Lemon oil for wood
Lemon oil, just like any other oil finish, protects the wooden surface from moisture and helps wood avoid drying out and cracking. It does so by replenishing the oils in the wood which are present when it is newly cut. It can also be used as a cleaner, to clean off stains on old pieces. Lastly, it leaves an amazing fragrance of lemons that just makes the whole room fresh.
With so many types of finishes in the market, it becomes hard to choose one. Synthetic finishes protect the surface the best and stains really pop the grain on the wood. But oils do both, protect the wood from moisture, drying up, and cracking while making it look aesthetically pleasing. Lemon oil is the perfect combination of protection, looks, and fragrance.
What are effects of lemon oil on wood?
So what exactly does lemon oil do to wood is that it replenishes its vitality?
While lemon oil is not necessarily required for this purpose, it is better compared to any other oil-based finish as it not only revitalizes the wood, it also cleans it. Lemon, as everyone knows, is an excellent cleaning agent. It contains citric acid, which helps remove dirt build-up on items from frequent use. Since lemon oil is extracted from lemons, it retains some of its cleaning properties.
But lemon oil is not used as it is, it is usually paired with a conditioner and polish. Products that have lemon oil mentioned on it, always contain additives. Partially the reason behind it is that lemon oil is not thick and does not dry into a film. So it is not exactly a great finish in terms of protection used by itself. It will protect the wood from mild moisture, but not against other elements.
What it does though is revitalize wood, clean its surface in case of any dirt and grease build-up from frequent use, and give it a beautiful citrus aroma.
To sum everything up let us check the pros and cons of using lemon oil on wood.
- Revitalizes dried wood and replenishes its natural oils.
- Cleans the surface of wood, removes any stains, grease, and dust build-up on it.
- Great lemon aroma for those who love its smell.
- Protects wood against moisture.
- Non-toxic lemons are edible and pure lemon oil can be used on the skin as a cleaning agent.
- Lemon oil does not alter the color of the wood.
- Pops up the grain on the wood, giving it a beautiful look.
- Does not dry to a film and requires to be reapplied frequently.
- It can remove an older finish due to its acidic nature.
- Not suitable to be used with some types of wood.
- Should not be used on antique furniture.
What is lemon oil most used for?
Mostly lemon oil is used as a cleaner and replenisher for wood. It’s also frequently used to clean guitar fretboards as well because that part of the guitar is not coated with a lacquer finish. Guitar fretboards are made with pinpoint precision, so a layer of lacquer will change its tone and might cause it to sound different than it should. As it is used so frequently, there is quite a grease built-up from the oil your hand secretes.
To clean this area, professionals use lemon oil, which not only cleans it but also conditions and revitalizes it. You can use the whole of the guitar as well, not just fretboard, but if you are using pure lemon oil, it might damage the previous finish.
The second use for lemon oil is in furniture. A good product will not only clean the furniture but also polish it. Such products also contain polish compounds, UV inhibitors, and wood conditioners.
How to apply lemon oil onto wood for best effect?
Take a lint-free cloth, you can use a cheesecloth too, and apply the lemon oil on it. Don’t pour the oil on the wooden surface like you would with some other oils. just gently rub the oil onto the wooden surface with the cloth. If the cloth becomes dry, apply oil to it again.
Once you have applied, depending on the product, you might have to buff it. If it is pure lemon oil, then you just rub it on and leave it to dry, rub off the excess.
In the case of pure lemon oil, if you want a protective finish, you can use a wax compound, pure beeswax, or carnauba wax for added durability afterward.