Is It Safe To Use Mineral Oil As Lube, Or For Anal Sex?

The short answer is no. Mineral oil comes with too many risks to be a safe lube alternative to store-bought lubricant.
Photograph Of White Moisturizing Mineral Oil Bottle On White Table With Bedding In The Distant Background
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Updated:July 2023
Q: Is It Safe To Use Mineral Oil As Lube, Or For Anal Sex?

Mineral oil should NOT be used as lube for many reasons.

Here’s why:

  • Mineral oil will break down condoms made from latex or polyisoprene, dental dams, and even diaphragms, putting you at risk for an unintended pregnancy, STIs, or STDs.
  • Mineral oil isn’t easily washed away — removing it thoroughly after penetrative sex is difficult and can lead to irritation of delicate skin. It also increases the risk of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
  • Mineral oil can irritate the vulva, leading to irritation, itching, burning, and rash.

Mineral oil can be great for the skin in some circumstances — particularly when it comes to treating dry skin during the winter or providing relief from the symptoms of eczema.

But that doesn’t make it safe for vaginal or anal skin — or penetrative sex of any kind.

In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about using mineral oil as a personal lubricant, including:

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Lube Alternatives and Everything Lube hubs, in-depth and evolving resources that comprehensively explore all aspects of personal lubricants from the different types and how to use them, to ingredients and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.

Can You Use Mineral Oil As Lube?

Mineral oil is the main ingredient in common products like baby oil and petroleum jelly (Vaseline, which shouldn’t be used on your vagina). Those lube alternatives are deemed unsafe primarily because of the mineral oil they contain.

Studies show that mineral oil can degrade a latex condom by 90 percent in as little as 60 seconds. It can also weaken a diaphragm used for birth control.

If pregnancy prevention or STI transmission is a concern for you, mineral oil is one of the worst lube alternatives you can possibly use with condoms.

Oils in general can increase your risk of developing an infection like yeast or bacterial vaginosis, and mineral oil is no exception to that rule.

Additionally, mineral oil shouldn’t be used for external masturbation of the vulva or clitoris, as it can irritate the delicate skin, causing burning, itching, and even a rash.

It may be safe enough when used as a lubricant for penile masturbation only — but it’s important to remember that mineral oil creates a barrier on skin and isn’t dissolved in water.

For this reason, the process of removing it with soap or scrubbing can result in skin irritation later on.

Food-grade mineral oil may be safe for ingestion but it’s not a good idea as lube for oral sex because of its laxative properties. There are safer and more enjoyable edible lube options available.

Here’s what you need to know about using mineral oil as a lube:

  • It will degrade condoms made from latex and polyisoprene — quickly
  • It can make you prone to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis
  • It will stain clothing and sheets
  • It is very difficult to remove from the skin
  • It has a laxative effect when ingested

Mineral oil and many sex toy materials don’t mix well, particularly those made from latex or jelly rubber. It could degrade even a high-quality silicone toy, too.

For your health and safety, mineral oil is best avoided as a lube alternative — there are many safer lubricants to choose from.

Can You Use Mineral Oil As A Vaginal Lube?

Mineral oil is a common irritant to the vulva that can cause itching, burning, soreness, and even a rash in some people. That’s not a risk anyone should take with their vagina.

As we mentioned earlier, using mineral oil as a lube during vaginal sex can increase your risk of developing an infection, including bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections.

To make matters worse, it’s notoriously difficult to wash away. Mineral oil has a barrier effect on skin and isn’t water-soluble.

If any mineral oil lingers in the vagina for too long, vaginal infections, like bacterial vaginosis, can easily occur.

Although mineral oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores, it isn’t safe for external female masturbation, either, because it can irritate the delicate skin.

It is equally unsafe to use with sex toys for all of the reasons we’ve outlined above. Additionally, it will degrade sex toys made from latex, rubber, and potentially even quality toys made from silicone.

Can You Use Mineral Oil As Anal Lube?

It isn’t a good idea.

Many people wear condoms during anal sex to make clean-up easier and for STI protection.

If this is you, you’ll want to avoid using mineral oil as an anal lube because it can degrade condoms made from latex and polyisoprene quickly.

Condom breakage can increase the risk of STI transmission between partners, so you’re better off choosing a safe anal lube, instead.

But even bareback anal sex using mineral oil carries the same potential problems as vaginal sex: the oil is not easily removed when you’re done.

Even small amounts of mineral oil left behind in the anus could create a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to infection. Itching, burning, and rashes are just as miserable in your anus as they are in a vagina.

Although mineral oil won’t clog your skin’s pores, washing (or scrubbing) it off of the skin around your anus could cause irritation, as well.

You’re much better off finding a body-safe anal lubricant — and there are plenty to choose from.

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What Is Mineral Oil Made From And Is It Safe?

Mineral oil is highly-refined crude petroleum oil. Different types of mineral oil are manufactured for various purposes, but the type that’s readily available for home use is known as “white” mineral oil.

This type of mineral oil is considered the food-safe version and is highly refined — meaning it goes through a series of distillation and chemical processes to remove alkylated polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC) that are potentially carcinogenic.

