Greenbank interiors

Interior Inspiration, Advice & Tips

The secret to protecting Wooden Kitchen Butcher Block Countertops

Posted on by Kirsty Fletcher • 26 comments
Reading Time: 4 minutes

My secret to protecting wooden kitchen worktops

Disclaimer: this blog post contains affiliate links meaning, if you make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission on some items.

If you’re planning on incorporating wooden worktops into your dream kitchen but everyone you speak to does that sharp intake of breath. Saying “ Oh I wouldn’t, they’re so hard to maintain” chances are they haven’t used Fiddes Hard Wax Oil to protect them in the first place.

I receive messages on a daily basis about the upkeep of our countertops here at Greenbank Interiors. Generally, it’s from those considering putting wooden countertops in their kitchen. But….. have been warned by many they speak to, to avoid them at all costs, due to the upkeep.

The questions are regularly from those trying to persuade their other halves that wooden countertops aren’t as much hassle as they think. (I’m wondering as I type how many people will relate to this as they read this!)

I love getting these messages and being able to help people get a step closer to their dream kitchen as I have a tried and tested solution.

Firstly, I can absolutely relate to this question as I had a hard time persuading my husband that wooden countertops wouldn’t involve lots of maintenance!

So, if I told you we haven’t had to do anything with our wooden worktops, bar a slight touch up around the sink area, for just over 6 years, would you believe me? Most wouldn’t but I promise you it’s 100% true.

So what’s our secret?

Protect them with Fiddes Hard Wax Oil from the outset.

It’s as simple as that! Hard Wax Oil is a blend of natural oils and waxes which, when combined, form a durable and resistant barrier against water, stains (red wine & curry!), heat (although I would still recommend using boards for hot pans etc), dirt and wear n tear.

To give you an idea of the durability of Fiddes Hard Wax Oil, it’s predominantly used on wooden floors! It doesn’t blister, crack or peel and is scratch and scuff resistant.

Our worktops were treated with Fiddes Hard Wax Oil when they were first installed in 2015 and apart from a touch up around the sink area we’ve not had to worry about them at all.

With most oils, you would have to reapply the oil at least 3 times, if not more, in a 3-year period. Not Fiddes Hard Wax Oil!

Now don’t get me wrong, wooden worktops do need a little looking after to ensure they stand the test of time. You shouldn’t leave standing water on them for long periods of time, as it will leave a residue as it dries. You also shouldn’t put hot pans directly on the surfaces but I wouldn’t advise that with any worktop – you just never know how hot a pan is.

Cleaning your wooden worktops once they have been treated

So, aside from investing in a few heat-resistant boards (or in our case leftover offcuts of the worktops themselves!) my other tip to maintaining your wooden work surfaces is to use a good cleaner. One that has been specially developed for daily cleaning of wood surfaces. Fiddes recently introduced me to their Surface Cleaner that they’ve created and tested for this very purpose.

This stuff won’t break down the surface and won’t strip oils or waxes from the hard wax oil. I’ve been using it for the last few months and love it.

So, my advice to anyone thinking about taking the plunge and going for wooden butcher block countertops is to ignore all the negative comments! Go for it! Get yourself some Fiddes Hard Wax Oil, some heat boards, and the correct Surface Cleaner and I promise you, you will never look back.

There are a few questions that I get asked on a regular basis around Hard Wax Oil, which I will list now as they may be questions that come up for you at a later stage.

What colour did you use on your work surfaces?

We used Clear Semi-Gloss on our worksurfaces.

Can I use Fiddes Hard Wax Oil directly over other oils?

No, Fiddes Hard Wax Oil can’t be applied on top of any other finish. You’ll need to sand the surface right back till not oil remains. You must also ensure all surfaces are clean, dry, and free from any previous finish before applying Fiddes Hard Wax Oil.

How do you apply Fiddes Hard Wax Oil?

For the larger areas, we used a mini roller and finished the edges off with a paintbrush. Fiddes Hard Wax Oil shouldn’t be applied with a rag.

Can I use bleach to clean my work surfaces now that I have treated them with Fiddes Hard Wax Oil?

No! You mustn’t use any cleaner containing bleach or aggressive solvents and grinding agents that will attack or abrade the finish. Get yourself some specially formulated Surface Cleaner from Fiddes!

And it’s not just me that loves Fiddes Hard Wax Oil!

Head over to the Fiddes website where you’ll find lots more information on the full Fiddes product range. There you will also find lots of really helpful video guides on how to apply Hard Wax Oil.

As mentioned above Fiddes Hard Wax is predominantly used to protect wooden floors? – read my blog all about it here

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26 Responses

  1. Jade says:

    Huge, big, massive ‘THANK YOU’ for introducing us to fiddes hard wax oil! So easy to do & makes our surfaces look incredible! xx

  2. Catherine says:

    Love Fiddes wax oil I’ve been using it for well over a year! Leaves the perfect finish! I wouldn’t use anything else. And just discovered they have a work top cleaner too! 😄xxx
    Thanks for including my photo on your blog x

    • Hi Cat

      Thanks so much for the lovely message. Your worktop looks fantastic – I couldn’t not share it!

