2 Little Superheroes
2 Little Superheroes
  • Hometalker
  • Raleigh, NC

Refinishing Old Wood with Coconut Oil

30 Minutes

To refinish old dry wood simply sand and wash with warm soapy water. Let the wood dry out (after washing it). Now using a clean dry rag apply a thin coat of coconut oil. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so, and then buff (wipe in a circular motion). Repeat if the wood is really dry.
For this piece I also applied a coat of Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Wax as added protection.
The coconut oil brought out the natural color of the wood, re-hydrated the wood, and took away that old musty barn smell. Oh yeah and it's also a great hand moisturizer. It's a win-win!
I am so happy with the results and the best part is it totally non-toxic (people eat coconut oil) so the kids helped me with this project.
Apply coconut oil with dry rag.
Apply coconut oil with dry rag.
Finished wood. NO stain was applied that is just from the coconut oil!
Finished wood. NO stain was applied that is just from the coconut oil!
The table before.
The table before.
refinishing old wood with coconut oil, painted furniture
refinishing old wood with coconut oil, painted furniture
I left the original paint finish. But applied a coat of the coconut oil over top of the paint (since the wood shows through).
I left the original paint finish. But applied a coat of the coconut oil over top of the paint (since the wood shows through).
refinishing old wood with coconut oil, painted furniture
refinishing old wood with coconut oil, painted furniture
2 Little Superheroes

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

29 questions
  • Kei4071039
    on Jan 19, 2016

    Do you think this would work on old hardwood floors? Would it leave them too sticky?

    • Kristl DeBord
      on Feb 4, 2016

      I've used it on my old wood floors! You have to buff really well, or it will leave a residue, but it'll eventually go away. It's worked on some scratches, and a bad pet stain we found after we pulled up old nasty dog pee carpet. I had to sand the stain a bit first. It's not perfect, but looks much better!!

    • Chr297988
      on Jul 16, 2016

      I used straight coconut oil on my old singer sewing machine cabinet and my antique desk that's very old. They came out beautiful! I live in Colorado so it's very dry here. Next I'm doing my kitchen cabinets since the mr won't let me paint them. 🙁

    • Karin Studer
      on Jul 17, 2016

      Do I have to sand kitchen cabinets or can I just apply coco. Oil?

    • Dawn
      on Jul 21, 2016

      I'm curious about using this to refurbish my kitchen cabinets too

    • Diane Gardiner
      on Oct 16, 2016

      Could I use coconut oil on a Seagrams / wicker sofa?

  • Rox2051223
    on Jun 1, 2016

    Do you think that I could use coconut oil on a painted antique jelly cubbord. A lot of the paint is worn off, but I don't want to sand it because I like the very primitive look. The wood is very dry though, so I would like to condition it without altering it in any way.

    • Nancy Storer
      on Jul 16, 2016

      I would try a test spot in an inconspicuous area first, but it seems reasonable that it would work.

    • Lynne Webb
      on Jul 17, 2016

      Seems to me any remaining paint would hinder penetration of the coconut oil into the wood. But, it maybe would give character where it did go in.

    • Annie Doherty
      on Jul 21, 2016

      It wouldn't harm the piece, but would condition it and I would concur with Lynne that it would enhance to the character.

    • Rox2051223
      on Jul 21, 2016

      I used the coconut oil over the whole piece and it turned out great. The piece is now sitting in my living room and it's definitely a focal point of the room. Thanks for the information.

  • Véronique
    on Jun 16, 2016

    Is it possible with a garden's table?

  • Jackie Valenzuela
    on Jul 21, 2016

    Where do you go to buy the coconut oil ?

    • Paula
      on Jul 21, 2016

      you can buy it at grocery stores - it's near the regular cooking oils.... or you can also get it at health food stores, but same thing and more expensive!

    • Hunter Hampton
      on Jul 21, 2016

      TJ Maxx almost always has it. Plus every grocery store.

    • Annie Doherty
      on Jul 21, 2016

      Hi Jackie most Health food shops, Amazon sell it to also you may also find it some supermarkets , good luck.

  • Dna7771393
    on Jul 21, 2016

    Will Coconut oil go rancid?

