How to Fix Sticky Teak Oil? (2 Easy Fixes)

The last thing you want after applying Teak oil is for the wood oil to remain sticky. So how do you fix sticky Teak oil?

The best way to fix sticky Teak oil is to remove the wood oil. You can remove sticky Teak oil with mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, or turpentine. When the wood oil is removed, then you can properly prepare the surface and reapply the Teak oil correctly. This method works in all cases.

You can also try dissolving the Teak oil with mineral spirits and wiping off the excess Teak oil with a rag. This method works when the teak oil isn’t drying because you applied too many coats. When you wipe off the excess Teak oil, it will get dry. But that’s not all.

This article goes deeper into the causes and fixes of sticky Teak oil. So let’s dive in to discover more.

Why Does Teak Oil Get Sticky?

Different reasons cause Teak oil to turn sticky. But before we go diving into the causes, you should know that the main reason Teak oil remains sticky is that the wood oil is not drying.

Now, the reasons we would examine below are the different factors that can stop Teak oil from drying as it should. Here are common reasons Teak oil turns sticky:

1. You Applied Too Much Teak Oil

This is usually the culprit for sticky Teak oil. If you apply too many coats of wood oil, it will take very long to dry and will remain sticky and smelly for several days. The reason for this is that Teak oil isn’t fast drying. Most DIYers are usually deceived by the thin nature of Teak oil. The thin nature of the wood oil doesn’t mean it dries fast. It just makes the wood oil easier to apply.

Teak oil like every other wood oil dries slowly and can take over a week to fully cure. Raw Teak oil especially can take up to a month to cure. So if you apply too many coats of Teak oil due to the thin nature of the finish, the Teak oil will take longer to dry fully and will remain sticky and messy.

2. You Didn’t Wipe the Teak Oil After Applying

The next usual reason for sticky Teak oil among DIYers is that they forgot to wipe off the excess Teak oil. After you apply Teak oil, you are usually required to wipe off the excess oil on the finish to allow it to dry properly.

If you don’t wipe off the excess, then there will be too much Teak oil on the surface causing the finish to not dry and turn sticky. So after applying Teak oil, always run a clean cloth across the surface to wipe off excess Teak oil.

3. The Teak Oil Has Gone Bad

Another reason for Teak oil turning sticky is if the wood oil has gone bad. Teak oil sometimes contains additives and solvents that generally don’t last long when dissolved in oil.

When these additives go bad, they cause bacteria that damage the Teak oil too. Also, if the Teak oil has been opened before or lasted more than 7 years in storage, then the wood oil may have gone bad.

If you apply such Teak oil, it will turn sticky and will never dry. Asides from being sticky, the bad Teak oil would smell foul and will not stick to the surface well. If you suspect that the Teak oil has gone bad, don’t even bother using it.

4. The Weather or Temperature Is Below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit

Like all finishes, Teak oil also needs the proper temperature to dry well. If you apply Teak oil in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then the oil will turn sticky. This is because the temperature will be too cold for the Teak oil to dry.

It’s best to apply Teak oil when the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature lower than that can cause the Teak oil to turn into a sticky mess.

5. Not Enough Dry Time

Teak oil needs at least 4 hours of dry time to dry enough to touch. On average, you should leave the Teak oil to dry for about 6 hours before it can be touched. If you touch the Teak oil too soon, then it will be sticky.

6. Improper Surface Preparation

Bad surface prep can also cause Teak oil to turn sticky. For instance, if you apply Teak oil over a stained or wet surface, the Teak oil will turn sticky. This is because the moisture or stain on the surface will not allow the Teak oil to dry and if the wood oil isn’t drying, then it will turn sticky.

Do You Need To Wipe Off Teak Oil After Applying?

Do You Need To Wipe Off Teak Oil After Applying

You need to wipe off excess Teak oil in about 30 minutes after applying the finish to allow the Teak oil to dry properly. If you don’t wipe off the excess Teak oil, then there will be too many coats and the finish will not dry as it should causing it to turn sticky and smelly.

Teak oil is a penetrating finish meaning that for Teak oil to stick and dry properly, it needs to penetrate the wood pores. So each coat or layer of Teak oil that you apply is going to fill the pores in the wood till there isn’t any space in the pores anymore. When the pores are fully soaked with Teak oil, each successive coat that you add will not penetrate the wood and as such will not dry properly.

So you are always required to wait about 30 minutes after applying the wood oil to allow it to soak into the wood pores. After 30 minutes, any Teak oil residue that you see on the surface is excess Teak oil and should be wiped off. If you don’t wipe the excess Teak oil, the finish will not dry and will turn sticky.

