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Removing Stains and Discoloration on Wooden Work Surfaces

87 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.

  21. Hi
    I have iroko worktop in my kitchen, 15 years old now. I has acquired a number of stains that I’d like to get rid of & which haven’t gone with the usual sanding/re-oiling process. They are are lightening ring type mark caused when either the washing up or laundry detergent bottle has been left on the wood by mistake. You can also feel a very shallow indentation in the surface as if it’s stripped through the oil layer.
    I do re-oil every 6 months but this hasn’t helped.
    Is it possible to strip all of the wooden surface back to it’s base and re-oil as if from new?
    Or is that too drastic?

  22. Hi Julian,

    Thank you for getting in touch – we are sorry to hear you are having difficulties in removing stains from your iroko worktops. If the usual sanding and re-oiling process has not been successful, you will need to give the worktop a more thorough sanding to get it back to raw wood. Once you have done this, you will be able to start the oiling process from scratch – it does sound like you have had plenty of practice, but our wooden worktop oiling guide has been written for your reference, should you need it.

    We hope that you are able to get rid of the staining on your iroko worktops – but, if you do need to replace them, we have a wide selection of iroko surfaces.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  23. Hello
    I have sanded and bleached out a large nasty stain on our pine worktop. I have got it all out but now have a large very light patch which after multiple oilings looks as though it will never catch up colour wise to match the rest of the worktop.
    Is there anything I can do to speed up the natural colour change so that the area is not so obvious?
    Would and ultraviolet light help?
    Also does there come a point at which pine stops darkening?
    Thank you in anticipation

  24. Hello Susan,

    Sorry to hear that you have not managed to get rid of the light patch on your pine worktop, even following multiple coatings of oil. We would suggest that the whole worktop is sanded right down to the raw timber so you can start again and build up the layers of oil evenly. As the surface has been bleached, you may not be able to get rid of the area that appears lighter than the rest of the top which could mean the worktop will need to be replaced.

    We hope you are able to get your worktop all back to the same colour.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express.

  25. I sanded out a couple of black stains on the beech worktop, and have since reoiled. Strangely the areas will not seem to match up and any oil added seems to soak in rather than dry on the surface meaning it’s a matt patch rather than glossy finish like the rest of the surface…any ideas as to how to get this to match in rather than have obvious patches…?

  26. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for your query.

    Are you using the same oil that was used originally to finish the surface? Most oils dry to a matt finish, rather than the glossy finish you describe. Perhaps it was originally lacquered, varnished or treated with a plastic coating finish that is different to your oil.

    If you are sure it is the same treatment, it may be simply that you need to apply further coats, or alternatively sand a larger area before treatment to ensure consistency.

    Kind regards,

    Ben @ Worktop Express

  27. Hello,

    I’ve recently noticed two black stains on our new wooden work surfaces – one an oak end cut butchers block and another part of a wooden unit. They were finished with Briwax. The stains are definitely not from water or a burn but seem to stem from some sort of reaction to something on a pot of some sort, as they are circular. We are not sure which pot and nothing reckless has been done, but they are there and will not be removed… Is it a chemical reaction? Any advice?

    Many thanks, Scott

  28. Hello Scott,

    Whilst we do not have any experience with Briwax, your suggestion that it is a chemical reaction of some description is entirely plausible. It looks as though Briwax is designed for use on furniture where it will not come into contact with moisture, heat, or water spillages, as it is a natural wax, so this could be where the issue has arisen.

    Our Quality Standards Manager has suggested that you may be best removing the Briwax completely by giving the entire worktop a light sanding, which should also remove the marks, although you may need to give these areas a more rigorous sanding to get rid of them completely. You will then need to treat the worktops, and we would suggest using Rustins Danish oil for this. We have written a number of guides regarding worktop treatment and maintenance and our Nutshell Guide to Oiling Worktops can be found here: for a detailed overview of our recommendations.

    Kind regards,

    Stephanie @ Worktop Express.

