Grease stains on wood furniture or flooring can be unsightly and difficult to remove. Still, you can successfully eliminate them with a little effort and some essential household tools. To begin the process of removing grease from wood, start by assessing the severity of the stain. If a recent spill hasn't had time to set in, simply wiping away the excess grease with a dry cloth may suffice.
However, if the stain has already set in, you will need to take more aggressive measures. You'll need to try more robust options for stubborn stains that refuse to budge. We will discuss several routes to remove oils or waxes from your wood surfaces.
It's important to note that when trying any of these methods out on your home wood surfaces, always test them first on an inconspicuous spot beforehand! This way, you can ensure no adverse reactions or damage before treating larger areas.
Avoiding Grease and Oil Stains
The first step in these cases is prevention. That may seem obvious now that you have a mess to clean up, but with every mistake, there is a lesson to be learned. In the future, if you're storing a wax or oil base on raw or unfinished wood, you'd be best served to keep the items on a tray or protective platform. This is a perfect chance to find a pretty dish or tray to set your things in.
Natural Ways to Take Out Grease Stains
Most people want to try the natural options first, as they are usually easier to find in your home and leave a shorter effect on the world around us.
There are several options, but they all start with the same process.
Step 1 - Blot the Grease Stains
Removing grease stains from wood can be frustrating, but it can be done quickly with the right approach and tools. The first step is to carefully blot the stain with a sponge, washcloth, or paper towel. Remove the oil or grease from the surface. A paper bag, coffee filter, or other absorbent material can pull some fat from the woodgrain. It's important to avoid applying too much pressure or attempting to wipe the stain, as this will only spread the oil around.
If you find that lightly dampening your wiping tool helps remove more of the stain, do so sparingly. Grease is typically water repellant, so do as much cleaning without excessive water as possible.
An unlikely hero comes in the form of cat litter for huge stains that are stubborn and won't budge! Cat litter is known for its absorbent properties and can be used to soak up excess grease (among other messes, I've used it for spilled laundry soap, motor oil, and other gross sticky lots).
While these steps are practical, some additional tips may come in handy when dealing with adamant grease stains, such as using baking soda mixed with water, vinegar diluted in warm water, or even professional cleaning agents specially formulated for removing oil-based substances from surfaces. The following steps will discuss these options and how they work.
Step 2 - Apply Your Chosen Solution
Having soaked up as much excess grease as possible, you can make and apply your homemade cleaning solution.
These are some natural options to absorb and clean oils and grease from wood surfaces:
- Baking soda and water: Mix equal parts of baking soda and water to make a paste. Apply it to the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth.
- Cornstarch: Sprinkle cornstarch on the greasy spot and let it sit for a few hours. Then, wipe it off with a damp cloth.
- White vinegar: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. Dip a cloth in the solution and wring it out before wiping the greasy area.
- Lemon juice: Squeeze some lemon juice onto the greasy area and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth.
- Salt: Sprinkle some acceptable grain salt on the greasy area and let it sit for a few hours. Then, wipe it off with a damp cloth.
- Newspaper or brown paper bags: Using newspaper to wipe up the solution and clear off the surface after the initial cleaning can help pull more oils from the surface.
In some cases, adding heat to the process can help, but in other cases, it may damage the surface of your wood, so be sure to test each of these methods on a small, less visible location before applying it to the whole surface.
Step 3 - Identifying Tough Stains
Sometimes, these techniques don't work because the stain isn't related to grease. Moisture, heat, and other chemicals (such as pet urine) can cause stains on wood surfaces. Even if your surface is coated, the stains can still penetrate.
Removing pet urine stains naturally can be done using a few household items. The process is close to cleaning up grease but can hold an awful aroma. First, blot up as much urine as possible with a paper towel or cloth. Then, mix equal water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and saturate the affected area. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then blot it up with a clean cloth.
Next, sprinkle baking soda on the area and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Vacuum up the baking soda and repeat the process if necessary. The vinegar will help neutralize the odor, and the baking soda will absorb moisture. Additionally, you can pour a small amount of kitty litter on the surface and use an enzyme cleaner to combat the smell and avoid future markings of the same spot.
White Water Rings
Some stains on your wood could be from things that are not grease or oil but can be treated similarly. If you're experiencing white rings, you're likely dealing with moisture getting into the fibers of the wood and causing discoloration. You can treat them with equal parts baking soda and non-gel toothpaste mixed into a spreadable paste. Apply the paste to the stain and rub gently with a soft cloth until the stain disappears. Wipe off with a damp cloth and dry the surface.
White Heat Spots
Excessive heat applied to a wooden surface can cause air moisture or sitting liquid to penetrate the surface and cause discoloration or fiber expansion. You can use mayonnaise or petroleum jelly to let the stain sit overnight. In the morning, wipe it away with a soft cloth and dry the surface. Adding oil to the wood to remove a stain may seem counter-intuitive, but rehydrating the wood helps it return to its natural color.
Both Rings and Spots
These discolorations and stains usually respond to a mix of equal vinegar and olive oil. Mix the ingredients up, apply the mixture, rubbing it into the stain with small circular motions using a soft clean cloth. Wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth and dry the surfaces.