    • Lynda
      on Jul 21, 2016

      It shouldn't. Coconut oil is very shelf stable and you could also reapply it as needed to keep your wood protected and mousturized.

    • Susan
      on Jul 21, 2016

      Yes, any plant based or animal based oil might very well turn rancid. That happens when the oil dehydrates and it leaves a sticky, thick residue that is very difficult to remove without strong chemicals.

    • Gee8579871
      on Jul 21, 2016

      I have been using coconut oil for lots of different projects for many years. It does not have to be refrigerated and it has never gotten rancid. I also treat my cutting boards with it. There are oodles of ways to use coconut oil.

    • 2 Little Superheroes
      on Jul 22, 2016

      I used this on my table 4 years ago and it has not gone rancid as of yet

    • Connie Gonzales
      on Jul 27, 2016

      Believe or not I mix 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup corn starch, this excellent as a deodorant. Allegations are that breast cancer has been caused by regular deodorants on the shelf.

  • Lor8696353
    on Jul 21, 2016

    Can I do this on a unfinished wood floor?

  • Anita Whitlow Sparks
    on Jul 21, 2016

    Is coconut oil the same everywhere? I just saw some at Walmart one where the cooking oils are, so would that be the same consistency as what you used?

    • Linda
      on Jul 21, 2016

      If you're getting it just to use on furniture, it's all pretty equivalent. For personal consumption, it's best to buy organic.

    • Carol
      on Jul 23, 2016

      I recently read (on this site, I believe) about 'fractionated' coconut oil, which will not become rancid. I believe someone had said it was available at Walmart.

    • Mary
      on Aug 29, 2016

      I have Nutiva brand. I've had it for 2 years and it is not rancid. Native is organic and that is all I use for everything.

    • Patty
      on Oct 16, 2016

      For furniture, use a cheap coconut oil. It is refined and not cold pressed. Both of those are not good health-wise. Still fine for furniture though.

  • Jacqui Horner
    on Jul 22, 2016

    Hi, I live in a country where we have coconut and coconut oil in abundance, so am wanting to try this... Just wanted to know if it has left an oily residue or if the wood absorbed it all? And also, I know that coconut oil can stain clothing/fabrics have you experienced this from the refined oil? Sorry if I sound negative, but I do love the results, your table looks amazing... X

    • Janice Miles
      on Jul 30, 2016

      I tried it and it did not leave a residue. I loved it!

    • Gerry L. Wallmow
      on Sep 4, 2016

      I have found that coconut oil is water soluble.I love it myself.

    • Michelle
      on Sep 5, 2016

      Is this the same coconut oil used for normal household use: moisturizer, in my coffee, cooking, etc. I use it for tons of things. making sure its not something special for furniture.

  • JESS
    on Jul 24, 2016

    how does using coconut oil compare to linseed oil? any thoughts?

    • IFortuna
      on Jul 26, 2016

      I think a drying oil like tung or linseed oil is better for sealing and general raw wood care. We use tung oil and water beads on our wood counter and we can set hot or cold drinks on it without concern. Tung oil has been used for about 5000 years or more with use beginning in China. Coconut oil is an oil that probably will not ever dry so I don't know what the consequences are. : )

    • Carrol Aizenman
      on Sep 10, 2016

      I used coconut oil about 2 weeks ago on an antique English sideboard that was looking quite drab. I was very generous with the oil & my hands loved it. I let the oil sit for about ten minutes and buffed. I waited another hour and buffed again. There is not a greasy feel anywhere on the wood and I used the oil inside the cabinet as well as out. The thing I love is that there are no fumes and this is easy convenient as I always have coconut oil on hand and the results are astounding.

    • Wsl7304262
      on Oct 17, 2016

      And it is not a chemical....plus the health benefits from coconut oil....

  • Melissa Glennie Yajko
    on Sep 1, 2016

    does this work with outdoor furniture?

    • Norma
      on Sep 14, 2016

      I would not use poly because it may not dry. But you can use a finishing wax. It works as a sealant.

