A bigger percentage of woodworkers turn to commercial wood polishes and sealants in their first wood finishing attempt—and for good reasons. They give instant results, are easy to apply, and readily available. However, what some people don’t understand is the fact that these polishes and sealants contain toxic chemicals that can cause a number of allergies. Additionally, you may have to purchase them in bulk even if you just need a small quantity for your small-scale wood project.
So what options do you have when you want to avoid the chemicals in commercial wood finishes? Well, you can easily make eco-friendly wood finishes with natural ingredients that are readily available at home. One of the best homemade wood polish recipes that you can use on your wood without major hassles is Olive Oil.
Why is Olive oil good for wood?
Generally, you can use any propriety oils, waxes, or wood polishes to treat your wood. However, Olive oil stands out from the crowd—and for myriad reasons:
- Olive oil naturally hydrates and polishes your wooden surfaces. Adding a couple Olive oil drops on your wood-cleaning water will keep your wood hydrated and with a nice sheen. Once in a while you may omit the water and substitute it with pure vinegar and Olive oil. This will bring out a clearly noticeable increased shine, look, and feel on your wood surface.
- It is also rich in phenols (bioactive compounds), and can significantly boosts the antibacterial properties of your wood
- Unlike varnish and lacquer, Olive oil is also considered to be a low volatile organic compound (VOC) because it treats the wood by absorbing oxygen and hardening instead of evaporating solvents and leaving behind a binder.
- Olive oil is a polishing agent and conditioner. It gives a nice shiny finishing, and feels good on your hand. Apply some oil to a cloth and rub it against the surface and leave it to dry up. The results are simply awe-inspiring!
- Olive oil is a good agent to buff scuff marks off your wooden surfaces. Carefully add a few drops of Olive oil to a dry cloth and buff it on the dull area around your wooden surfaces. Keep adding the oil in little bits as you buff .Allow it to dry and buff after an hour repeatedly until the area reaches a similar shine as the rest of the surface.
- Natural Paint Remover: you can use Olive oil to remove paint from your old wooden surfaces such as doors and furniture. The oil nourishes the surface naturally to make it as good as new in preparation for a new painting work (if necessary).
- Finally, Olive oil can be used to treat all sorts of wooden surfaces, including tables, chairs, spoons, bookcases, and floors. Besides, Olive oil treatment is wholesome to both the interior and exterior of your wood as it penetrates deep, reaching defects that you cannot recognize with your naked eye.
How to use Olive oil to treat your wood
To get the best results, use a mixture of Olive oil and essential oils. Although using Olive oil on its own will still work, essential oils will not only make it smell great, but will also boost its antibacterial properties.
Here are the ingredients that you will need:
- Olive oil
- Essential oils (Orange, lemon, Eucalyptus etc—choose the best two)
- A mixing bowl
- 2 pieces of clean dry cloth ( you don’t have to purchase these; old t-shirt rags or socks are just perfect)
- Pour the Olive oil in the mixing bowl and splash in some of your favorite essential oil (as a guide, for every cup of Olive oil add 30 to 40 drops of essential oil.
- Fold one piece of clean cloths and dip its end into the oil mixture
- Smoothly rub the oil mixture onto the wood
- Rub the oil back and forth until you are certain that the wood has absorbed the oil
- Apply the oil into the crevices, crannies, and nooks as well. Just ensure that there are no oil drops left on the wood surface.
- Leave it to dry for about 10 minutes and wipe the wood surface with the second piece of your clean cloth. Again, ensure that no oil is left on the surface. If your wood was treated previously, use this second piece of cloth to shine the surface.
NOTE: You need to apply 2-3 coats of the oil on untreated wood surfaces to get the best results. Basically, apply the oil until the wood stops absorbing the oil fast.
While Olive oil treatment will nourish your wood and bring out its natural shine without damaging it, you need to exercise some caution to ensure that everything ends smoothly:
- You should limit the frequency Olive oil treatment because like other wood polishes, it can make your wood surface difficult to varnish or paint in future. It’s recommended to use it once in a year.
- While Olive oil can be used to treat all types of wood surfaces (worktops, chairs, storage boxes, wicker baskets, and bookcases etc), like any other polish, endeavor to use it sparingly on vanished surfaces.
- When treating chopping boards and wood spoons, it is recommended to use Olive Oil on its own so that you don’t taint them with strange smell.
- Depending on the size of your project, you only need to use small amount of Olive oil. In other words, don’t use too much oil.
One of the best ways to skip those harmful chemicals in conventional wood polishes is to turn to Mother Nature for clean, natural alternatives. And when it comes to the best natural wood finishes/polishes, Olive oil is your best bet: it provides unmatched greener and eco-friendly way of polishing your wood surfaces. What’s more, Olive oil is readily available, isn’t smelly or sticky, and very safe to your kids and pets.