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Can You Use Mineral Oil on Wood? (Quick Answers)

Many people often recommend mineral oil for wood polishing, especially kitchen item polishing. Is it a good choice for wood polish, and how does it work compared to other types of polish? This article will briefly describe the uses of mineral oil on different types of wood.

Can you use mineral oil on wood?

Mineral oil is one of the common types of oil to cure and polish wood. Pure mineral oil is non-toxic and does not have any color or smell. That makes it an excellent choice for polishing kitchen items. It does not have much water resistance but has better temperature resistance.

You can use mineral oil on all types of wood, but it’s more suitable for kitchen appliances. Mineral oil nourishes the wood and enhances its natural color of the wood. It protects the wood from dryness and humidity change.

How does mineral oil work? Why is it suitable for kitchen appliances like spoons, cutting boards, wooden plates etc.?

Mineral oil is refined natural oil. If you refine petroleum and remove all the other materials,  you will get mineral oil. It is made from petroleum. But mineral oil is not the name of one type of oil. It is an umbrella term used for larger alkyls bigger than nine carbon refined from petroleum.

Mineral oil has many uses in food storage, making beauty products and wood polishing. Mineral oil gives the wood a clear finish and moisturizes the wood from the inside. It is a lot cheaper than other wood polish products, and it does excellent on wooden kitchen items.

Fully refined food-grade mineral oil is used on wooden kitchen items. It’s suitable for kitchen appliances as it does not have any smell, taste or color. It also does not cause any health problems to humans.

If you use commercial wood polish on your spoons and cutting boards, there is a chance that some portion of the commercial wood polish will reach your body and can cause health complications like cancer. 

So, commercial wood polish is not suitable for wooden stuff that directly contacts food. So, can you use food-based oil like olive oil or soybean oil in the wood? That is also not a good idea. 

Although the oil will not be harmful, you may get a bad oily smell from your spoon or food after using the thing for some time.

So, care for those appliances needs a specific type of oil that is non-toxic and does not cause any lousy oil smell after a while. Mineral oil fits nicely into the criteria. 

Check out if you can apply mineral oil on those.

Wooden spoons: 

There is no other alternative than mineral oil for wooden spoons. You can get a bad taste if you use other food-based oil on your wooden spoons, but by using mineral oil, you can moisturize the wood fibers of a wooden spoon without having any side effects.

Wood furniture: 

Mineral oil brings back the natural shine of wood furniture, and you can apply mineral oil DIY on your furniture without wearing any respirator or other safety items.

Wood cutting boards: 

Mineral oil is the best oil to use on wood cutting boards, but as it is not water-resistant, apply beeswax after applying mineral oil to make it waterproof and easy to wash.

Wooden bowl: 

A wooden bowl also comes in contact with food, so the smell and tasteless pure mineral oil are great options for the wooden bowl.

Wooden worktop: 

Mineral oil is suitable for worktops, but you can use other commercial and food-based oil like olive oil to cure wooden worktops.

Wood table: 

You can use mineral oil on wooden tables. The dining table is more suitable for applying mineral oil.

Wood floors: 

Wood floors are typically covered with Oil-based polyurethane, and mineral oil can damage the polyurethane layer. So, do not use mineral oil on wood floors.

Wood cabinets: 

You can use mineral oil on wood cabinets to restore their shine and keep the wood healthy.

Can mineral oil damage wood?

Mineral oil does not damage wood, but if polyurethane or other furniture was used previously, mineral oil could damage the shine of the wood. 

But usually, if there are no previous coats over wood, mineral oil moisturizes the wood from the inside and provides a clear and natural shine. 

Wood is made of small cellulose tubes, and the tubes are called wood pores. If the wood gets too dry, it becomes prone to bending and breaking. Wood needs oils as moisture, and when oil fills the gap in the wood, the wood becomes immune to decomposition and humidity change.

Mineral oil can also have a harmful effect if you use the oil frequently on a piece of wood. Mineral oil in timber can last for a few months to a year (depending on wood type and environment). You can reapply mineral oil on wood when the wood looks dry.

5 reasons why you can put mineral oil on wood

Here are the reasons why mineral oil is suitable for wood.

It keeps the wood healthy:

Wood fiber needs some moisture inside to prevent bending and breaking. But water as moisture is worst as it inhibits microorganisms. Oil does great to nourish the wood and keeps the wood healthy.

Provides a clear shine:

Mineral oil makes the wood shiny naturally and seals the wooden pores so moisture can not enter the wood.


Mineral oil is non-toxic and does not have any toxic effect on our health. Pure mineral oil is food grade and safe for kids and pets. 

Smell and tasteless:

Mineral oil does not have any foul taste and smell, so it is suitable for use on wooden cutting boards, bowls and spoons.


Mineral oil is relatively cheaper than other commercial wood polish in the market.

What does putting mineral oil on wood do?

Mineral oil seeps deep inside the wood and moisturizes the fibers inside the wood. The wood can get dry, fragile and dry without the oil polish. Humans mastered the oil polishing technique for thousands of years, and even today, it is an effective and cheap way to restore the wood.

Air has some moisture in it, and when the humidity level rises and drops, wooden furniture can change its shape a bit, leading to damage. 

What kind of mineral oil do you use on wood?

Standard mineral oil is suitable for use on the furniture, but if the wooden stuff is used for preparing food, you must get pure food-grade mineral oil. You can apply food-grade mineral oil to children’s toys, furniture, cutting boards, wooden spoons, and bowls.

However, mineral oil is ineffective in resisting direct water, so you will need to use it frequently if you use it on the things that need washing, such as cutting boards and spoons. Applying a beeswax coat makes the wood water-resistant.

Can you use mineral oil on this wood?

Check out if you can apply mineral oil to those types of wood.

Teak wood: 

You can use mineral oil on teak wood furniture, but Danish oil is the best oil type for track wood.

Finished wood: 

If furniture previously has polyurethane or other types of finish, you cant use mineral oil over it. It will damage the outer coat of the wood.

Stained wood: 

If furniture has oil stains and now looks dry and dull, you can apply mineral oil to bring back its shine.

Acacia wood: 

Mineral oil is one of the best items to moisturize acacia wood furniture.


Mineral oil application can keep pinewood healthy for a long time.

Unfinished wood: 

Several coats of mineral oil are necessary to apply to unprocessed timber.

How to properly use mineral oil for wood?

Mineral oil works excellent to moisturize and shine wooden furniture, but beeswax coat makes the mineral oil coating long-lasting and water-resistant. Here is a step-by-step process of applying mineral oil.

Wash the furniture:

First, wash the furniture with soap to remove all the dirt. After washing, dry the furniture.

Soak a cloth with oil:

Take a clean soft cloth and soak the cloth with oil. You can use a brush too, but I can tell from my personal experience that a fabric works best for this. 

Lightly rub the surfaces:

Lightly rub all the surfaces of the furniture evenly. Give the wood a bit of time to absorb the oil inside. Stop applying oil when you see the wood is not soaking the oil much.

Let the wood sit:

Let the wood sit for 24 hours, and then remove any extra oil with a cloth. And then apply a layer of beeswax for better protection.

Final Thoughts

Mineral oil can be used in most types of wooden furniture but is commonly used for curing kitchen appliances that come in contact with food items. It protects the wood from humidity change, moisturizes the wood fibers, provides clear polish and protects the wood from bending.