What type of oil should be used on a pine coffee table?

Updated February 21, 2017

A pine wood coffee table should be oiled around once a year to keep its surface sleek and its wood protected from grime, dirt and stains. Some oils can be used to both clean and polish the table, while others can only be used for a single purpose. Clean and polish the table to make it last longer.

Cleaning Oils

Oils that are useful for cleaning a pine wood coffee table include lemon oil and orange oil. These types of oil have a fresh, citrus scent and help remove dirt and stains from the surface and legs of the table. However, they can also bleach the wood if it has not been treated with a lacquer to protect it from liquid stains. Finish a pine wood coffee table with a clear coat before it is oiled.

Polishing Oil

The best oils for use in polishing and protecting a pine wood coffee table are tung oil and linseed oil. Pine wood absorbs tung oil well, which makes the wood stronger and more lustrous from deep inside the table. It also protects the surface by forming a water-resistant coat. Linseed oil, or flax seed oil, enhances the appearance of the wood and the detail of the grain. It is not as water resistant as tung oil.


Cleaning and polishing oils have great benefits for the longevity and appearance of a pine wood coffee table. Lemon and orange oil can be used regularly in small amounts to remove dirt and grime from daily use. Keep coffee tables clean to avoid staining and warping of the wood. Linseed oil offers some protection to a pine wood coffee table from dents and scratches.

Time Frame

Tung oil or linseed oil should be used on a pine wood coffee table about once each year to add consistent protection to the table. Oil the table outside or in a garage to prevent staining a carpet or floor. Apply oil with a soft rag or chamois, and coat the table evenly with oil before allowing it to dry fully. Use lemon and orange oil as needed to maintain the table's cleanliness.


Pine wood tables with a lacquer finish are less resistant to wear, scratches and dents, and require oiling less frequently. Refinishing the table every 2 to 3 years can take the place of oiling it, and a table with lacquer on it should not be oiled. This can cause a build-up of oil that obscures the wood's natural colour. Each pine table is different and should be oiled based on how the oil complements the wood.

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About the Author

Bailey Shoemaker Richards is a writer from Ohio. She has contributed to numerous online and print publications, including "The North Central Review." Shoemaker Richards also edits for several independent literary journals and the Pink Fish Press publishing company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Ohio University.