Mineral oils are clear, lightweight, and odorless liquid made from highly refined, processed, and purified petroleum. They’re commonly known for their use in a number of different cosmetic products like baby lotion, cold creams, and ointments, thanks to their natural anti-pore clogging and moisturizing properties. This is not the only practical use for mineral oils, however. Since they’re a natural lubricant, mineral oils can also be used as a cleaner, stain remover, and a protective polish for wooden furniture, cutting boards, and metal tools. It helps prevent wooden surfaces from becoming scratched and metal surfaces from rusting. The great thing about mineral oil is that it’s both effective and inexpensive, and many brands are multipurpose. It’s also readily available in large bulk quantities, making it even more cost-efficient in the long run. If you want to add mineral oils to your home cleaning routine, here are a few we recommend.
What to Consider in Mineral Oils
Here are a few things to think about before buying mineral oil:
- Uses: How do you plan to use your new mineral oil? What surfaces do you intend to use it on the most? These are both important questions to ask before you buy mineral oil. Some products may be multipurpose, but others may be geared towards one purpose over others. One type of mineral oil may be best for protecting wooden surfaces, for instance, while another is better suited for cleaning toilet bowls. Be sure to check the listing on any mineral oil you might buy, especially if there’s a chance the mineral oil was blended with other ingredients that make it more suitable for steel over wood or vice versa.
- Food Grade: A common use for mineral oil is cleaning, conditioning, and protecting cutting boards and wooden serving utensils. It’s an excellent choice for this particular task since mineral oil protects against scratches and can help prevent the wood from drying out and cracking after multiple washings. As useful as this is, using mineral oil on surfaces that touch your food may come back to haunt you later if it isn’t a food-safe product. If your plan is to use mineral oil on cutting boards or food utensils, be sure that you buy a product labeled as food-grade or food-safe.
- Spray vs. Liquid: As you’d expect from the name, most mineral oils are sold in a liquid, almost gel-like form. You can, however, also buy them as a spray if you prefer. There is no quality or effectiveness difference between the two, so this is mostly down to personal preference. Many people find the liquid form easier to spread and rub into various surfaces, but it’s also much messier, and you risk spilling or oversaturating your belongings. Sprays are easier to apply but harder to use as a coating. You may also want to avoid a spray if you have asthma or other respiratory problems, as the droplets and fumes may linger in the air and cause irritation.
Best All-Around: Thirteen Chefs Food Grade Mineral Oil
A classic odorless, tasteless, and colorless mineral oil that can be used on multiple surfaces, from bamboo and other wood to steel to bowls. It’s also safe for granite, soapstone, marble, and metal gardening equipment and cutlery. This mineral oil is food grade, so you can use it on wooden utensils, cutting boards, knives, and butcher blocks without fear. Each bottle comes with a tamper seal so that you know it comes to you without any cross-contamination. It works to hydrate and seal in wooden surfaces to protect them from unwanted moisture, drying out, or cracking. They’ll also safeguard items like marble and soapstone, prevent rust on metals, oil up knives and butcher blocks, and even lubricate meat grinders. The press applicator cap gives you more control when squeezing out oil and takes less effort on your part. You can buy this mineral oil in three different sizes based on your needs, whether in a bottle of 12 or 64 fluid ounces or a full gallon.
Thirteen Chefs Mineral Oil for Cutting Board - 12 Oz Food Grade Conditioner to Clean Butcher Block, Countertop - Lubricant for Kitchen Knife, Meat Grinder
A multipurpose mineral oil that can be used to lubricate, oil, and protect numerous surfaces.
Best for Wooden Surfaces: Bayes High-Performance Mineral Oil Wood Conditioner and Protectant
If you plan to mainly use mineral oils on bamboo or other wooden surfaces, this is the product for you. It’s of the highest quality, free of harsh chemicals, and 100% food-grade, safe for use on any sort of wooden kitchen utensils and accessories. Wood is prone to drying out and cracking after multiple washings. But if you coat your serving salad forks, charcuterie boards, and bamboo cutting boards with this mineral oil, it will help nourish, protect, and preserve them to prevent this from happening, giving your items a longer service life. For best results, wash the wooden item with mild soap and water, allow it to completely dry, and then apply the mineral oil with a clean cloth. Let the oil soak in for two or three minutes, and then wipe the surface with a different clean and dry cloth. Use at least once a month on your wooden kitchen tools for optimal protection; if you’ve just bought a brand new wooden object, apply mineral oil to it daily for a week, and then once a week for another month before switching over to once a month treatments. The mineral oil is nontoxic and cruelty-free and comes in a recyclable bottle with a convenient pour spout. You can buy this oil in a bottle of eight or 12 fluid ounces and in packs of one or two.
Bayes High-Performance Food Grade Mineral Oil Wood & Bamboo Conditioner and Protectant - Cleans, Conditions and Protects Wood, Bamboo, and Teak Cutting Boards and Utensils - 12 oz
A nontoxic, chemical-free, 100% pure food-grade mineral oil that is optimal for use on wooden surfaces.
Best Spray: Sanco Industries Premium Pure Food Grade Mineral Oil
While most mineral oils come in liquid form and require a squeezable bottle to dispense, you can also buy it as a spray. If you prefer the easier, more convenient, and lower effort application of a spray, consider this product. Even in spray form, it has all the trappings and properties of classic mineral oil. It’s colorless, odorless, and tasteless and can even help prevent bacterial growth. It’s also 100% food-grade, USP certified, and NSF approved. Along with being safe to use on surfaces that touch and handle food, it prevents the absorption of food odors. This mineral oil is multipurpose, lubricating various surfaces such as butcher blocks, food processors, and soapstone, clean stainless steel appliances, and prevent knives from rusting. You can also use it to stain wood or maintain and preserve wooden food-preparation surfaces. The bottle is pint-sized, holding 16 ounces of mineral oil spray.
Premium 100% Pure Food Grade Mineral Oil, 16oz Spray Bottle, Butcher Block and Cutting Board Oil
A premium mineral oil spray that is multipurpose and easier to apply than gel liquid forms.
Best Large Quantity: Sanco Industries Premium Mineral Cutting Board Oil
If you’re someone who uses mineral oil on a regular or even daily basis, you may find it’s worth your while to invest in a high-volume container in order to save money and always ensure you have some on hand. That’s where this product comes in. You can buy it a single gallon (128 fluid ounces) bottle or a pack of 4 gallons, which will keep you well-supplied, even if you use mineral oil every day. Like all mineral oils, it’s free of colors and odors. This particular brand is 100% food-grade as well as USP certified and NSF approved, able to prevent food odors from absorbing into various surfaces and causing a lingering stench. It also helps to stop rust and bacteria from growing, a handy feature for a cleaning product. It’s safe to use on various surfaces, from wood to metal or soapstone. And unlike vegetable oils, which can be used for similar purposes, this mineral oil won’t go bad or break down, so you can buy a higher quantity product like this one without fear of it growing rancid over time.
Premium 100% Pure Food Grade Mineral Oil USP, 1 Gallon, Food Safe Butcher Block and Cutting Board Oil, NSF Certified Material
A quintessential, food-safe mineral oil available in a single gallon or even 4-gallon value pack to keep you well-supplied for longer.