We LOVE this DIY butcher block countertop & cutting board oil finish! After testing many recipes, we have finally found the magical blend of mineral oil and beeswax mix that is so easy to use, and creates such a beautiful result!
This all natural wood conditioner is food safe and great for rejuvenating and maintaining of indoor butcher block countertops, wood cutting boards, salad bowls, wooden toys, utensils, etc.
There are many great butcher block countertop & cutting board oil conditioners you can buy, but making your own is really fun and easy! This batch will easily last us a whole year for all the maple butcher block countertops in our new IKEA kitchen remodel, and at 1/10 of the cost for similar commercial products. Let’s make some!
What is cutting board oil? What does cutting board conditioner and butcher block oil do?
Most “cutting board oil” is basically food safe mineral oil. To make it more effective, beeswax and /or carnauba wax is added to make some of the best all natural non-toxic wood conditioners. Carnauba wax is harder than beeswax, learn more about it here.
*Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
The penetrating mineral oil along with the water-resistant beeswax or carnauba wax can rejuvenate the wood, prevent drying and cracking, help repair knife marks and protect the wood by keeping the mineral oil in and the moisture out.
How to make all natural non-toxic butcher block countertop & cutting board oil finish:
After trying different oil and wax wood finishes that we purchased and made from various DIY recipes, we found that a very soft paste consistency gives the best results. Most recipes we found produce a hard wax finish, which tend to stay on the surface instead of being absorbed into the wood. This sticky surface is also very hard to clean.
Here’s the butcher block oil recipe we came up with that is working great for us.
Materials and tools to make all natural non-toxic butcher block countertop & cutting board oil conditioner
- food safe mineral oil
- beeswax, optional: carnauba wax.
- clear measuring cup, double boiler or a pot with a steamer rack to prevent glass breaking, metal or glass jars with lid. IMPORTANT: please be VERY careful when working with glass, wax, and hot water, always follow basic safety practices!
Step 1: measure ingredients
We are taking out the confusion of cups vs ml vs oz. Everything is measured by volume here! We used a 500 ml measuring cup. The goal is to get a 1:8 ratio of wax to oil in volumn.
Pour 400 ml of food safe mineral oil into the cup, add chopped wax or pellet wax slowly until the oil and wax mixture reaches 500 ml. You can use 100% beeswax, or 50% beeswax and 50% carnauba wax. We like to use at least 1/3 carnauba wax .
Now we have wax to oil a ratio of 1:4. Pour the mixture into a jar, add 400 ml more mineral oil only to get a 1:8 ratio of wax to oil.
Step 2: transfer mixture into melting jar or pot, and set up water bath.
IMPORTANT: do NOT place this mixture directly on the heat! Beeswax melts at a temperature of about 146 F, which is well below the boiling point of water. Use a double boiler or set up a water bath like below.
We used mason jar lids as little racks to lift the jar up from the bottom of the pot. Fill the pot with water. Make sure the water is about half way below the rim of the jars. Place the jars in the water bath.
You can also use a metal container to melt the wax oil mixture, and pour the mixture into a glass jar when all the ingredients are incorporated.
Step 3: melt the beeswax and mineral oil mixture
As the water heats, the ingredients will start to melt in each jar. Stir gently with a chopstick or spoon. In just a few minutes the wax will melt and the mixture will become transparent. When all ingredients are completely melted, turn off the heat and take the jars out of the pot.
IMPORTANT: Always be careful about fire hazard.
Anytime we work with flammable materials such as wax and oil, we should be extra careful. Use a deeper pot to prevent the mixture from spilling over, or use things like double boiler or steamer. Wear gloves when moving the hot oil and wax mixture, don’t touch the mixture with bare hands until it has completely cooled off. The mixture will be opaque after it cools.
How to use cutting board and butcher block oil
If you have a brand new unseasoned cutting board or butcher block countertop like ours, don’t use this oil wax conditioner yet.
First season the wood surface generously with food safe mineral oil . I just use my hand to push the puddles of oil evenly on the butcher block surface, allow it to soak in overnight, and repeat the process 3-5 times. Then start using the oil and wax conditioner.
This butcher block oil and wax conditioner is really simple to use. Since it is also a great hand lotion, I use my hand to spread it evenly over the wood, again let it soak in overnight or longer, then wipe off the excess with rag or paper towel.
The longer you can let everything sit and absorb the better, which is why we like to oil our butcher block countertop right before we go on a trip!
You only need to do this once a month, or when the wood feels dry. Used regularly, this oil and wax wood conditioner will create a beautiful satin sheen finish with the natural waxes adding extra water resistant surface protection.
Where to buy cutting board oil and butcher block conditioners?
Some of you may rather just buy a natural wood conditioner than go through the trouble of making one, there are also some great choices on Amazon.
We have also used Howard SunShield Outdoor Furniture Wax with UV Protection on our outdoor wood furniture and love it.
FAQ about DIY butcher block and cutting board oil
Can I use olive oil?
Mineral oil is colorless and odorless. It has no expiration date, and will never go rancid like some plant based oils. We have used this DIY olive oil and beeswax finish on smaller objects such as our vintage inspired pallet crates, and never noticed any sign of oil going rancid.
But for such a large kitchen countertop, we don’t want it to be soaked in vegetable oils and risk anything going rancid long term. We decided to stick with mineral oil and bees wax finish, which we are using more often on smaller projects as well!
Will butcher block oil spoil?
Check out the updated list of our kitchen remodel tutorials here!
- Our modern farmhouse IKEA kitchen remodel before and after, with 8 best tips!
- How to design and install your own IKEA kitchen from start to finish!
- How we gave our old dated fridge a beautiful $2000 new look! 🙂
- 100 day review of our stainless farmhouse sink.
- 2-Ingredient natural DIY butcher block countertop & cutting board oil conditioner recipe.
- How to paint kitchen cabinets, and #1 mistake to avoid.
- Boho farmhouse DIY kitchen island: an IKEA Hack!
Happy creating! 🙂