Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Using Olive Oil as a Wood Treatment

You can use any number or propriety oils, waxes or polishes for treating wood but I like using olive oil. Olive oil is something you can easily get a hold of, I always have some around the house for cooking anyway. It isn't sticky or smelly and it is safe to use with kids and animals around - in fact, give young children a clean paint brush and they can help.

I use a mixture of olive oil and essential oils.... olive oil on it's own will work but the essential oils add a bit of smelly loveliness and a boost to the antibacterial qualities (and all that stuff)



You will need:

  • Olive oil
  • Essential Oils (I suggest lemon, orange, tee tree or eucalyptus - pick 2 that you like and go for it)
  • a small bowl
  • 2 clean dry cloths (old socks or t-shirt rags would be just as good)

Pour some olive oil into the bowl and splash in some EOs (For every cup of olive oil use 30-40 drops of EO)

Fold up one of your clean cloths and dip the end of it in the oil, working with the grain of the wood, use long smooth strokes to rub the oil onto the wood, rub back and forth till you may see the wood absorb the oil. Work the oil into crevices, nooks and crannies - Ensure there is no drips or gloops of oil sitting on the surface of the wood.

Leave for 10 mins and wipe over with your second cloth, there should be no oil left on the surface once you have finished. On previously treated surfaces you should use this second cloth to buff or shine the surface.
Before
Untreated wood will need 2 or 3 coats to become nicely fed, basically until you notice the wood stops absorbing the oil so quickly.

Olive oil treatment will not damage your wood, it will feed and nourish the wood and bring out it's natural shine.... but, you might want to limit your use of the oil, as, just like any wax or polish they can make the surface difficult to paint or varnish in the future... will be fine to use it every year or so.

Depending on the area you have that needs treated you might only need a small amount, since I am working on doors I need to make up quite a bit at a time. You can also make it up in a wee bottle, labeled carefully for future use.
After

This oil can be used to treat all kinds of wooden surfaces. Chairs, tables, worktops, bookcases, storage boxes and even wicker baskets. You can use it sparingly on varnished surfaces, just as you would any polish. If you are treating wooden spoons and chopping boards I suggest using olive oil on it's own to avoid tainting the surface with a strange smell or flavour.

I haven't yet looked into using olive oil on floors I wouldn't currently recommend it, I doubt it would do any damage, but I am just not sure it is really suitable for the job.


The Nitty Gritty:

  • Any old bog standard olive oil (I found some out of date oil at the back of a cupboard, so that'll do nicely)
  • Essential oils - I buy mine in bulk online from Summer Naturals you will find a selection at any decent healthcare shop.
  • My cloths are dishcloths from the local hardware shop
  • The doors are the original 1890s doors in my Brother's tenement house in Glasgow.
using olive oil as a wood treatment - our handmade home

14 comments :

  1. I like Linseed Oil for that, but am always a bit worried about subsequent spontaneous combustion of the cloth. And anyway the lid gets stuck on the bottle.
    I think on balance Olive Oil removes all those issues!

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  2. Interesting!
    I never knew you could do that, makes sense though.

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  3. For oils that may combust... Linseed Tongue... as well as stripping stuff, and stains.. put the rags in a plastic bag and get them all wet... neutrilizes the combustability of it all....

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  4. Olive oil and lemon oil has been my old standby for wood furniture for years! Thanks for educating people away from petro-chemicals!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem Lynn!

      I wonder why people buy stinky aerosols and questionable chemicals, when olive oil is cheap, smells nice and is kind to the skin.

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  5. I am going to try this - thanks

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  6. Fabulous advice, thank you! I have gotten into the habit of using a bit of almond oil on my own skin as a moisturizer, and on a recent cold dry day after I'd slathered some on my face I was tidying up and thought, Hm, my old wooden coffee table could use a shine too. I did a web search first to see if it was a good idea, found your blog post, and gave it a try. I used almond oil with a couple drops of orange essence. The table and a wooden bureau came up lovely and clean, and smell nice too. I didn't even need the second step-- I suppose my old furniture was really thirsty!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fabulous advice, thank you! I have gotten into the habit of using a bit of almond oil on my own skin as a moisturizer, and on a recent cold dry day after I'd slathered some on my face I was tidying up and thought, Hm, my old wooden coffee table could use a shine too. I did a web search first to see if it was a good idea, found your blog post, and gave it a try. I used almond oil with a couple drops of orange essence. The table and a wooden bureau came up lovely and clean, and smell nice too. I didn't even need the second step-- I suppose my old furniture was really thirsty!

    ReplyDelete
  8. is there any danger in useing olive oil on a kitchen ceiling???

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't risk it myself as olive oil is highly flamable.

      Delete
    2. Ann, it's important to know that ANY oil at all is, by its nature, highly flammable. Don't single olive oil out for this. Pretty much any varnish or solvent that you apply to wood, and any polishes or waxes (like Pledge, etc) have that as a danger. I think that water based urethanes are the only thing that you could use that are NOT flammable.

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  9. I recently applied olive oil to my rather tired looking wardrobe, and the results were great. It looks brand new but I wonder if it is safe to add a second coat or if it will end up a bit blotchy in places. The wardrobe has stickers left on it from when I was a child, the oil also seems to help remove them a bit but they are, unfortunately stuck on pretty well. Any advice on how to get them off, or if it's a good idea to add a second coat would be very welcome thanks :-)

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    Replies
    1. For the stickers, I'd give them a good soak in olive oil and scrape it off with a plastic scraper or a fingernail.
      Yes go for a second coat of oil, as long as you wipe off the excess, the wood will absorb what it needs, it won't go blotchy.

      Ann

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  10. Thanks! It worked well on our patio furniture. Do you think i could use it on three wooden steps leading to the patio? Thanks a bunch!

    ReplyDelete

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