How To Get Oil And Grease Marks Off Oak Doors

No matter how elegant oak doors look, they wear away due to the elements and accumulation of dirt over time. Oil and grease are some of the more common causes as to why the beauty of oak doors declines. Fortunately, you can prevent oil and grease stains from making your oak doors look worn out. We pulled together some methods for you.  

There are countless ways to get oil and grease marks off oak doors. But we will only focus on the most popular methods that easily take care of the problem:

  • Mix lukewarm water with dish soap.
  • Clean the oak door with white vinegar.
  • Use toothpaste and baking soda.
  • Apply mineral spirits and flour. 
  • Wipe the oak door with turpentine.

The natural porosity of oak wood makes oil and grease leave residue easily. The good news is that removing them from your oak wood door doesn't require expensive materials and extensive scrubbing. In today's post, we will explore six of the most common oil and grease removal hack. Keep scrolling to learn what will work best for you.

A hand wearing blue glove wiping oak door, How To Get Oil And Grease Marks Off Oak Doors

How do you get oil stains out of oak doors?

Using vinegar and dishwashing soap is by far the most effective way to remove a pesky oil stain from oak doors. The only difference between these two methods is the result that only varies slightly based on your application and after-care.

Ready to bring back your oak door’s splendor? Read through all of the methods below. 

Mix Lukewarm Water With Dish Soap

Mixing a dishwashing soap with lukewarm water is the no-sweat home hack you can try to clean your oak door off the oil stain. Dishwashing soap is an effective agent to disintegrate oil attached to the wood. 

  • Start with dissolving a few drops of dish soap in a bowl of lukewarm water, and then mix thoroughly to form soap suds. 
  • If your oak door is uncoated, dip a lint-free cloth into the solution and then wring it until you can no longer squeeze water out. It will minimize the possibility of wood absorbing the water.
  • Rub the damp cloth on the affected area several times until you slowly see the oil slowly come off.
  • If your door is varnished, you can dip a sponge in the cleaning solution and start scrubbing the oil-stained wood door. This way, you will notice a faster disappearance of stubborn stains.
  • Finally, you need to end the cleaning with a nice wipe of a dry clean cloth. 

Clean The Oak Door With White Vinegar

Bottle of white vinegar on gray white background

Since you're at home, look no further than your kitchen for a potent yet safe cleaning agent—vinegar. As an acetic acid, vinegar penetrates deep into the wood to eliminate stubborn oil stuck on the oak wood. Plus, vinegar is an active cleaner with sanitizing benefits, so you get rid of bacteria along with film and residue. 

To proceed with this method, follow these steps:

  • Thoroughly mix a dash of vinegar with a half-liter of hot water in a bowl.
  • Dampen a soft, clean cloth using the water and vinegar mix. Do not drench the fabric to prevent exposing the oak to extra moisture that may result in warping.  
  • Wipe the warm, damp cloth on the affected areas repeatedly, replacing it after a few rounds of wiping.
  • Change your cleaning material a few times during the whole cleaning process.
  • Make sure to wipe the door with a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture. 

How do you get grease stains out of oak doors?

Grease lasts longer and is harder to get rid of from surfaces compared to oil. That's why home essentials are not enough. Harsher active cleaners are better at sweeping the stubborn grease away from your oak wood doors. Below are the most popular methods and cleaners homeowners use:

Use Toothpaste And Baking Soda

Dishwashing soap and vinegar sure remove stains, but they are only effective against oil. When you're facing older, tougher grease stains, the combination of toothpaste and baking soda is what you should rely on.

Toothpaste and baking soda are mildly abrasive, with the latter being a water-absorbent additive that will prevent moisture from soaking into the wood. Mixing them makes their cleaning capability stronger in getting rid of grease stains. 

  • To create the cleaning paste, squish a liberal amount of toothpaste to a clean cloth, then add baking soda.
  • Rub the mixture on the grease stain for several cycles.
  • When done, immediately wipe off leftover particles of the cleaning mixture to stop them from hardening.

