Creating a Home, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

9 More Cooking Oils to Stick Under Your Kitchen Sink Also

So we’re getting our oil ready to start cooking—finally—but as you grab under the sink, you’re met by how many choices of oil—not to mention whatever other bottles might be down there…so choose your bottle carefully.
In the last article, we looked at olive oil and almond oil as two choices…
Here are a few more oils that would be good choices…

1 Avocado Oil 

  • Benefits…Avocado oil promotes healthy cholesterol levels and enhances absorption of some nutrients.
  • Nutrition…Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids.
  • Use…Avocado oil has a high smoke point and is one of the best oils for high-temperature cooking—such as stir-frying, sautéing, and searing.

2 Canola Oil

  • Benefits…Canola oil helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and stabilize blood pressure levels, The FDA agrees that 1-1/2Tbsp canola oil each day could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used instead of saturated fat.
  • Nutrition…Canola oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as the alpha-linolenic acid, as well as monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that is considered healthy for diabetics. At the same time, canola oil is low in the unhealthy saturated fat that mostly come from animal products like meat and dairy.
  • Uses…Canola oil can be used safely at high temperatures because it has a higher smoke point than most other oils, but doesn’t have as much flavor as some other oils that are available and is not your best choice for certain things such as making your own salad dressing.

3 Coconut Oil

  • Benefits…Coconut oil contains minerals and vitamins that serve to lowering triglycerides levels, control levels of bad cholesterol, and help stabilize the blood pressure of the diabetics.
  • Nutrition…Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but not the same artery-clogging saturated fat found in red meat. The fat found in coconut oil is harder for the body to convert into stored fat because this fat consists of such a higher amount of medium-chain fatty acids than the normal fat found in hamburgers.
  • Use…The American Heart Association warns those with high cholesterol levels to avoid or limit their use of coconut oil because of its saturated fat content. High levels of coconut oil in your daily diet can make your diabetes worse.

Flaxseed Oil

  • Benefits…As a diabetic, flaxseed oil slows digestion, which in turn helps maintain stable blood glucose levels and improves the sensitivity of the body towards insulin. Flaxseed oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation, a fact that could lower your risk of getting cancer and reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
  • Nutrition…Flaxseed oil is a rich source of both fiber and ALA—alpha-linoleic acid—one of three omega-3 fatty acids that your body cannot make on its own.
  • Use…Flaxseed oil should not be heated..instead use as a salad dressing or add to smoothies

 

5 Grape Seed Oil

  • Nutrition…this is a rich source of both polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and is very low in saturated fat
  • Use…nutty but mild flavor that can be used for all sorts of cooking and grilling and also works well in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted veggies

6 Rice Bran Oil

  • Benefits….Rice bran oil will reduce your levels of bad cholesterol, and so is great for diabetics and those wanting to keep heart disease at bay.
  • Nutrition…Rice bran oil is rich in both monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fats.

7 Sesame Oil

  • Benefits…Sesame oil reduces levels of bad cholesterol and stabilizes blood glucose levels.
  • Nutrition…Sesame oil contains monounsaturated fats and is listed as one of the most ” heart-healthy” cooking oils by the American Heart Association.
  • Uses…Light sesame oil is often used for stir-frying. Dark sesame oil, on the other hand, is great for making dressings and sauces.

8 Sunflower Oil

  • Nutrition…Sesame oil has high levels of the “good” polyunsaturated fats and very low levels of the “bad” saturated fats.
  • Uses…Sunflower oil can be used for all cooking methods—such as sauteeing, frying, and roasting,

9 Walnut Oil

  • Benefits…Walnut oil helps maintain a good balance of triglycerides, improves the sensitivity of your body towards insulin, and reduces your risk of several cardiovascular conditions.
  • Nutrition…Walnut oil is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a good source of polyunsaturated fats.
  • Uses…Walnut oil is great for adding a nutty flavor to whatever you are cooking—such as desserts.

