I want to make my own mix of beeswax and mineral oil. The mineral oil sold at Home Depot costs over 6 times more than the stuff sold in Walmart for constipation.

Are they the same thing?

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to Woodworking. Highly related: Use Baby oil instead of mineral oil on cutting boards
    – Graphus
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 13:51
  • 2
    I've got cheap ($1 cheap) unfinished wooden spoons purchased 30 years or more ago that I'm still using. Some get warped when they're left sitting over a boiling pot (after all, steam is used to bend wood intentionally, no big surprise it bends it unintentionally), but otherwise, they're as good today as they were the day they were purchased. Some have even been through the dishwasher more than once (though it's our policy not to, sometimes kids attempt to be helpful...).
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 18:04
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    Please tell us purpose of finish so I can modify my answer. I received -1 because my added suggestions are not relevant to an outdoor application.
    – Volfram K
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 5:21
  • The bulk of the Answers so far are NOT answering the wrong question, they specifically address your original query, saying yes (with specific details or caveats) and the deleted one maybe. So depending on how you want to count that's four for four, or three for four! You're an experienced SEer so you know the drill — consider your Question asked and answered and pick the Answer you find most useful in your estimation and give it the tick please.
    – Graphus
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 18:46
  • @Graphus Will do. Commented May 19, 2022 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


Are they the same thing?

Check the label.

You're asking about two unspecified products, so it's hard to say definitively whether they're both exactly the same thing or not. Mineral oil sold for specific applications sometimes has additives that you might or might not care about, such as fragrance and/or stabilizing compounds, even when they're described as "pure mineral oil".

In other words, anything described as "mineral oil" will be very nearly the same thing as "cutting board oil," and they're likely interchangeable for your purpose, but check the label to be certain.

  • I would change your wording to "even when the name says pure mineral oil", and emphasize that the user should check the ingredients list to determine the actual content of the container. As for the product you linked to, I think J&J would argue that the product is "Baby Pure" "Mineral Oil" as opposed to "Baby" "Pure Mineral Oil".
    – MattDMo
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 13:54
  • @MattDMo You're right that the label in this case says baby oil; it's the web page that calls it pure mineral oil. I'll tweak the wording there. More generally, I said "check the label" instead of "check the ingredients" because products not meant for internal use sometimes don't list the ingredients.
    – Caleb
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 14:06

Yes. Both are food grade mineral oil.

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    Or... make sure it's all food-grade mineral oil.
    – gnicko
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 1:43
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    This answer could be expanded upon.
    – gnicko
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 2:06
  • @gnicko both must be food grade or cannot be sold for each purpose, no?
    – Volfram K
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 6:55
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    @gnicko - if you're buying laxative mineral oil at Walmart, it is most definitely food grade. Same for mineral oil packaged and labeled as a cutting board finish at Home Depot. Either is safe for the purpose, and either will work. Commented May 13, 2022 at 11:32
  • @VolframK - You never know about WalMart. There could be "additives" or impurities. Vitamin E is one additive to the lube that isn't included in butcher block oil. Always check the label.
    – gnicko
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 13:52

Yes. Mineral oil. baby oil. dormant plant oil; all come out of the same refinery unit. All are "food grade" (sterile) unless contaminated by bottling, perfumes, etc. They may have somewhat different viscosity depending on the boiling range.

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    When it comes to wood finishes, "food grade" isn't equivalent to "sterile"—after all, it's not going to stay sterile after you've applied it. It's more like "non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and without other harmful side-effects once fully cured." Commented May 14, 2022 at 16:23
  • @BrianMcCutchon, I think in this context food-grade might genuinely mean sterile since they're a synthetic product, so don't innately contain any bacteria, mould spores or whatever that e.g. vegetable oils do, and also other close-by fractions (the lighter oil used as baby oil, and petrolatum AKA vaseline) are of course safe to use directly on broken skin without risk of infection. The point about curing isn't relevant to oils of this type since they effectively remain permanently liquid.
    – Graphus
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 18:13
  • Where did you get the term "dormant plant oil" from? It's close to a Googlewhack with or without a hyphen!
    – Graphus
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 18:34
  • Plant spray is diluted oil emulsion to suffocate certain pests like spider mites and scale. generally applied when plant is dormant as it can also partially block the air flow into the leaves. Commented May 14, 2022 at 20:55
  • My point was the "dormant plant oil" is not an established term (to say the least!) and really shouldn't be included in the Answer as it'll just tend to confuse people.
    – Graphus
    Commented May 15, 2022 at 16:22

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