oil and grease stains caused by food spills. Fortunately, you can remove oil stains using readily available inexpensive home products.

Get rid of oil stains on your unfinished wood with these products:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Corn flour/ corn starch
  • Mineral spirits
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Powder detergent

Cornstarch for removing oil stains from unfinished wood

As it turns out, there are lots of interesting household uses for cornstarch flour that go beyond cooking. One of them is that it is incredible at absorbing oil and grease stains.

Follow this procedure:

  1. Pour cornstarch on the oil stain.
  2. Leave it to settle for a few hours, as this gives it enough time to suck up the oil.
  3. Remove the cornstarch when you see it is saturated with oil.
  4. Repeat the process as many times as needed until all the oil is gone.
  5. Once you’re satisfied, wash the unfinished surface with hot water and dish soap, then dry.
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Mineral spirits gets rid of oil

Mineral spirits, also known as turpentine, is excellent for cleaning wood. If you have wood flooring in your house or a lot of wood furniture, then it’s something you definitely need to include on your next shopping list. You can buy it in a hardware store, and it’s the easiest method for removing oil stains in unfinished wood surfaces.

Follow these steps:

  1. Saturate the area with mineral spirits.
  2. Make sure the stained areas are all the way covered.
  3. Leave it to work on the stain and let it dry.
  4. Once it dries you will see the stain will have disappeared.

Vinegar and liquid dish soap

Dish soap is designed for removing grease from dishes and it works well on other materials too. It’s an excellent degreaser, and it’s not harsh, so it won’t destroy or discolor your unfinished wood surface.

Many people fear using vinegar to clean wood, but it’s a mild disinfectant, and it cuts grease so for the oil stains the two will work well together.

Things you’ll need:

  • 2 spoons of liquid dish soap
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar
  • A bucket full of hot water
  • A mop

Follow the procedure:

  1. Make a bucket full of hot water.
  2. Pour in the vinegar and dish soap, mixing well.
  3. Pour the solution on the stained area.
  4. You can use a soft-bristled brush to work on the stain.
  5. Leave the solution there to work on the oil stain for a while.
  6. Use the mop to remove the mixture and finish the cleaning process.
  7. Remember to completely squeeze water from the mop, it has to be almost dry before using it on the wood floor.
  8. Dry using a rag or towel.
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Rubbing alcohol cuts grease

Rubbing alcohol, being that its alcohol, will kill all bacteria and cut the grease stains. It also dries instantly, which is excellent for unfinished wood.

Things you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • A half bucket full of hot water
  • A microfiber cloth

Follow these steps:

  1. Take the rubbing alcohol and pour it into the bucket of hot water.
  2. Saturate the stained area with this solution.
  3. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the solution after it has settled for 5 minutes.
  4. Repeat the process until all the stain has come off.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best way to clean and maintain unfinished wood?

To care for and maintain unfinished wood furniture or flooring the following should be observed:

  • Sweep daily and vacuum to remove dirt and dust from furniture, wipe with a dry piece of cloth daily to remove dust.
  • Mop once a week because water damages unfinished wood.
  • If you notice any stain or dust buildup, put vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then spray just a little and wipe dry or mop with the solution as described above.
  • Spot clean stains rather than washing the entire surface.
  • Avoid cleaning unfinished wood with a lot of water. You can wash using a mop but ensure to squeeze off all the water first, then just wipe well.
  • Rubbing alcohol is also an excellent hack for cleaning unfinished wood surfaces, so once a week, use a rubbing alcohol solution to clean the unfinished wood surface.

Can lemon juice be used instead of vinegar?

Lemon is good at getting rid of oil stains, but make sure it’s not too concentrated as lemon is a natural bleach. Just mix equal parts of lemon and water then use it on the oil stain, let it soak a bit then dry with a microfiber cloth.

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Is it okay to use bleach for removing oil stains from wood?

No, bleach is not good to use for removing stains on your unfinished wood surface because it will fade and destroy the look of the wood. Also, forget about shininess when you use bleach. Lastly, bleach is not safe to use for cleaning daily.

Is it okay to use ammonia to remove oil stains on unfinished wood?

Ammonia is very harsh and should, therefore, be avoided when cleaning unfinished wood. Always go for milder, natural, and eco-friendly products for cleaning your wood. It’s much safer this way, plus we want the furniture or flooring to last a long time.

Wrapping up

Unfinished wood can be quite tasking to maintain because it stains easily. Harsh cleaning products and too much water can damage the look and beauty of the wood. Oil stains are some of the ugliest and most stubborn for wood. However, the products above are tried-and-true methods for getting rid of oil stains on wood.

Try the methods and let us know which ones worked for you?

Happy cleaning!

how to remove oil stains from unfinished wood

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