We bough a 200+ (but not much more!) old farm house last year, and we're renovating slowly, but surely. Earlier in last year, we we discovered old hardwood floors under layers of linoleum on the second floor and, after sanding, we settled on tung oil to finish them.

Now, it would seems like we didn't properly remove all the excess oil while finishing and now there is a layer of white, sticky residue on the floor.

We do have one solution to clean that mess up at the moment: mineral spirit and really fine mineral wool. It works, but the problem is: it takes forever, a lot of spirit and a lot of mineral wool.

Mind you, I don't care spending the time necessary to save that floor, but I would still be really happy if anyone had a better solution, one that's more time and material effective, so we can concentrate on other parts of the house now ;-)

  • Orange oil is a better solvent than mineral spirits. Mar 20, 2017 at 20:24
  • @JimStewart Is it easily available in store? I honestly never been told about that type of oil before... Mar 20, 2017 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


In a closet or other inconspicuous area try applying pure undiluted orange oil in a thin layer. This will soften and extract the tung oil, then scrape the softened layer with a 4" or 8" wide razor scraper, periodically scraping off the scraper with a putty knife.

Then go over the floor with orange oil on a rag, then mineral spirits to remove the residue of orange oil. I haven't used this myself on hardwood, but have used it to remove adhesive from concrete.

I realize this may be just too expensive and perhaps sanding is the no nonense professional procedure, but sticky tung oil would probably gum up the sanding belts. And I just hate handling dust.

Edit If all you want to do is remove excess tung oil, maybe you could use an electric floor buffer with pads. Apply a thin layer of orange oil, let sit for 5 minutes or so then run the floor buffer with an absorbent pad over the oiled area. I would not use an electric buffer with highly volatile solvent like mineral spirits because of risk of fire or even explosion.

  • See edit to my answer. Mar 21, 2017 at 11:22
  • 1
    Definitely will be trying orange oil, I'll be on the lookout for that this week, I'll get back with the results! Mar 21, 2017 at 11:45
  • You sire, just saved my sanity. I did not find anything specific as "orange oil" at our local hardware store, but I did found some degreaser in the car section that was orange based. Now I was a little afraid because it said that there was some pumice in it, but eh, at the point, if I scratch the floor badly, I'll resand the thing but... How boy does it work! I just let the steel wool go and use a towel and it just work. So oranges just saved me ! Thank you! Mar 23, 2017 at 18:23
  • We used a product labelled "Citrus King Orange Oil www.citrusdepot.net P.O. Box 47254 St Petersburg FL 33743" You might be able to find this or equivalent at a professional cleaning products store. It is not cheap. Mar 23, 2017 at 21:36
  • What we bought was this, and it works wonders :) canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/… Mar 23, 2017 at 22:44

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