Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What is Mineral Oil?

I have heard of mineral oil in body products and using it to condition butcher block surfaces, but I was wondering how it was used in other ways. I found this description on Wisegeek.com:

"Mineral oil is one of a number of inexpensive byproducts that are made from petroleum. Sometimes referred to as paraffin oil or Nujol, white mineral oil is composed of a blend of hydrocarbons that is not unlike that of petroleum jelly. The difference is that mineral oil is a liquid petrolatum, making it an ideal choice for a number of applications. Here are some of the more common uses for mineral oil around the home.

Perhaps the single most common use for white mineral oil is to remove makeup at the end of the day. Mineral oil has the ability to cut through the minute amounts of grease and dirt that tend to cling to makeup over the course of the day, making it possible to strip off the layer of makeup easy and prepare the face for cleansing. Along with removing makeup from the face, mineral oil is often used as a beauty treatment, as it is an excellent amplifier that helps the body to absorb ultraviolet rays without drying out the skin. While not everyone is aware, baby oil is simply mineral oil that has been enhanced with a small amount of fragrance.

Mineral oil is also good for use in the kitchen as well. Butcher-block surfaces can be conditioned with the substance from time to time. Treatments of mineral oil help the wood to stay supple, and also help to soften the appearance of nicks and cuts that are made during regular use of the block. Soapstone countertops can also benefit from an application of mineral oil from time to time. The properties of the oil help to keep the surface looking new, even if the countertop has been in place for ten years or more.

Clay is another medium that can benefit from the application of mineral oil from time to time. For example, treating new clay pots with mineral oil will help to age the look of the pot. This is often desirable with decorating schemes that tend toward old country or shabby chic motifs. Clay poker chips can also be aged with the application of a little mineral oil, helping them to look well loved and used.

Mineral oil is a very inexpensive item to keep around the house. With so many different types of uses, having a bottle of mineral oil in the cupboard is an excellent idea. Whether for personal hygiene or maintaining the look and condition of selected items around the home, mineral oil is a great option."

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