 

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Best Cooking Oils to Use for Diabetics

  • The next step in our learning how to saute food is choosing which oil we would like to cook in.
  • There are at least a dozen choices out there…each of which not only affects the final taste of your food, but also your health—even more so as a diabetic.
  • Let’s take a look at some of these choices, starting with the most commonly used—or at least the most commonly used cooking oil in my own house—olive oil. 

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Olive Oil

The What

  • Most of us think that about huge bottle of olive oil that we hide under the sink with the other bottles—such as rum and vodka—that we might want to have close at hand.
  • And most of us think that olive oil is olive oil—never having any variety as far as flavor–ranging in flavor from fruity to peppery,, viscosity, and color.
  • Some of the olive oils found around the world that can make you change your mind about all olive oil’s tasting the same include…
  • Badia, ..a great, inexpensive well-rounded olive oil from Spain, found in many supermarkets.
  • Ravida…a brightly-colored green Italian olive oil with a pungent taste that stands up well to the robust flavor of Sicilian cooking
  • Terra Medi…a smooth, well-rounded, and not too heavy olibr oil from Greece
  • Unió…a mild and fruity olive oil from Spain with a soft peppery finish

The Why

  • Olive oil is considered by many to be the healthiest of all the cooking oils, mainly for helping to reduce the risks of heart-related conditions.
  • As far as diabetics are concerned, olive oil is a good choice because olive oil helps improve the sensitivity of the body towards insulin.
  • Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats.

Almond Oil…Another cooking oil that can be used to saute your foods is almond oil.

Nutrients...Almond oil is not only a good source of monounsaturated fats, but also a rich source of nutrients—including potassium, zinc, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.

Benefits…

  1. can help you lose weight and prevent weight gain
  2. can reduce your risk of colon cancer.
  3. decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease
  4. helps fight inflammation in the body
  5. helps naturally regulate blood sugar levels
  6. keeps you feeling full, which helps to prevent snacking and overeating
  7. may also work as a natural laxative, relieving constipation and IBS
  8. naturally reduces cholesterol levels
  9. promotes the flow of oxygen and nutrients through the blood
  10. reduces the risk of heart disease
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Macro Facts About Microfiber

Another choice that would be more “correct” in what has become our global effort at saving our environment, creating “greener” homes, and doing our role as a responsible member of current society than using ordinary Brawny would be microfiber cloths. 

Microfiber cloths are more commonly used in Europe than here in the United States because this is where the original first two leading brands of microcloths—e-Cloth and Norwex—were created and marketed.

Microfiber cloths have micro fibers that usually consist of an equal combination of two different plastics—polyester and nylon. These materials are forced through a tiny pipe and then heated. Once the two materials fuse together, they are then split apart into tinier fibers, known as “microfibers,” that are as much as twenty times smaller than the fibers originally were.

Because these new microfiber cloths have far fewer and much smaller fibers than the fibers found in ordinary cleaning cloths—such as those that are made from cotton or a synthetic such as nylon that has not been used to create a microfiber cloth—they can more easily grab even the smallest, most microscopic dirt, dust, and other stuff that ordinary cleaning cloths leave behind.

  • Microfiber cloths are hastier …Microfiber cloths get things looking far cleaner in a lot less time and are better at clean up spills faster than paper towels because their tiny fibers are more absorbent.
  • Microfiber cloths are healthier for the environment…Microfiber cloths eliminate the need to buy expensive and harmful detergents.
  • Microfiber cloths are healthier to your wallet…Microfiber cloths are fairly cheap when compared to many other ways of cleaning up spills and doing other such jobs around your home.
  • Microfiber cloths are hygienic…Microfiber cloths have been shown to minimize the spread of infections in hospitals and similar environments.

Choosing Microfiber Cloths…When choosing microfiber cloths, look for those that have the smallest microfibers because these are the most hygienic.

