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Every rockhound wants to give its rocks a long-lasting shiny finish. But is it possible to do so without rock tumbling, or are there other ways to speed up the process and get better results? Well, mineral oils for rock tumbling and polishing can change your rocks drastically.
The best mineral oils for rock tumbling and polishing that you can use for your rocks are the UltraPro food-grade mineral oil, the Thirteen Chefs mineral oil, and the WD-40 3-in-one motor oil (Amazon links). Mineral oils can do wonders for your rocks if you know how to use them.
But let’s take it one step at a time and answer all the mineral oil-related questions you need to know!
If you want to check out the best oil for rock tumblers, you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Can I Put Mineral Oil in Rock Tumbler?
Mineral oils give your rocks a wet-look shine, but you must soak them in them for five or ten minutes. After this, you must remove the excess oil with a cloth that can absorb it. But should you put the mineral oil in the rock tumbler when you want to soak them?
You might not do any damage if you put mineral oil in a rock tumbler for five or ten minutes. However, it depends on what type of mineral oil you use.
Also, you shouldn’t put oil in your rock tumbler because you will have some thorough cleaning after that. Apart from this, the oil might act as a lubricant.
It might make your rocks pound on each other harder, resulting in breaks. You should use mineral oil after your rock tumbling process is over. Still, you can always experiment and see how it goes, but do so with specimens you aren’t afraid to ruin.
If you have some tumbled rocks that you already used mineral oil on and want to tumble them again, wash them with dish soap before putting them back in the rock tumbler.
Can I Use Baby Oil to Polish Rocks?
Polishing rocks is one of the best parts after your long rock-tumbling process is over. However, can you use baby oil to polish rocks instead of other alternatives? Well, yes and no, and the reasons vary.
Baby oils can be used for polishing rocks, but they might have acids such as citrus. You can use it to polish your rocks once or twice a year, but frequent usage can lead to discoloration in the long run. If you don’t have anything on hand when you want to polish your rocks, go for it. If not, it’s best to use something else.
Baby and mineral oils are often the same, but their ingredients make them different. Always check on the oil ingredients before applying them to your rocks. In some instances, you can use oil once or twice safely.
TIP: Rock collectors know how hard it is to find perfect specimens for tumbling. Check out the best places for finding these rocks in the article below:
7 Best Places to Find Rocks for Tumbling in Nature
Best Mineral Oil for Rock Tumbling and Polishing
Some mineral oils are better than others for rock tumbling and polishing. Some oils are meant to be used for your rock tumbler every 30 days or so, while others can be used to polish your rocks and give them a new shine.
There are plenty of mineral oils out there that you can use for your rocks and rock tumbler. The best mineral oils for these purposes are the WD-40 3-in-One Motorl Oil, UltraPro food grade mineral oil, and the thirteen chefs mineral oil.
These products can make your rock tumbler work at its best capacity and make your rocks shine like never before.
Here is a video on how to oil and make your rocks shiny. Let’s analyze these three mineral oils and see exactly what’s up with them!
WD-40 3-in-One Motor Oil
The WD-40 3-in-One Motor Oil (Amazon link) is among the most popular mineral oils to lubricate your rock tumbler’s moving parts. It would help if you used it once every 30 days on various parts of your rock tumbler to ensure it works properly.
WD-40 is used in all kinds of machines but don’t use it on your rock tumbler as a lubricant, but rather as a cleaner. WD-40 works excellently against excess oil build-up and dust accumulating on your rock tumbler’s moving parts. It will help the moving parts in your rock tumbler against wear and tear.
It is one of the higher-grade oils in the market, with an equivalent SAE 20 oil rating. This oil will end your nightmare if you have a squeaky rock tumbler.
UltraPro Food Grade Mineral Oil
The UltraPro food-grade mineral oil (Amazon link) is a perfect mineral oil that you can use on the final shine of your tumbled rocks, apart from many other applications. You can also use it on your lapidary saws when you go out rockhounding, and it’s easy to filter for reuse purposes.
You can keep your lapidary blades lubricated and cool and won’t have to worry about staining or discoloring your rocks as you cut them, and it won’t bog down your saw. It is also very gentle on the skin, so you can polish your rocks without worrying about your skin.
Since you won’t discolor or leave stains with it on your rocks while applying force, you won’t have to worry about polishing your rocks with it, either.
This is a great affordable, high-quality mineral oil that you can use for your rock polishing stages and lapidary saws, among other appliances. It will help you mask most defects your specimens might have, such as scratches.
Thirteen Chefs Mineral Oil
The Thirteen Chefs’ mineral oil (Amazon link) is another excellent mineral oil you can occasionally use to polish your rocks. It has plenty of other uses that you will find helpful in your kitchen so that you can swap between its usage.
This mineral oil is also gentle on the skin. Let the rocks absorb the oil. You can use a cotton swab to gently apply the oil on your tumbled rocks and use it in combination with regular mineral oil after polishing.
Remember that your specimens will be more prone to dust accumulation while applying oil. Store them away from air and humidity once you use the oil. Keep a cloth handy because it’s easy to overdo it, and too much oil can be bad.
TIP: Rock tumblers require maintenance; you must oil them regularly to keep them running smoothly. Find out the complete guide about oiling rock tumblers in the article below:
Step-By-Step Guide: How To Properly Oil Your Rock Tumbler
How Long Does Mineral Oil Last on Rocks?
Every rockhound wants its rocks to shine forever. Unfortunately, this can’t happen without regular maintenance. You always have to polish your rocks to give them a shine, especially when you want to present your collection to other enthusiasts.
In general, mineral oils can last between one and two years or more. The coating will eventually fade, and you must repeat the process to return that shiny look. However, it’s totally worth it because you keep revisiting those rocks and providing them with the care they need.
You will feel accomplished when you bring back their shiny look. Just make sure that you use high-quality oils. Some oils might have components that damage your rocks over time, such as acids.
Before applying them to your rocks, you should always carefully lead the mineral oil labels and see precisely what they contain. It’s best to experiment with different oils on different rocks because you can get different results.
Some rocks are harder to polish and reach that level of shine than others. In the end, it is a matter of trial and error, and of course, it also depends on how much you tumbled your rocks. Sometimes, oil can help you mask specimen defects, such as sphalerite or calcite.
However, these defects become visible once the oil evaporates, so you must apply it again. To polish your minerals, keeping them isolated from air and humidity is best.
Oils can also help you hide scratches on your specimens, such as in the case of fluorite scratches. Quartz crystals with damage are harder to mask, but depending on the damage, you might also be able to hide them with mineral oil.
How to Make Rocks Shine with Oil?
Once you have decided on a mineral oil to use on your rocks, wash your rocks and apply the oil. Grab a cloth and wipe off excess oil from your specimens. Depending on how safe the oil is for your rock, you can reapply it after a couple of weeks or months after the oil evaporates.
There’s nothing like making your rocks shine, especially after you’ve gone through so much to find them and tumbling them.
You can boost your rock’s beauty with proper mineral oils and showcase your exposition to other enthusiasts and friends. Keep your rocks shiny and your rock tumbler oiled.
TIP: There are some key supplies and equipment you need to ensure your tumbled rocks come out looking smooth and shiny. Check them out in the article below:
GUIDE: Rock Tumbler Accessories, Equipment & Supplies