  29. Hello and thanks for offering to help people like me with wooden worktop issues.

    My parents have thirty-year-old Kauri Pine worktops which they originally finished with polyurethane. Unfortunately they haven’t recoated them in that time. Next to the sink there are some patches where the poly has worn off and water has got in. These have turned black and look terrible.

    I have removed the worktop and plan to sand it back before refinishing but I suspect that sanding will not remove the black stains. Some suggestions I have found online include treating the stained area with bleach or oxalic acid or a lemon/salt combination. My main concern is that bleaching might over-lighten the area so it won’t match the rest of the wood (as per Susan’s problem above).

    Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Andy

  30. Hello Andy,

    Our recommendation would be to sand the pine back to the raw timber and then re-treat the worktop to match the remainder of the surface. As you have identified, application of bleach may cause a lighter patch on the worktops, resulting in an uneven colour. One of the issues with bleach is that it will penetrate the timber and continue to have an effect even after it has been washed away, so it is difficult to control the reaction it has with your surfaces.

    If you are unable to get rid of the black marks entirely, you may want to look at replacing the worktops. The best way to ensure the areas around a sink do not stain or mark is to keep them dry and treat them regularly. As an alternative, a different material could be used around the sink area to make it more low-maintenance.

    Kind Regards,

    Stephanie @ Worktop Express.

  31. Hi,

    My partner recently cleaned a patch of our worktop with a really abrasive sponge (no idea why he thought that would be a good idea!) and it has left a large dark mark on the side with some areas looking like they have been worn away. We’ve recently moved into this home so have no history of how the counter has been treated or maintained.

    Any ideas on how we can get this back to how it was?


  32. Hello Rachael,

    Sorry to hear that you have been left with a dark mark on your worktops!

    Sanding the timber should get rid of the marks – the amount of sanding needed will depend on how far the dark marks have penetrated the wood. Once the marks have been sanded away, we would usually advise applying several layers of the oil, wax or varnish originally used to match the rest of the worktop – without knowing how it has previously been treated, it may be difficult to get the entire surface looking uniform. You may need to sand the whole of the worktop before applying a treatment to protect them, to ensure an even look. We recommend using Rustins Danish oil as it is food safe and easily available nationwide, but there are other worktop oils available and it is possible to lacquer or varnish your wooden worktops too.

    Hopefully this will be sufficient to restore your kitchen surfaces to their former glory.

    Kind regards,

    Stephanie @ Worktop Express.

  33. Hi there,
    I have a wood countertop in the kitchen and unfortunately when I was a away for several weeks others in the house were leaving dishes to dry on a cloth beside the sink. This caused the counter to bow. The top side is concave and has cupped downwards at least an 1/8″ from the edge of the sink. The surface has also browned due to the sustained moisture. Are there any recommendations for these two issues? Fixing the concavity in particular is a concern. Thanks a ton in advance for any advise!


  34. Hello Matt,

    We are sorry to hear that your worktop has bowed and sustained some water damage – there are ways to fix both of these issues but in more severe circumstances the best course of action can be replacing the surface.

    For the water damage, you will need to sand the work surface down until this is no longer visible, then re-treat the sanded area to match the remainder of the worktop. You may need to build up several layers of the treatment used previously to ensure the area that you have retreated blends in with the rest of the surface. To correct the cupping, you will need to pull the worktop slowly and gently into place using clamps and battens – this can take a week or two and it is important not to rush as moving too fast can cause the timber to split. When the worktop is back in the correct position, secure it to the base units beneath it. Our guide to fixing cupped or bowed worktops contains more detailed information and may be useful to you when rectifying the bowing.

    Kind regards,

    Stephanie @ Worktop Express.

  35. Good morning

    My partner has managed to spill a ‘blob’ of carpet cleaner on our 9 month old oak worktops. The stain is almost blood like and seems to have penetrated the wood.

    It’s not a large stain but is quite obviously placed. We have diligently oiled with teak oil and have just moved onto Ronseal worktop oil. It’s only been treated with these oils since being installed.