These days there are SO many different websites selling microfiber cloths, so it can be hard to know which ones are the best ones, but this list of the most highly-reviewed microfiber cloths found on the internet might come in handy. These microfiber cloths include…

AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

  • Absorbency…can absorb up to eight times its own weight
  • Best used for…cleaning inside the house, not advised for outdoor use because they can tear easily
  • Care…machine washable and can be washed, rinsed, and reused over and over again
  • Color…three different towel colors—blue, yellow, and white
  • Cost…packs of twenty-four for only fifteen dollars
  • Material..,90% Polyester 10% Polyamide
  • Review…
  • Size…25″x33″

Chemical Guys Miracle Dryer Towel

  • Absorbency..absorb up no less than ten times their weight in liquid
  • Best used for…best suited for drying a wet surface or applying a polish or wax on a car or kitchen appliances
  • Care..best temperature to wash the towel at is 60 degrees celsius, and if it is not washed at that temperature the towel could need to be washed twice to fully clean it out
  • Cost…brand is the most “premium” available, so cost more than most other brands out there…
  • Material…360,000 strands in every square inch of highly refined loop-woven microfiber, more than the numbers of strands in the competition, which is usually only 100,000-150,000 strands for every square inch of the towel
  • Size.. 16″ x 16″
  •  
  • Zwipes Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
  • Absorbency..,eight times its weight in water
  • Best used for…cleaning off and dusting surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom—such as sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, vanities, mirrors, countertops, appliances, and stainless steel
  • Care…wash in the washing machine with cold water and then tumble dry on a low setting
  • Color…orange, white, and blue
  • Cost…fifteen dollars
  • Material…110,000 fibers per square inch of cloth
  • Size..12″x16″
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Oh “Huck,” Where Have You Been

Okay, I just told you to dry your food that you are going to be sauteeing off with a paper towel…and many of you cringed at the thought that I would even dare to have them in my house…aren’t we all “going green” these days?

Even though you might be much better off using this on the food that you are going to be sauteeing…after all, do you really want to risk making your family sick by drying foods such as raw chicken on something that you might then wash and use to clean your mirrors, windows, and wood furniture? 

But right now I am taking a break to look at all the other things that can be used as alternatives to standard paper towels so that we can do one more thing to be “eco-friendly” and do our art in saving the environment.

Basically in the school of “green thinking,” there are three trains of thought—find something similar, use something else instead, or use something that you already have on hand.

So let’s first look at “Something Similar”…

When it comes to ordinary paper towels, the next something similar would have to be other towels and napkins that are made of a fabric that can be washed and re-used. Examples of this include Huck towels, microfiber cloths, and napkins from such materials as chambray, cotton, and linen.

1. Huck Towels

  • Color…may be white or dyed different colors…designate a specific color for each specific use
  • Commercial Uses…to clean surgical instruments…also used by rofessional window washers, car detailers, and cleaning companies
  • Durability…long-lasting, tend to hold up well even after many washings
  • Fabric….pure cotton…whenever buying Huck towels, make sure that the towels are 100% cotton because blended fabrics are not as absorbent.
  • Household Uses…window cleaning, drying dishes, dusting and polishing furniture, wiping down furniture on the patio and porch
  • Source…Rag Lady…looks like an excellent source for all sorts of recyclable, well…rags…
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Green Living 101—First Things First

So now that we have totally gutted our kitchen and started slowly adding items to our dream Bed Bath and Beyond idea board, we find ourselves with six things at this stage. These include…

  1. Saute pan
  2. Wood cutting board
  3. Mineral oil to take of wood cutting board
  4. plastic cutting board mainly to be used for fish
  5. Knife
  6. Knife sharpening tool

But I would much rather cook than shop any day, so can we get on with things—particularly learning the art of sautéing your food so that we can then start back on our trail through the Raw Foods pyramid.

So now armed with your new arsenal of cooking weapons, where do we begin…assuming that you have the vegetables or whatever ingredients that you will be cooking…more on this later…way more…

When you are sauteeing foods, the first thing you will want to do is dry your ingredients off, even if you have been marinading them.

Failure to dry off your ingredients first will mean that you are actually steaming them instead of sautéing…and right now we are only learning to saute.

So first dry your ingredients off with a paper towel.

But I know that the moment I mention the words “paper towel”…we’re all suosed to be learning a greener and more minimalistic ;lifestyle on this website…

So let’s stop and talk about paper products in your home…

Most of us have been using paper towels as a quick and convenient way to clean and dry whatever needs to be cleaned and dried. We absently-minded throw them in the trash like the days back when we were kids, without even thinking about how they affect the environment.

