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How To Seal Butcher Block Countertops (The Best And Easiest Way!)

I’ve finally learned how to seal butcher block countertops using the best and easiest method! And if you’ve been following my attempts at finishing and sealing these countertops, you know that this is my fourth attempt. I’ve tried Waterlox, oil-based stains, water-based stains, and now this final attempt. And I can tell you that of all of them, this one is the absolute best. It’s just a bonus that it’s also the easiest, and it’s fairly simple to maintain. It doesn’t require any DIY skills. Literally, if you can wipe down a countertop, you can seal your butcher block countertops. So let me show you what I used…

IKEA Oak Butcher Block Countertops – I’ve Found The Perfect Finish!

This has been quite an adventure trying to find the perfect finish for my butcher block countertops — one that will hold up to water, resist stains, and be durable enough that I don’t feel like I have to add felt pads to the bottom of all of my pots, pans, glasses, coffee cups, etc.

And I really do believe I’ve finally learned how to seal butcher block countertops with the absolute best and easiest finish.  The best thing about it?  I can find it at the neighborhood grocery store one block away for less than two dollars a bottle in the laxative aisle.  Yep, it’s mineral oil.  And the finish is absolutely beautiful. Look what it did to my oak butcher block countertops. The left is the unfinished (freshly sanded) oak, and the right is the same oak countertop with nothing but mineral oil.

I was really shocked at how it turned the wood a really beautiful medium brown with a hint of red.  Yay!  No yellow!  I was very afraid that I would have a repeat of the orangish yellow disaster that I had with the Waterlox last time.  But there’s no yellow here, and it also didn’t turn the grain in the wood the dark almost-black color that the stains did.  The grain stayed subtle and pretty, just like I wanted it.

IKEA butcher block countertops - oak countertops sealed with only mineral oil

I decided to give the mineral oil a shot after reading this post on House Tweaking.  Dana made it sound so easy.  Just wipe down with oil every now and then?  Simply sand out stains and re-oil?  Could it really be that simple?

It is.  In fact, just last night I was doing some paint touch up on my upper cabinets, and I dripped a bit of oil-based paint onto my countertop.  If it had been one of the other finishes, I would have been in serious trouble.  But not with the mineral oil!  I just wiped off the excess paint, let the rest of the paint dry, and then got a piece of sandpaper and sanded the rest of the paint right off.  I wiped it down with mineral oil, and it looked as good as new.

butcher block countertops sealed with mineral oil only are so easy to maintain -- just sand out stained or scratches and re-oil

I keep wondering why the heck I didn’t do this from the very beginning!!!  The reason is because I was convinced that I wanted really dark countertops.  Sure, that would be nice.  Yes, I like dark wood.  But the ease of maintenance with countertops that are just oiled far outweighs the beauty of dark stained countertops.  With stained countertops, there’s simply no way that I could ever sand out a stubborn spot, re-stain that spot, and have it blend in with the rest of the countertop.  Believe me…I’ve tried.  It doesn’t work.

how to seal butcher block countertops the best and easiest way -- mineral oil only

So this solution is perfect.  And I absolutely love the fact that mineral oil is perfectly clear, so if I happen to get any of it on  my grout or caulk, it won’t discolor it at all.

The perfect and easiest way to seal butcher block countertops

I really haven’t found any downside to using the mineral oil-only method.  Since I’ve only just begun using the oil, and I put it on bare, newly-sanded wood, I’ve been slathering on the oil every night before I go to bed, and when I wake up in the morning, I just wipe off the excess with a dry cloth, and go on about my business.  The first time I did that, there wasn’t any excess oil in the morning.  The wood soaked in every last drop.

I’ll continue to do this until the wood stops soaking up the oil, and stops feeling dry.  (I actually think I may have reached that point this morning, after oiling it for four nights straight.)  From that point on, I’ll simply oil it as it needs it.  And while it may seem like a hassle to oil the countertops, it’s really not.  It takes me less than five minutes to grab a cloth, pour some oil on, and spread it around.  After it soaks in overnight, and after I wipe off any excess the next morning, it’s doesn’t feel oily.

