Best food-grade mineral oil

Oils

Food-grade mineral oil is safe to use on items that touch food, but it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for cooking oils like olive and vegetable. Not only can it affect your vitamin absorption, it’s also a laxative.

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Which food-grade mineral oil is best?

Food-grade mineral oil, sometimes known as white oil, is a product with many benefits and uses, from seasoning iron and wooden cookware to applying to your skin and hair. It’s a protectant, lubricant, moisturizer and softener, and it won’t spoil when left laying around at room temperature.

The best food-grade mineral oil is the Thirteen Chefs Food-Grade Mineral Oil. This 64-ounce bottle is enough to season all your wooden and steel cookware and still restore all your countertops over and over and over again. 

What to know before you buy a food-grade mineral oil

Uses of food-grade mineral oil

Food-grade mineral oil can be used on a multitude of surfaces.

  • Countertops: Food-grade mineral oil can improve the appearance of countertops of many materials. It darkens granite, seals marble and slate, and causes a patina to develop on soapstone. It can also be used as an oil-based paint remover and can even unseal adhesives like those used in most stickers.
  • Metal: The metal that most frequently receives a food-grade mineral oil treatment is cast iron, which it seasons. It’s also used to lubricate anything metallic and to provide a rust-resistant coating to most knife blades and metallic knife handles.
  • Wood: Of all the uses for food-grade mineral oil, its main use is on wood around the kitchen. Cutting boards, spoons, rolling pins or trays — it doesn’t matter as long as it is made of wood. Food-grade mineral oil seeps into the wood to both protect new wooden utensils and rejuvenate older ones.
  • Humans: Food-grade mineral oil has two main areas of use on the human body: skin and hair. It is popular for use on the skin because it’s moisturizing, ultra-soft and won’t clog pores; it’s so soft that nearly all baby oil is, in fact, mineral oil. It can reduce your hair’s frizz and you can even swallow it in small quantities to serve as a laxative.

What to look for in a quality food-grade mineral oil

Additional ingredients

Some food-grade mineral oils contain additional ingredients that skew that oil toward a more specific use. Vitamin E is a popular choice for food-grade mineral oil meant for use on objects. Scents are also popular additions, though these can affect food’s taste and smell, so use scented oils cautiously.

Certifications

Food-grade mineral oil can be verified by the United States Pharmacopeia, or USP, or certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, or NSF. These essentially state that the food-grade mineral oil contains what it says it does. Some oils also may carry specific certifications such as organic or non-animal tested.

How much you can expect to spend on a food-grade mineral oil

One of the blessings of food-grade mineral oil is that it doesn’t spoil when correctly stored, so it’s wise to buy large quantities at a low price per ounce. Depending on the oil’s brand and quality, 32-ounce containers or larger should cost around 45 cents an ounce. Smaller bottles, especially small amounts of high-quality oils, can cost $1 an ounce or more.

Food-grade mineral oil FAQ

Why can’t I use the cooking oils to season my cutting board?

A. Cooking oils, such as the common olive and vegetable varieties, spoil and go rancid over time, especially when not properly stored. If you season a cutting board or anything else wooden with these oils, any food that touches them will smell and taste worse and worse as the oil continues to deteriorate. Your health could even be at risk. Food-grade mineral oil never spoils at room temperature and has no taste, smell or color, so your food will never be affected.

Can food-grade mineral oil really be used on the skin?

A. Yep. Food-grade mineral oil has several great, safe uses on the skin, including moisturizing and softening. In fact, most baby oil is just mineral oil with a scent, and petroleum jelly is mineral oil with wax. One of the only real differences between a food-grade and pharmaceutical-grade mineral oil is which department of the Food and Drug Administration examined it.

What’s the best food-grade mineral oil to buy?

Top food-grade mineral oil

Thirteen Chefs Food-Grade Mineral Oil

Thirteen Chefs Food-Grade Mineral Oil

What you need to know: This oil is one of the best available for treating your wooden kitchen gear.

What you’ll love: Thirteen Chefs is made in the United States and comes in a big bottle, so you get plenty of oil for your money.

What you should consider: There are a few reports of bottles arriving with some damage to the cap.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top food-grade mineral oil for the money

Raw + Rare Food-Grade Mineral Oil

Raw + Rare Food-Grade Mineral Oil

What you need to know: A price-conscious option for food-grade mineral oil that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

What you’ll love: This food-grade mineral oil contains vitamin E making it safe for use on your skin.

What you should consider: The consistency of this oil may be a little thin depending on the bottle.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Bayes High-Performance Food-Grade Mineral Oil

Bayes High-Performance Food-Grade Mineral Oil

What you need to know: Multiple sizes are available so you can buy only what you need.

What you’ll love: The bottles it comes in are all recyclable.

What you should consider: There are a few reports of these bottles arriving with broken tamper-protection seals.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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