Mineral oil

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1) A colorless, aliphatic hydrocarbon oil obtained from petroleum distilled at 330-360C. Mineral oil, or liquid petrolatum, is normally divided into two fractions: light mineral oil (density 0.83-0.88) and heavy mineral oil (density 0.86-0.91). Mineral oil is used as a lubricants for textile processing. It was also used in a much touted formulation ( Phoebus) for the removal of bloom on varnished oil paintings. This practice, however, is not recommended. Mineral oil is chemically inactive and is unlikely to damage aged Linseed oil films; however, once it is placed on a painting, the mineral oil will be virtually impossible to completely remove.

2) The term 'mineral oil' was originally used as a synonym for Petroleum.


Mineral oil, aliphatic hydrocarbon oil.TIF

Synonyms and Related Terms

huile minérale (Fr.); aceite mineral (Esp.); olio minerale (It); liquid paraffin; liquid petrolatum; white mineral oil; white Russian oil; Nujol; paraffin oil; vaseline oil; Phoebus


  • May be harmful by ingestion or inhalation.
  • Skin contact may cause irritation.
  • Combustion products are carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
  • Flammable. Flash point = 135C (275F)
  • Flinn Scientific: SDS

Other Properties

Soluble in ether, chloroform, carbon disulfide, naphtha, benzene. Insoluble in water, cold ethanol or glycerol.

CAS 8012-95-1
Density 0.83-0.91 g/ml

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • M. Doerner, The Materials of the Artist, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1934
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986