Yet these days more and more of us are starting to think about what we buy and use as consumers…more and more of us are adopting a “green” lifestyle and trying to create an “eco-friendly” home. 

Each year three thousand tons each day is throw away simply in paper towels, meaning that about six million pounds of paper towels end up in landfills each year.

  • 1.Bleach…Bleach is used to whiten paper products such as paper towels and then flushed into our waterways where it often combines with organic compounds in the environment and forms carcinogenic dioxins which can affect hormones and the immunity system of individuals, increase the risk or birth defects, diabetes, and endometriosis. These dioxins also can contaminate our water supplies.
  • 2. Toxic chemicals...Often toxic chemicals—such as methanol, chlorine dioxide, formaldehyde, and toluene—are used to process wood pulp into paper products.
  • 3. Wasted trees…Each year about 110 million trees are used to make these.
  • Wasted water…Each year about 130 billion gallons of water are used to make these.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Maintaining Your Knife For Life

If I just forked over this much money for a quality knife to slice and dice veggies, I am gonna want to take the very best care of it that I can.

So how do we do that?

Here are a few tips…

After each use wash your knife in warm, soapy water and dry it well.

Never put it in the dishwater. This can dull and damage the blades.

Never soak your knife in water.

Store your knife in a certain place, not in a drawer crammed with everything else that manages to find its way into your kitchen….but more on this later…

Use a traditional knife sharpening steel to sharpen your knives. Otherwise, bring them to a knife store that will sharpen them for you. Remember that sharp knives are  not only easier to use, but also safer.

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  • Cuts
  • slice, mince, chop, crush, tenderize, and scoop up
  • cutting and
  • making garnishes
  • hold the knife in your writing hand (the Chinese
  • call this the “chopstick hand”).
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

These Knives Made the Cut

7" Chinese Chef's Knife Vegetable Cleaver, , large

So in my quest for the best knife to buy as far as veggies, which ones did I find worth considering…

Cutco Vegetable Knife #1735

  • Blade…wide enough to easily move ingredients from the cutting board to the pan
  • Blade Length…7-3/4″
  • Blade Material…410 High-Carbon, Stainless Steel
  • Cost…$150
  • Edge…straight
  • Engraving…available
  • Guarantee…Cutco’s Forever Guarantee means that they will sharpen, hone, buff, repair and if necessary replace your CUTCO knives and accessories for FREE, no receipt required
  • Handle…ergonomically designed for all hands—both large and small…both left and right
  • Handle Color…classic brown or pearl white
  • Handle Material…highly engineered thermo-resin
  • Overall Length…13-1/4″
  • Review…On the Gas
  • Source…”American Made. American Proud.”
  • Tang…full, meaning that the blade extends the full length of the handle
  • Use…to chop, slice and dice ingredients for soups, stews and vegetable platters
  • Weight…7.6 oz.

Dalstrong Phantom Series 6” Nakiri Vegetable Knife

  • Blade Length…6”
  • Blade Material…forged from a single piece of ice tempered steel with high levels of chromium added for stain resistance…the ice-tempering ensures excellent resilience and superior edge retention
  • Cost…$149.99…on sale now for $44.04
  • Edge…straight…double-bevel…tapered to minimize surface resistance and to increase both durability and flexibility
  • Handle Material…traditional Japanese D-shaped black pakkawood with a distinct red spacer, carefully crafted mosaic of copper and brass, and hand-polished stainless steel end cap designed to create counterbalance and distinction
  • Review…That’s a Knife
  • Tang…full tang for incredible robustness and quality
  • Use…prepping vegetables in bulk

Global Cutlery USA SAI 6″ Vegetable Knife

  • Blade Material…three-ply corrosion-resistant 18/8 and CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
  • Cost…$164.95
  • Edge…12.5-degree convex convex blade edge
  • Handle…unique thumb rest to give added comfort and control.
  • Handle Material…metal, totally wood free….three-ply corrosion-resistant 18/8 and CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
  • Review…Knifeista
  • Tang…full
  • Warranty…lifetime warranty against defects and breakage
  • Weight…1.3 pounds

