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Nov 30, 2007 05:47 AM

Scratched and stained the wooden countertop

I really stupidly left a wet steel can sitting on the wooden countertop last night and I woke up this morning to find that it has left a dark semi circular stain. I scrubbed the stain to see if I could remove any of it, but all I've really done is make things worse. The small area I scrubbed now appears white compared to the rest of the surface because I've clearly removed the finish.

Does anyone have any advice on how to treat this? I've been reading through past posts about using oil, but I want to know whether I would have to sand the whole surface and then oil it, or whether I can just oil this small patch and make it blend back in with the rest of the surface.

Any advice would be gratefully received. I'm really stressing out about it because I'm just renting here, and my flatmate, who owns the place is coming back on Sunday. I feel terrible for having ruined the countertop.

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  1. If the countertop has an oiled surface you should be able to sand the stained area & blend the oil with the rest of the countertop. It probably won't match perfectly right away, but over time should be fine. If it is not an oiled finish, it will be more difficult for an inexperienced person to fix with minimum visibilty.

    1. I wonder if a little white vinegar or bleach (both used to sterilize wood cutting surfaces) would bleach out the stain? Not sure.

      If the stain is not too deep, you could sand it specifically and try to oil. If it is deep you'd need to sand the whole surface (to maintain a flat counter finish) then oil.

      Is the current finish a hard covering material (like poly) or a simple oil finish, suitable for cutting food?

      1. I went through the same thing. What really works is oxalic acid which happens to be one of the components in Barkeeper's Friend. Usually I mix up a slurry of BKF and water and "paint" it on the stain. Leave it to dry for a bit and then wipe it off. The stain should be much better, and you can always repeat or leave it longer. The only thing you might have to wary of is the acid can actually bleach the wood--making it lighter than the surrounding area. Not a big deal to me, as our wood counter has a bit of uneven patina, which I like. When (if?) you oil your countertop with mineral oil, it should all start to even out anyway. Try it, I think you'll be happy.

        1. As a cook,who's also been a painter and has built shelves..speakers,restored stuff....I can tell you there is NO easy fix. Basically...redo the top. Use a remover to take off any clear coat and most of the stain. Sand. Sand some more---you might want to buy a belt sander. when the stain is gone and the color is all even.....then you apply wood stain. Let that dry. Find some Man O' War SPAR VARNISH. This goes on easy and even and was originally to protect the wood on sailboats. It won't get water marks like a thin lacquer or varnish can . Used it on my Oak kitchen table I refinished....easy to deal with..wipe clean,don't need coasters.

          1. Upon re-reading....It's sounding like the countertop really had no more than an oiled finish,and while that's less grief to fix you still man need to redo the whole top. Try a product that removes floor wax.

            I'd ask the housemate about coating with the spar varnish to prevent this happening again.
            It's easy if you don't have to sand off a lot of prior woodstain/color.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rerem

              I really doubt that anyone would have a counter top in a home kitchen that is varnished.

              I have been to cocktail bars that use this stuff:

              Very durable, shiny varnished look, might be ok for an side table, but not something that would look good in a kitchen..

              I think the other issue is that the resons in regular varnish are not "approved for direct contact with food" -- this stuff is:

              I don't really believe that varnish is unsafe around a table/countertop, but if you know food is going to be on a countertop I would think that you'd want something tested safe. Again, this will give a SHINY varnished look too.