The only drawback…if I had to name one…is that my cat loves it.  A little too much, in fact.  I caught her up on the countertop, just minutes after I had oiled it, and she was licking the mineral oil!!!  And of course, instead of making her get down immediately, I reached for my iPhone.  😀  Ha!

only downside to sealing butcher block countertops with mineral oil - cats love to lick mineral oil

But I don’t want to leave you with that horrible, discolored, poor quality iPhone picture.  I’ll leave you with this one…

IKEA butcher block countertops sealed with mineral oil only -- the best and easiest way to seal wood countertops!

I could seriously kick myself in the hind end for not doing this from the beginning.  I had started to hate my IKEA butcher block countertops, and regretted ever selecting butcher block for my kitchen.  Now that I’ve found this mineral oil method that leave such a beautiful finish, I’m starting to love them again.



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  1. It looks like you found a winner! Please update us in a few months, I’d love some wood countertops, and this may be my solution.

    Thanks for all you do.

  2. What a great idea! Now it makes me reconsider getting wood countertops! I just have one question that I was hoping you could elaborate on. Due to the constant exposure to water around the sink/faucet area, how well do the countertops hold up? Do you have to constantly wipe that area down? Does the wood warp/mold/etc? How do you protect and maintain that area? Any advice would be great. Thank you!

    1. I have the same countertops as she has posted here throughout my entire kitchen. Both around the sink and around my cooktop. I have done nothing but mineral oil and I’ve had them for nearly a year and they still look great. I don’t have an undermounted sink (I felt it would be harder to clean around that crack under the edge). What I have is a bar mop that I constantly drape over the faucet. I do whatever I need done in the sink, and when I’m done I immediately run the dry towel around the sink and pick up any water I splashed out. The key is not to leave it sit. It does not take more than a few seconds, and it has become second nature to me now. I do various things to protect it otherwise, such as not put any hot pans directly on them and I have a stainless steel mat (also from IKEA) under my coffee machine.
      I’ve only had a few stains actually soak in enough that I had to sand that spot and reoil – I haven’t noticed any more hassle in that department than other countertops I’ve owned – and most others aren’t so forgiving that you can just sand out the stain/scratch!

  3. Great job Kristi! Mineral oil is the base of many stains so I guess it makes sense that it would be a great finish all by itself. Your countertop certainly looks pretty – another great selling point. (Just remember what aisle you bought it in and check your kitty’s litter box often. LOL) I have an old butcher block cabinet (meant to be an island in a non-galley kitchen) that needs something done to it so this is an inexpensive and relatively easy thing for me to try. Thanks.

  4. My husband and I put that Ikea oak counter down in our first kitchen and always used mineral oil, the look was beautiful. Now we have soapstone in our new house and its the same, we periodically wipe it down with mineral oil, super easy and looks great!

  5. Yuk on the cat!! I learn so much from this blog. I did the mineral oil only once, and it seems dry to me. well…..there is reason for that, it needs more! I will do the same and hopefully get the same gorgeous results. It didn’t even occur to me my butcher block is thirsty! Hopefully my dog will not be licking the countertops. Although it would probably be better than getting into the garbage!

  6. I think you found a winner! I used to season my wood counters with olive oil. Food safe, fed the wood. It was perfect.
    We had Myrtle Wood (native to Oregon).

    You’ll love this 😉

  7. Great results, I wonder if your ‘Mineral Oil’ is what we call here (UK) as Parafin oil which is also from the laxative isles.?

  8. I’ve owned a nice heavy butcher block cutting board for a few years and nothing quite beats a rub-on food-grade finish. An alternative to mineral oil, if you ever want to try something different for another project, is a mineral oil and beeswax blend (there are several on the market, usually called things like “Bee’s Oil” …try Amazon). I like it because it tends to dry faster so you can use it right away and you can sort of rub/burnish it in. Think of it like shoe-shine polish. I also find that it seems to last longer and require fewer initial coats. I imagine for a whole countertop, it might not be as easy since it tends to be a bit tacky till it really rubs in and gets dry. The oil might work better in that specific case.

