White oil, or white mineral oil, is a highly refined mineral oil that is hydrophobic, colorless, tasteless and odorless. It’s usually a byproduct of refining crude oil to make gasoline and other petroleum products. It is poorly biodegradable.
The use of these oils is widespread, in many industries and for many purposes. In personal care, white oils are ideal for lubrication, smoothing, softening and resisting moisture. White oils are often in baby oils, lotions, sunscreens, and antibiotics. In the plastics industry, while oils are critical components in the production of polystyrene, polyolefins, and other polymers. Food-grade white oils are used to lubricate food-handling equipment, to produce sugars and kinds of vinegar, and as dough dividers and pan oils.
White oil can also be used as a mild laxative for animals and in vaccines for livestock. In manufacturing, white oil is used as a non-conductive coolant, as a heat transfer oil, as a lubricant and as a cutting fluid.