    Is bleach the best option? I’m concerned a lot of sanding will be required if the stain has gone beyond the surface.

    Many thanks


  36. Hello Vicky,

    We are sorry to hear that your worktop has been stained! The stain may need a reasonably thorough sanding, but we would recommend this as a first course of action over bleach – due to the chemicals in it and the porous nature of the timber, bleach is also likely to penetrate the surface and you would likely end up with an obvious light patch on the worktop.

    The worktop may need to be sanded back to raw timber, depending on the level of discolouration that has occurred. Once the stain has been removed, the oak can be re-oiled – though it can be difficult to build up even layers to create a uniform finish. In this situation, you may need to sand the entire worktop down before re-coating with several layers of oil.

    If you are unable to remove the mark with sandpaper, a weak bleach solution may be a final resort – but, as previously mentioned, this may cause discolouration to the worktop, which may then need to be replaced.

    We hope this is enough to remove the stain and restore your worktop Vicky, please do get in touch if you require any further assistance.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  37. Hi, we have water damage around the cut-out for kitchen sink tap. It has dried out a lot, and despite a couple of attempts at re-oiling it looks the same – issue is that the tap is in use throughout the day.

    Should I sand it and re-oil? Or just keep oiling?


  38. Hello Alex,

    Thank you for getting in touch. It does sound like your worktop would benefit from sanding around the taps to try to remove some of the water damage before reapplying oil to ensure they are protected. When using the tap, it will be beneficial to mop up any drips to prevent subsequent water marks from happening.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  39. Hi. I was using a solution of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean and oven tray and spilled some on our wooden worktop. It has left a dark stain almost at once. Have you come across this before? Any reccomendations for cleaning?

  40. Hello Jane,

    We are sorry to hear that your worktop has a dark stain. It sounds like the vinegar has caused the wood to oxidise, in which case, we recommend using Oxalic Acid Wood Bleach which should remove the stain without bleaching the timber itself. Normal household bleach will cause the wood to lighten and will make it more porous – exposing it to greater risk of staining in future.

    Prior to treating, the affected area should be sanded to remove any treatment or coating that may prevent the Oxalic Acid Wood Bleach from working effectively. Follow the instructions on the wood bleach and once complete, re-oil or treat your worktop for a uniform finish and to protect the timber from further damage.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  41. Hello there.
    I bought last year a cherry wood worktop, because of cooking there is several marks and drops of cooking oil in the worktop.
    How can I get rid of them please?
    Thank you

  42. Hello Antonio,

    The best thing to get your cherry worktops looking as good as new will be to sand the affected area down until the stains have been removed, and then re-oil the surface for protection and to create a uniform look. You may find that you need to build up a few layers of oil to get the sanded parts to match the rest of the worktop, depending how regularly it has been treated through the year.

    Kind regards
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  43. Hi,
    My timber worktop has been stained by cider vinegar ( It was a spill and then a tray was put on top of it and left for 2 hours or so)… now there is big dark patch

    What is the best way to remove this?
    Thanks in advance

  44. Hello Dalip,

    Vinegar can cause a chemical reaction which may require a more intensive removal method. We suggest that you try sanding the surface back first to see if you are able to get rid of the mark this way – following up with several coats of oil to ensure the wood is re-treated for an even finish and that it is protected.

    If this is not effective, the vinegar may have caused the wood to oxidise. If this is the case, we suggest using Oxalic Acid Wood Bleach which should remove the stain without bleaching the timber itself. Normal household bleach will cause the wood to lighten and will make it more porous – exposing it to greater risk of staining in future.

    The affected area should be sanded to remove any treatment or coating that may prevent the Oxalic Acid Wood Bleach from working effectively. Follow the instructions on the wood bleach and once complete, re-oil or treat your worktop for a uniform finish and to protect the timber from further damage.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  45. Hi – The advice you are giving on oroko worktops and stains is brilliant! On a follow up question on sanding down stains. After sanding the particular area it’s now much lighter obviously and I’ve applied Danish oil to these parts but it’s impossible to confine it so there is some overlap with unsanded area. How will I even out the colour after a few more coats will hit both areas OR do I need to sand the whole thing down to a similar level

  46. Hello Avril,

    Thank you for your feedback – we are glad you have found our guide useful!

