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Oil for woods in the kitchen

Searched, but didn't find a definitive answer to the following question. What oil do you use for your knife handles, pot handles, other wooden items like pepper mills?

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  1. For knife handles, I use tung oil (without addicitives). I don't oil my pepper mill.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I've used tung, orange, and mineral oils. Tung will bring out the color the most. Orange will give it a nice smell and a slightly darker color than mineral oil.

      I personally like tung oil, but I also like a combo of mineral and orange oil.

      Btw, get some fine grit sand paper and sand your wood down before you oil it. It gives it a nice feel. Some people also sand with the oil on the wood. Some others heat the oil before applying it.

      Just stay away from natural/vegie/olive oils. I know orange oil is natural, but it doesn't go rancid as other oils do. I just sanded down a board where the person used olive oil on it, and it was a mess.

    2. Food grade mineral oil. Right now, I have a bottle of a gel I got at Home Depot called Howard Butcher Block Conditioner. It is mineral oil and "natural waxes" and works very well.

      1. If I oil something, I use Mineral Oil from the drugstore but heat it slightly in the microwave so it thins out and goes on easily. Cheap and effective.

        1. I use a combo from Tree Spirit, it is a mixture of bee's wax and food grade mineral oil. It does a good job. I use it on my kitchen table, chairs and on my cabinets after I clean them.

          1. Mineral oil works fine, you can get USP mineral oil at the drug store. You can mix it with parifin or beeswax to get a bit more water proff finish. These work exceptionally well for cutting boards and could be used on knife hanles or other handles as well. Another product that provides a little harder finish but is food safe is Bleen's Salid Bowl Finish, you can get it at Lowe's and probably HD, it's a harder finish than mineral oil and will provide a hint of shine. This would probably be better for woden peper mills as it doesn't penetrate as seeply as mineral or tung oil and provides a harder finish. It would also work on knife handles and other woden kitchen items. I don't recommend it for cutting boards as it is more of a surface finish.

            1. I use mineral oil. But I don't oil my pepper mill. It gets quite enough oil on it (butter, olive oil, etc) as a result of transfer from my hands.

              1. I have a lemon scented cutting board oil I use after cleaning with an antibacterial soap, sorry, don't remember the brand. Knife handles get a mineral oil treatment using a little bottle sold under the Chicago Cutlery label [from years ago - lasts forever since I'm a good scullery lad and don't dishwasher the knives]

                1 Reply
                1. re: RxDiesel

                  BOOS Block Mystery Oil. It's linseed, mineral, and orange... according to amazon.

                  I use it on my Guitar shaped cutting board (cheese plate!) and... well, that's about all the wood I have as far as food goes.

                2. Thanks everyone. Lots of good ideas. I'll have to study up and price some of them. Oh, and RxDiesel, I don't dishwasher knives either, but mine are old. Over the years I've gotten rid of many older implements, but cannot part with my knives, or with a wooden-handled old whisk that's my best pal in the kitchen. They'll all be looking better soon, thanks to you guys.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: sancan

                    "or with a wooden-handled old whisk that's my best pal in the kitchen."

                    Heh, my wooden handled whisk says "BEST" on it. I assume that's the brand.

                    Love that little thing.

                    1. re: J.Dish

                      Funny how we get attached to some tools. Mine is a medium-sized balloon whisk, and never had a brand on it. Wish they still made them somewhere, I'd like to have the little 'un, and a large 'un, too (which is silly because I already have enough other whisks). Since my spouse tells me we already have food grade mineral oil, I guess I'll use that. Will get out the sandpaper, too. Thanks to smkit for the reminder to do that.

                      1. re: sancan

                        Best makes all sorts of whisks in different shapes and sizes from little ones I use in a measuring cup to very large balloon whisks. The have them with wooden handles and all stainless steel. They also make a flat one for stirring sauces and gravies. One of my favorite whisks is from Kuhn Rikon. It will stand upright because it is flat on the bottom. It is intended for sauces and gravies. The flat design fits into the bottom of the pan and gets into the "corners" sides, beautifully. I especially love it when i am making things like fruit curds and custards

                  2. I make a mixture of half beeswax and half mineral oil for oiling my soapstone. It can be done with just mineral oil but the blend lasts much, much, much longer. So, I just use that to restore the finish and some moisture to the wooden handles as well.

                    It's a b**ch to get the two different degrees of liquidity to combine so I wouldn't recommend it just for handles. But if anyone could use it for soapstone as well I really endorse how much more effective it it with much greater staying power.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: rainey

                      Agree. I use beeswax on my chopping block. Beeswax (being much closer to solid) goes not easily wash away, and therefore provides much better staying power.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I try to never use mineral oil since its a petroleum product. I've read that walnut oil is really one of the best NATURAL oils to use.


                        1. re: ToothTooth

                          That sounds like a good reason not to use it on a wood cutting board but the handles of things and the counter I would never cut on don't really concern me.

                          1. re: ToothTooth

                            I suppose you are aware that mineral is taken by the spoon full as a laxative and has been used as such for years and years. You can treat a cutting board for a 6 -12 month period with the amount of mineral oil you would use as a laxitive in a day. You will ingest very little for a couple of reasons, first it soaks into the wood, it's not a surface finish, secondly anything remotely on the surface gets washed off the first time you wash a cutting board, so there just isn't much of anything there to ingest.

                            To each his/her own, I feel the way about natural oils, including walnut oil as you do about mineral oil, I wouldn't use it on something that would be in contact with food.

                        2. re: rainey

                          I just read about the beeswax/mineral oil mixture in a blog (http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/02/woo...) and am interested in trying that method. The blogger uses the "Spoon Butter" mixture on her wooden spoons, and they look gorgeous in the pictures.

                          1. re: goodeatsgal

                            rainey and goodeatsgal (everyone, really)
                            Thanks! Will do the spoon butter.

                          2. re: rainey


                            When you use the beeswax/mineral oil on your soapstone, do you use it at room temp, or warm it up a bit?

                            1. re: csb95

                              I have a block that's a solid tho not nearly so hard as beeswax. For the counters I rub the block on the stone and rub it off with a rag or a small polishing/sander thingie when I do the whole expanse of my counters.

                              I keep the soft T-shirt jersey type cloths I use in a container next to the block of wax/oil. When it comes to the wood handles and small scratches on my counter, I pull out these cloths and give a wipe with a well-impregnated one. Takes seconds.

                            2. re: rainey

                              Don't forget to use this mixture on the wood panels of freezers with ice/water dispensers too. It can prevent or greatly postpone having to get the surfaces that often get wet refinished.