Too much mineral oil

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Joined Jan 7, 2018
Might have been too liberal with my first application of mineral oil on my wa handle and cutting board. I basically gave the knife handle a very quick dip and wiped off the excess, and then a good amount on the board that I rubbed evenly. 8 hours later the handle feels greasy and the board is damp in a couple of places. Should I wait longer or put the board under direct sunlight? Or should I clean both? And if so what's the best way to pull out all the excess oil?
 
1,140
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
Might have been too liberal with my first application of mineral oil on my wa handle and cutting board. I basically gave the knife handle a very quick dip and wiped off the excess, and then a good amount on the board that I rubbed evenly. 8 hours later the handle feels greasy and the board is damp in a couple of places. Should I wait longer or put the board under direct sunlight? Or should I clean both? And if so what's the best way to pull out all the excess oil?

Over the years, the debate over using mineral oil on cutting boards has become somewhat of a sport in my kitchen. My young cooks swear by it and yet, I wouldn't let it in my kitchen. My argument was that mineral oil is a distillate of petroleum so why would we ever want that coming into contact with our food, especially raw foods prepped on cutting boards? My gauntlet was that if anyone could come up with actual proof that any distillate of petroleum was healthy, I would allow them to oil the boards with mineral oil. In the nearly three decades this debate has been a thing, no one could come up with such proof.

When I sold my restaurant and retired, one of my retirement gifts from my staff was a gallon of mineral oil. F*&kers. lol!

Anyway, this debate over the years motivated me to do my homework. I had to. How else would an old meat cleaver like me keep up with these young whipper snappers who live, eat and breathe everything culinary??

In researching this issue, I learned that the use of "food grade" mineral oil has been approved by the FDA for use in food prep and production. However, only to the extent that food does not contain more than 10 parts per million of mineral oil. That amount seemed very small to me. So, I looked that up, too. What I found is 10ppm is basically the equivalent of 10 grains of salt in a 55 gallon drum of water. That an incredibly small amount. Why would the FDA approve only such a small amount if mineral oil is "food grade?" Simple. Its a still a distillate of petroleum and not really meant for human consumption. Approving mineral oil for use in food prep and production is the proverbial "forcing the square peg into the round hole." We can speculate for days as to why this stuff would ever be approved for use with food. My bet is on money and profits. But, at the end of the day, speculating as to why its approved is pretty much academic.

The fact remains that "food grade" mineral oil is still a petroleum based product. In fact, "food grade" mineral oil with added scents to it is called "baby oil." Would you use baby oil on your cutting board regardless of its diaper fresh smell? Of course not.

Are you going to die because you oiled your cutting board with mineral oil? I highly doubt it. Am I a health nut that believes in the power of kale and quinoa to cure the evils of this world and their colon cleansing powers? Nope. I'm that guy who would sprinkle my cornflakes with bacon bits and include bacon with every meal if my wife would let me. So, there's that.

Any of these oils will work very well on your wood boards. Pretty much any oil that does not turn rancid will do nicely.

Flax seed oil
Walnut oil
Coconut oil
grape seed oil
linseed oil

You can mix a small amount of bees wax with any of the above oils, too.

Good luck. :)
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
I used mayonnaise on my wooden pastry table because I couldn't find food grade mineral oil. It seems to work fine so far (2 years later).
 
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Joined Apr 17, 2006
We used to sprinkle salt on our butcher block tables to pull out excess oil. Sprinkle an even layer over the board and let it stand over night.
 
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
In Japanese kitchens, you don't usually put oil on the handles, or not much. Ho (Japanese magnolia) is extremely resistant to rot and fungus, so as long as you keep the handles clean, they're fine as they are. I would certainly use soap and hot water to get as much mineral oil off those handles as possible, and then be assiduous about keeping them clean for a good while until all trace of it is gone.
 
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
The white birch the Scandinavians use also requires no oil. Water seems to do nothing to it, and it just never gets slippery.
 
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Joined Jan 7, 2018
First time I cleaned the knife I could see the water just seeping in. There's a very very big chance I have the only wa gyuto in the entire country, so you can imagine how rehandeling isn't simple. I need the handle to last as long as possible basically, hence I did that.
The good news is after 24 hours for the knife and 48nfoe the board, they look and feel fantastic. The wood just took a lot of time soaking it all up I guess
 
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Joined Jun 7, 2018
FYI Food Grade mineral oil can be found at your local drug store next to more conventional laxatives. It's safe to consume but your body has no way to digest the product so what goes in quickly finds it's way back out. Remember Olestra chips from back in the 90's?
 
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