Mineral Oil – as a Wood Finish

A very popular question that surfaces when discussing mineral oil is if it is the same as mineral spirits. The answer is that “they are connected, though they remain quite different.” Mineral oil and mineral spirits are applicable on two distinctive purposes.

What is Mineral Oil?

Mineral oil is of two types:

  1. Food-grade oil
  2. Non-food grade oil

The contrast between them both is based on their level of purity.

At the point when mineral oil is referred to as “food-grade,” it is available in food markets, and it is alright for consumption. Quite often, individuals make use of mineral oil sparingly as some sort of diuretic. If mineral oil is classed as non-food grade, it implies that the oil is made up of some things that are toxic to people if ingested.

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is the association tasked with deciding if mineral oil belongs to the “food-grade” or “non-food grade” classification.

Mineral Oil As a Wood Finish

Notwithstanding the use of mineral oil as a form of diuretic, lots of people make use of it as a form of wood finish such as wooden dishes, cutting sheets, bowls, kitchen counter-tops, dining tables, and many other kinds of furniture. The essential purpose behind a mineral oil wood finish is usually because it is “food-grade safe” and not toxic to health. (There are a few waxes that are food grade).

Mineral oil gives an exceptionally great looking wood finish, and it is all around preferred in view of its non-poisonous properties. A major negative snag with utilizing mineral oil as a wood finish is that it needs to be re-coated occasionally on the grounds that it doesn’t give as durable a finish as different kinds of wood finishes.

How to Apply Mineral Oil

  • The initial step to applying mineral oils is to be certain that the surface to be finished is sanded, dry and wiped clean.
  • The oil should next be soaked on a clean cotton fabric and the clothed rubbed along the grain of the wood’s surface.
  • The oil must be afforded adequate time to penetrate deep into the wood and after that it ought to be sanded.
  • After applying the initial layer, no less than one more layer ought to be applied.
  • Some wood finishers prefer to apply a few more layers until the finish color is to their liking.

Is Mineral Oil the Best Wood Finish?

A lot of DIY enthusiasts say positive things about using mineral oil for wood finish. In light of its non-harmful nature, this kind of oil can likewise be utilized in finishing wooden bassinets, wooden toys that kids may stick in their mouths, and wooden infant chairs that children may bite.


Probably the most evident attributes of mineral oil include the fact that it is clear, almost odorless, and gives a natural wood surface finish.

Nonetheless, mineral oil does not as a matter of course give a tough and durable finish, and furniture should as such be re-finished if used a considerable lot and/or comes in contact with liquid.

See our complete guide to wood finishes for other alternatives.

As such, the answer is varied: 

Mineral Oil is best used as a wood finish for culinary items such as cutting boards, butchers blocks etc.

For high use furniture, you may want to go for a hardier finish.

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