    PS – For the commenter that recommended olive oil, it’s not a great idea for one reason. Food oils (olive, vegetable, etc.) go rancid easily under heat and light. If you’ve ever opened an old container of Crisco shortening and gotten a waxy stale, almost fish-like smell, that’s oil rancidity (happens to whole grains and potato chips too). Rub olive oil on your cutting board and countertop and it’ll eventually do the same thing and there’s no easy way to remove it. I don’t think it’s particularly unsafe…just sort of smelly and undesireable.

  9. This is just gorgeous! Today I’m refinishing (again!) some oak cabinets for our lower level (otherwise known as a basement) kitchen. So, I totally get the trial and error thing! Your countertops now have just the right amount of warmth.

  10. Whew – thanks for the reply – you saved me some trouble it seems. I am wondering if I can still stain these tops and then use oil??? GAH – I need the tops to be DARK!

  11. Your countertops look amazing! I’m putting in a kitchen island & want to have a butcher block countertop, but I’m nervous about cleaning it. I would Never cut on it, I will mainly use it for baking. If I roll out say, cookie dough (which has eggs in it) will I be able to safely clean the countertop if it only has mineral oil on it? I worry about germs getting into the wood, since its not sealed.

  12. I had one of those Ikea butcher block counters as the breakfast bar in my kitchen at my last house. I was unsure of doing all the counters in wood, but yours look awesome – a good bit darker than mine. I guess I should have used far more mineral oil or maybe they were darker to begin with. I don’t recall which type of counter they were and Ikea did have more than one style/brand. Anyway, had I seen yours first, I would have been sorely tempted to go the whole way – nice!

  13. This looks amazing! We’re planning out our kitchen painting/counter re-do and want to use the LAGAN from IKEA and this is a great tip. But first we have to get the cabinets started. Oy!

  14. Your countertop looks perfect! I’ve been considering using butcherblock when I add an island to my kitchen. And, BTW, mineral oil helps cats pass those nasty furballs!

  15. They look beautiful and I can’t wait to do the same to replace my horrid tile (shudder!) countertops. The one question I would *love* to know the answer to is this…. (all the other times you sealed/stained your countertop), how, how, how did you get your cat/cat hair to stay off of it until the finish was dried! We are redoing a table in varnish and that is the one thing I am worried about from our two cats. Any tips on what you did other than lock up the kitties for a day or two? 🙂

    1. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I had to do, Cynthia I put them in the back room with their food, water, and litter box, and kept them there until the countertops were dry. If I’m working on something that can be moved, I always take it outside so that I don’t have to lock them up.

      That’s what I LOVED about doing my countertops like this, with just the oil. There’s no way that they…or their fur…can mess it up! One of my cats jumped up on the countertops just as soon as I oiled it for the first time (she likes the sleep on the laptop computer that we have on the countertop to the right of the banquette in the dining area, so there’s no way to keep her off of it). But she didn’t mess up the finish at all. Her paws got a little oily, but that’s it. The countertop still looked perfect!

  16. Kristi
    Looks great, sorry it took you so long to come to an oil finish. I like walnut oil a lot too, its not a petroleum product and it does not go rancid like other oils. With that undermount sink, you are going to have to be very diligent about the end grain around the sink cut out. I would oil that weekly, and keep the area tidy wiping up any water immediately or you’ll be in trouble.

  17. I am in the process of installing the same countertops. I love how they look in your kitchen. I’ve had the same experience with my cat and the mineral oil. I oiled my countertops before bed and when i woke up the next morning there were tons of little kitty footprints all over them.

  18. Can you stain the butcher block a color and then oil it or varnish it. I have all wood cabinets and thought wood colored counters would be too much wood. But if I could make them gray I think it would look better. Just wondering.


    1. I’ve actually wondered about that too, Karen. I’m not sure if that would work. But if you try it, I’d love to hear about the results! I think I’m personally done with trying to stain butcherblock. I’ve been absolutely thrilled with how they look with only mineral oil. But I completely understand wanting them to contrast with your cabinets. Would you ever consider painting your cabinets? Or is that a no-go for you?

