How to fix a sticky worktop

Worktop oil…… it s huge topic.  At DB Powell Repairs, we restore a lot of worktops! When i say a lot, i mean a lot! Roughly 8 out of 10 people ask us this! If black marks was number two in the list, sticky worktops is number one! Which leads us onto…..

The number one culprit……

At the risk of ruffling a few feathers here, we can reveal that Danish oil is often the guilty party!

Its a product that has been around for a while, so every man and his dog knows about it. It has become the go to recommendation.

When people ask for worktop oil danish oil is the product many suppliers will reccommend .

Usually it is comprised of of tung oil linseed oil and mineral spirit. Every manufacturer has its own recipe. They will often add a range of other chemicals to assist with its “properties”.

Many worktop manufacturers will recommend it. This may be due to a lack of knowledge of other products on the market. Or they may possess an attitude of “we use this because its always been used”.

Manufacturers recommend you apply 3 coats. You should leave each coat 8 hours before applying the next. Some well meaning folk suggest you should continue applying coats every month for a year! You may often hear language such as “you need to feed the wood”, “nourish the wood”. Very emotive words, making you feel like you are caring for a living being. This advice is wrong, if you ask us!

By adding layers ,you don’t feed the wood, you literally are smothering it by adding more and more layers!

Household cleaners

Another reason that your worktops might be sticky is the overuse of household cleaning products.

Many of these products contain bleaches, chemicals and citric acids. All of these products slowly degrade oil based coatings. This will increase the risk of stickiness on the surface.

How Can i fix a sticky wooden worktop?

Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to cure a sticky worktop! Prevention is the cure here!

  1. Choose the correct finish for your worktop! A task not made easy when there is a lot of misguided advice out there! This is too big of a subject to talk about here, but we can advise when you contact us.
  2. Use the correct after care products, that will not degrade your wood finish. We leave all our customers with details of the products we used and how to look after them.

How do we fix sticky wooden worktops?

In a nutshell, we remove, re sand and re coat!

Pre- sanding

  1. If the layer is thick and tacky first we have to manually scrape off the layers of oil. We cannot begin sanding at this stage as it just clogs the sandpaper up. This our least favorite part of the job ! We use carbide scrapers to remove the tacky layer. It is hard work!


  1. After the majority of the oil is off, we might be able to start the sanding process. We start by using 80 grit sandpaper , which is reasonably aggressive. This grit is used until all marks and defects are removed.
  2. We will next remove the 80 grit sanding marks by using 120 grit, again working the whole area, consistently and thoroughly.
  3. The sanding process is finished at 150 grit, this allows for a smooth finish with no visible sanding marks, but it also allows for the finishing oil to penetrate the wood. Any higher than this, effectively closes the grain, and prevents adequate absorption of the finishing oil we use.
  4. We finish off all the fiddly bits corners and edges!

Cleaning and water popping

  1. Next we thoroughly vacuum all of the surfaces to remove the dust.
  2. After this we clean the whole area with a preparatory wood cleaner. This serves two functions a)it cleans the dust from the surface, which may interfere with the bonding of the product we use b) performs the function of “water popping” Water popping is the process of intentionally opening up the pores and grains of the wood, so they accept more product. A down side is that this “raises” the grain, which means the little wood fibres raise up making the surface rough to touch.
  3. Because we just “raised the grain” we lightly sand the area to “de- nib” the roughness.

Applying the finish

  1. Depending of the customers preference, will apply the chosen product with the correct methods!
  2. We usually will use a quality hard wax oil. This coating shows off the natural grain of the wood, is protective but is durable as well. This may be a one coat or a two coat process.
  3. Once everybody is happy with the outcome (they usually are!) we finish and leave the job.
  4. We leave all customers with a set of aftercare instructions that details how to care for their newly treated wooden worktops!

Find out more


Find Out More

More information can be found at our worktops page ;

There is another specialist who is well versed in wooden worktop and floor restorations who has come up with very similar thoughts to our own regarding danish oil.

You can read about his thoughts here ;



Get in contact

We cover most of the norhtwest, including lancashire, liverpool, manchester and some parts of yorkshire.

Call 01257696032

or email

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