Zoe knows a lot about simple ingredients and how they can be used around the home, in the kitchen, or in a beauty regimen.
The bathroom cupboard is home to all manner of long-forgotten lotions and potions. Sitting alongside the expired medicine and rusty nail scissors, you'll find the humble pot of Vaseline. A tub of petroleum jelly is a staple of most households, but it would seem that most of us are seriously under-using this “wonder jelly.” Vaseline can be put to many good uses, not only on your body, but also around the house.
Amazing Uses for Vaseline (or Petroleum Jelly):
- For Skin. Vaseline works to soothe, soften, moisturize, condition, clean, and protect your skin and prevent chafing and friction. It can be used on most parts of your body (but not all. . . see exceptions below). It also works to heal and prevent diaper rash, protect your pet's paws, and to treat athlete's foot, diaper rash, and minor skin abrasions.
- To Make Things Shiny. Shoes, wood surfaces, and leather will all shine under a thin coat of petroleum jelly.
- For Hair. Vaseline helps with split ends, dying hair at home, and tending eyebrows and eyelashes. Read how below.
- To Add a Little Grease. When things get stuck (lids, rings, drawers hinges, etc.), this stuff unsticks them. It also prevents battery corrosion. See a longer list of suggestions below.
- To Remove Oil, Sap, Wax, and Lipstick Stains. With a dollop of petroleum jelly and a little elbow grease, you can clean up some very tough messes.
- To Preserve Perfumes and Scents. Seal in the scent under a light coat of Vaseline.
For a complete list of ideas, hacks, recipes, and tricks, read on.
Brilliant Beauty Uses for Vaseline
Here are some creative ways to use vaseline to improve your complexion and save money on beauty products.
1. Use Vaseline to Soften Dry, Cracked Feet
As a home remedy for dry feet and cracked heels, Vaseline works great. For best results, slather your feet in Vaseline and put on a pair of socks, which will help your feet absorb as much as possible. It can also soothe, heal, and protect your pet's paws, especially in winter.
Note: The socks may not ever be the same again, even after washing, so don’t use your best pair for this job.
2. Use It as a Night Cream or Moisturizer
No, it won’t clog your pores. The greasy consistency of petroleum jelly might make you think that putting it on your face would leave you covered in pimples, but this is not the case. Vaseline is non-comedogenic and can be used as an effective facial moisturizer. It doesn’t soak in very readily, however, and is best used as a night cream to avoid odd looks on the morning commute.
3. Tame and Control Unruly Eyebrows
For eyebrows that are in need of a trim or are particularly unruly, dab a little on each brow to keep them in line. Carmex is also good (possibly better) for this job if you have some to hand.
4. Highlight Your Cheeks
Use Vaseline as a cheap cheek highlighter. Apply a minuscule amount for a glowing, dewy look.
5. Use Vaseline to Remove Eyelash Extension Glue
Avoid pulling out your real lashes when trying to yank off a particularly stubborn false lash. Use Vaseline to unstick the glue by dabbing some between your finger and thumb and carefully rubbing the offending lashes until the glue/false lash eases off.
6. Condition and Mend Cuticles
Do your hands get dry? Are your cuticles cracking? Blob Vaseline around your cuticles and gently rub it in to stop them from feeling sore and prevent further damage and aid the healing process.
7. Prevent Hair Dye From Staining Your Skin
To avoid the skin on your hairline and face from getting stained when you're dying your hair, draw a line of Vaseline across your forehead and you should avoid that infuriating freshly dyed giveaway of drips of color down your forehead. Be careful not to get any on your hair, however, as it will prevent the dye from taking well.
8. Make Your Own Vaseline Lip Therapy
Vaseline works great on chapped lips. I used to take a bit of it from a family-sized pot and put it into a little tin to carry around in my handbag. I learned this little trick from my Mum who had done the same for decades.
