Open almost any medicine cabinet, and you’ll likely spot a tub of Vaseline. This familiar gel-like substance, also known as petroleum jelly, has a history dating back to 1859 when chemist Robert Chesebrough first created it from “rod wax,” a by-product of oil drilling. Originally used by oil workers to soothe cuts and burns, Vaseline has since become a household staple due to its versatile composition of natural waxes and mineral oils.
Various benefits of Vaseline with practical and unexpected uses around the house: 19 things you may not know!
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You Can Use Vaseline to:
Protect Your Surfaces During Painting
Instead of using painter’s tape, apply a thin layer of Vaseline on surfaces like window glass, door hinges, knobs, and the edges of linoleum, tile, or wood floors. When you’re done painting, simply wipe away the Vaseline with a wet rag—no scraping required!
Revive Scuffed Shoes
Use Vaseline as a quick leather polish alternative for scuffed shoes, boots, handbags, baseball gloves, and leather furniture. Apply petroleum jelly and buff with a cloth or cotton pad for a polished shine.
Keep Glue Fresh
Prevent glues and adhesives from drying out by applying a small amount of Vaseline under the cap and around the rim of the glue bottle. This simple step avoids dried glue buildup, keeping the cap easy to open.
Silence Squeaky Hinges
Capitalize on Vaseline’s lubricating properties by using it as a substitute for WD-40. Apply a thin layer to squeaky or sticking door hinges, cabinets, windows, and sliding glass door tracks. Additionally, use it to lubricate refrigerator drawers, racks, shelves, and door seals.
Thaw Frozen Locks
Prevent locks from freezing by lubricating the keyhole with Vaseline. Apply it to both the lock and the key, then insert the key into the lock, working it back and forth to coat the mechanism. This prevents excess moisture from turning into ice in the lock’s tumbler.
Ease Light Bulb Changes
Changing a burnt-out light bulb can be challenging, especially when it’s in a hard-to-reach spot. Simplify the process by being proactive. Before screwing in a new bulb, apply a thin layer of Vaseline to the threads. This small step reduces the effort needed to unscrew the bulb when it’s time for a replacement.
Vaseline is effective in removing various stains like candle wax, chewing gum, crayons, and makeup from clothing, linens, and furniture. Dab Vaseline on the stain with a damp cloth, let it sit for a few seconds, and blot carefully until the stain is gone. Keep in mind that you may need to repeat the process, and consider using liquid dish soap afterwards to remove any remaining oil stains.
Protect Tools from Rust
Keep your tools and machinery in excellent condition by rubbing Vaseline on the dry blades and edges between uses. The gel creates a protective coating that prevents rust and decay.
Prevent Battery Corrosion
Combat the inconvenience and financial burden of corroded car batteries by using Vaseline. Disconnect the battery terminals, clean them with a wire brush, reconnect them, and cover the connections with a layer of Vaseline. This protective coating shields the terminals from moisture, even in cold weather.
Before Halloween, apply a layer of Vaseline to the carved edges and interior of your jack-o’-lantern. This protective gel helps prevent rot, keeping your pumpkin fresher for a longer duration.
Use Vaseline to repel ants, bugs, and other pests. Apply a thin layer on windowsills and door thresholds to trap crawling insects and keep them away from your family and pets. Create natural flypaper by placing a small amount of petroleum jelly in a jar lid. Once the bugs are trapped, dispose of the entire lid. If squirrels are a nuisance at your bird feeder, coat the pole or hanging bracket with Vaseline—they’ll slide right off!
Fix Furniture Blemishes
For minor scratches, water rings, or small stains on wood furniture, apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the imperfection. Let it sit for 24 hours, wipe away excess with a clean cloth, rub the remaining jelly into the wood, and finish by using furniture polish on the treated area.
Eliminate Soap Scum
Combat soap scum effectively by applying a small amount of Vaseline to faucets, handles, and bathroom tiles. Allow the gel to soak into the soap scum for a few minutes, then wipe clean and buff with a soft cloth. Additionally, use Vaseline to lubricate the threads of faucet handles for smooth operation.
When struggling with a stuck zipper on your handbag or jacket, try using petroleum jelly. Apply a thin layer to both the top and underside of the zipper’s track, then give it a gentle tug. The zipper should now open and close smoothly.
Facilitate Curtain Movement
If your curtain grommets get caught on the rod, rub a bit of Vaseline on the rod to help the curtains slide more effortlessly. This trick is also effective for shower curtains.
Remove Adhesive Residue
Vaseline is a useful solution for stubborn price tags on glassware. Apply a thin layer to the tag, let it sit for a few minutes, and then gently scrape off the residue. This method works on plastic and metal surfaces as well.
Prevent Snow Buildup on Shovel Blades
When shovelling snow, coat both the front and back of the shovel blade with Vaseline to prevent snow from sticking. This not only helps the snow slide off more easily but also prevents the accumulation of ice and snow on the blade, protecting it from moisture.
Polish Stainless Steel Appliances
Keep your stainless steel appliances shining by applying a thin layer of Vaseline to the entire surface. Afterwards, buff it clean with a dry cloth to achieve a polished and protected look.
Make Your Own Fire Starter
Cotton balls become highly flammable when saturated with petroleum jelly, or Vaseline. Create a DIY fire starter by rolling several cotton balls in Vaseline until fully saturated. Toss three or four into the hearth to easily ignite your fire.