Mineral oil, which is colorless, odorless, has hundreds of various uses. From being used as a lubricant to being one to treat dry, chapped skin, we all have mineral oils at home.
There are a few types of mineral oils available and each type has its longevity. It is important to know how long before mineral oil goes bad.
Does mineral oil go bad? How long does it last?
If stored in a cool and dark place, mineral oil does not go bad. Additionally, mineral oil lasts indefinitely since it does not have any expiration date. However, mineral oil that is stored beyond the shelf life should not be consumed or applied to the skin.
There are a few different types of mine oils and each of them has a different shelf life:
Food grade mineral oil/Mineral oil USP:
Although mineral oil is not supposed to be used in the kitchen food-grade mineral oil is safe for human consumption.
Food-grade mineral oil does not come with an expiry date. However, these contain additives like vitamin E that should not last indefinitely.
White mineral oil:
White mineral oil usually has a shorter shelf life and only lasts for about 1 to 3 years.
Often given the name “paraffinumliquidum” in ingredient labels, this oil is mainly used in cosmetics, skincare products, and also baby oils and lotions.
Moreover, White mineral oil is significantly refined compared to the other grades.
Shimano mineral oil:
You’d notice how Shimano mineral oil is mostly sold in bigger containers instead of smaller bottles.
This is because Shimano mineral oil has no expiry date, and it can practically last a lifetime once opened. This mineral oil is mainly used in vehicles, primarily hydraulic disc brakes.
Heavy mineral oil:
Heavy mineral oil is quite similar to conventional mineral oils and is recommended to be consumed to treat constipation.
Since this oil is consumed, many suggest that it used not be used after one week.
Mineral oil laxative:
Commonly names lubricant laxative, this type of mineral oil is prescribed to treat constipation in patients.
Although there is no set shelf life of mineral oil laxative, it is best in use from 1 to 3 years.
Mineral engine oil:
Although mineral engine oil used as motor lubricants does not have definite expiry dates, their efficacy falls beyond 5 years of use.
Does mineral oil break down?
One of the biggest disadvantages of mineral oil, when compared to synthetic oil, is that mineral oil breaks down.
Break down of oil is the decomposition of oil under a high temperature of pressure. Hence if you plan to store mineral oil, make sure it is in a cold and dark place.
Whether it is industrial temperature or engine. When the temperature reaches 600 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, mineral oil starts to decompose, and the chemical constituent of mineral oil changes. Once that happens, mineral oil is said to be contaminated.
When mineral oil breaks down at higher temperatures, it produces a variety of by-products like methane, ethane, and other environmentally hazardous gases. Hence the process of mineral oil decomposition is considered to be non-biodegradable.
Generally, synthetic oil is better to be used in engines and as lubricants as well.
How to tell if mineral oil is bad?
Mineral oil, be it food grade or engine mineral oil, is an odorless and colorless liquid. Even when mineral oil decomposes under high heat, the physical attributes of the oil remain unchanged.
If we’re talking about food-grade mineral oil, heavy or white mineral oil, these certainly come with no definite shelf life. This might also be the only oil that does not leave a rancid smell, even if it has been stored for years.
That is to say that mineral oil cannot go bad. If a mineral oil shows an expiratory date, it is one that assures the date till which it is safe for consumption. Beyond that, there would be little to no change in the color or odor of the oil.
Food-grade mineral oils are different from other oils because they contain a certain aroma. When the aroma is gone, you could assume that the oil is past its best. In turn, it is also best practice to not consume a mineral oil that does not give off a pleasant smell anymore.
However, if mineral oil is burnt at a high temperature, you might notice the change in the smell for the decomposition.
How long is mineral oil good after the expiration date?
Other than food-grade mineral oils that are meant for consumption, mineral oils do not come with an expiration date. This is primarily because mineral oil does not go bad or toxic if stored for years.
For mineral oils that are bought for consumption, mainly to cure problems like dry skin or consumption, using it beyond the expiration date is not recommended.
When products like baby oils or cosmetics use mine oil as an ingredient, the product should be discontinued in use after the expiration date.
How long can I store mineral oil?
Many people look for ways to store mineral oil when they buy huge amounts of it at once. Storing mineral oil is simple and similar to storing any other.
With mineral oil, the advantage is that the oil itself does not absorb moisture from outside. Hence you do not have to worry about the stored oil going bad even in years.
For engines and greasing kitchen utensils, you can keep mineral oil for as long as you want. As long as no dirt or external impurities mix with the oil, you can safely store mineral oil for an indefinite period.
If the mineral oil is food grade and you plan to use it for consumption, it is best to store it for about 1 to 3 years.
If you notice the bottle of food-grade mineral oils, you would notice that it comes with a label. Beyond that date, you would still be able to store the mineral oil, however, it would not be safe for consumption.
How to store mineral oil?
Here are a few steps to follow if you wish to store mineral oil:
If you have a lot of mineral oil to store, you would need a few smaller containers. Using smaller containers instead of bigger ones would be more portable.
Wash the bottles:
Wash the bottles thoroughly if you are using old ones. The more important step involves drying the bottles completely.
Fill each bottle:
Fill each bottle with mineral oil and seal the bottles firmly.
Store the mineral oil:
Store the mineral oil bottles in a cooler and darker place. Keep them away from too much heat so the oil does not break down in any way.
Can mineral oil go rancid?
One of the biggest benefits mineral oils has over other oils is that it can be stored for several years without the oil going rancid. Most oils when kept for long or heated for one or more times can go rancid almost noticeably.
Even when mineral oil breaks down under very high temperatures, the oil does not give off any smell. Moreover, the oil does not change in color, neither does it change in taste.
Hence, it is possible to store mineral oil forever to come. Since mineral oil does not absorb water from the surroundings, sealing it in a bottle is guaranteed to keep the oil fresh for an indefinite period.
It is possible to store mineral oil at room temperature or in colder places as it only breaks down at higher temperatures. Otherwise, mineral oil does not contain any toxicity even when sorted for years to come.
Can you drink expired mineral oil?
You should not drink mineral oil that is beyond its expiry date. Most mineral oils that are used for vehicle hydraulic brakes and engine lubricants would not have expiry dates.
If you are planning to consume food-grade mineral oil or apply white mineral oil on dry skin, you may want to get a prescription from a doctor first. It is best to only consume fresh mineral oil, in such cases.
It is worth noting that expired mineral oil does not have any toxic properties.
Drinking expired mineral oil should not be fatal to anyone, although people who consume it over a longer period might suffer from certain stomach issues, including nausea, stomach upset, and in more extreme cases vomiting.
Mineral oil is a nonperishable product that can be stored for a lifetime’s use is kept away from direct heat. Since mineral oil does not absorb moisture from the surrounding, it would not go bad even a hundred years. You may be careful with food-grade mineral oils.