Mineral oil is recommended for coating Soapstone sinks and counter-tops. What type of mineral oil should I use? Does it matter what type or color of Soapstone I have? How frequently do I have to use mineral oil to coat my counter-top? Do I even have to oil my soapstone? What if I like it the way it is without oil on it?
My fabricator says I should use wax instead of oil, is there any difference?
We have lots of different questions about Soapstone and oil. Let me try to answer all of them but one at a time.
Mineral oil is non-toxic and safe for food preparation surfaces. It is used for wooden cutting boards too.
Mineral oil comes in light and full bodies (Thick grades) and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer in viscosity.
The type of mineral oil you can buy in your local grocery store is just fine. The thin or light weight mineral oil goes on more easily than the heavier or full bodies oils, but they both do the same thing which is coat and enhance the natural color of the stone underneath.
When the stone is wet with mineral oil, it glistens and makes the stone appear shiny. When you buff it to a very thin coating of oil it appears to make the stone uniformly dark, but not as shiny. Over time it will appear to soak into the stone and evaporate or dry out.
The good news is that you can change the overall look quickly and easily and within a few applications you will know exactly what you like it and can adjust accordingly.
How often you apply mineral oil to soapstone is up to you and the look you like. If you like a dull dark look, once in a great while (quarterly or annually) perhaps may be more than enough. If you like it wet and glossy you will have to apply it more frequently (every couple of weeks) to maintain that look. The wax type treatments all claim to have special blends of oils from nuts, seeds and beeswax, the reality is that the primary ingredient in the topical Soapstone treatments of waxes is beeswax. The advantage to wax is that it doesn’t evaporate as fast so it lessens the frequency of application and has more staying power. It looks the same and being bees wax is also safe for food preparation surfaces.
If you like the way your soapstone looks, do I even have to coat my soapstone with mineral oil? No, you do not have to coat your soapstone with oil. The oils in your hands and food stuffs you prepare will oil your counter overtime and darken it naturally. This is called taking on a patina. You can remove the oil from your soapstone if you choose to. Either acetone or lacquer thinner will work. This will remove the mineral oil you have previously applied. I do not like to recommend this as these two solvents are flammable and will remove the finish from cabinetry if not handled very carefully, you can destroy more than you solve.