    1. On mine, there was a definite top and bottom. It’s been so long since I installed them that I can’t remember exactly what was on the bottom to indicate that it was, in fact, the bottom. But there was something, and it was very clear. Now I’m not sure if the new ones are like that. Mine are a few years old now.

      1. Thanks! There is a small “stamp” on one side but it looks easy enough to sand off. One side seems to have a lot more character, and the other seems I little plain.

  19. Hey Kristi~
    I was curious about the IKEA counters… did you buy the really long one and were you able to cut use a table saw/ circular saw on them to have them fit the cabinets next to your stove or did IKEA or a contractor do that for you?
    My kitchen is a U shape so I wouldnt be able to use them without seams is what Im thinking

    1. Yep, I bought two of the long ones, and then cut them myself with a circular saw…with a brand new blade on it. 🙂 They’re really easy to cut. Nothing tricky about it. I DID pay someone to cut out the hole for the sink since I have an undermount sink and was unsure that I could do it myself. But after watching the man do it, I feel confident I could do it myself. He used a circular saw on the straight sides, and a jigsaw in the curved corners, then did a lot of sanding.

    2. I bought 2 of the oak BB counter tops today at IKEA. I will be joining them with a miter joint cut at a 45 degree angle instead of butting them together for a corner. To make the cut I will place one on top of the other and place a block under the free end of the one on top to hold it level while it is on top of the other one. I will adjust then to make sure they are square to each other and the marks for my cuts are lined up. I will clamp a straight edge on top of the top one to act a saw guide for for my circular saw and make the miter cur through both tops at the same time. This will make for a perfect seam when I put them together and I don’t have to worry about measuring angles.

  20. Okay, now I’m confused – I read this post after a previous post where you had stained your counters dark. I’m now re-thinking my plan to stain & seal my Ikea counters… I’ve read that mineral oil will not protect the wood from water – are you concerned about this? I have 3 teenagers! I don’t know what to do at this point – there’s too many choices: tung oil, mineral oil, linseed oil, then there’s all the stains & coatings. I’m getting a headache now.

    1. I know, it’s so confusing!!! After living with mine for a few years (and planning on putting them in our future home as well), here’s what I know for sure…

      I will NEVER again use a finish that’s supposed to be “permanent”, like Waterlox, polyurethane, etc. Nor will I ever use a stain on them again. The color they turn when they’re oiled is just perfect, in my opinion. (And I like medium to dark wood, and was very concerned that they would be too light.) But from now on, I will forever and always use just some kind of oil to protect them. That way, if they get a stain on them (and I do use mine as a cutting board), then they can be easily and quickly sanded and re-oiled. No panicking about the finish. Seriously…since I’ve had only the oiled countertops, I’ve felt so much more freedom to actually USE my countertops, rather than feeling like I have to baby them. And the last thing you want in a kitchen is to feel like you have to treat your countertops gently.

      Now with that said, I would like to shop around more and try out different oils to see which one works the best, especially around the sink area. Water damage hasn’t been a problem at all. I get water on them all the time around the sink, and the wood is perfectly fine. However, I do notice that the water tends to have some sort of reaction with the oil, and the wood gets lighter. It’s not permanent, and once I oil it again, it’s back to normal. But I’d like to find an oil that won’t do that when water gets on it. And it doesn’t happen if water drips and I wipe it up immediately. But I’m not that neat and tidy. 🙂

      Hope that helps!!

  21. Hi Kristi, I am happy you came to the mineral oil conclusion in combination with the natural color of the wood. I think it looks very good that way. Many of the customers for our natural wood slab counter tops at Stone and Cottonwood opt for a finish made from straight walnut oil (which is both edible, and hardening so that it does not go rancid in the wood), or a formula of 2/3 walnut oil, 1/3 beeswax for added moisture protection. This goes on as a paste, and can be buffed out with OOOO steel wool.

  22. If you want darker countertops go to realmilkpaint.com they have a DARK RAW TUNG OIL that I have used that is just beautiful. The tung oil works just as good a mineral oil just a little more expensive.

