I ignored the warnings about not getting spray disinfectant on our oak kitchen surface which is finished with Danish oil, and now the surface has become really sticky, attracting dust and crumbs and is now really hard to keep clean.

It's been like this for a couple of months so I don't think it's because it's still drying out. So what can I do to fix this? Can anything be done with what is there or will I need to remove and reapply. If I need to remove it, what is the best way? Sanding isn't an option as the stickiness just clogs up the sander, so it will need to be chemical, but what can I use that will do the job but not be too harsh?


Actually I've found the perfect chemical for stripping Danish Oil: The exact same spray disinfectant that caused the problem in the first place! Spray it on and leave it for a few hours and the oil scrapes off without damaging the wood.

  • Did you reapply the Danish oil afterward? If so, was there any problem with residue from the disinfectant? – Niall C. Jun 25 '14 at 2:28
  • No, I sanded it afterwards so no residue. Then reapplied a thinner layer of danish oil which doesn't become sticky. – Paul T Davies Jul 1 '14 at 13:13

Danish oil, like linseed and tung oil, can take up to a month for fully cure (from inside, out). Too old an oil may also turn tacky (surface dried but oil-in-wood hasn't).

The cure for either is a mineral spirit or turpentine wipe down, several times, spanning several days. Don't recoat until you don't smell the finish at the surface.

Then, recoat with a slightly thinned or new can of the danish oil, wiping down as directed.

By-the-by, be sure to wash (with soap) any rags/paper towels after using Danish oil/linseed.. They can spontaneously combust!!!

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    Nothing makes you a believer in the power of lindseed oil like forgetting one semicrumpled up rag and finding the center turned into a feathery web of black carbon ash. Fortunately, the work area was outside where nothing could catch fire. The oxidation/polymerization reaction is exothermic, respect it. – Fiasco Labs Jun 20 '13 at 13:48

I had the same problem.

I wiped the tacky areas with a very small amount of olive oil.

Problem solved.

  • Yes this worked for me too. The surface was quite tacky even after several days since oiling. Wiping with olive oil and buffing sorted it. Stickiness all gone and now nice smooth and shiny. – Will Keeling Dec 30 '17 at 15:05

My Danish oil also wasn't drying. But then I put olive oil on it, and worked that in. The result was that both oils worked into the wood without any stickiness! The reason I have been informed is that ANY oil would really do the job, it's just that the Danish oil obviously needed a helping hand to absorb. So just apply and work in, some basic oil (I used olive). Should solve the problem!!


I just used a regular Pledge furniture oil spray, nothing special. It just wiped off nicely. Some of the color did come up but not much; it looks fine and feels clean. Try it in an inconspicuous place first, it worked great for me.


We had horrendous problems with our wooden kitchen worktops feeling sticky, they had been previously treated with Danish oil. The problem is now solved! Scrape all the previous coatings off til you're down to the bear wood, wipe with turps or white spirit and allow to dry overnight. Don't try sanding as the old oil just clogs up the sander. Buy Ronseal worktop oil. It's antibacterial and guards against MRSA and e-coli. It has no fumes, is easily applied with brush or cloth, dries brilliantly with no trace of stickiness and is waterproof! Sorted!

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