How To Fix Your Kitchen Faucet With Tung Oil

Tung oil is made of oil, tungsten, and aluminum and is used in a variety of industrial and cooking applications.

As part of our “Best of the Web” series, Real Simple asked Real Simple readers for the best tips they’ve found in recent months. We turned in a special tip from David for making your kitchen faucet a more attractive option, so make sure you check it out. It’s a relatively inexpensive fix, but it will give the kitchen a much better-looking finish. To install the piece of equipment, use two layers of tung oil on the pipes leading to the faucet.

Tung oil is used for two reasons. First, it’s used to coat the pipe surfaces, making the metal softer and more pliable for a deeper penetration of paint. As a precaution, however, tung oil should never be used while washing or dishwashing. Also, it doesn’t take much to get a faucet that is greasy (especially those using the plastic fittings), so it’s best to use a professional to do the job.

Here are a couple of photos by David that show how to install it, and the steps it takes to get you into a better kitchen.

Step 1 – Use a sharp, long needle-nose pliers to remove the three screws holding the faucet onto the sink.

Step 2 – The two outer screws are held on by a spring-loaded nut and another nut. Use the pliers, pull on the nut, and twist the nut to pull the nut off the screw.

Step 3 – The inner screw (the inner most nut) is fixed, and the faucet will move when unscrewed. You’ve now unlocked the faucet and can begin to work. If you haven’t removed the inner faucet knob yet, use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove all the nuts on that side.

Using two layers of tung oil (above left) on the old faucet (above right), the next step is simply to spray on the two coats of tung oil onto the edges and sides of the faucet. You’ll want to apply the oil to the middle of the faucet, where the plastic is thickest.

Once you’ve applied a layer of the tung oil, put enough on to cover the entire faucet (above left) and lightly coat the middle, so the paint will stay in place as it dries (above right). When the tung oil is dry and has dried enough to stick (around an inch away from the surface of the pipe), you’ll want to peel it off the faucet.

To test your work, you’ll need to apply a thin layer of paint over the parts that you peeled off (above left). If you can still see the tung oil on the pipe, you’ve completed the job.

Using the same process, take a piece of thin (or thick, like thick plastic), clear (no yellow in it), or high gloss (it should shine) paint and lightly coat the sides and bottom of the pipes under the faucet.

After the first coat is dry, you’ll want to apply another layer, making sure to leave enough of the tung oil oil in place to hold the paint in place, and a final coat to hold the paint up as well.

That’s it! You’ve completed a little fix for your faucet. And with that, as an aside, any faucet that you’ve installed with this method will need to be checked for a faucet wrench (a special one designed for fixing the fittings). You don’t want it to loosen, which could lead to corrosion of the metal pipe.