Yesterday a flask of olive oil accidentally dropped on our teak dining table. My spouse quickly used some paper towels to soak up most of the oil. The rest was evenly rubbed in to prevent spots. Naturally the wood now has changed color, it's gotten more reddish. Now my question is: will the olive oil smell after some time? Should I remove it? If so, how? Wood soap?

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    What ever you decide to use try it on the bottom first to see if you will cause any damage.
    – mikes
    Jun 17, 2012 at 20:52
  • That I'll definitely do. :)
    – Arne
    Jun 18, 2012 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


It could go rancid and smell for sure since it's a vegetable oil. It's definitely not used for finishing things like cutting boards for this very reason.

Soap and water are useful in getting oil off of things that are sealed, but if it's discolored the table I'm guessing it's not very well protected. That makes the problem difficult since any kind of oil seeps deeply into wood fibers. I'm not sure how far oil penetrates into Teak since it's a naturally oily wood in the first place.

If you do manage to get it cleaned up (which probably involves sanding and refinishing at the very least), it might be worthwhile to build a nice protective finish next time.

Check out this post for more information: How do I fix up an unfinished, oil-stained pine table?

  • The table is made from recycled Teak, and had not yet been prepared by anything. We used a mild wood soap to clean off whatever was left on the top, and now we'll see how the wood manages.
    – Arne
    Jul 31, 2012 at 6:27
  • As a comment after severalt months: The wood soap helped a bit, but in the end, we just applied some teak oil to the table. We did not plan on preparing it with any oil, but it worked out quite ok. During the winter, the wood shrunk a bit due to the dry air, so we had a carpenter fix it up again, and the table looks fine now.
    – Arne
    Apr 17, 2013 at 7:14

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