Now, the company has its own lip-balm-sized version of Vaseline lip therapy. However, if you are feeling frugal or want to make your own petroleum-jelly-based lip therapy, then use Vaseline as your base and mix it with food coloring, Kool-Aid, essential oil, vitamin E, eye shadow, or an old lipstick—get creative!
9. Make Your Own Vaseline Body Scrub
Just add some salt to petroleum jelly and you have yourself a homemade body scrub. Mix 2 tablespoons of Vaseline with 1 tablespoon of rock or sea salt. Armed with puff buff, give yourself an invigorating going-over with your very own product and your skin will glow and feel silky smooth.
10. Keep Lashes Moisturized
As part of your daily beauty ritual, try adding in a little lash TLC. Vaseline for eyelashes isn't something that might immediately spring to mind, but applying a small dab to both lashes nightly will help keep them soft and strong. And on days when you don't feel like using mascara, a little of this glossy stuff makes your eyelashes look wet (longer and darker).
11. Stop Tanning Streaks
To help avoid a patchy tan and prevent those giveaway concentrated orange patches of fake tan that tell the world you've just been tangoed, rub Vaseline into trouble spots such as ankles, behind the knees, and on the hands. This will help you tan evenly.
12. Extend Perfume Staying Power
If you're a bit of a sweaty Betty, the pleasant odor of overpriced perfume might not last the night, let alone the journey. Draw out the longevity of your perfume by applying a blob of Vaseline to your wrists before spritzing.
13. As a Make-Up Remover
Dip a cotton swab or Q-tip into Vaseline to gently remove make-up from your eyes before you wash. The Vaseline residue around your eyes will aid the remnants of make-up in coming off when you wash your face.
14. Stop Lipstick From Getting on Your Teeth
Avoid the embarrassment of rouge on your gnashers by dotting a weeny blob of the wonder jelly on your front teeth before applying your lipstick.
15. Turn Eye Shadows Into Cream Shadows
Add a dollop of petroleum jelly to an old eye shadow and give it a new lease of life by transforming it into a sultry cream shadow.
16. Keep Shampoo Out of Eyes
Avoid tears at bath time by applying a thin line of Vaseline just above the eyebrows, encouraging the water and soap suds to run down the side of the face rather than into the eyes.
17. Keep Elbows Soft
Vaseline on the elbows is a tried-and-tested method to keep a troublesome dry spots baby soft. Blob it on when you're not wearing a favorite top that might get greasy and stained.
18. Hide Split Ends
Dab a little Vaseline to any rogue split ends and keep them under wraps until your next trim. Remember, in this instance, less is more.
19. Neatly Paint Fingernails and Toenails
Use a cotton swab or Q-tip to trace around your cuticles with Vaseline before commencing a manicure or pedicure. As well as moisturizing the skin, it will make varnish application a lot neater, as any overzealous brush strokes that go over the edge of the nail will wipe off easily.
20. Avoid Struggling to Open Nail Polish
After you finish using nail polish, rub some Vaseline around the edge of the thread. This will make it far easier to open the bottle up the next time you need to use it. This applies to all jars and things with screw lids!
Practical and Household Uses for Vaseline
Here are some more ways you can use Vaseline around the house!
1. Keep Halloween Pumpkin Looking Fresh
Rub Vaseline into the cut or carved edges of your Halloween pumpkins to slow down the rot and keep your pumpkins looking pristine for Halloween!
2. Help Prevent Battery Corrosion
Disconnect car battery terminals, give them a clean with a wire brush, and then reconnect and smear with Vaseline to create a barrier from the elements and stave of corrosion. Do this is as the weather starts to take a turn for the worse around the onset of winter.
3. Remove Things That Are Stuck
Vaseline is a very useful substance in situations where something is stuck fast. For example, if a ring is stuck on a finger or bracelet isn't budging from a wrist, add some Vaseline to create a slick and slippery surface to ease off the offending item.
4. Prevent Paint Splatters on Windows
As an alternative to masking up window frames with tape, for those of us that can't paint with great precision, rub Vaseline around the pane. Any paint flecks that land on the Vaseline can be easily removed.