    1. Does the dark raw tung oil work the same as how Kristi describes the mineral oil on the wood, i.e. if it gets stained, you can just sand it out and reapply the oil and everything will look fine again?

    2. Donna, do you have any pics of the dark tung oil on wood. I would love to see them. Went to the website and looks like an option that I want for my oak countertops.

  23. My husband and I just installed our ikea numerar oak countertops and came across your blog while researching how to best treat the wood. We were opting for Varathane Polyurethane Floor Finish until we saw that you redid yours 4 months after applying polyurethane. What was it about the polyurethane that you disliked?

  24. Wow! Your countertop looks great. I am thinking of putting in Ikea wood countertops but my installer has advised against using an undermount sink, because of the water/warping issue and also because it takes crazy expensive tools to sand out the cutout..?? I’m set on undermount and I’m glad to see you have that too! You mentioned the guy who cut out your sink did a lot of sanding — do you think this is something that could actually be done by say, me? or your average person with a layman’s sanding tool (I’m thinking something like “the mouse”).

    Also, how exactly should one clean/disinfect wood countertops? My laminate ones I have now I juse spray Clorox all over.. I imagine that’s not good for wood??


  25. Kristi,

    I’m installing BB countertops later this month, and am convinced after A LOT of reading that mineral oil is the way to go. Did you finish the bottom? I have three boys that drink and fling a lot of Kool Aid. Is this something I should be concerned about? Have them mix it and pour it on the living room rug instead?



  26. Fabulous! I have been wanting to replace my countertops. We moved in to no dishwasher. So we added one, and just pushed the base cabinet over. Now I have no countertop on the last 3 feet. I also want to change colors of my oak cabinets. Maybe I will sample the color of countertop with mineral oil first. Then decide on cabinet color to coordinate.

    Anyone else taken the plunge and painted oak cabinets? I am worried that I will regret it.


    1. I just recently finished painting my 30 year old oak cabinets. They look amazing. It’s like I have a brand new kitchen.

  27. Hi- we just installed our butcher block counter top same color from ikea but I used the ikea oil to seal it. The problem I have is that the grains start to standing out and up. What do you think I should do? I don’t get the smooth surface at all( I have sand it then oiled it)
    Any suggestions?

    1. Hello, Mina. We just installed our Ikea oak counter tops a few weeks ago. We opted to only use mineral oil after reading this blog about it. My concern now is that after sanding and oiling over 8 coats (yes, you read that correctly), I am still dealing with a raised grain which leaves a rough texture to the counter top. My husband revisited Ikea and the man in the kitchen department said that is a common problem with their oak counter tops. He said you have to keep sanding and oiling until the grain doesn’t do that. He also said to rub it vigorously with cardboard after the last treatment. We’ve done all that and still have the raised grain.

      My concern now is that I feel like I could sand until there is nothing left of my counter top and still have the same problem! We live on top of a mountain and have low humidity. I don’t know if that affects the wood much or not. My husband is FED UP with my choice of counter top since we are having to be super careful to protect them until we can achieve a “protected” finish like everyone else seems to have.

      I should add that we chose to use mineral oil since someone online had mentioned that Ikea’s product remained somewhat sticky on the counter tops. I would love to know why my oil/sand application is requiring so many more coats than others who have done the same thing. My husband builds houses so I seriously doubt if our method has been incorrect. I’m desperate for solutions!!!

      Any suggestions from anyone else?

  28. I was wondering how your counters are doing. I installed Ikea oak countertops and mineral oiled them and also a mix of mineral oil and beeswax – any water drip – even if for a second leaves a raised area – easy to quickly sand and re oil but I was wondering if it does this forever!! I still love them though!!

  29. Hi. Your countertop looks fantastic! How is it holding up as a cutting board/work surface? I want to install these countertops but am afraid that IKEA’s quality won’t hold up to heavy use. I will be rolling lots of dough, chopping directly on it, and slinging hot pans all over the place. (I’m not very gentle with my kitchen). I’ve been considering going with a lumber company that specializes in butcher block countertops, but if IKEA does the job, I’d rather go with that. Please let me know how you like using them. Thanks!

