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12 surprising uses for mineral oil around your home

12 surprising uses for mineral oil around your home
Posted at 2:34 PM, Mar 21, 2024

Mineral oil is one of those household items — like baking soda or rubbing alcohol — that you’ve probably got stashed in a cabinet somewhere. It’s on hand in case you need it, but what do you use it for again? A whole lot of things, actually.

Mineral oil is a transparent, odorless liquid derived from petroleum jelly, and if you don’t already have a bottle, you can pick one up at Home Depot or Lowes. You’ll also find it on Amazon.

It’s both a humectant (it attracts water) and a lubricant (it reduces friction between surfaces). So, you might see it in the ingredient lists of many skincare products, like moisturizers and hair conditioners. (In fact, it comes in at number three in the ingredient list on my tub of Eucerin cream.)

But how can you use your bottle of mineral oil? Read on to learn 12 ways you can use this versatile oil around your home.

1. Condition Wood Furniture

Have you run out of wood furniture polish? You don’t need Pledge or Pine-Sol — just mix equal parts mineral oil and vegetable oil, and rub the solution on the wood with a microfiber cloth or clean dishcloth. Mineral oil won’t stain your furniture, and it’s nonflammable. Just make sure to allow it to dry completely before applying a second layer.

2. Keep Cutting Boards From Warping

Wood cutting boards are attractive and durable, but they do require some upkeep to prevent them from drying out, getting brittle or cracking. Oiling your board will prevent liquids from seeping into crevices, which can hide germs and bacteria. Mineral oil is a great option for cutting boards — as long as the bottle indicates that it’s FDA approved, food-grade mineral oil.

3. Remove Lipstick Stains

When you’re cleaning your clothes, stains from lipstick (and other oil-based makeup) can be stubborn adversaries. Next time you’re facing a lipstick spot on your clothes, add mineral oil to a clean cloth and blot the stain with it. Let the fabric sit for about 15 minutes, then press gently with a different cloth to remove the excess oil.

Next, combine one part ammonia with two parts water. Dip a sponge into this solution and gently rub the stain. Rinse thoroughly. (One warning: Don’t use ammonia on wool or silk, as it can damage these fabrics.)

4. Protect Garden Tools

Spades, trowels, gardening shears and digging forks typically have metal ends and wooden handles, and mineral oil can work wonders on both materials. You can make an excellent storage area for your gardening tools by adding mineral oil to sand inside a large flower pot.

Fill the pot with sand and add 20-30 ounces of mineral oil. Stir it all together so that the oil is evenly distributed. Then, plunge your gardening tools into the sandy mixture, which will keep them sharp and lubricated.

5. Silence A Squeaky Door

Does your door squeak every time you open or close it? You can use mineral oil to fix that. Use a screwdriver to take apart the hinge, remove the inner pin, soak the pin in a bowl of mineral oil and reassemble it. Use a paint brush to brush mineral oil on the outside of the hinge as well.

6. Rust-Proof Outdoor Furniture

If you have outdoor furniture that’s made of aluminum, a coat of mineral oil will keep it from rusting and preserve its luster. Mineral oil offers some protection against changes in humidity, so the furniture is less susceptible to being damaged by the elements. Coating your outdoor furniture with mineral oil will offer a measure of protection against rust, mold and rot.

7. Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

There are numerous cleaning solutions specifically designed for cleaning stainless steel, but all you really need are a few items you probably already have on hand. First, dampen a non-abrasive cleaning cloth with water and some mild dish soap and wipe down the appliance. Next, add a few drops of mineral oil to a second cloth and wipe the appliance again. Ta-da! All done.

To quickly get rid of finger prints on the fly, apply a light coating of mineral oil and wipe well with a cloth to avoid any residue buildup.

8. Remove Paint From Your Skin

You can wash water-based paint off your hands with soap and water. But if the paint dries, it’s tougher to remove. In this case, add a few drops of mineral oil and rub your hands together, agitating the paint with your fingernails.

Oil-based paint is even harder to get rid of, but mineral oil works here, too. Soak a cotton ball in mineral oil and rub the paint with it. You may need to continually apply more oil as you go, but eventually it will lift the paint away.

9. Remove Stickers

Do your kids put stickers on everything from car windows to bed posts? Sometimes removing the stickers can be a hassle, especially when they leave residue behind.

Here’s where mineral oil can help. Add a few drops to a clean cloth and scrub the residue with it. Use a plastic scraper to remove the excess oil and residue. Finally, wipe it down with a paper towel.

10. Diffuse Oil

To make your own aromatic oil diffuser, you start by stirring together ¼ cup of mineral oil and 2-3 tablespoons of vodka in a measuring cup. Then, add essential oil to the mixture at a ratio of 25 percent essential oil to 75 percent base liquid and stir. Pour it into a small vase, insert five or six reeds and enjoy a sweet-smelling room!

11. Silence A Creaky Floor

If you’ve got a noisy floor, you can stop the irritating squeak by applying a few drops of mineral oil to reduce the friction between the floor boards. Apply a few drops to the cracks and let them seep in. This should be all the lubrication your floor needs to quiet down.

MORE: How to clean wood floors with vinegar

12. Lengthen The Life Of Your Razor

Mineral oil offers a great way to keep your razor rust-free. It’s safe and nontoxic on your skin, and easy to apply. Just dry your razor after using it, dip a Q-tip in some mineral oil and slide it along the edge. While tea seed oil is equally effective, chances are better that you actually have mineral oil around.

With all of these options, it sounds like it might be time to go find that bottle of mineral oil. Your home is going to be looking (and possibly smelling) great in no time with this powerful tool.

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