5. Remove Makeup Stains on Clothes With Vaseline
Remove any wayward lipstick marks from clothes by blotting petroleum jelly onto the stain and washing in the machine as usual. Vaseline helps remove many oily, waxy stains from fabric.
6. Help With Inserting Earrings
If it has been awhile since you last wore earrings and the holes aren't readily receiving the jewelry, add a little Vaseline to your lobes and this should help and prevent too much discomfort.
7. Vaseline Can Help With Toilet-Related Problems
For sufferers of piles/hemorrhoids or anal fissures, Vaseline is a handy item. In fact, it's an absolute essential that should always be ready and waiting next to the toilet. Rubbing a bit around your rear will provide a slightly slicker runway to help get the fecal matter out. Although it isn't going to help much with the pain, Vaseline might ease the screw-faced, fist-clenching work.
8. Treat Athlete's Foot
Vaseline cures athlete’s foot by suffocating the fungus. It is an occlusive moisturizer meaning that it reduces water loss from the skin and forms a hydrophobic barrier so there is not so much sweat for fungus to thrive on.
9. Protect a Sore Nose
Protect your nose from getting red and sore when suffering from a cold by dabbing Vaseline on your nostrils every few hours.
10. Protect and Heal Cuts and Grazes
When petroleum jelly was first discovered, it was used by miners on cuts, bruises, and grazes to protect from infection and aid faster healing. There isn't any antiseptic in Vaseline, but on minor injuries, it will act as a barrier against dirt and germs.
11. As an Alternative to WD-40
Is a stiff lock, stuck drawer, or creaky door hinge driving you crazy? If you can't find the WD-40, then use some Vaseline instead!
12. Make a Homemade Slug Repellent
Combine Vaseline with salt and rub around the edges of your flower pots to keep away slimy snails and slugs.
13. As a Budget Shoe-Shiner
A little goes a long way! Dab Vaseline onto leather shoes or even handbags and gently rub it in to buff them up on the cheap!
14. Help Prevent Diaper/Nappy Rash
Sudocrem is the go-to product for preventing diaper rash these days, but if you have run out or don't have any to hand, then Vaseline is also effective.
15. Remove Chewing Gum From Hair
If you, or perhaps more likely your kids, have managed to get a lump of chewing gum stuck in your hair, rub Vaseline on and around the gum to work it out. It can also work on sap and other sticky stuff.
16. Protect Skin From Chafing and Rubbing Whilst Playing Sports
Due to its emollient and lubricating properties, Vaseline makes for an ideal lubricant for athletes, helping them prevent skin irritation that may result from rubbing during a sport or physical activity.
Massage it into any areas likely to be exposed to rubbing or friction such as the groin, inner thighs, neck, nipples, armpits, ankles, or at the base of spine) before commencing exercise or physical activity.
17. Vaseline as a Lubricant
Vaseline can be used to lube up pretty much anything really, from a creaky hinge on a cupboard door to a tight lid.
Can I use Vaseline as a sexual lubricant?
I know it sounds like it would be great for anything, but Vaseline should not be your go-to product in the bedroom. Why? Because it may be too inviting for bacteria and you might risk infection. Plus, it could degrade a condom and it can get really messy. Best to stick with products that are designed especially for sexual use.
18. Soothe an Itchy Scalp or Chapped Hands
Massage it into dry patches on your scalp to reduce itching and irritation. Apply it to the backs of chapped hands to protect them from the cold and wind.
19. Remove Candle Wax
Add Vaseline to the edges of the dripped candle wax, allow it to sink in for a moment or two, and then wipe with a cloth.
20. Repair Minor Scratches and Water Marks on Wood
To remove marks or small scratches on wooden surfaces, coat liberally with petroleum jelly and leave for about 24 hours, then work it into the wood and rub away any excess.
21. Prevent Doors From Sticking
Car or van doors that aren’t used very often or are subject to freezing conditions are more prone to getting stuck. Rub Vaseline around the rubber seal to help prevent sticking. You can also do this with fridge or freezer seals.
