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Mineral oil or liquid petrolatum is a by-product in the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It is a transparent, colorless oil composed mainly of alkanes (typically 15 to 40 carbons)  and cyclic paraffins, related to white petrolatum. Mineral oil is a substance of relatively low value, and it is produced in very large quantities. Mineral oil is available in light and heavy grades, and can often be found in drug stores.
Alkali metals are often submerged in mineral oil for storage or transportation. The oil prevents the metals from reacting with atmospheric moisture.
Mineral oil is sometimes taken orally as a laxative. It lubricates feces and intestinal mucous membranes, and limits the amount of water removed from feces. Typically, mineral oil is effective within just as little as six hours. While it has been reported that mineral oil may be absorbed when emulsified, most information shows that it passes harmlessly through the gastrointestinal system.
If used at all, mineral oil should never be given internally to young children, pets, or anyone with a cough, hiatus hernia, or nocturnal reflux, and should be swallowed with care. Due to its low density, it is easily aspirated into the lungs, where it cannot be removed by the body and can cause serious complications such as lipoid pneumonia. While popular as a folk remedy, there are many safer alternatives available. In children, if aspirated, the oil can work to prevent normal breathing, resulting in death of brain cells and permanent paralysis and/or retardation.
Mineral oil with added fragrance is marketed as baby oil in the US, UK and Canada.
Used as an ingredient in baby lotions, cold creams, ointments and other pharmaceuticals and low-grade cosmetics.
Certain mineral oils are used in livestock vaccines, as an adjuvant to stimulate a cell-mediated immune response to the vaccinating agent.
Used on eyelashes to prevent brittleness and/or breaking.
Used as suspending and lavigating agent in sulphur ointments.
Used in small quantities (2–3 drops daily) to clean ears. Over a couple of weeks, the mineral oil softens dried or hardened earwax so that a gentle flush of water can remove it. In the case of a damaged or perforated eardrum, however, mineral oil should not be used, as oil in the middle ear can lead to ear infections.
Fuel, for items such as oil lamps.
Electric mineral-oil–filled space heaters
Used in some guitar string cleaners
Automotive and aviation brake fluid that does not absorb water molecules by osmosis
Low viscosity mineral oil is sold as a preservative for wooden cutting boards and utensils.
A coating of mineral oil protects metal surfaces from moisture and oxidation; notably, nihonto are traditionally coated in clove-scented mineral oil.
Food-preparation butcher block surfaces are often conditioned periodically with mineral oil.
Light mineral oil is used in textile industries and used as a jute batching oil.
Mineral oil is used to darken soapstone countertops for aesthetic purposes.
It works (albeit poorly) as a release agent for molds, especially in fiberglass casting.
It is used as a release agent for baking pans and trays.
It is occasionally used in the food industry (particularly for candy). Some studies suggest that prolonged use might be unhealthy because of low accumulation levels in organs. It has been discouraged for use in children's foods, though it is still occasionally found in candies in China and Canada.
Used as a cleaner and solvent for inks in fine art printmaking as well as in oil painting, though turpentine is more often used.
In the poultry industry, plain mineral oil can be swabbed onto the feet of chickens infected with scaly mites on the shank, toes, and webs. Mineral oil suffocates these tiny parasites.
Some people have found success using mineral oil to remove henna used as a hair dye.
Using mineral oil or baby oil to reduce a grease, oil, or asphalt stain on clothing may be counter-intuitive, but is often effective, as the mineral oil dilutes and liquefies some of the stain thereby making it easier to clean out of the clothing.
As a computer cooling system by submerging a pc in mineral oil.
It is commonly used to create a "wear" effect on new clay poker chips, which, without the use of mineral oil, can only be accomplished through prolonged use of the poker chips. The chips are either placed in mineral oil (and left there for a short amount of time), or the oil is applied to each chip individually, and is then rubbed off, removing any chalky residue from the new chips, also improving the look and "feel" of the chips.
Used to cover gummy worms for the glossy effect it produces.
Used by boxers and other combat athletes to increase sweating, reduce warm-up times and help with weight loss.
Used to remove creme makeup.
It has the highest refractive index, so it is sometimes used in optical systems.
Is also a recommended way of removing an insect from the ear of a human. A few drops drowns the bug, which can then be easily removed.