How to Clean up Spilled Essential Oil Stains from a Wood Table?

Cleaning essential oil stains on wood

I have used essential oils many times to scent my home.

And have experienced that the bottles in which essential oil comes are sometimes tricky to open – yes, they can be very tricky.

I have spilled essential oils on my wooden table a few times.

While it will not be easy to eliminate the discoloration and odor caused by essential oils entirely, you can still clean it up with some simple steps and techniques.

One of the best ways to remove tough essential oil stains on wood is by using baking soda, a dry cleaning solvent, and Fuller’s Earth.

The process will need some elbow and grease, but it will indeed work like a charm in cleaning your wood table and looking as good as new.

Below in this article, I will give you more details on how to use this method, along with a few other alternative methods that are relatively easier.

Also, I will discuss which essential oils tend to leave the worst stain and how you can avoid critical oil stains in the first place. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Which Essential Oils Leave The Worst Stain?

When getting started, you first need to identify the type of essential oil that has spilled on your wood table or hardwood floors.

This is important as some essential oils are more likely to cause staining than others.

For instance, darker and thicker oils such as cinnamon, clove, patchouli, and vetiver are more likely to cause staining than lighter oils such as lemon, bergamot, and lavender.

Thus, it is best to act when you have spilled any of these oils on your wood table or flooring, as they can cause permanent damage if not cleaned immediately.

Removing Spilled Essential Oil on Wood – Step By Step

Once you have identified the oil, the next step is to take some preventive measures so that the oil does not spread any further and cause more damage.

For this, you can either blot the area with a clean cloth or white paper towels. This will help to absorb the maximum amount of oil from the surface.

Once you have done that, it’s time to move on to cleaning.

Method 1 – Dishwashing Liquid

The most effective way to remove the fresh spills of essential oils from your wood table is by using a dishwashing liquid.

For this, you will need the following:

  1. A bowl of warm water
  2. One teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
  3. A clean and soft cloth


Step 1. Mix one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in a bowl with a cup of warm water.

Step 2. Dip the clean, soft cloth in this mixture and wring out the excess water.

Step 3. Gently rub this cloth on the spillage area in a circular motion until the stain starts to disappear.

Step 4. Once the stain is gone, wipe the area with a dry and clean cloth to remove any leftover residue.

Step 5. Finally, polish the wood surface with a wood furniture polish to restore its shine.

This essential oil removal method is pretty safe and can be used to clean the spills on wood, plastic, fabric, and upholstery.

But to be safe, do a patch test on an inconspicuous area before using this method on the stained surface.

Method 2 – Vinegar + Stain Removing Laundry Detergent

Another effective way to remove essential oil spills from your wood table, carpet, or clothes is using stain-removing laundry detergents.

For this, you will need the following:

  1. 1 part of white vinegar
  2.  parts of warm water
  3.  A clean and soft cloth
  4. Stain-removing laundry detergent


1. Mix 1 part of white vinegar with two parts of warm water in a bowl.

2. Soak a clean and soft cloth in the mixture and then use it to wipe off the essential oil spilled from your wooden table.

3. Once the spill has been removed, apply some stain-removing laundry detergent directly to the affected area.

4. Rub it in using a clean and soft cloth.

5. Rinse the area with warm water and then dry it thoroughly using a clean towel.

Repeat the process as necessary till the stain is completely removed.

Method 3 – Baking Soda + Dry Cleaning Solvent and Fuller’s Earth

If the scented oil stain on the furniture or floor has already caused discoloration, the above methods might not work well.

You will instead need to make a baking soda and Fuller’s Earth to remove the essential oil spill.

The discoloration on the wood is generally because the essential oils are absorbed deeply into the wood surface.

Remember that rough, unfinished wood will tend to absorb more oil than smooth painted surfaces.

So you will work accordingly to draw the oil out of the surface without damaging the finish.

For this, you will need the following:

  1. 1/4 cup of baking soda
  2. 1/4 cup dry cleaning solvent
  3. Three tablespoons Fuller’s Earth
  4. A clean and a soft cloth


1. Sprinkle the baking soda on the wood surface that’s stained with scented oil

2. Leave it on for about 10-15 minutes so that it absorbs the oil from the wood

3. With a soft brush, remove the baking soda from the furniture surface and put it in the trash.

4. Mix dry cleaning solvent and tablespoons of Fuller’s Earth in a small cup or a bowl. Stir them to make a paste.

5. Apply this generously onto the affected area using a soft cloth.

6. Leave it on for about 15-25 minutes so the paste can sink in and do its job. As the paste dries, it will draw the remaining stain and odor out of your wood surface.

7. Wipe away the dried paste with a clean damp cloth or a scrub brush.

8. If the stain is still visible, you can repeat the steps one more time until it is completely gone.

9. Finally, use a dry and soft cloth to wipe away any residue and let the area air dry completely.

10. if required, buff the furniture with an appropriate wood cleaner or a polish to restore the shine.

A word of caution: Getting the EO stains entirely out of rough, untreated, or unfinished wood is almost impossible.

So, if you are unsure about the method or the results, it is best to call in a professional.

Also, it’s good to check the preventive measures and ways by which you can prevent oil spills in the future.

few steps to remove spilled essential oil

How Can You Avoid Essential Oil Stains on Wood in the First Place?

You can do a few things to avoid any essential oil mishaps.

The best way to avoid concentrated essential oil stains on your clothes and nearby surfaces is by being careful while handling them.

Tip 1- Always use a dropper (or pipette) when transferring oils from the bottle to another container, especially when using an EO for your diffuser.

Tip 2- If using a spray bottle to mist your diffuser, be extra careful while holding it. This will help avoid spills or mess near your bed, couch or sofa.

Tip 3- It also helps if you use a tray or a coaster while diffusing essential oils so that in case there is any spillage, it will be contained.

And you can simply wipe it off the tray or coaster instead of dealing with an enormous mess on your wooden table or floor.

Tip 4- When storing the essential oils, keep them in a safe place, away from the reach of children or pets.

The best is to keep them in a cool and dark place (in a cupboard with the lid on your essential oil bottle) to help preserve their therapeutic properties.

Tip 5- Even after all the measures and precautions, if you happen to get spills on your clothes or wood, immediately remove the piece of clothing and wash it with cold water.

Clean the wood as soon as possible using one of the above treatment processes.

The sooner you treat the spill, the better your chance of removing the essential oil thoroughly.

The Bottom Line

Essential oils are amazing for our health and well-being, but we must be cautious when using them.

As they are very concentrated, it is essential to take proper measures to avoid accidents.

Just in case you get spills on your clothes or wood, don’t panic. Follow the above guidelines, and you will be good to go.

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