How To Remove Oil Stains From A Wooden Table

Have you ever wanted to know how to remove oil stains from a wooden table?

It’s very frustrating to get an oil stain or two on your wooden table and not know what to do about it!

Oil stains are challenging to begin with, and wood is a porous surface, which means the oil will get absorbed deeper, becoming more difficult to remove every minute it sets.

Time is of the essence when removing oil stains from a wooden table; fresh stains are much easier to deal with than older stains.

Learning what to do yourself with everyday household products will enable you to tackle the stains while they’re still fresh, which will save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation, in addition to keeping your wood looking as beautiful as it should!

Items You’ll Need

In this section, I’ll list and discuss the everyday household items you’ll need to remove oil stains from a wooden table.

This list of items will be effective for removing oil stains from any wooden product; such as a wooden floor, wooden toys, or wooden deck.

Additionally, I’ll provide alternatives as options for any items, when applicable

Paper Towels (Or Alternatives)

Paper Towels will be used to soak up any excess oil from the stain initially.

Acceptable alternatives for paper towels are any clean, absorbent paper or cloth such as newspapers, blotting paper, cloth, napkin, rags, etc.

Rubber Gloves And A Face Mask

Rubber gloves and a face mask will be worn for personal protective gear when performing the stain removal process to avoid skin irritation and when handling more dangerous substances such as Mineral spirits (paint thinner).

I really like these gloves that I found on Amazon.

Mild Dish Soap Solution

In a bowl, mix warm or hot water with a generous amount of mild dish soap, such as Dawn.

Stir the mixture to create soap suds for cleaning the oil stain.

A Soft Cloth Or A Gentle Scrub Brush

Use a soft cloth or a gentle scrub brush, such as this one I found on Amazon, to apply the soap suds, mineral spirits, and white vinegar, then scrub them into the oil stain.

Clean cloths will also be used to rinse away suds, mineral spirits, and white vinegar, then to buff the wood dry.

Alternatives are soft towels.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits, like a simple paint thinner, will be used to remove more stubborn oil stains from a wooden table.

Pro Tip:

Mineral spirits is extraordinarily strong and can cause skin irritation – make sure to wear rubber gloves, face mask, and ventilate the room while working with the solvent.

White Vinegar Solution

Vinegar is a powerful and safe cleaning agent typically found in most homes.

In a small bowl, mix equal parts of hot water and white vinegar to make the cleaning solution.

Absorbent Powder

An absorbent powder will be used to soak up oil from the wood.

Absorbent powders are substances like baking soda, sawdust, baby powder, cornstarch, and Fuller’s Earth.


With the iron on the lowest heat setting, it will be used to heat the oil stain, which helps liquefy an older stain making it easier to remove with one of the fresh stain removal methods.

Fuller’s Earth And Dry-Cleaning Solvent Paste

Mix equal parts of Fuller’s Earth and a dry-cleaning solvent, both of which are available at a home improvement store or a similar location, to make a thick paste that will draw the oil out of the wood.

Step By Step Instructions For How To Remove Oil Stains From A Wooden Table

#1 Remove Any Excess Oil

Particularly if the oil stain is fresh, use paper towels, or an alternative mentioned in my items list, to blot repeatedly at the oil stain until you absorb as much of the excess oil as possible.

#2 Apply An Absorbent Powder

Pour a liberal amount of one of the absorbent powders from my items list over the oil stain on your wooden table and allow it to sit for several hours or overnight before wiping the excess powder and oil away from the stained area and letting it dry.

Repeat as often as necessary to remove the stain or proceed to step #3.

#3 Press The Stain Using The Iron (Optional, If Necessary)

Place a clean cloth over the stain and press the cloth back and forth using the iron, set on the lowest heat setting.

This process will help liquefy some of the older oil from the stain, which had solidified and wasn’t being drawn out as readily by the other cleaning methods.

The newly liquefied oil from the stain will start to seep into the cloth, which can be replaced by a new cloth.
Keep pressing as long as you’re seeing oil soaking into the cloth, then move on to step #4.

#4 Apply A Mild Dish Soap Solution

Using the mixture from my items list, scoop up only the suds and rub them into the oil stain on your wooden table.

Wipe the stain clean with another slightly damp cloth and then buff the wood dry with yet another clean cloth.

Repeat the process until the stain is gone or move to step #5.

#5 Apply Mineral Spirits (If Necessary)

Dampen a small area of a clean cloth with Mineral Spirits and rub it over small sections of the oil stain at a time, careful not to saturate the wood with the liquid.

Make sure to follow the precautions I’ve outlined in my items list for working with Mineral Spirits.

Wash the Mineral Spirits off the stain following instructions in step #4.

Repeat the process as needed or move to step #6.

Pro Tip:

For a more extreme solution, mix some Mineral Spirits with an absorbent powder such as baking soda to make a thick paste with a consistency like toothpaste.

Spread the paste over the stain, leave it for an hour or two, then wipe it up.

#6 Apply A White Vinegar Solution (If Necessary)

Using the recipe for the white vinegar solution in my items list, slightly dampen a small area of a soft, clean cloth taking care not to saturate the whole cloth.

Dab the stain with the dampened cloth and repeat each time using a clean area of the cloth until the stain is satisfactorily removed, which may mean using more than one cloth.

#7 Apply A Fuller’s Earth And Dry-Cleaning Solvent Paste (If Necessary)

In my items list, I described how to make a thick paste from Fuller’s Earth and dry-cleaning solvent.

Spread this paste to any remaining or stubborn oil stain on your wooden table, allowing the paste to dry completely while drawing the out of the wood and into the paste.

Remove the dried paste from your wooden table with a spatula and using a dampened clean cloth wipe away any excess residue before drying your table with another clean cloth.

Commonly Asked Questions

Is it possible to get an older oil stain out of a wooden table?

Yes, an older oil stain is immediately considered to be a “stubborn” or “more difficult” stain, so you should proceed to some of the more drastic measures right away.

However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to start with the milder methods even with the older stain as some people have had success there.

Are there any Oil Stain Removers made specifically for wooden tables?

Yes, there are quite a few, but I found a couple with five-star reviews on Amazon that I’ve seen great results with.
Howard Feed N Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner, and Howard Orange Oil Wood Polish, Wood Furniture Cleaner and Teak Wood Cleaner.

Howard’s Orange Oil cleans oil and dirt from and polishes all wood surfaces, including antique furniture and wooden tables, without drying the wood finish over time.

Let the Feed N Wax sit overnight on wood, and it will penetrate up to 1/4 inch into the surface.

Touch of Oranges Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Touch of Beeswax Wood Polish Cleaner and Restorer Bundle

Use the Touch of Oranges as a wood furniture cleaner, wood table cleaner, wood flooring cleaner, and wood cabinet cleaner.

This wood table cleaner gets oil and grime out of your wood and will bring life back into your dry and damaged wood.

It also leaves a wonderful orange oil smell behind.


Have you enjoyed exploring how to remove oil stains from a wooden table?

Learning how to do it yourself and using everyday household products enables you to react to your dreaded oil stains as quickly as possible, making them much more manageable and saving you a lot of time and money.

Equally, you save a lot of time and money removing older oil stains from your wooden tables on your own, plus your wooden tables keep looking the way they should – gorgeous!