22. Restore Old Leather
There’s no need to invest in expensive leather restoring products, since Vaseline gets the job done equally as well. Apply a coating of petroleum jelly to the leather, massage it in, remove any excess, and you’re good to go!
Is Vaseline Really Safe?
There is a debate about using petroleum jelly on the skin. Some people think it contains harmful chemicals that can suffocate pores and have damaging effects. Before it has been refined, raw petroleum jelly does include some carcinogenic stuff, it's true, but Vaseline is highly refined, triple-filtered, and claims not to contain any harmful chemicals. But beware of cheap alternatives, however, as they may not have been subjected to rigorous refinement.
What Is Vaseline?
- In Pennsylvania, 1859, a 22 year-old British chemist named Robert Augustus Chesebrough observed the remarkable skin-healing properties of this naturally occurring by-product of the oil drilling process.
- He became intrigued by the oilmen using petroleum jelly to heal cuts and burns and set about purifying the product for general use.
- This soon-to-be household staple was launched by Cheesebrough in 1870 after many years of perfecting the extraction and purification process of his so-called “Wonder Jelly.” The brand name Vaseline appeared in 1872, a name derived from the German word for water, “wasser,” and the Greek word for oil, “oleon.”
- By 1874, Vaseline petroleum jelly was being sold across the US at a rate of a jar per minute.
Frequently Asked Questions
Someone told me that using petroleum jelly on my healing skin was dangerous. Is there any proof that it helps with healing?
- The American Academy of Dermatology advises using it to help to heal skin. They also say that petroleum jelly can reduce scarring.
- One study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that petroleum jelly helps protect abrasions from microbial invasion.
- A 2013 study suggests that petrolatum-based ointments promote uncomplicated healing.
Are there any warnings about using petroleum jelly?
- It's flammable, so avoid using it near fires.
- Make sure to only apply it to clean, disinfected skin, or else it can trap bacteria and pathogens inside and delay healing.
- It should be used for external use only. Don't eat or insert it anywhere inside your body.
- Women should avoid using it as a sexual lubricant, as it promotes bacterial vaginosis.
- If you are concerned about the environment, you probably want to choose a plant-based product instead of oil-based petroleum jelly.
- Avoid using petroleum products around the nose area, especially in children, since inhaling mineral oils may cause aspiration pneumonia.
- It's probably smartest to use Vaseline rather than a cheaper brand of petroleum jelly, since that brand adheres to proper refinement techniques.
What’s the difference between petroleum jelly and Vaseline?
Vaseline was the first company brand to offer petroleum jelly to consumers. For most intents and purposes, there is probably no difference between name brand and generic brands. However, the company that makes Vaseline claims to follow a special filtration and purification process. Conceivably, another company might not adhere to the same strict process. If you must buy another type, at least read the label to make sure it is pure petroleum jelly.
And Finally . . .
Here is one use for Vaseline that I would most definitely NOT recommend!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can Vaseline be used to enlarge body parts?
Answer: I've read discussions about this, but no, it can't be used to make any body part bigger.
Question: Does vaseline help enlarge breasts?
Answer: It doesn't I'm afraid. There's nothing in petroleum jelly that can make bits of you grow bigger.
Question: I heard that Vaseline makes your eyelashes grow. A few friends swear by it. Is that true?
Answer: I don't think so. Vaseline will keep your lashes moisturized and that can't be a bad thing but there's no reason it would stop them falling out at a normal rate. I do use eyelash serums for longer lashes but personally wouldn't recommend Vaseline for this purpose.
Question: Will Vaseline help with toe fungus?
Answer: Yes. If you regularly apply Vaseline to your fungus it will suffocate and kill it. Because it isn't directly killing off the fungus you have to be vigilant in your application and coverage.
Question: Is vaseline safe as a vaginal lubricant?
Answer: Not really no. Plenty of people use it for this purpose but it can corrode condoms and you are also increasing your chances of getting bacterial vaginosis, so best to buy some lubricant designed for internal use.