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to say whether the whole surface will need sanding down – the best thing to do is try building up sufficient coats of oil to match the colour, but be aware this might need to be sanded down if there is still an obviously lighter patch. As the colour of an iroko worktop will change through exposure to sunlight, it may be worth leaving for a few months and oiling regularly to see if the colour evens out through the natural maturing process.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  47. Hi there my partner has managed to get washing powder on the black walnut work top and didn’t wipe it off and now it’s left a black mark how do i get the mark out

  48. Hello Simon,

    Thank you for getting in touch – we are sorry to hear that your black walnut worktops have a mark on from some washing powder. We recommend that you try sanding the area to remove the mark and re-oiling to ensure a uniform finish across the worktop. This may be a lengthy process and achieving an even finish will depend how deeply the mark has penetrated the worktop and how many coats of oil it has received during its lifetime.

    If this proves unsuccessful, a different route may need to be taken – we may need some more information if this is the case, but hopefully it will be easily repaired through sanding and re-oiling!

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  49. Hi. We have a table with a solid oak top: it was originally finished with oil when we bought it. We periodically refinished it using Danish oil but after a number of years some areas seemed to not dry fully and remained permanently slightly sticky. I am puzzled as to the reason and was hoping you could shed some light on this. My plan is to scrape and sand off the finish and re-oil it but I am wondering whether using some form of chemical remover might be helpful. Many thanks for any advice you can offer.

  50. Hello James,

    The stickiness may actually be caused by excess oil as the table top will only be able to absorb so much of this – some disinfectants can react with oil too, so these will be best to avoid when you have refinished your table.

    To remove the sticky patches, soapy water and a gently abrasive sponge will be the best option but if you have any very stubborn patches then sugar soap or white spirit can be used, but is best used sparingly. Once sticky patches have been removed, the surface can be sanded and then it can be retreated with oil. Our guide to oiling wooden worktops may be useful to you to ensure sticky patches do not develop in future.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  51. My 6months kitchen worktop is getting a darker colour around the sink area, again :(
    We had to replaced previous worktop as it was really damaged. The new one was installed and we were really careful to apply multiple layers of Danish oil, leaving large time gaps for it to soak and recoating every now and then.
    After 4months the area around the sink started to darken, so I quickly sanded it down and reapplied more oil. Since then we have kept adding layers of oil pretty much every week but things seem to be getting worst. I have tried 3 different brands of Danish oil, followed every instruction there’s about maintaining worktops but I feel things are worst.

    Before sanding surface and start all over again I wanted to see if you had any advice. I imagine water has penetrated enough to cause the stains to not go away, potentially preventing new oil from soaking in? so I wonder if I didn’t sand deep enough the first time. Or if I didn’t prepare the worktop well the first and second time :( Last time I sanded, there were two patches I sanded a bit harder that now look like they don’t have enough oil. They just look dry. I have replied oil in abundant quantities, and they don’t seem to look like the rest of the wood. The healthy parts that have never been exposed to water have this healthy oily but not shiny look.
    I have noticed different Danish oils achieved different results, some create more of a shiny look, others are more absorbent. Have also tried anti-mould Danish oil. As you can read, I’m desperate to not having to change the worktop again.
    Thanks so much in advance!

  52. Hello Andrea.

    Thank you for your message. Marks or stains can appear when worktops absorb water and unfortunately, this appears to have happened with yours. Ordinarily, they can be removed by sanding the top surface before re-applying oil, but in your case, it seems that the moisture is deeply ingrained. You may need to sand the worktops down further to raw timber before you re-treat them.