Apply Flour And Mineral Spirits

Another fairly strong and active cleaner you can use to tackle tenacious stains is the mixture of mineral spirit and flour. Mineral spirits are widely popular for their capability to completely wash away grime from surfaces. Flour, on the other hand, is a great dehydrator and grease absorber.

Ultimately, these two ingredients give you one of the most effective ways to dissolve grease stains. 

  • To apply, start with sprinkling some flour on the grease stain, and let it stay there for about 2 hours.
  • After the time has elapsed, wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth. The grease stain usually comes off after this method, but the more stubborn stains persist. This is when you apply a mineral stone. 
  • Put on a pair of gloves to protect yourself from the harsh effect of the mineral spirit. Also, make sure to ventilate the room if you are cleaning an interior oak wood door. 
  • When you are equipped, dampen the end of a clean cloth with the mineral spirit, then rub it off the grease-stained area in a circular motion.
  • We recommend applying the mineral spirit from one surface area after the other to avoid saturating the wood with the chemical. 
  • Dry the excess mineral spirit on the door using a paper towel, and let it air dry for a few minutes.

You just restored the splendid and fresh look to the oak door. 

Wipe The Oak Door With Turpentine

The first two solutions are water-based and abrasives, so you might not be comfortable degreasing your oak door using them. Turpentine comes in handy in this situation.

Turpentine is a fluid distilled from resins of live pine trees that scientists use for organic synthesis. When used moderately, this fluid can be used as a cleaning agent for any wood door with heavy grease stains.  

  • To use, pour a small amount of turpentine into a clean rug and then repeatedly rub the area of the door with grease buildup.
  • As you progress, you will start to notice that the door will slowly regain its former glory. 
  • Wrap up with a lint-free cloth to wipe away excess turpentine fluid. 

How do you bring back the shine of oak doors?

After all the wiping and scrubbing, the door that once had oil and grease buildup will usually look ashen. Fortunately, you can bring the allure and natural shine it once had back using olive oil, a rudimentary condiment in your kitchen. 

Bottle pouring virgin olive oil in a bowl

Olive oil acts as a conditioner to help re-moisturize the dry surface of the oak, reinvigorating the appearance of the wood. The oil is perfect for you if you hate chemical varnishes and prefer an eco-friendly solution. Here is how you can apply the olive oil to your oak door:

  1. Prepare a small bowl, cloth, lemon juice, and olive oil. 
  2. In the bowl, mix two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon lemon juice.
  3. Dampen the cloth with the mixture and start rubbing the ashen surface of the oak door. When you are done, wipe the other surface area of the door to balance out its appearance. 

That is how easily you can restore the shine of oak wood doors. Remember that you should not substitute any other type of oil in place of olive oil. Coconut, avocado, sunflower seed oil, and other oils only result in more stains. You don't want to keep on cleaning the door, do you?

For more detailed information about restoring oak doors, check out How To Oil Or Wax An Oak Door.

Does baking soda remove oil stains from wood?

Baking soda on the wooden background

Baking soda does work in removing oil stains from wood. It's one of the best options you can use, especially when the stain has attached itself firmly to the wood surface.

But baking soda is an abrasive agent, so you should expect to get a rough texture, similar to sanding, after using it to remove the oil or grease stains on the wood. You must have a varnish with you if you choose to use baking soda in taking out oil. 

Varnish provides a protective coating to your oak door to prevent early degradation. If you haven't decided about varnishing, and you want to learn more about the benefits of varnish for your oak door, read through our post: Should You Varnish Oak Doors?

Final Words

The oak wood is acclaimed for its authentic and luxurious appearance. That’s why there is only a handful of wood doors out there that will impress you quite like oak wood doors. But the accumulation of oil, grease, and other elements can ruin its visual splendor.

Luckily for you, getting rid of the stain is easy to accomplish using a range of materials you can find in your homes, such as vinegar, toothpaste, baking soda, olive oil, turpentine, and mineral spirit.  

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