How Long Does It Take For Teak Oil To Dry?

How Long Does It Take For Teak Oil To Dry?

It takes between 2 hours and 10 hours for Teak oil to dry. On average, Teak oil will dry in about 6 hours and cure in about 3 days. The long dry and cure time is due to the oily nature of the finish.

You should know that the dry time of the Teak oil depends on the number of coats and drying conditions of the Teak oil. For instance, if you apply Teak oil in warm weather or during the summer season, it will dry faster than the Teak oil that you applied in cold temperatures or during the winter season.

You should also know that the dry time of Teak oil is different from the cure time. On average, it takes about 3 days for Teak oil to fully cure.

Next, let’s find out how to fix sticky Teak oil.

How To Fix Sticky Teak Oil?

There are two methods to fix sticky Teak oil but the method you’ll use depends on the cause of the sticky Teak oil.

Method #1: Use Mineral Spirits

Use Mineral Spirits

The first method is to dissolve the sticky Teak oil with mineral spirits and then use a cloth to wipe off the excess Teak oil on the surface. This method works if you applied too many coats of Teak oil or if the Teak oil coating is too thick.

Here is a guide for this:

  • Apply mineral spirits on the sticky Teak oil coating
  • Leave for about 5 minutes for the teak oil to be dissolved
  • Use a clean cloth to wipe the excess Teak oil off of the surface
  • Leave the remaining Teak oil to dry

How this method works:

Usually, you are to wipe off excess Teak oil after applying the finish but if you don’t do this, then the Teak oil will turn sticky. It’s the same result if you apply too many coats of Teak oil.

The good news is you can correct the sticky Teak oil by just wiping off the excess. But the problem is you can’t just wipe off sticky Teak oil because it will be gummy or semi-solid.

So you need to dissolve or liquefy (to turn liquid) the Teak oil with mineral spirits to make it easier to wipe off the excess. When you have wiped off the excess, the Teak oil can dry properly.

Next, let’s check out the second method.

Method #2: Remove Teak Oil Entirely

Remove Teak Oil Entirely

The second method is to remove the Teak oil entirely. This method works if the sticky Teak oil is caused by poor surface preparation or application of the wood oil. For this method, you will need to soften the Teak oil and then remove it from the surface.

Here is a guide:

  • Pour mineral spirits on the sticky Teak oil
  • Let the mineral spirits soak for at least 10 minutes
  • Use a plastic putty life to lift and remove the sticky Teak oil
  • Soak a clean rag in mineral spirits
  • Use the damp rag to wipe off any Teak oil residue on the surface
  • Prep the surface properly and reapply the Teak oil
  • Wipe off excess Teak oil and leave the surface to dry.

How this method works:

The Teak oil isn’t drying because the surface is wet or stained. So you need to remove the Teak oil and prep the surface before applying it.

The mineral spirits help to dissolve the Teak oil making it easier to scoop and wipe it off. Then you can prep the surface correctly and reapply the Teak oil. This will make the oil dry properly. Don’t forget to wipe off the excess Teak oil.

What Happens If You Apply A Second Coat of Teak Oil Too Soon?

If you apply a second coat of Teak oil too soon, the Teak oil will turn sticky. This is because you didn’t leave enough dry time between the coats of the Teak oil. You should leave at least 4 hours of dry time before applying a second coat of Teak oil.

Like all wood finishes, Teak oil also has to dry enough before you can recoat. The existing coat will become dry enough for a second coat when all the liquid in the coat has been evaporated. When this happens, the particles in the existing coat will bind and become hard. On average, this process takes about 4 hours.

If you recoat Teak oil before the 4-hour dry time, then the finish will not dry and will turn sticky. This is because there will still be oily deposits or liquid left in the Teak oil coating causing the finish to remain wet.

Asides from turning sticky, recoating Teak oil too soon can also cause the smell of the oily finish to linger in the home for several days. The second coat of Teak oil that you applied will also attract dust and filth causing the finish to appear dirty and blurry. So always ensure to leave at least 4 hours between each coat of Teak oil and don’t forget to wipe off the excess too.

Final Words

In summary, different reasons cause Teak oil to turn sticky but they all fall under the same reason which is that the Teak oil isn’t drying properly. So the first step to fix sticky Teak oil is to find out why the oil isn’t drying.

If it’s because the oil is too thick or you applied too many coats, you should dissolve the Teak oil and wipe off the excess. If the oil isn’t drying due to improper surface preparation, then you’ll have to wipe off the entire wood oil, prep the surface, and reapply the Teak oil.

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