    Once you have done this, ensure that there is adequate sealant around the edge of the sink and that all exposed areas of worktop have been coated with oil. It is also important that any water that spills onto the worktop is dried up immediately.

    If you require further information you can read it in our Oiling Worktops: A Worktop Express® Nutshell Guide. Our Solid Wood Worktop Aftercare Instructions will come in useful too.

    Stephen @ Worktop Express

  53. I left a phone with a magnet stuck to the back of it on a wooden surface, I didn’t realise the surface was wet. 5 minutes later I was horrified to find a ring stain from the magnet, which will not wipe off. Any ideas that avoid having to sand and re-coat the wood?

  54. Hello Dave

    Thanks for messaging, we are sorry to hear about this. Unfortunately, in order to fully remove the ring stain there is no other option but to sand and re-oil your worktop. These guides on sanding and oiling wooden worktops will help.

    Kind regards,
    Stephen @ Worktop Express

  55. Hello there,

    Can soap subs from washing up liquid stain danish oiled oak worktops? I’m finding the odd white mark around the sink area. I generally wipe away should anything spatter so at odds as to what they might be. Each spot feels slightly rough to the touch.

    How should i go about removing. Light sanding and reoiling?

    I’ve not encountered this kind of problem before with our previous Oak tops.


  56. Hello Steven,

    Thank you for getting in touch. Moisture can leave marks on a wooden work surface, either if it is not dried fully or if the timber has not been treated sufficiently to protect it. As you are wiping away splashes, it may be that your surface has not been oiled sufficiently – have you followed the installation and aftercare advice regarding the regular oiling of the surfaces? Roughness may be caused by soap suds lifting the grain of the wood.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie @ Worktop Express

  57. Hi I recently purchased a new property and my partner whilst cleaning the oven dropped some grease onto our oak wood worktop. It stained, we are unsure how to clean it off.

  58. Hello Eddy,

    To remove the grease stain, we suggest buffing the area very lightly along the grain of the wood with fine grade sandpaper until the stain has disappeared. With a dry cloth, wipe away any dust before applying a fresh coat of oil to the sanded area. There might be a difference in colour between the sanded area and the rest of your worktop but applying several coats of oil should help this even out. For advice on applying oil, please see our Oiling Worktops: A Worktop Express® Nutshell Guide.

    Kind regards,
    Stephen @ Worktop Express

  59. Hi,

    I have put your oak worktop in a rental property 11 years ago and stained them with a jacobean oak stain then used your oil to finish and it all looked fantastic the worktops are great quality.
    I now have the property back and the workflows are now tacky I’m just wondering if I have to send right back and re stain and oil or is there an easier way to remove the old oil?

    Many thanks


  60. Hello Andrew,

    Thank you for your message. You can try removing the stickiness using white spirit and a lint-free cloth. Then de nib the worktop using a 240 grit sandpaper to remove any lifted grain before re-oiling the work surface. We advise trying on a small area first before applying to the whole worktop.

    Kind regards,
    Stephen @ Worktop Express

  61. Hi,

    I have walnut worktops in my kitchen and when installed the offcuts were used as shelving which look great. The offcuts weren’t treated and the worktops were (with your Danish oil). The worktops are now much much lighter than the shelving. I loved the original dark colour of the worktops. Do you have any suggestions of what I need to do to the worktops?

    Thank you,


  62. Hello Angela,

    Thank you for your message. Normally, treating a worktop with oil will bring out the hues in the wood and make it darker, so it is strange that the unoiled shelves are darker than your worktop. We suggest oiling the worktop with several coats of Danish oil to restore the hue.
    Perhaps if you have photos, you could email us so that we could look at the difference. This will allow us to advise you better.

    Kind regards,
    Stephen @ Worktop Express

  63. Hi,

    I had a solid oak kitchen surfaces installed last summer and have noticed it is greying in quite a few areas. When it was installed the fitter applied 2 coats of oil and said to put some more on if ever it starts to grey, from what ive been reading it doesnt seem like it was oiled enough. I applied a coat of oil but it doesnt seem to have improved. Do i need to apply a few more coats or does it need sanding and oiling? will this get rid of the greying or is this there permanently now?


