5 Best Honing Oil Substitutes

alternatives to honing oil

If you have a sharpening stone at home, you can do a lot of things with it. It can be used for woodworking or even for something as simple as sharpening your dull knives at home. Whatever your sharpening stone might be for, one of the things you need to know is that you have to use honing oil on the sharpening stone for it to work effectively. But if you don’t have honing oil at home, what are the best honing oil substitutes?

Various types of vegetable oils, mineral oil, industrial cleaner, window cleaner, and the old reliable water. As long as the liquid is light and will not harden, it will serve as a good alternative for honing oil.

While the term might seem off, honing oil isn’t actually always oil. That is why other liquids that are not oil-based can still be used as substitutes for honing oil. Still, honing oil is your best bet if you want to properly make use of your sharpening stone. But, if you don’t have any at the moment, let us discuss the alternatives that you can use instead of honing oil.

What can be used in place of honing oil?

When you have a honing stone at home and you are looking to make use of it for woodworking or even for something as simple as sharpening your knives at home, you need to make sure that you use a good honing oil together with the stone because of how the honing oil is supposed to lubricate the honing stone to prevent small shavings from the knife from clogging the tiny pores found on the stone. Because of how the honing oil, the small pieces are carried away from the stone instead of setting on the pores of the stone to clog it up and decrease the sharpening power of the honing stone.

But, because not everyone has honing oil sitting at home, you may need to find some alternatives that you can use in place of honing oil. The key here is to find a liquid that isn’t necessarily oil-based but is light enough and won’t set on the honing stone. That is why we are here to talk about the substitutes you can use instead of honing oil.

Vegetable oils

vegetable oil

The first substitutes that you can use are different varieties of vegetable oils. Most households have vegetable oils at home because they use them for cooking, and that is why you can easily access these oils and use them for your honing stone.

Now, when talking about good vegetable oil that you can use as a honing oil substitute, it is important for you to make sure that it won’t go rancid and that it won’t set on the honing stone. That is why vegetable oils such as corn oilsoy oilrapeseed oil, and peanut oil are good choices for you. And if you don’t mind the higher price that these oils come with, you can also use almond oil and macadamia oil.

Mineral oil

If you don’t want to end up wasting vegetable oil that can be quite expensive and is very valuable for cooking your food, you may want to use mineral oil instead. Mineral oil is quite affordable. If you go for brands that are not too expensive such as Johnson’s Baby Oil.

The reason why you may want to use mineral oil instead. It doesn’t come with any fumes and toxic odors especially when you consider that certain brands of mineral oil are actually used for babies. Meanwhile, mineral oil won’t go rancid as well. On top of that mineral oil is light enough for you to use on a honing stone and will not end up setting, which makes it an ideal substitute for honing oil.

Industrial cleaner

Believe it or not, an industrial cleaner such as Simple Green can actually work as a honing oil substitute even if it isn’t even oil-based. The reason why Simple Green and other industrial cleaners/degreasers are great for your honing stone is that most of these solutions are non-toxic and do not contain any harmful chemicals that may end up making things worse for your stone and your knives.

Moreover, because of how industrial cleaners are supposed to work as degreasers, they will not end up clogging the pores of your honing stone and may even actually remove any grease that has built up in the pores of your honing stone. That is why industrial cleaners may be good for you if you want to find a household item that you can use as a honing oil alternative.

Glass cleaner

Similar to how industrial cleaners can be great for your honing stone as a substitute for honing oil, you can also use glass cleaners such as Windex as a good alternative. Glass cleaners are great at getting into the tiny pores of glass while removing anything that may have set there. This makes it a viable option for you if you want to use your honing stone for sharpening your knives but you don’t have any honing oil at home.

Windex and other glass cleaners are also completely safe for you because they don’t have any toxic chemicals that may be harmful to your health. And that is why, if you have no other options at home go for a glass cleaner.


Yes, you read that right. Water can be used as a honing oil substitute instead of using any other oil-based product or any product that can work well to mimic the properties of honing oil. And the reason why water works well as a honing oil alternative is that honing stones are best used either dry (using oil as a lubricant) or completely wet.

When you want to use a honing stone dry, you should be using a lubricant for the reasons we have already stated. However, if you are using it wet, then there is no other way to get your honing stone wet than to submerge it in water before you use it. Water will be great at providing some sort of lubrication while also filling in the pores of the stone to prevent any small shavings from getting into them. So, if you really want to save money and you have no other options at home, using water would be enough as a substitute for honing oil.

Can you use WD-40 as honing oil?

So, while we have stated that you can use a wide variety of home products that you can use as substitutes for honing oil, can the old classic WD-40 be used? Unfortunately, you shouldn’t be using WD-40 as a honing oil alternative.

The reason why WD-40 doesn’t work well for honing stones is the very fact that this is a water displacement solution that will quickly dry up. Because WD-40 evaporates rather quickly, the honing stone will end up drying up just as quickly as a result. In that regard, it wouldn’t be very economical for you to keep on adding WD-40 on a honing stone the moment it begins to dry up.

Can you use water instead of honing oil?

Yes, you can use water instead of honing oil. As mentioned, you can either use your honing stone dry or wet. Using it dry means that you need to use a lubricant to protect its pores. Meanwhile, using it wet means that you have to submerge the honing stone in water.

Can you use olive oil on a sharpening stone?

olive oil

We have mentioned that you can use a wide variety of different vegetable oils as a substitute for your honing oil. In that case, would olive oil be a good choice for you if you want to make use of vegetable oil for your sharpening stone?

Yes, you can use olive oil because it is similar to the vegetable oils we have mentioned in the sense that it tends to be light and will not leave a rancid or foul odor on your honing stone. However, we would not recommend that you use olive oil for the simple reason that it is quite expensive. You should be using olive oil for cooking instead of using it for your sharpening stone because of how comparatively expensive it is.

Can you use baby oil on a sharpening stone?

We have mentioned that you can use different mineral oils for your honing stone. In that case, you can safely use baby oil on your sharpening stone because baby oil is actually mineral oil. And the biggest reason why baby oil can be used on honing stones is that it is free of harmful chemicals and doesn’t leave behind any residue or rancidity on the stone considering that baby oil should be completely safe for you to use on your baby.

Is honing oil the same as mineral oil?

While honing oil and mineral oil have a lot of similarities, they are not the same. Honing oil can be petroleum-based or non-petroleum-based such as when it is made from water and vegetable oils. Meanwhile, honing oil is also specifically formulated to be used on sharpening stones, and that is why they may have common additives such as additives include chlorine, sulfur, rust inhibitors, and detergents.

On the other hand, mineral oil is also petroleum-based just like honing oil. However, the difference here is that mineral oil has been highly refined to the point that it ends up becoming odorless and harmless. It also doesn’t contain the same kind of additives as honing oil and is usually made specifically for human use, and that is why baby oil is actually made from mineral oil.