How to Remove Dried Tung Oil from Stainless Steel

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Mary Ann asked: How would I remove dried on tung oil from a stainless stove? I spilled tung oil on a brand new stainless steel stove about a week ago. What could I use to remove the tung oil without scratching it?

If your stainless steel stove has had an unfortunate run in with tung oil, you may find that soap and water or commercial cleaners won’t work. When even heavy duty cleaners are no match for your mess, here’s a method you can try to restore that shine. Whenever possible, be sure to consult your owner’s manual and always spot test before you begin.

You Will Need:

  • Paint thinner
  • Soft cloths
  • Eye protection
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Stainless steel polish

Steps to Remove the Oil:

  1. Read all of the instructions on your paint thinner carefully. Make sure that it does not say it should NOT be used on stainless steel and follow all safety instructions before you begin, including eye and skin protection.
  2. Soak a cloth in the paint thinner.
  3. Lay the soaked cloth over the stain and allow it to sit for a little while to soften the tung oil.
  4. Wipe at the stain moving with the “grain” of the stainless steel. Do NOT wipe across the polish lines or it will leave a definite mark. The same goes for using circular motions. This will result in swirls on the finish of the stove.
  5. Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.
  6. As soon as the stove is clean, wipe it with a clean cloth moistened with water until the paint thinner has been removed.
  7. Finish up with a stainless steel polish to protect the finish. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Make sure you work in a well ventilated room and follow all safety instructions and precautions when working with paint thinner.
  • Never mix household cleaners or chemicals.
  • Do not use abrasive or scouring cloths or cleaners on stainless steel. Avoid scraping with a knife or other sharp object. This will result in scratches on the surface.
  • If scratches occur, see our guide How to Remove Scratch Marks from Stainless Steel for methods to remove them.
  • Do not use cleaners or detergents which contain chloride on stainless steel. For cleaning instructions, see our guide How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances.

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