Shun Classic 7-in. Vegetable Cleaver

  • Blade…hand-sharpened 16° double-bevel blade
  • Blade Length..7 in
  • Blade Material..high-performance VG-MAX stainless steel.
  • Cost…300.00
  • Handle Material…D-shaped ebony PakkaWood
  • Overall Length…13-1/4″
  • Source…Japan

ZWILLING Cutlery TWIN Signature 7″ Chinese Chef’s Knife Vegetable Cleaver

  • Cost…90
  • Edge…laser-controlled edge that is incredibly sharp, honed, and hand-finished
  • Handle…three-rivet handle
  • Handle Material…polymer
  • Source…a German manufacturer that has been making knives for over 280 years
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Choose Quality Kitchen Knives

The very first thing that you will need to do when sauteeing food is to chop whatever ingredients you are going to use into manageable, bite-size pieces. This will make them faster and easier only to cook, but will also make sure that the ingredients cook more evenly.

Not only do you want your ingredients to be manageable and bite-size, but you also want to cut the different ingredients similar sizes so that they will cook evenly, instead of some ingredients being overcooked and other ingredients being undercooked.

Before we move to the next thing that you will need to saute your foods—which would be drying off your food and heating your skillet to actually start cooking—let’s take a look at different cutting terms and choose which knife we are going to use.

But first, let’s find a decent knife…

There are many knife manufacturers that market knives designed just for cutting vegetables.

These knives are specifically made to slice vegetables…

These vegetable knives are usually found only in Japanese kitchen knife sets—such as those knife sets made by Shun, Global, and Zhen.

Although these knives are a good choice, they are not always the best choice. For instance, larger vegetables such as potatoes will require a paring knife in order to shape and peel them.

But is buying a vegetable knife really necessary?

I don’t think so…

So let’s take a look at all of the other kitchen knife choices that could be used instead as you slice and dice your veggies, or whatever you may be cooking, that do not require forking over money that could be used to buy better quality ingredients instead.

Knife Choices

Boning Knife…Boning knives have a very thin blade and are used mainly for removing meat from the bone because the thin blade allows you to remove as much meat from the bone as you can.

Chef’s Knife…Chef’s knives are designed with a blade that makes it easy to learn how to do the fancy “rocking” motion that most of us only can wish for when watching such shows as Iron Chef…more on this later…

They also help when you’re cutting vegetables over a long period of time because they have some weight behind them.

Chinese Chef’s Knife…The Chinese chef’s knife is a lightweight, all-purpose knife that looks like a meat cleaver.

—Paring Knife…Because this knife is so small, it is great for cutting vegetables and fruits, but if you’re going to be cutting a lot of vegetables and it will take you a lot of time, this knife will make your hand more fatigued more quickly. Save this knife for those times when you are just slicing a carrot or peeling a few potatoes.

But regardless which knife you choose to dice and slice your veggies, there are some important things to consider, including…

Blade…The perfect blade should be strong and sturdy enough to cut meats and bones. If you will be slicing meat, you also need your blade to be thick. The blade of the knife should meet surgical grade or 18/10 grade.

Handle…The handle is an important part of the knife, just as important as the blade. The handle should not be slippery. For this reason, it is usually better to buy knives with wood handles. You also want the handle to be substantial, but not so heavy that you can hardly lift it. The handle must fit well and balanced in your hand.

Material…Always choose high-carbon steel or high-carbon stainless steel knives.

Tip…There are a few advantages of choosing knives with pointed or rounded blades, such as serving meat with bones directly onto a guest’s plate.

Weight…Technically there is no “correct” weight when it comes to knives, This is a matter of personal preference. But you do want to make sure that the knives you choose allow you to maintain control over the whole knife.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Wood You Rather

If you don’t want to fork over the money for a good wood cutting board, or you like other surfaces instead of wood, there are many choices available.

The main second choice would be plastic.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of these boards.

