The Vital Role of Oiling: Why Your Kitchen Worktop Needs It (and How to Do It Right)

Far from being a chore, it’s an easy and satisfying job when done right.

When you’ve invested in a beautifully made hardwood worktop, the maintenance is part of the purchase. It’s not overly time-consuming or difficult, and we find actually offers a moment of zen and a sense of accomplishment in an otherwise hectic day.

The heart of the home, the kitchen, deserves surfaces that are not only beautiful but also durable and functional. This is especially true for kitchen worktops, which endure daily wear and tear from food preparation, spills, and cleaning. While various materials can be used for worktops, one of the most popular choices is wood. Wood offers a timeless elegance, warmth, and natural beauty that elevates any kitchen space. However, unlike other materials, wood requires regular maintenance to retain its charm and functionality. This is where oiling comes in.

Kitchens have changed.

Why Oiling Your Worktop Matters:

Oiling your wooden worktop is not just an aesthetic choice; it’s crucial for its longevity and hygiene. Here are some key benefits of regular oiling:

  • Protection: Wood is naturally porous, meaning it can absorb liquids and moisture. This makes it susceptible to warping, cracking, and staining if left unprotected. Oiling creates a barrier that repels water, preventing these damaging effects and extending the lifespan of your worktop.
  • Enhanced beauty: Oiling highlights the natural grain and warmth of the wood, enriching its appearance. It provides a soft, matte finish that adds a touch of sophistication to your kitchen.
  • Stain resistance: Oiled surfaces are less likely to absorb spills and stains, making them easier to clean and maintain. Spills can be wiped up quickly, preventing permanent marks and discolouration.
  • Hygiene: A well-oiled worktop creates a less hospitable environment for bacteria and mould growth. This is vital for ensuring a clean and hygienic food preparation surface.

Wooden products from sustainable sources.

Choosing the Right Oil:

Not all oils are created equal when it comes to worktop maintenance. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an oil:

Drying time: Opt for an oil with a reasonable drying time to minimize disruption to your kitchen usage.

Durability: Choose an oil that offers long-lasting protection and requires less frequent application.

Food safety: Ensure the oil is food-safe and non-toxic, especially important for surfaces used for food preparation.

Finish: Some oils offer a matte finish, while others can impart a slight sheen. Choose one that aligns with your desired aesthetic.

Popular options for wood worktop oils include tung oil, Danish oil, and mineral oil. For the record, our recommendation is:

For worktops:
Maple, Oak, Walnut, Ash and Cherry we recommend Liberon Finishing OIl.
For Iroko we recommend Sunflower/Vegetable Oil.

For End Grain Chopping blocks:
We recommend Sunflower/Vegetable Oil regardless of timber choice.

Iroko Island
Oiling builds a distinct look and character.

The Oiling Process:

Oiling your worktop is a straightforward process, but it’s important to follow the proper steps:

  • Clean the surface thoroughly: Ensure the worktop is free of dirt, grease, and any previous oil residue. Use a mild soap and water solution, followed by a thorough drying.
  • Apply a thin coat of oil: Use a lint-free cloth to apply a thin, even coat of oil to the entire surface. Pay close attention to areas around the sink and edges.
  • Allow the oil to penetrate: Leave the oil to penetrate the wood for the recommended time as per the specific oil’s instructions. This can range from a few hours to overnight.
  • Buff and remove excess oil: After the oil has penetrated, use a clean cloth to buff the surface and remove any excess oil. This prevents the worktop from becoming sticky or greasy.
  • Repeat: Depending on the type of oil and the usage of your worktop, reapply oil every 3 to 12 months to maintain its protective properties.

Maintaining the Beauty:

As we’ve seen, keeping your worktop in perfect condition isn’t onerous or

Regular cleaning with a mild soap and water solution is essential for maintaining a well-oiled worktop. Additionally, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the oil barrier. By following these simple tips, you can ensure your wooden worktop stays beautiful, functional, and hygienic for years to come.

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