Care & Maintenance for your Wood Countertops
Straight from the experts! Here are some tips on daily maintenance, scratch removal, and how to apply a top coat to your wood countertops:
Daily Maintenance for Wood Countertops
- Use a 20%-80% vinegar/water solution to clean your top.
- Do NOT use ammonia-based cleaners; over time they will soften and cloud the finish.
- Do NOT use cleaners with bleach in them; they can cause the finish to dry out and, possibly, flake.
The top can also be wiped down with a mild hand or dish soap that does not contain ammonia or bleach. Rinse the top with clean water, wipe dry. After it is dry, mist the top with the vinegar solution and let dry. There is solid evidence that the vinegar solution will disinfect the top.
Wood Countertops: Scratch Removal
To cover/remove scratches in finish (not deep into the wood)
- Start with 000 Steel Wool wrapped around a sanding block. Rub over scratched area in a back and forth motion, always with the grain. You will not need to completely remove the scratch – you are only altering the finish surface to prepare for another coat. Use enough pressure to scuff the edges of the scratch and the area immediately surrounding it, but not enough to wear down the bare wood.
- Clean scuffed area with a dry rag and follow up with a tack cloth to remove any debris from the area to be oiled. DO NOT USE ANY WATER – BASED CLEANERS.
- Apply Craft Art Stain Oil Finish by pouring a small amount (size of a dime) on the scratched area. Then rub in a circular motion with a clean rag to spread the oil around the scratched area. Do not spread further than necessary away from scratched area (an inch or two will be sufficient). Rub area until oil just starts to dry up.
- Next, before oil is fully dry, switch to a clean rag and buff the area surrounding the scratch, removing as much of the oil from the surface area as possible while at the same time rubbing it into the scratch. This process is vaguely similar to waxing a scratch on a car.
- Steps can be repeated if scratch is still visible after oil is completely dry.
Wood Countertops: Application of Fresh Topcoat
To apply a fresh top coat (on top of worn finish, not complete refinish)
- We highly recommend covering the floor surrounding your countertop with plastic before starting this process
- Turn off any overhead ceiling fans and ensure that you have a dust-free environment when following these instructions.
- Start with 00 Steel Wool, or 320 grit sandpaper, wrapped around a sanding block. Rub in 1-2 foot, straight strokes, always with the grain. You do not want to completely remove the finish. The goal is to just scuff the entire surface area to give a fresh coat something to adhere to.
- If your top has a detailed (not flat) edge profile, take the steel wool or sandpaper in your hand and scuff the edge profile being careful around sharp edges as they are very easy to sand down to bare wood. Again, you are only trying to scuff the surface for proper adhesion of the fresh coat.
- Clean scuffed area with a dry rag and follow up with a tack cloth to remove any debris from the area to be oiled. DO NOT USE WATER-BASED CLEANERS.
- Pour a generous amount (varying depending on the size of your top) of Craft Art Satin Oil Finish into a standard paint tray. Using a short-bristled paint pad (available at most hardware/home center), spread the oil out to the edge of your top. Keep a clean rag handy to wipe away any oil that runs over the edge. Apply additional oil if necessary to cover entire top.
- Once your entire top is covered with a generous coat of oil (thick enough to write in with your fingertip, but not so thick that it will continue to run over the edges after wiping them), use the short-bristled pad to even the oil out. Starting at one end of your island in the center (or at the wall perimeter tops), drag the pad all the way down the top in one long pass, going with the grain at all times.
- Do this in long, straight strips, applying just enough pressure to smooth out the oil, but not enough to drag a large build-up of oil along with the pad. Stopping at any point before reaching the end of the top will result in a noticeable ‘lap mark’ in the finish. Once at the end of one strip, have a clean rag handy to wipe up any oil running over the edge. Start back at the other end, moving the pad toward you to start another strip and repeat the process, barely overlapping the last.
- Repeat until the entire top has been smoothed out. If applied correctly, with proper amount of material, the topcoat of oil should self-level, eliminating any bristle strokes in the finish.
- Do not place a fan near the top for at least six hours. Failure to follow this instruction will result in dust particles in your finish and potentially an uneven surface finish.
- Allow 24 hours for the oil to dry. There is a chance that you may have to apply multiple coats to achieve your desired look. If you choose to do another coat, repeat the instructions above. Be sure the oil is not soft or tacky before starting the additional coat(s). If it is, allow more time to dry.
- After the final coat is applied, allow to dry at least 24 hours before using your top. If after 24 hours the topcoat still feels soft or tacky, wait until fully dry and smooth before using.
- If your top is deeply scratched or worn down to bare wood, you will need a full sand and refinish. We recommend enlisting the help of a local cabinet shop to complete the repair.