Step 3 - Protect Your Surfaces
Once you've repaired or cleaned the stain on your wood surface caused by oil, grease, or moisture, it's essential to protect it from further damage. One way to do this is to apply a protective coating or sealant to the surface. This can help prevent moisture from penetrating the wood, causing stains, and protect against scratches and other damage.
Be sure to choose a coating or sealant appropriate for the type of wood and the intended use of the surface. Additionally, cleaning up any spills or stains as soon as possible is essential to prevent them from setting in.
Coasters, placemats, and trivets can also help protect your wood surfaces from damage caused by hot or wet items. By taking these steps, you can help ensure your wood surfaces stay beautiful and protected for years.
Wood Grease FAQ
How to remove grease from wood cabinets?
To remove grease from wood cabinets, you can follow these steps:
- Mix a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap in a bowl.
- Dip a sponge or soft cloth in the solution and wring it out.
- Gently wipe the affected area with a sponge or cloth, careful not to scrub too hard and damage the wood.
- Rinse the sponge or cloth in clean water and wring it out.
- Wipe the area again with a clean sponge or cloth to remove any soap residue.
- Dry the surface with a clean towel.
If the grease is stubborn and won't come off with soap and water, you can use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water instead.
What takes out grease stains?
There are several methods to remove grease stains from various surfaces, including:
- Dish soap and hot water: For clothing, rub a small amount of dish soap into the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, rinse the area under hot water while rubbing the fabric together to create suds. Repeat until the stain is gone.
- Baking soda and water: Mix baking soda with water to create a paste for carpets. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for several hours before vacuuming it.
- White vinegar: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle for hard surfaces like glass and tile. Spray the solution onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth.
- Rubbing alcohol: For leather and suede, apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth and gently rub the stain until it disappears.
Tips to remove a grease stain on furniture?
To remove a grease stain on furniture that isn't wood, you can follow these tips:
- Blot the stain with a clean cloth to remove as much grease as possible.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb the oil.
- Vacuum up the baking soda with a brush attachment.
- Mix a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap in a bowl.
- Dip a clean cloth in the solution and wring it out.
- Gently blot the affected area with the material, careful not to rub it too hard and damage the fabric.
- Rinse the cloth in clean water and wring it out.
- Blot the area again with a clean cloth to remove any soap residue.
- Dry the surface with a clean towel or allow it to air dry.
If the stain is still visible, use a commercial upholstery cleaner or a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Apply the cleaner or solution to the color and follow the manufacturer's instructions or the steps above. Remember to test any cleaning method in a small, inconspicuous area first to avoid damaging your furniture.
How to remove grease stains from unfinished wood?
Removing grease stains from unfinished wood can be tricky, but with a similar method described above, you will succeed in restoring your unfinished wood.
If the stain is still visible, you can try sanding the area with fine-grit sandpaper to remove the top layer of wood and the stain. However, this may change the appearance of the wood, so it's essential to try this method on a small, inconspicuous area first. Remember to wear a dust mask and eye protection while sanding.
How to remove black stains from wood tables or countertops?
Follow the stain removal routine for the other stains discussed, such as baking soda and water or white vinegar. If the stain is still visible after these steps, you may need to sand the area or use a commercial wood stain remover. Some wood stains are more challenging to remove because they are microscopic mold or mildew in the wood fibers.
How to get rid of food grease stains?
Food stains are hard to get, especially if you've not noticed the food has landed on your counter or floor or dripped on your wood cabinets. Follow the same instruction for other wood surfaces, and be sure to clean up greasy food spills as soon as they happen to mitigate most of their damage.
If the stain is still visible, you can use a mixture of white vinegar and water. Apply the solution to the color and let it sit for a few minutes before blotting it with a clean cloth. Remember to test any cleaning method in a small, inconspicuous area first to avoid any damage to the surface.
Does baking soda remove oil stains from wood?
Baking soda naturally soaks up oil and can even pull it out of porous surfaces, like wood. Sprinkle baking soda directly onto the oil stain to get started.
Use a healthy amount of baking soda, building a layer that is at least one inch thick. Let the baking soda sit for about 45 minutes.
Next, sweep up or vacuum up the baking soda and gently wipe the area down with a damp, lean cloth.
What is the fastest way to remove stains from wood?
Mineral spirits are a popular choice among DIYers for lots of restoration and cleaning tasks, including removing stains from wood.
Will vinegar ruin wood stain?
While vinegar is a popular go-to choice for lots of household cleaning tasks, it works a little too well on wood. Vinegar will remove stains and oil but it can also remove the finish on wood, causing discoloration and damage.
Is rubbing alcohol bad for wood furniture?
Alcohol is a strong solvent that can remove a lot of stains from a lot of household materials, but it should not be applied to wood. Alcohol can damage the wood, removing stain and the finish.
What is the best stain remover for wood?
The best way to remove stain from wood is highly subjective, with DIYers touting everything from their own recipes to specialized name-brand formulas. Different wood and different stains have their own reactions to the various solvents and solutions, so it's a matter of finding the method that works best for the wood in your home.