      Let me know what you think of the surface cleaner – I love it!


  3. Emily Mallette says:

    Thank you once again! I was curious about the cleaning part too. I will pick up the surface cleaner and then train the rest of the family what we can and cannot do!

  4. Paul McCann says:

    Did you look or do you know anyone thats had any luck with the Osmo oils for similar purposes?

    Ive just purchased a few tins to do a bathroom unit (oak), in preperation for our worktops next year. But now wondering if we should use this, I was attracted to the food safe option of the Osmo.

    Be interesting to know if you have any experience with the other or know of anyone that has used both?

    • Hi Paul

      Thanks for the message.

      I haven’t actually used Osmo before but I’ve received lots of messages about it.

      I think some of the main differences are that it is slower drying, less durable (especially in areas of moisture), has a more greasy texture (Fiddes Hard Wax Oil sets hard like a varnish) and the wood needs feeding more often with Osmo.

      The main thing to consider is what sort of finish you are after. Fiddes Hard Wax Oil is more of a varnish finish where Osmo is more of a matt finish.

      The biggest advantage of Fiddes Hard Wax Oil is how much less maintenance there is over Osmo.

      Hope that helps and doesn’t confuse matter!

      Kirsty 🙂

  5. Kelle Downer says:

    Awesome blog Kirsty! Def going to get some for my new worktops. Just need to sand them down etc first as we put danish oil on them when they arrived. x

  6. Michelle Bailey says:

    Hi, we’re finally getting round to doing this but just wondering what prompted you to go for semi-gloss? I’ve been looking at pictures on their website and they have satin on the work surface. Is the semi-gloss quite shiny? Your surfaces look great but not sure what to choose!!

    • Hi Michelle, I’m so sorry that’s I’ve only just found your message. We wanted a nice shine to our worksurfaces which prompted us to go for the semi-gloss. Are you looking for a shiny finish? You may have already gone for it by now! Apologies for missing your message until now. x

  7. Sadie says:

    It I was to use the matte rather than having it shiny would it still be as durable ?

    • Hi Sadie

      Absolutely! They balance the formula to ensure durability is maintained through all sheen levels.

      I could take the credit for that answer but I’ll be honest and tell you that I asked the owner!

      Straight from the horses mouth!

      Hope that helps.


  8. Deb Rakos says:

    Hi, thank you for all of the info, Ive decided to get a solid oak worktop after reading your posts. It’s not being installed for a few months but I’m wondering if I should’ve opted for an untreated/waxed worktop? If it is waxed already I will need to sand it down then apply fiddes, is that right? Thank you so much x

    • Hi Debbie

      I’m so pleased you’ve gone for oak worktops. You’ll love them!

      I’m afraid you will need to remove any existing treatments before using Fiddes Hard Wax Oil.


      Kirsty x

  9. Hilary claire says:

    Hi Kirsty, my husband is making our countertops from untreated pine. We were going to wax/oil them as I’ve heard nightmares about the application of varnishes for countertops.
    I‘be been perusing the pics here though & they look great.
    I will get this varnish and do a tester on an unwanted piece of wood first.
    Does the varnish have a smell like most varnishes do?
    Hilary Claire

    • Hi Hilary

      What a clever husband you have!

      There is no smell apart from when applying the oil. It dries hard as the name suggests and doesn’t give off any smell once completely dry.

      Hope that helps.


      Kirsty x

  10. Pippa says:

    I was thinking of taking out my worktop which is only a year old ,
    It was a lovely oak ,
    Ive applied danish oil and tung oil over the past year ,and its gone more a old orange pine .
    If i use this hard wax oil , first question what will happen if i only lighlty sand before applying ?
    And will this peel and flake like a varnish would do .

    • Hi Pippa

      I feel I need to help save the worktop!

      You’ll need to sand the worktops right back to remove any existing Danish oil as the Hard Wax Oil won’t adhere properly.

      I’ve had my worktops for 5 years now and can guarantee they absolutely don’t peel or flake.

      Hope that helps!


  11. Lauralyn Dragon says:

    I’m interested in your wooden counter tops

  12. Clare says:

    Hi just about to do my treat my kitchen surfaces, how many coats did you do.. 1 or 2 … excited to try this and already a local handy man is do impressed with the website he’s going to try it on his floors .. thanks 😊

    • Hi Clare

      Thanks so much for the message.

      We applied 2 caots to our worktops.

      Thrilled to hear that your local handy man is loving it too! It really is brilliant stuff!

      Good luck with the worktops.

      Kirsty x

  13. Annabel says:

    Hi Kirsty

    What is best to apply the clear satin to kitchen worktops? Some say brush, others rollers?



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