A badly closed bottle of essential oil spilled out on my wooden wine shelf and soaked through, dissolving the paint from anything it touched. No amount of washing with dish washing liquid helps. It's still there all sticky and smelling very intensely. I would like to repaint the shelf, but I'm worried the paint won't stick to the wood unless I somehow clean up the spill. What can I use to remove it?

Wine rack with lifted paint from the oil spill
click to embiggen

  • 2
    Scraping and sanding down to clean wood probably to remove oil. Adding more chemicals to remove oil probably won't work well.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 14:40

1 Answer 1

  • Blot with alcohol on a clean rag (repeatedly) to draw as much as possible out of the wood.

  • Wash with trisodium phosphate. (commonly sold in paint stores for painting prep, since it's gone out of more general use due to water pollution issues with excess phosphates in wastewater streams.)

  • Prime with a shellac-based primer to contain bleed-through.

  • Would you recommend sanding before blotting to strip the paint first? When I tried blotting with alcohol soaked rags it was mostly paint coming off and a bit of essential oil. And would sanding + some other compound work as well as trisodium phosphate for cleaning? It's a bit hard getting a hold of trisodium phosphate, but if nothing is as good I'll try to get my hands on some. Thanks! Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 3:41
  • You can certainly try other things. Washing soda or baking soda (sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate) are possible options, mixed with a little water to make a paste. Not sure that removing paint that has not already been removed by the oil is going to help much, but you can if you like, of course.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 16:13

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