  64. Hi Worktop Express,

    Great advice which will come in useful in the future but i have a different question i’m hoping you can help with.

    I have a bamboo worktop in my laundry and have recently being removing some stains on clothes using a mixture of vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. It’s worked great on the stains on the clothes but has also left marks on the worktop (round ring from the base of a bucket and some splash staining).

    Do you have any advice on how to remove the ring and splash stains? i was thinking i may need to sand the top surface of the worktop but don’t really want to do that as it would mean removing the sink.

  65. These tips are awesome and timeless! You are so great at breaking things down into double steps and actually make it sound like fun!

  66. Hi.
    I was wondering if there is a way of removing the old oil on my beech worktops. I tried sanding but it just removed some of the stickyness and hasn’t really touched it. I can literally scrape it off!
    I’m not sure if, over time the treatment/oil has been applied too heavily, or if the tops have been cleaned with a kitchen cleaning product. Is the white spirit safe to use?
    Many thanks.

  67. Bit of an issue with our oak laminate worktop. I used jiff on an area and it’s left this part a bit shiny compared to the rest any ideas? It’s like the clear coating has gone shiny but only in a certain light.

  68. I sanded some marks off an oak worktop and refinished with danish oil. Its blended nicely but there are now indentations in the worktop. Is there any way I can fill these? Should I perhaps try using more danish oil?

  69. Our oak worktop has some marks left by tenants so I’m unsure what they are, though I suspect water marks. One looks like a ring mark left by a mug, another is a bit darker than the bench. Can they be repaired and if so what is the best way. Thankyou.

  70. Hello Christine,
    Thank you for your message. We are sorry to hear your oak worktop has been marked. Watermarks are a definite possibility as stains can occur when the worktop absorbs water. We recommend sanding the affected areas to remove all the marks and then re-oil to ensure a uniform finish across the worktop.
    The length of time it will take to achieve an even finish will depend on how deeply the marks have penetrated the worktop and how many coats of oil it has received during its lifetime.
    Kind regards,
    Ellie @ Worktop Express

  71. Hello Chris,

    Thank you for your message. We recommend using a moisture-resistant wood filler or wax to fill in the indentations, before sanding and re-oiling once more.

    You may find the following guide useful for this issue:

    Kind regards,
    Ellie @ Worktop Express

  72. Hello Simon,
    Sadly, there is little you can do to correct a laminate worktop that has become discoloured.
    In future, when cleaning stains off a laminate work surface we recommend using a baking soda and water solution. You can find out more in the following guide:

    If you require any additional help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Kind regards,
    Ellie @ Worktop Express

  73. Hello Ange,

    Thank you for your message. Aggressive chemicals and bleaches are not advised for natural wood surfaces. Natural ingredients such as a solution of warm water and lemon or vinegar should help to tackle grease. It sounds as if you may have to refinish your worktop by sanding down the whole surface and re-applying Danish wood oil to protect the timber.

    Please get in touch if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards,
    Ellie @ Worktop Express

  74. Hello Ed,

    Thank you for your message. We recommend using natural ingredients such as lemon or vinegar to tackle grease and other worktop stains, so I can only assume the worktop hasn’t been oiled regularly. We are unsure why you would need to remove the sink, please send further information to so we can better assist.

    If you continue to have issues you may want to sand down the worktop until the stain has gone and apply oil to finish and protect the surface. You can learn more about oiling worktops in this guide:

    Kind regards,
    Ellie @ Worktop Express

  75. Hello Steve,

    Thank you for getting in touch, it is a shame to hear about your worktop turning grey in some areas. It sounds like this may be caused by a lack of oiling. However, to give you full support please email our customer support team at with photos of your worktop, details of how many times it has been oiled and which oil you have used.

