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Guide: 3 Best Mineral Oils for Rock Tumbling & Polishing

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Every rockhound dreams of giving their rocks a long-lasting, shiny finish. But is it possible without rock tumbling, or are there faster ways to achieve better results? Mineral oils for rock tumbling and polishing can transform your rocks dramatically.

The best mineral oils for rock tumbling and polishing include UltraPro food-grade mineral oil, Thirteen Chefs mineral oil, and WD-40 3-in-one motor oil (Amazon links). These mineral oils can work wonders for your rocks if used correctly.

Let’s break it down and answer all your mineral oil-related questions step by step!

What Oil to Use for Rock Tumbling and Polishing?
What Oil to Use for Rock Tumbling and Polishing?

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 to clean it after thoroughly. 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

Best Mineral Oil for Rock Tumbling and Polishing
Best Mineral Oil for Rock Tumbling and Polishing

Some mineral oils are more effective than others for rock tumbling and polishing. Certain oils are intended to be used in your rock tumbler every 30 days or so, but others may be used to polish your rocks and restore their luster.

There are several mineral oils available for your rocks and rock tumbler. The best mineral oils for these applications include WD-40 3-in-1 motor oil, UltraPro food-grade mineral oil, and Thirteen Chefs mineral oil.

These items can help your rock tumbler run at its full potential and make your rocks sparkle 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 utilized in a variety of equipment; however, it should not be used as a lubricant on your rock tumbler but rather as a cleanser. WD-40 is effective against excess oil buildup and dust accumulation on your rock tumbler’s working components. It will protect the working parts of your rock tumbler from wear and tear.

It is one of the higher-quality lubricants on the market, having an equal SAE 20 oil rating. This oil will put an end to your horror if you have a noisy 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 regular mineral oil after polishing. 

Remember that applying oil will make your specimens more prone to dust accumulation. 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 wishes that its rocks would glow eternally. Unfortunately, this requires ongoing upkeep. You must polish your rocks to keep them sparkling, especially when displaying your collection to other enthusiasts.

Mineral oils can persist for one to two years or more. The coating will gradually fade, and you must repeat the operation to restore the sparkling appearance. However, it is worthwhile since you continue to visit those rocks and provide them with the care they require.

You’ll feel accomplished after you’ve restored their glossy appearance. Just be sure to use high-quality oils. Some oils may include components, like acids, that might harm your rocks over time.

Before putting mineral oils on your rocks, always check the labels to discover what they contain. It’s wise to try different oils on different rocks because the outcomes may vary.

Some rocks are more difficult to polish and reach the desired level of gloss than others. Finally, it comes down to trial and error, as well as how much you’ve tumbled your rocks. Oil can occasionally be used to disguise specimen flaws, such as those seen in sphalerite or calcite.

However, these flaws become obvious once the oil evaporates, so you must reapply it. Keep your minerals away from air and humidity to achieve the best polishing results.

Oils can also assist in concealing scratches on your specimens, such as fluorite scratches. Quartz crystals with damage are more difficult to conceal; however, depending on the extent of the damage, mineral oil may also be effective.

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: You need some key supplies and equipment to ensure your tumbled rocks come out looking smooth and shiny. Check them out in the article below:
GUIDE: Rock Tumbler Accessories, Equipment & Supplies