  • Jackie Byrd
    on Sep 11, 2016

    I read the this thread and the blog and didn't see anything about the smell. Doesn't it smell like, um, I'd don't know, like... coconuts? It's it a big smell if you rubbed it all over a table? Doesn't your whole house smell like coconuts? And, seeing that it is organic doesn't it attract creepy crawlies? Don't get me wrong, I like the smell of coconut, my shampoo has it, I'm just wondering if now it's all over your house all the time.

    • Kelly Nickolaus
      on Sep 13, 2016

      You can buy 'unflavored' coconut oil that has no smell...Amazon.com, etc

    • Jackie Byrd
      on Sep 13, 2016

      That's a good tip Kelly, but I'm wondering what it is like in her house.

    • Carrie Mae OHara
      on Sep 14, 2016

      I use coconut oil a lot. If you get the kind that says it's made from young coconuts, there will be neither a coconut flavor or scent. I get it at WalMart, believe it or not, for about $7 for 30 ounces.

    • Wsl7304262
      on Sep 19, 2016

      we add a spoon of coconut oil to our coffee every morning and it doesn't change the taste of the coffee .....it' s good for about everything without much of a smell....

    • Bonny Batchelor
      on Oct 13, 2016

      You can buy coconut oil at any WalMart or grocery store. Buy it on the "cooking" oil aisle. Don't buy it in the pharmacy/vitamin area or "organic" areas. The cost escalates (triples) for the same oil! I use it for my furniture and an added bonus.. Condition your hair, body etc. It leaves you and your hair hydrated, skin - soft and supple. It is a FAB product that is so very versatile.

    • Patty
      on Oct 16, 2016

      There is a big difference between the cheap coconut oil and more expensive. The more expensive is cold pressed (During cold pressing, the oil from the coconut meat is mechanically pressed at temperatures not exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to preserve its healthful benefits. Pure cold-pressed coconut oil is also not refined, processed or deodorized). I would use a cheap coconut oil for projects and the more expensive for anything to do with anything to do with your body.

    • Sherry
      on Dec 7, 2016

      I use organic coconut oil as a moisturizer all over or anywhere where my skin is dry and it's wonderful as a makeup remover too! It doesn't have that overwhelming smell either! I've never used it on furniture!

  • Joyce
    on Sep 12, 2016

    After the coconut oil dries, can you add polyurethane?

    • Judyann Affronti
      on Oct 26, 2016

      Not a good idea. When you use any type of varnish on wood, surface oils must be removed. The poly will never dry completely over the coconut oil and will stay tacky.

    • Melissa V
      on Nov 20, 2016

      Really? Good to know, thank you.

  • Jay
    on Oct 4, 2016

    Does the coconut oil make it waterproof? If not how could you waterproof the wood for outdoors. Plus can I use coconut oil in place of tha expensive Teak oil on my outdoor teak furniture? Thank you kindly.

    • Melissa V
      on Nov 20, 2016

      Hi Jay...I think when wood is treated correctly with oil (like a cutting board, for instance), it becomes water-resistant, not waterproof. As far as your beautiful teak furniture, I would follow the manufacturers recommended maintenance for teak. Yes the oil is a bit pricey, but so is your investment in the furniture. Hope that helps.

    • Dorothy Sittler
      on Feb 28, 2017

      What about Tung Oil? Which is better for environment and exterior or interior use?

    • Jay
      on Feb 28, 2017

      I don't know the difference between Tung Oil & Teak? Does anyone have that answer please? TYIA

  • Gol6530433
    on Oct 18, 2016

    what color is on the legs of this table and where can I get the EXACT color?

    • Elizabeth Siegle
      on Oct 26, 2016

      That's the original paint

    • Drgoodie
      on Nov 5, 2016

      I did a right click on the photo and chose "search google for image" Some of the photos that come up might be the color you want and lead you to a DIY-er's paint.

