How to look after your solid timber worktop

Author: Claire

Milton Ivory timber worktop image

Solid timber worktops can be a wonderful choice for your kitchen. They’re hardwearing, durable and look beautiful, adding character and depth to both classic painted kitchens and contemporary designs. Choose from different types of wood including oak, walnut, iroko, beech and maple and create a stylish and personal statement in your kitchen.

Once your worktop is in place, it’s important to take proper care of it so it looks good for many years to come. We’ve put together a short guide on how best to care for your timber worktops, helping you to keep it looking fresh, clean and mark free.

Oiling your timber worktop

Having installed your solid timber worktop, your first job is to protect it. Oiling it will add a protective layer that will shield the wood from all those everyday kitchen hazards, heat and moisture in particular. Oil adds a particular depth and character to the wood that you simply cannot get with varnishes or lacquers. If you have a traditional farmhouse kitchen, this is even more important.

Unless your kitchen fitter has already done this for you, apply 3-5 coats of Danish Oil to the top and front sides of your worktop, with each one light and carefully applied. You may need to lightly sand the surface in between coats. It’s best to pour a bit of oil directly onto the worktop, then spread it with a lint free cotton cloth along the direction of the grain. Leave around 8 hours for each coat to dry fully.

Once you’ve completed the initial oiling process and your worktop is looking fantastic, you want to keep it that way. Re-apply oil to your solid timber worktop every 3-6 months to avoid your worktop turning dull and dry-looking and, most importantly, keeping it protected.

Removing stains from a worktop

Stains and marks on the worktop are unsightly. There’s more chance of your worktop getting blemished if you haven’t kept up your oiling routine (see above) but take heart – here are some things you can do to get rid of marks and stains on a solid timber surface.

Lemon juice

Lemon is known for its acidity, which makes it perfect for cleaning. If you find a stain on the worktop, drench some fine wire wool in lemon juice. The abrasive nature of the wool will go to task on the stain while the lemon oil will help work the stain out, leaving everything smelling fresh afterwards!


For new water marks, an iron set to a medium heat and applied to a clean white cloth placed on the worktop stain is a great solution. Without the steam function on, hold the iron on the cloth for 10 seconds, then left the cloth to release the heat. Check and repeat until the stain has gone.


Hard-to-shift marks or a large number of stains may need more intensive attention. You can simply sand the wooden worktop down to remove them! A small patch can be sanded by hand, but for larger areas we would recommend an electric sander. Once the marks have gone, re-oil the area as per above.

Dealing with scratches on the worktop

If the problem isn’t stains or marks, but scratches or dents in the timber surface that warm soapy water won’t shift, sanding down the top and re-oiling the worktop may be your best bet.

Larger dents, holes or cracks in the surface may need proper repair using wood glue. Unless you’re an experienced DIYer or have advanced carpentry skills, we would suggest you leave this one to the professionals.

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