    1. I still have the raised grain issue when water gets on them- i just bought 600 grit sandpaper to burnish the spots – works great. I would go with anything but oak to prevent that – oak is open grained and does that – but I LOVE how it looks so I deal! As far as hot pans – ANY wood surface will burn from hot pans – they can get black marks – i bought big metal trivets from ikea to use for that reason. So even if you get high end counters do not place hot pans n them! Rolling dough is fine – I do not chop on my counters I use extra lengths of board from the counter as chopping blocks.

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  31. Hi, enjoyed your post. Just wondering if “Mineral Oil” would have a different name in Europe (Ireland) than in America. Also can you give us a lead on what type of oil it is? You say you found it close to the laxative shelf in your local store! Would not like to get mixed up with anything else while out shopping. If it is just called mineral Oil I will try that myself.

    1. Mineral oil is called paraffin oil in Europe.
      I am in the process of installing the Lagan Ikea counter tops. What I am doing to help with moisture around the sink, is installing a sink with a built in drain board – the Boholmen sink by Ikea.
      All of my research suggests that mineral oil, Tung oil or Walnut oil are the best choices for durability, safety, and appearance.
      Did any of you who have the Ikea butcher block counters, oil the underside? (This is recommended in the instructions)Did you do it before or after installation?
      Also, Kristi, what color is the paint you used on your cabinets in the picture? (We’ve chosen the same bin pulls, great minds think alike!)

      1. Hi Heather

        I just installed the Lagan worktop too 🙂

        How are you getting on with yours? Have you decided on what type of oil to use?

        I bought the stuff Ikea recommends and gave it a coat before cutting out the shape I need.
        It’s got a little wet though and raised the wood already? That was with two coats of the Belhanda (SP) oil they suggest.

        I oiled all sides btw, but that was when it was a whole complete slab of wood, I don’t think I’ll be doing that now it’s in 🙂


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  33. I am wondering if I can stain the countertops and then use mineral oil? Mine are maple, and are quite light. I’d like them darker. I have read that the stain itself is not food safe, but maybe that isn’t a problem, since I don’t plan to put food on the counters, as you mentioned in a past post.

    1. The short answer is ‘kind of, but not really.”

      The problem is that the stain kind of, sort of, seals the wood and prevents the wood from absorbing the oil like it should to provide protection. If you stain, it would be better to use an oil-based polyurethane (like 5-6 thin coats) or an epoxy (like a bar top).

      Perhaps what she could have mentioned in this post is that the her 3rd attempt is absolutely a legitimate means of making a butcher block ctop darker and sealed (but not food safe). You can follow her advice in that third attempt without worry. Just know you will eventually have to give a light sanding and a new coat of polyurethane eventually. “Permanent” doesn’t actually mean permanent.

  34. Wow! That really looks great. I had no idea that you could use mineral oil. With all the expensive products that are pushed at us to take care of our butcher blocks these old school solutions get lost in the mix. Thanks for sharing it.

  35. I am wanting to oil my birch benchtops with mineral oil seeing as many of you seem to recommend it. I would like mine to finish a little darker than the bare birch. Does mineral oil darken the timber at all.
    Also I live in Australia and no-one here seems to know what mineral oil is. Can anybody give me a bit more info on what exactly mineral oil is and is it a clear product.

    Many thanks Darryl

    1. Darryl, it’s paraffin oil and you can find it in the medicine section of Coles or Woollies. Also at chemists I assume.
      Cheers, Liz.

  36. So you used only mineral oil to get this color!? Its just what I was looking for! Please let me know…. deciding what to do to my butcher block has been a long process!


  37. This looks great. Unfortunately, IKEA delivered the birch (lighter color) instead of beech (darker). I just tried Mineral Oil on a scrap piece (both sanded and unsanded portions) and it looks pretty much exactly the same color. Just more shiny. 🙂

  38. I am creating a butcher block table and i was wondering if u used wood conditioner before applying the mineral oil or just oiled over raw unfinished wood?. Rainy weekend here so i wanted to tackle that this weekend …therefore your quick reply is appreciated.

  39. How is the area around your sink holding up? I just bought BB countertops and want to go with the mineral oil bbut also want an undermount sink. Nervous about water problems around it. Yours look great!