    • Melissa V
      on Nov 20, 2016

      She does mention that the oil helps get rid of the "musty old barn smell", so I'm guessing from looking at the "before" pictures and her comment, that it was pretty old (ya think?)...however, if you can enlarge the picture on your computer screen and print a finished leg with the color to your satisfaction, you can take that to any home improvement store and they can match the paint color exactly (pretty neat). 😉

  • Vivian hughes
    on Oct 28, 2016

    If I want to stain it due to chips in the paint can I still use the coconut oil afterwards

  • Jay
    on Mar 13, 2017

    Did you apply the "stain/paint/wax" (Sorry I forgot what it was already! Lol) over the coconut oil? How long does the coconut oil take to dry? I'd be afraid it would get ransid & attract bugs or Dogs! What do you do to prevent that from happening please? Thank you kindly

  • Inetia
    on Mar 14, 2017

    Did you just kept applying the oil till the wood stopped absorbing it? And did you do this on a warm day to aid the absorption of the coconut oil? Did you dry wipe it before applying the wax coat?.

  • Barbara Berrong
    on Jun 10, 2017

    Can u do it on dark stained cabinets also just need a new face lift. Thanks!
  • Darlene Chinchar
    on Jun 10, 2017

    How long does the oil last? Does it fade eventually or dry out? What about buffing after for more luster?
  • Susan
    on Jun 10, 2017

    Can you use on antique finished furniture to clean old wax, hand stains etc??
  • Donfg2007
    on Jun 11, 2017

    • Lisa Cantrell
      on Jul 12, 2017

      I have used coconut oil with lemon juice as furniture polish but make sure to get the Refined oil (no smell) and have had no problems.
  • Gayla Edwards Hart
    on Jun 25, 2017

    Will the coconut oil protect a dining table from water and food spills? My 43 year old dining table top needs help. it is stained and has a poly type stain.

  • Carlotta Lewis
    on Jul 4, 2017

    What grit of sandpaper do you use
  • Carlotta Lewis
    on Jul 4, 2017

    What grit of sandpaper I really want to do this
  • Jan Donaldson
    on Jan 2, 2018

    How do you get rid of black water stains on an untreated oak table? Will coconut oil blend them away?

    • Jim Beaty
      on Apr 23, 2018

      Mix up mild a solution of barkeeper's friend (oxalic acid) and hot water. Brush it on, scrub it a bit, let stand for 10-15 minutes and rinse with clean water. It should dry minus your stain.

  • Beverlyjorgensen2
    on Apr 2, 2018

    What grit is the sandpaper. I am assuming fine????

  • Bonnie
    on May 24, 2018

    Has anyone tried this on oiled walnut furniture?

  • Francois
    on Nov 21, 2018

    Does the table surface become greasy after applying coconut oil

    • Francois
      on Nov 21, 2018


    • Julie Ann Jensen-Whitesell
      on Nov 28, 2018

      It soaks in really nice. I leave the coconut oil on for a little bit. Then I buff with a clean soft rag.

    • Heidid64
      on Jan 25, 2019

      It gets absorbed by the wood, conditioning it. Then you wipe off the extra. I've used it on wooden art pieces my aunt bought home from Europe (I believe Spain) about 40 years ago.

  • Jodie
    on Mar 17, 2019

    I want to try this process, but I was wondering if the wood is reconditioned, after allowing the coconut oil to dry, can I apply a stain and then seal it with polyurethane?

    Thank you for any advice!

    • Jewellmartin
      6 days ago

      If you stain on top of oil, you will get an uneven finish. One of the first directions is to buff the wood in circles with the oil. All of which forms a light barrier to stains from drying evenly and with the intended color. With a table as rough as this one, I’m amazed at the beauty of the top, but the coconut 🥥 oil made it beautiful.

    • Jodie
      4 days ago

      Thank you Jewellmartin

Join the conversation

3 of 124 comments
  • Lisa
    on Jun 13, 2017

    Couldn't you use unscented and unflavored coconut oil???? Just saying! Also, due to the high cost of coconut oil, I just get murphys oil soap for the fraction of the cost, and old English for staining.
  • Bobbie hudson
    on Oct 1, 2018

    I’m inspired, I have two tables that my parents set up house keeping with in the early 60’s and the tops are showing wear and I have wondered what I could do to bring them back to life. Now I know I’m going to get some coconut oil and after I go thru your steps use the oil and see how they turn out. So glad I saw this.

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