Advantages include…

  • affordable
  • are priced economically
  • available in many sizes
  • can be washed in the dishwasher, which is more likely to kill all of the bacteria
  • easier to maneuver
  • lighter
  • non-porous material that can’t absorb liquids
  • offer a non-porous surface so juices are unable to penetrate the surface. Furthermore,
  • practical to use
  • relatively easy on knife edges
  • require no additional maintenance
  • safe for knives

Disadvantages include…

  • don’t last as long
  • have no self-healing or bacteria-fighting properties
  • knife-scarred plastic surfaces are impossible to clean and disinfect manually
  • pores in the wood allow for the bacteria to penetrate where they become trapped, suffocate and die
  • surface gets rougher and rougher and becomes extremely difficult to clean, even in the dishwasher

Ultimately, the choice between these two surfaces is your own…but there are a few things to remember when choosing a new plastic cutting boards, such as…

  • Always use a separate plastic cutting boards for fish because the smell can sometimes seep into wood fibers and leave a lasting smell on your wood cutting board.
  • Avoid slick or smooth plastic, as this can cause knives to slip.
  • Choose polyethylene or polypropylene. These are kindest to your knives.
  • Make sure you buy a board that can fit it in your dishwasher.

Cleaning…Sanitize your board every so often, even if you do run it through the dishwasher, using a solution of 5% white vinegar with 4 parts water.

Other Surfaces—Besides these two materials, cutting boards can also be made from other things—such as bamboo, marble, granite, ceramic and glass.

Be careful when choosing one of these, because they can quickly dull your knives.

Bamboo

Bamboo boards have many advantages. One of these is the fact that bamboo boards are one of the best choices for cutting fruits and vegetables. Other advantages include…

  • lasting a long time
  • being “knife-friendly”
  • being made from a sustainable, environmentally friendly, highly renewable resource….
  • weighing less than wood boards
  • not having to be oiled as often as wood boarda

Glass

Glass cutting boards may be cute to decorate with in your kitchen, but as far as actually using glass cutting boards as you cook, don’t even bother. They’re terrible.

Why are they so “terrible?”

Becsuse they can dull the brand new knives that we are fixing to buy as the final tool to saute with in as little as ten strokes. 

Other Materials—such as marble, granite, ceramic, and composite

The same holds true to any other material out there that cutting boards may be made from-such as marble, granite, ceramic, and composite—can do similar damage to your knives, and should be avoided.

The Bottom Line…So just stick to wood and plastic boards….such as the boards that we will be highlighting in the next article…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

11 More Uses for Mineral Oil

In addition to the various uses for mineral oil around the home that we just got through talking about, there are several uses for mineral oil for your own use also.

So a bottle of mineral oil is well worth the investment.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the uses for yourself.. 

 

1.Arthritis...Mineral oil can decrease the stiffness and reduce the pain of arthritis.

2. Babies…Mineral oil can be used to treat cradle cap, diaper rash, and many other types of skin irritation. In fact, baby oil as marketed to new mothers is mineral oil with added fragrance…and costs much less,

3. Constipation...Mineral oil can be used as a laxative to treat constipation and hemorrhoids. Mineral oil creates a film around the stools that makes passage of the stools through the colon much easier.

 

Cosmetics...Mineral oil is a common ingredients in many ointments and cold lotions, in addition to baby oil.

5. Ears…Mineral oil can also be used to treat earaches and to remove ear wax, Drop a few drops of warm mineral oil into your ears at night to melt any ear wax. Be sure to rinse your ear with warm water in the morning.

6. Eyes…Mineral oil can be used to remove any oil which has settled on your eyes and to help maintain the your eyelashes from busting and cracking.

7. Face…Mineral oil can be used for about ten minutes before using mineral oil makeup. The oil does not cause acne or blackheads, but works as a great moisturizer

8. Feet…Mineral oil can make your heels crack-free. Rub your feet with the oil and wear socks.

9. Hands,,, Mineral oil can be used to treat dry hands if you apply it throughout the day.

10. Paint…Mineral oil can be used to remove paint spots from your skin.

11. RadIation…Mineral oil can hhelp treat radiation skin burns,