Mineral oil is derived from highly purified, refined, and distilled petroleum. It is transparent, odorless, and colorless and has a light mixture of higher alkanes. However, it has properties of good thermal stability, perfect lubricity. Furthermore, it has an additive response for oxidation, wears, foaming, and corrosion of magnitude as a high-quality organic ester. It also has a blending characteristic and unusual low-temperature viscosity.
Uses of mineral oil
Mineral oil is considered useful in various fields. It is used in skin protection, constipation, dandruff, baking, and cell culture. However, its prolonged use may lead to vitamin deficiency because it carries fat-soluble vitamins out of the digestive system hence preventing their absorption. Mineral oil has a variety of uses as discussed below;
1. Dry skin
Mineral oil applied on the skin help maintain healthy and soft skin as it prevents moisture from escaping. In addition, it is mostly used in commercial moisturizing products. Additionally, mineral oils can be applied in the treatment of eczema to provide relief from the symptoms characterized by itchy, dry, discolored, and inflamed skin. Radiation therapy leads to abnormal dry skin as it is always harsh on the skin. However, mineral oil is applied in the affected areas to help reduce the effects caused by radiation therapy.
2. Ear wax
Mineral oil helps remove excess earwax in those who luck tubes in their eardrums. It is responsible for softening the wax. However, it is considered as a maintenance therapy to prevent future wax buildup. It is also effective in aiding the removal of an ear tube that is lying in the ear canal.
The use of mineral oil helps prevent dandruff. Mineral oil is applied on the scalp to enhance the softening of the dry, flaky skin and help keep it moist hence providing relief from dandruff.
4. Infant care
Mineral oil applied to babies help them get relief from cradle cap and diaper rash. However, applying mineral oil to the baby’s rash helps provide relief and prevent inflammatory caused by diaper rash. Additionally, mineral oil acts as the best remedy for a baby’s flaky, dry skin. Oil applied on the baby’s scalp help loosen the scales resulting in soft and smooth skin.
Mineral oil is essential in treating constipation. They offer assistance in bowel movement when the stools feel stuck low in the bowels. Mineral oil keeps moisture in the stool and helps lubricate the bowels. This enables the stool to face less resistance while passing out. Additionally, mineral oil prevents constipation by retaining water in the intestines and stools. Furthermore, it is essential in relieving pain caused by hemorrhoids and internal tears.
6. Dry, cracked feet
Mineral oil is essential in preventing and repairing cracked and dry feet. Mineral oil applied to the feet help them keep moisturized and soothes them.
7. Hair damage
Mineral oil help prevent hair from breaking and reduce tangles by acting as a lubricant. However, it helps moisturize the hair by creating a barrier that prevents the penetration of water. This also reduces the amount of water absorbed by the hair, which in turn minimizes swelling. Furthermore, the use of mineral oil prevents hair fuzziness and dryness.
8. Bandage removal
The bandage is saturated with mineral oil. This enables it to soften up and prevent it from sticking to the skin. It is, however, lubricated, moisturized later, slowly pulled away the skin using the outside edges of the bandage.
9. Treat ear mites in dogs and Aphids.
Mineral oil is nontoxic, hence used in treating mites in dogs. However, mineral oil smothers mites and buildup in a dog’s ears that can cause distress. It is also essential in killing aphids from plants.
10. Seasoning kitchen tools and wood cutting board
Mineral oil prevents water absorption, lacks odor and flavor. This property makes it to be essential for wood cutting boards, salad bowls, and utensils, are wiped down with the liberal application of mineral oil to extend their life. Wood treated with oil is more hygienic, as tried wood develops more cracks, which turn out to be a hiding place for bacteria. Mineral oil offers a better coating for wood cooking tools as it does not support rancid.
Mineral oil is used as a laxative for livestock and pets. It acts as an adjuvant in vaccines to stimulate a cell-mediated immune response. However, mineral oil is also considered in removing unshed skin on reptiles. It is also essential in killing tiny parasites as it suffocates them. Additionally, mineral oil is essential in the poultry industry for swabbing on Chicken feet affected with scaly mites. Food grade mineral oil napkins used in beekeeping are placed in hives as a tracheal treatment.
Mineral oil is used in industries as a non-conductive coolant in electronic components. It does not conduct electricity and displaces water and air. Mineral oil is used as a coolant to disperse switching arcs and as a coolant in switchgear. In addition, it is used as a just batching oil, cutting fluid, and a lubricant in textile industries. Additionally, it is used as a hydraulic fluid in hydraulic machinery and vehicles due to its no compressible property.
13. Cell culture
Mineral oil is used as an overlay covering micro dopes in petri dish soap. The oil allows many embryos and oocytes to be cultured consecutively. However, it also minimizes pH change and concentration by preventing the evaporation of the medium. This serves as a temperature buffer minimizing thermal shock to the cell and allows maximum reduction of used volume while the dish is taken out of the incubator for observation.
Mineral oil is essential in dough dividing, which is preferred in yeast-leavened bakery products. However, it is used to coat cutting knives to maintain an accurate, efficient dividing operation. Which also prevents sticking. Mineral oil is considered a good release agent in baking. It provides a consistent release of baked products from oven bands. In addition, it enables the equal quality of bakes goods
15. Used on a squeaky door
Mineral oil is used to lubricate squeaky door hinges. However, it is waterproof and protects metal and non-metal surfaces. This, in turn, dries fast and leaves a non-staining film that does not stick.