    1. I haven’t lived there in two years, but the mineral oil works well around the sink as long as you keep it up. If you let it dry out, you’ll have problems. I never had trouble with my undermount sink, though.

  40. Help! I finished my butcher block with tung oil infused with aniline dye and I’m not thrilled with the color. I’d like to sand down and go back to the raw wood and do mineral oil or plain tung oil. I’m wondering if you have any tips for the sanding process? I read to attach the shop vac. Did you use an orbital sander? How messy was it when you did that? Tips for getting in tight spaces? Tell me I’m not nuts…my husband is pretty convinced I am!

    1. I sanded mine down a total of five times over about four years and refinished them, so I certainly don’t think you’re nuts. 🙂 I used an orbital sander, and in the corners, I used a detail sander (something like a Black & Decker Mouse sander). Just be sure that the finish is completely dry before sanding. If it’s still wet at all, it’ll just gum up your sandpaper. And if you attach your sander to the Shop Vac, you should have very minimal mess.

  41. I’m looking to install Ikea butcher-block counter tops with an undermount, stainless sink. I am concerned about the discoloration that can occur around the sink rim. How has the mineral oil worked for you? Do you have any discoloration around the rough edge? How often do you reapply it? Do you sand it down before reapplying? Thank you!

    1. As long as you keep it well oiled, you won’t have any problems with discoloration. You can either oil it on a regular schedule (i.e., ever week, every two weeks, etc.) or just oil it when it’s needed. You can tell when it’s dry. Just reapply it with a rag. No sanding necessary unless you’re needing to remove a stain.

      1. What do you use to clean the counter tops on a daily basis? Does regular multi surface work okay when they are just oiled?

  42. I love the color of your cabinets- could you tell me what paint you used? I’m about to attempt to paint my old oak cabinets…

  43. I’m confused. Did the mineral oil change the coloring or did you stain them first. I just got back from ikea when your color in mind from an image and even though they had many colors to choose from I couldn’t find the right color so I came home empty handed. I’m bummed out. Can you tell me what color top you purchased and what color stain you used (if any). Thanks!

    1. They’re the oak Numerar countertops finished with mineral oil only. No stain. I don’t think IKEA carries oak Numerar countertops anymore, but they might have another kind in oak.

  44. Since this old thread still seems to have a decent draw, I will mention something that those who are oiling their butcher’s block counters may not be taking to mind.

    The ones in the pic have been sanded bare a few times as per the articles and the answers that I have read through.

    The ones you buy from idea come with a pre-built applied coating on them already.

    So long story short, you may / will find that they will not absorb the oil the same way, or give the same depth of color change as those in the pictures above – unless you also sand that factory coating off of the wood counter tops.

    IN our case, they had been installed, then I was deployed, and they hadn’t been oiled with the behandla enough, or anything else for far too long. So we just hit them now, about a year later with the mineral oil, and you can definitely see the difference where the factory and other coatings was rubbed off or where I sanded a stain / ding and where it still remains.

    YMMV, but you may be in for more sanding in the beginning to get that depth of color with just the oil. This may answer the few that commented on no color change, just shinier… Which means that it isn’t actually penetrating enough to give a ‘wet wood’ darkness that those pictured above have.

  45. I am almost certain that I will be installing an oak butcher block counter top from Ikea. Apparently they do not carry the Numerar anymore. They have something called Hammarp now. Has anyone had experience using the Hammarp that could tell me if the quality is the same or not as the Numerar? Also, if the counter top is oiled how does one keep this clean and sanitized? My husband is starting to come around to my choice of butcher block (probably because of the price vs. quartz) and he is concerned about the cleanliness factor.

  46. Could you elaborate on why you switched from poly to mineral oil? I just followed your instructions for the stain and poly to a T and just now read this post! Kicking myself a little if I have to go through all this again!

    1. If you take care of your countertops, don’t cut on them, and use a high quaality poly, you’ll be fine. I’m VERY hard on countertops (way more so than the average homeowner), and I got tired of dealing with the wear and scratching, so the oil was the best solution for me in the end since it can be reapplied as needed. But seriously, as long as you used high-quality products, and don’t cut directly on the countertop, you should be just fine.

