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Information Guides > Wooden Worktops > Removing Stains and Discoloration on Wooden Work Surfaces

Removing Stains and Discoloration on Wooden Work Surfaces

20 Responses to “Removing Stains and Discoloration on Wooden Work Surfaces”

  1. Hi, I went away for the weekend not realising my partner had left a carrier bag with spinach and lettuce in on the oak work surface .
    When I got back, there was a pool of black liquid that had seeped through the bag onto and into the surface. I have tried to clean it , sanded it down and while it; s a little better there’s still a nasty black stain about a foot radius. I suppose its worse because of the iron in the decomposed greenery. Do I just sand down more?
    Your advice will be appreciated

  2. Hi Chris,

    It sounds like you have taken the right course of action in tackling the stain, but you may find that the mark has seeped quite far into the timber if the surface was not protected by a suitable amount of Danish Oil (or another suitable wood worktop treatment).

    Though we would not recommend it for cleaning wooden worktops, a bleach solution could help to remove the stain, and indeed special wood bleaches are available for lightening timber surfaces. If you decide to go down this path, you will need to bleach the entire top surface to ensure the colour remains consistent. Afterwards, you will have to thoroughly clean and dry the surface before re-applying a protective treatment – such as oil.

    Kind regards,
    Ben @ Worktop Express

  3. Hi
    What’s the best way to remove a build up of cooking oil from the upstand behind the hob please? It’s oak and oiled.

  4. Hi Barbara,

    If there is only a small amount of oil build-up, we recommend using warm soapy water and a soft cloth to gently remove the oil. However, if there is a significant build-up of cooking oil, we suggest using a solution of warm water and lemon or vinegar to help tackle the grease. Once the deposit has been removed, gently sand the upstand with fine-grain sandpaper, and reapply Danish wood oil to protect the timber.

    Please get in touch if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards,
    Ben @ Worktop Express

  5. Hi i have removed a stain on our kitchen worktop but it has left a white mark. I have experienced this before and tried light sanding and re oiling but to no avail. What do you advise on this new stain?

  6. Hi Darren,

    Did you use a natural cleaner to remove the original stain? Aggressive chemicals and bleaches are not advised for natural wood surfaces. If whatever caused the original stain has soaked through, you may unfortunately not be able to remove the stain, even if the whole surface is sanded.

    If the area is badly stained and won’t come out with a light sanding, the entire worktop surface may have to be refinished. Once you have sanded down the affected area, sand the rest of the worktop to re-create a flat, even surface and then apply several coats of oil with sufficient drying in-between.

    Kind regards,
    Ben @ Worktop Express

  7. Hi please could you help. We’ve cleaned out oven by putting the trays in bags with cleaning solution and left them on the worktop overnight. We moved the bags and they have leaked leaving the wood severely stained black. How can we repair this? I’m worried if we sand it that it’ll be stained through the wood. Any help would be much appreciated many thanks in advance


  8. Hi I’ve stupidly used white spirit on my the end of my finger, through a cloth, to scrub away some paint stains and has affected the finish, please help! I can provide photos

  9. Hi Colin,

    To remedy white spirit stains it’s likely that you will need to give the surface a light sanding and then re-apply a suitable number of coats of oil or the finish already used.

    If you want to send your photos to us, we can provide more specific instructions.

    Kind regards,
    Ben @ Worktop Express

  10. Hi Victoria,

    We’re really sorry to hear about the incident involving your worktops. Unfortunately oven cleaner is really nasty stuff and it might prove quite difficult to get it out of the worktop.

    Your only hope is to sand back the entire surface of the worktop and hope that the oven cleaner hasn’t sunk in too much so as to stain more than the top few milimetres of timber.

    We recommend you follow the guidance in the “Removing Stains and Discolouration on Wooden Work Surfaces” information guide, and then re-finish the worktop with Danish oil.

    Kind regards,
    Ben @ Worktop Express

  11. Finishing plaster, not wiped up… has left my teak -oiled wooden worktop looking wet. Presumably a similar coloured stain to the wood. Does this need a sand and re-oil?

  12. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for your message. I’m sorry to hear your worktop has been affected by the plaster. It sounds like the finishing plaster has reacted with the oil, so you will need to sand the surrounding area and re-oil. Depending how much you need to sand back, it may be best to give the entire surface a light sanding to ensure you achieve an even finish when you re-oil them.

    Kind regards,
    Ben @ Worktop Express

  13. Hi,

    I’ve re-oiled some oak worktops recently which had several stains. I sanded out the stains then gave all the worktops a light sanding. The poblem is two of the areas that were stained now look a lot lighter than the rest of the worktops! Any advice please? Would placing a cloth/plate etc. over the stained areas for a few weeks darken them because of lack of daylight?

  14. Hi David,

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having issues with a stained worktop. It sounds like you were following the correct procedure for removing a stain, but as you have found out, the timber will have matured in colour quicker on the surface quicker than any exposed timber underneath.

    If you cover the new area, it won’t be exposed to the UV in sunlight, meaning it will stay lighter, so won’t help the area to darken. Our suggestion would be to give the entire surface a light sanding and then re-oil it. This will ensure the surface is even and will be a uniform colour once the oil has dried fully.

    You can find out more information about oiling your worktop in the following guide:

    Kind regards,
    Ben @ Worktop Express

  15. Hi

    I have sanded back an oak work top and finished it off with wire wool.i have then wiped down Somehow I have ended up with wire wool flecks in the grain of the oak and now have little black specks everywhere. I think I will have to sand down the worktop but don’t want to make the situation worse. Can you please advise ?

  16. Hi Dan,

    Unfortunately – as you have found out – wire wool isn’t ideal for finishing wood worktops as tiny pieces of the metal can get snagged in the grain of the timber. Unfortunately you will have to sand down the surface to remove these flecks, then finish the surface with a treatment of your choice – we recommend Rustins Danish Oil.

    To achieve a perfectly smooth finish, use increasingly fine grades of sandpaper, starting off at between 120 – 150 grit.

    You can find out more more information about sanding wooden worktops in the following guide:

    Kind regards,
    Ben @ Worktop Express

  17. My beech worktop has been scrubbed too hard and worn away the stained finish. How can I bring the worn patches back to life?

  18. Hi Claudia,
    It may be possible to retreat the worn patches to match them up to the rest of the worktop, but depending on the level of wear, it may be difficult to get right. We would suggest that initially, the worn patches are sanded very lightly, then re-treated (with the number of coats to match the number of coats on the rest of the worktop) to protect them and blend them in with the rest of the surface. If this doesn’t work, the entire work surface may need to be sanded and treated again.

    We always recommend that our wooden work surfaces are cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft cloth, as chemical cleansers can be abrasive and remove the finish of your worktop. This should avoid further damage.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  19. Hi

    I’ve got some rings, and a ‘droplet’ mark on my oak worktop which I think are from distilled vinegar. How can I get them out? Thanks.

  20. Hi Ros,

    The process for removing any stains is much the same, and for removing vinegar we would recommend following the recommendations in our “Removing Stains and Discolouration on Wooden Work Surfaces” information guide.

    Vinegar can be quite acidic, so it is likely you will need to sand down the affected area and apply a new coating of oil (or whatever treatment you have used on the surface).

    Kind regards,

    Ben @ Worktop Express.

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