2-Ingredient DIY Butcher Block & Cutting Board Oil Conditioner

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.

mineral oil and beeswax DIY cutting board oil and  butcher block conditioner

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!

* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .

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.

before after comparison when using cutting board oil and beeswax conditioner on butcher block

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.

Easy DIY cutting board oil conditioner with food safe bees wax & mineral oil, great for butcher block countertop, wooden salad bowls, wood toys, utensils, etc

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

mineral oil, beeswax and carnauba wax to make cutting board oil and  butcher block conditioner

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.

add wax to mineral oil

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.

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Step 2: transfer mixture into melting jar or pot, and set up water bath.

set up water bath to make butcher block oil conditioner

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.

melting wax in pot

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.

stir wax to dissolve

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.

finished DIY cutting board oil conditioner with food safe bees wax & mineral oil

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.

season butcher block countertop with mineral oil

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.

oiling and waxing butcher block countertop by hand

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.

Both the Howard butcher block conditioner and the John Boos Block Board cream are great options with the same ingredients we are using in this DIY.

We have also used Howard SunShield Outdoor Furniture Wax with UV Protection on our outdoor wood furniture and love it.

water resistant butcher block countertop, wax seals out water
After using our DIY butcher block oil and wax conditioner, water form beads on countertop.

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!

jar of DIY cutting board oil conditioner on butcher block countertop

Will butcher block oil spoil?

Mineral oil , beeswax and carnauba wax. are all without expiration dates, aka very shelf stable, so is our butcher block oil conditioner made fro these ingredients

Check out the updated list of our kitchen remodel tutorials here!

Happy creating! 🙂

17 Comments

  1. Great recipe – thanks! I followed it with the carnauba and yellow beeswax 50-50 mix and have used it twice on my new maple countertop. I noticed some yellowy streaks and spots and I wonder whether it could be caused by the yellow beeswax? They’re subtle, but I would hate for them to become more apparent as time goes on. I’m thinking of remaking the recipe with a white beeswax just in case this is the cause.

    • hi grace! ours is also maple. maple and many other species of wood will darken slightly with a golden tone as they are exposed to natural light. our counter near the kitchen window has the most golden color. i don’t think it’s the yellow bees wax 🙂

  2. Good article. I build high end custom hardwood furniture and cabinetry and have used this formula for 20+ years. You can simplify the entire process and make it easy to reapply by purchasing a small $10 crock pot from Walmart and then make and keep your sealer in it. I leave a scotchbrite pad in it to apply the sealer. When you get ready to reapply, just plug it in and let the sealer heat up. The warm oil/wax allows it to soak in and makes it easy to apply.

  3. Love your beautiful countertops. I saw you wrote they were Maple. How long ago did you buy them? I can’t find Maple anywhere on Ikea’s website.

  4. I love your butcher block conditioner, but I’d like to point out an error. Mineral oil is NOT “natural”, it is derived from petroleum. I used to be a petroleum chemist and we made this to sell to companies that purify it further to make it food grade.

    • thank you so much cynthia for sharing your comment! 🙂 just curious, isn’t petroleum found in underground reservoirs, and maybe could be considered natural?

  5. I was reading your recipe and am confused..you say that you want to end up with a 1:8 ratio of mineral oil to beeswax but if you add 100 ml of beeswax to 400 ml of mineral oil, isn’t that 1:4 ratio?

  6. Thanks for the recipe! What’s your best advice for “fixing” (or at least masking) knife marks on a wood cutting board?

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe for the butcher block conditioner. Your kitchen is absolutely beautiful! Love your island, and the color!

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