  47. I’m going to use mineral oil on my countertops. Just wondering if I am able to stain them first?

  48. I am going to install IKEA Hammarp Oak countertops and go with the Mineral Oil.
    I think I will initially sand off any factory coating. My question is how do you finish the underside – especially over the dishwasher. Should I leave the factory coating on the base?
    Any thoughts?

  49. The numerar counter top is in the clearance section at the N.Y. Ikea now for $59 for the big slab, it’s making me wonder if I could make some project table or something from it. Hmm

  50. Hello!

    Your blogs have been super helpful. I could really use your insight. I want to buy the IKEA butcher countertop and turn it into a desk top for my office desk 🙂

    I love the color of your mineral oil method. But I am afraid that I can’t be oiling up my desk all of the time and working on it. It may ruin my computer, keyboard, papers, etc.

    Is there something you would recommend for me to use on this that will be matte for a desk?

    1. I definitely would only oil a countertop for a kitchen. For any other room, I would seal it with a polyurethane. You could use a really light stain that will have the same effect on the color as the mineral oil, and then topcoat with a water-based polyurethane. Rust-Oleum and General Finishes both make a matte finish water-based polyurethane.

  51. We have butcher block countertops on the way as well as a piece for our new island where we will eat. Do you have a problem with putting papers on the counter and the paper absorbing the oil? My kids will be doing homework, I’ll be paying bills etc on the island. I have a big butcher block cutting board that I oil and sometimes the kids will put a note from school, their sheet music etc on it and it gets ruined. I purchased Waterlox original sealer/finish, but now i’m not sure what to do.

    1. We haven’t lived in the condo for several years, but I don’t recall having trouble with that. I would oil it, let it sink in, and then wipe away the excess so that the surface wasn’t oily.

  52. Hi Kristi – I am buying butcher block counters for the first time and was searching the internet for how to properly treat them. I came across your blog. Are you still happy with just using the mineral oil? It looks like you are, but I wanted to be sure. I think I am going to give it a try. Do I need to sand the butcherblock before I apply the first coat of mineral oil? I am purchasing my countertops from Floor & Decor. They are a white Oak. I look forward to your reply and suggestions. Thank you.

    1. We no longer live in this condo, but if I ever have butcherblock countertops again, I’ll use mineral oil. I did sand them very well before applying the oil, and then it took about two or three application for it to really penetrate. Just wipe off the excess, and you’re good to go.

  53. Have you had any issues with warping? I don’t like the waterlox finish either, I like the way the oak of the countertop looks, that’s why I bought it! But I read so many reviews about warping that I am about to do the waterlox anyway. Any issues for you? I live in a fairly humid area, not Florida, but I certainly don’t live in Arizona either, so it is about medium humidity. Not sure what your climate is like, I would imagine it matters.

    1. We haven’t lived there in six years, but I never had a problem with warping. In order to prevent warping, you need to be sure all sides of the wood (top, bottom and edges) are sealed.

  54. I so loved reading your butcher block journey because I’m on the third sand down of ours in our van conversion. First we stained them and then put a coat of polyurethane water based on them . And I sanded in between and added another coat. But it started raining and the side door of the van that my husband has been working on every day since September of last year, got wet from the rain and I couldn’t believe how the countertop that got wet turned white! And just like you said instead of being protected the area turned white and In trying tinder if I could fix it I was back die t I the wood! I thought oh my gosh., so I sanded everything back down to the natural state and I’ve been searching all over how to get my countertop darker like you had in the beginning which was beautiful I loved it and I thought oh boy she’s got the answer. But then as I read on you learned and I’m learning from you that I’m going to now try the mineral oil and I have some in my cabinet. Because I have read other people saying oh this is the way to go you don’t have to put mineral oil all in all the time, and they use the polyurethane but now I agree with you I think it’s easier to just have to redo one little area if something stains it or whatever instead of having to have it turn white or yellow Hope To follow all of your other projects thank you so much for sharing!