After distillation, the process involves further refinement with either hydro-treatment or solvent extraction, dependent upon the composition of the crude oil itself.

The result is an oil that is designated safe for topical use and for limited use in food.

Colorless and odorless, white mineral oil is used in a wide variety of products including baby oil and Vaseline, which are safe when used as intended.

Being cleared for topical use on your skin doesn’t mean it’s safe and healthy for your vagina or anus, however, as we talked about earlier.

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What Are Better Lube Alternatives To Mineral Oil?

Instead of mineral oil, we highly recommend using a store-bought body-safe personal lubricant.

You have so many personal lube options in a variety of formulas to choose from, including:

Here’s a cheat sheet for selecting the best lube based on how you intend to use it:

Lube Type:
Oral Sex Yes Yes Not usually
Vaginal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Anal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Condom Types All All Polyurethane, nitrile and lambskin only
Sex Toy Types All All but silicone All but latex
Bath/Shower Use No Yes Yes
Does It Stain? No Yes Yes
Lube Type:
Oral Sex
Vaginal Sex
Anal Sex
Condom Types
Sex Toy Types
Bath/Shower Use
Does It Stain?

There is a personal lubricant designed for every situation, so if you’re not sure which to choose, you can read through our in-depth lube guide or take our lube quiz to find your perfect match.

Our Top Lube Recommendations

After researching hundreds of personal lubricants — and personally testing dozens of them ourselves — we have found the very best lubes of each type, vetted by our team and recommended for their safety and performance.

Editor's Note: When you purchase a product via an affiliate link (*) on our site, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

We’ll take a quick look at the four main lubricant categories below.

  • Water-Based Lubricants

Water-based lube is easy to clean up and use, primarily because it’s water-soluble. Most water-based lubes have a texture that’s similar to your body’s natural lubrication.

It feels good on the body and in your hands.

Additionally, you can safely use water-based lube with any type of condom, dental dam, diaphragm, or sex toy.

Water-based lubricants often need to be reapplied during longer sex sessions, but they can also be reactivated with a little bit of water, too. That being said, you don’t want to use these lubes in the shower or tub as they wash away easily.

We researched and reviewed the safest and best water-based personal lubricants to help you find the best one for you.

  • Silicone-Based Lubricants

Silicone-based lubes are great alternatives to water-based ones because they last much longer than their watery counterparts. Most importantly, they’re equally safe for all types of condoms.

Deciding between water-based and silicone-based lubes depends primarily on how you plan to use your lube and the kind of sex you want to have.

Silicone personal lubricants have a thicker consistency and feel silky-smooth, in a way that’s noticeably different from your body’s natural lubrication.

The texture of these lubes makes them a great choice for anal sex.

You won’t need to worry about silicone lubes washing away in the shower, either. However, you also can’t use it with your silicone sex toys as it could damage the material.

Explore all of our top recommendations for the safest products available in our review of the best silicone-based personal lubes.

  • Oil-Based Lubricants

Oil-based lubricants are made from natural (and sometimes organic) oils that are body-safe for both vaginal and anal sex.

Some oil-based lubes include nut-based ingredients, though. This is important to know if you have a nut allergy. Always read the ingredient label before purchasing a new lube.

Because oils are thick and slippier, similar to silicone lubes, oil-based personal lubricants make a great choice for anal sex as long as you don’t use latex or polyisoprene condoms. Oil damages these condoms, rendering them useless.

Additionally, oil lubes are not compatible with other barriers like dental dams. You also don’t want to ingest oil-based lubes, in general, but especially during oral sex.

We’ve researched and found the best oil-based personal lubricants to help you learn more and find the oil lube that’s best for you.

  • Natural And Organic Lubricants

Natural and organic personal lubricants come in a variety of options, from water-based to oil-based, depending on the product. This gives you plenty of choices based on your sexual needs.

Like other oil-based lubes, avoid natural and organic lube products made with nut-based oils if you have allergies to such ingredients.

We researched and found the best and safest natural and organic lubricants that are available right now.

Are There Any Safe Home Lube Alternatives?

In a sex emergency (yes, those happen), you might run out of lube and need a lube alternative that can easily be found around the house. You have a few options available to you:

As long as you’re using a 100% pure option with zero additives, aloe vera is safe to use as lube.

The antifungal and antimicrobial properties of aloe vera make it a safe personal lubricant for many. If you have a latex allergy, though, you’ll need to avoid it because aloe naturally contains latex. This might not be entirely removed during the manufacturing process.

Extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil can also be a safe lube alternative — as long as you don’t use it with a latex condom, dental dam, or other barriers.

Another safe option is vitamin E oil. It’s often included as an ingredient in store-bought oil-based personal lubes.

Argan oil, avocado oil, and shea butter can also be great options as long as they’re pure and you don’t have any allergies or sensitivities to them.

Bottom Line: 

Mineral oil comes with too many risks to be a safe alternative to store-bought lubricant.

Instead, find a high-quality lube that feels good on your skin and makes sex even better. Once you find one you love, you’ll never consider something like mineral oil again.

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