    Kind regards,
    Ellie @ Worktop Express

  76. Hi, I’m looking for advice for my oak worktop, I have recently come back from holiday and I have found that my friend has left bleach on the counter and it has made a black deep ring marks, is the best way to sand down? We have tried to do a light sanding but it hasn’t budged at all any help would be greatly appreciated

    Many thanks

  77. Hello Rebecca,

    Thank you for getting in contact. As you have described this as a deep stain, we would recommend sanding the entire surface until the stain is gone. After you have sanded the surface to your satisfaction, we advise oiling the worktop to build up the protective layer. To keep your wooden worktop looking fantastic, we recommend oiling the surface regularly and wiping away any liquid as soon as it appears. This will prevent any water or other substances being absorbed by the wood and creating any more deep stains.

    We hope you find this information useful and if you require any additional support, please do not hesitate to get in contact.

    Kind regards,
    Ellie @ Worktop Express

  78. Hi my work tops have faded around my sink. I’ve sanded and applied danish oil but they are still quite light around the sink. Any ideas to bring them back? I can’t remember exactly what they were called they’ve been in a few years but similar shade to iroko

  79. Hi, I have tried sanding my wooden kitchen work tops but the sand paper keeps getting clogged with a greasy residue. I’ve also tried to gently scrape a layer off the worktops but there still seems to be a residue left, although this is now streaky. What should I do to get rid of the grease/ residue? Thanks, Reena

  80. Hello,

    I made a huge stain with bleach in the kitchen top. I mean, huge! Like 35cmx20cm. The wood seems to be light oak, tho I don’t know much of wood. It’s an Ikea Kitchen, has like 4-5years maybe. The surface had already a few marks when I moved in, like mold, burns etc. Some pretty bad, but this one I made, is far beyond worse than the other marks. I feel a bit desperate to fix it, as I am renting the flat. I have been searching on how to fix it, with an easy less hassle way.
    Could I use this wood bleach you speak about, through all the surface to make it all clearer, and then apply the oil?
    Or what would you recommend then, for me to do?

    Thank you!

  81. Hi I’ve sanded down my oak work tops throughly and removed the dust with a vacuum, I have coated them with Osmo polyx oil thinly twice but the surface looks patchy. Should I recoat with more oil to try to even it out. Thank you.

  82. Hi,
    I filled a large bowl with bowling water and vanish (stain removal powder) and foolishly spilt it on my wooden kitchen top… Didn’t think much of it but came back half an hour later to find the wood had stained a horrible dark brown / blackish colour , about the size of an A4 piece of paper, perhaps slightly larger…. the landlord is NOT happy! A local company has quoted me £550 + VAT to repair it but surely there must be something I can do myself without having to fork out such a large amount of cash? I can send photos on an email if easier. Any help greatly appreciated.

  83. Hi Sonia

    I’m very sorry to hear about your bleach stained worktops. Bleach stains are particularly difficult to remove from solid wood timber. We have some advice on this issue in one of our blog posts

    Many thanks,

    Adam @ Worktop Express

  84. Hi Alex,

    Please see this post for more information about stains around the sink area

    Many thanks,

    Adam @ Worktop Express

  85. Hi Lynn,
    After sanding, wooden worktops will need several coats of oil to build up a strong barrier against moisture. Ensure the surface is level first and then we recommend oiling with a worktop oil such as Rustins Danish Worktop Oil.
    If you need more guidance, please see our Oiling Worktops Nutshell guide:
    Many thanks,
    Adam @ Worktop Express

  86. Hi Freddie,
    Please provide us with some photos of the damage and our Technical team should be able to advise you. The solution to this problem could be to sand the worktops down until the mark is no longer visible and sufficiently re-oil the surface to protect it against water damage.
    Many thanks,
    Adam @ Worktop Express

  87. Hello,
    Clogging will be happening very quickly if the oil is not hardened completely, potentially the first or second coat didn’t harden as it should. We suggest to wait a couple more days.
    The ideal tool for removing the oil is a random orbital sander with 120 grit sandpaper.
    Many thanks, Adam @ Worktop Express

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