Question: Can Vaseline help skin heal from cellulitis?
Answer: Petroleum jelly can be used to help the skin heal from cellulitis, and it is recommended (along with a course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor). Ensure that the area to be treated is clean and then cover with a thin layer of Vaseline and a non-stick bandage. Replace the jelly and bandage as needed.
Question: Is vaseline a good eye cream?
Answer: The occlusive properties of Vaseline make it a good way to lock in moisture. On its own, however, it isn't going to fight the aging process so I would recommend using a serum (Vitamin C/Hyaluronic acid for example) and then put some Vaseline over the to. Do this preferably at night time to avoid looking greasy.
Question: Will Vaseline repel insects?
Answer: It won't repel them, no. But I suppose if you slather it all over yourself, then insects will potentially stick to you and die, possibly before getting to the biting part!
Fran From Utah on May 12, 2020:
My G-Ma, born in 1898, used Vasaline on a regular basis, and for a variety of reasons... many of which are listed above such as polishing my shoes, and removing water marks/scratches on furniture. My mother used it throughout her life, as have I. I'll be 75 in a few months and I use it on a regular basis, daily! For instance, after my bath tonight, I applied it to my feet, then to a couple of rashes because I'm allergic to all types of fabrics and Vaseline relieves the itching, and the redness! I also put it on my lips, hands and my elbows. I have 4 large Vasaline bottles--one in each bathroom, and one in my office area and one in my emergency kit in my van. I would be lost without it. To me it has proven to be a "wonder Jell" that I'm glad I don't have to do without! (and no, I'm not being paid for these comments... this is how I really feel about my Vasaline Petroleum Jelly.
Ming Chai on October 18, 2019:
Very interesting and informative especially about petroleum jelly and vasaline. I am now more confident of vasaline products.
Hank on May 31, 2019:
While vaseline has many great uses, be advised that it can and will degrade rubber products like o-rings, gaskets, condoms, rubber toys, etc. May help in the short term, but long term, for rubber, use a silicone or water--based lubricant
Aubrey on January 21, 2019:
after shaving if you put it on the parts of your body you have shaved it will make it smooth and get rid of the bumps
Zoe (author) from London, England on December 11, 2018:
More than a little tardy in responding but.....
Yes you can use scented Vaseline as well but it isn't as economical.
Vaseline won't improve your wrinkles but, because of its occlusive properties, it will keep your skin moisturized so you might stave off the onset of a few more lines!
By pink lip, do you mean make your lips pink? It's definitely great for keeping lips soft. There is rarely a day that goes by where I don't use some on my lips.
Magdalene on November 03, 2018:
Can it be used to pink lip?
Glory on May 17, 2018:
Can it be used for pink lip
Sonja on April 18, 2018:
Does vaseline help erase wrinkles?
Vianney Ortiz on September 20, 2017:
Do these things work for scented vaseline too?
Jack on September 17, 2017:
You can also use it to restore the flexibility of rubber seals on automotive parts.
Scott Mason on May 27, 2017:
Isopropyl alcohol is the only substance I know of that will dissolve petroleum jelly. You can use the alcohol to remove it easily from undamaged, healthy skin. Isopropyl alcohol applied to wounds causes pain and damages the healing cells; cleaning them with a product containing benzalkonium Cl and lidocaine HCl, and then applying Vaseline before bandaging them is a suitable and preferable treatment for most minor cuts and scrapes. Pramoxine hydrochloride is often a very helpful pain reliever, too.
Megan Machucho from Milwaukee, WI on January 30, 2017:
Vaseline is my go-to for chapped lips, dry hand, and for my baby as diaper rash cream. I did not know it can be used for so many other purposes, great article!
Zoe (author) from London, England on June 19, 2015:
Thanks Yalul. Vaseline is a very useful substance indeed!
Yalul from Philippines on June 18, 2015:
I didn't know that that there are other household uses for vaseline. this is very informative.