Solid wood worktops are a perennial favourite for homeowners around the world, as they bring a touch of natural beauty and warmth to any kitchen. Beyond aesthetics, however, wooden worktops also offer high levels of durability and resilience, and are suitable for preparing all manner of foods.

Choosing worktops for your home can be daunting, given the huge range available, but once you have them installed, some aftercare will be needed to keep them at their best.

Oiling

The best way to help keep a worktop in top condition is to oil its surface from time to time, as it adds character and depth to the wood. Oil is simple to apply, and gives the wood a water-resistant finish.

The best way to do this is to pour oil straight onto the worktop before spreading it on in the grain’s direction (ideally using a lint-free cotton cloth). You should apply it in a thin film, and then leave for around 10 minutes. Following this, use the same cloth to even the coating out—you’ll know this is working if the cloth runs over the surface in an effortless glide; if you feel some resistance, then simply apply a little more oil and repeat the process. This first oiling should dry within a few hours, though the next coatings will need several hours.

When the worktop has been oiled, its surface will have a sheen, which will eventually wear through use. You might want to oil your worktops every three to six months—this will help to keep them at their best.

Which Oil?

Which type of oil should you use on your worktops? There are several available:

·         Linseed oil: taken from flax plant seeds, and then boiled to eliminate impurities, which helps it dry faster.

·         Teak Oil: a mix of numerous vegetable oils, with no connection to the wood known as teak.

·         Danish Oil: this is a combination of different oils (including Linseed and Tung), with additives to boost the drying process.

·         Tung oil: extracted from a tree typically found in Africa, China and South America.

Which of these you choose is down to you, dependent on budget and product availability—all should work well on your wooden worktops.

And a few final thoughts …

To clean your worktops, simply dip a cloth in some soapy warm water, wring it out then wipe them down. That’s it! Also, be sure to clean up any liquid spillages as soon as you can—finishing oil is generally water-resistant, but not fully waterproof. Avoid chopping foods directly on your worktops to prevent scratches and marks—use a chopping board instead