Back in the day, we had to discover clever alternative uses for products ourselves, or maybe rely on friends and family to pass along the secrets they’d discovered themselves.
Now, we have the internet, which means we can benefit from the knowledge of literally everyone in the world – and here are 20 things people say you can do with your petroleum jelly.
20. Keep your outdoor light from sticking.
If you’ve ever unscrewed a lightbulb from an outdoor fixture and broken off the glass, left wondering what to do with the stuck metal base, then this tip is for you.
Next time, rub the base with petroleum jelly before screwing it into the fixture.
19. Say goodbye to lipstick stains.
Whether it’s cloth napkins from a dinner party or your partner’s collar after an amorous evening, lipstick stains can be a bear to remove.
Before you wash them (or just toss them), blot petroleum jelly on the stains and there’s a good chance they won’t be there once the wash cycle is finished!
18. Banish those creaks and squeaks.
Whether it’s a cabinet, an old window, or the hinges on a door, those creaks and squeaks can really get annoying after a while.
The good news is that with a small paintbrush and some petroleum jelly on the hinges or sash, they should be a thing of the past.
17. Remove chewing gum from wood.
If you’ve got kids (or you’re a teacher), you’ve likely discovered chewing gum in some unexpected places – like under a chair, a table, or my personal favorite, the slats of a bunk bed.
Luckily, a bit of petroleum jelly on the gum and a quick rub to break it down should see it coming straight off.
16. Slide your shower curtains easily.
It’s one of those things that doesn’t seem like a big deal but that gets old quick – having to tug your shower curtain more than once or reach up to slide the rings over the bar in order to keep water from getting out and onto the floor.
Lubricate your curtain rod with some petroleum jelly and you’ll never have to do it again!
15. Get watermarks out of wood.
If there are people in your home who don’t use the available coasters (grr), you can make any ensuing water rings disappear by applying petroleum jelly and letting it sit overnight.
In the morning, you should be able to just wipe them away.
14. Stay moisturized.
Petroleum jelly can double as lip balm, makeup remover, or even a decent facial moisturizer if you want to give it a shot!
13. Shine up your patent leather.
Whether it’s shoes or a bag, a paper towel and some petroleum jelly can bring it straight back to life-new life!
12. Extend your perfume’s life.
If you’re going to be doing a day-to-night event and want your perfume to last until you’re in the cab on the way home (or beyond), dab some petroleum jelly on your wrists and neck before spraying the perfume.
11. Refresh your leather jacket.
In the same way that petroleum jelly can refresh your shoes and bag, it can also do some favors for your beloved leather jacket.
Apply, rub it in, wipe off any excess and go on your merry way!
10. Stop panicking about stuck rings.
We’ve all had that moment of panic when we think we won’t be able to remove a ring – but no more.
Some petroleum jelly should help it slide right off.
9. Prevent battery corrosion.
Car batteries can give us trouble in the winter, and one of the reasons is that low temperatures increase electrical resistance and thicken engine oil, which makes the battery have to work harder to keep going.
Corrosion on the terminals also increases resistance, so before it gets too cold, you should disconnect and clean them with a wire brush.
Once they’re reconnected, smearing them with petroleum jelly can help prevent that corrosion all winter long.
8. Ease the pain of chapped hands.
Winter can also be tough on your hands, and hand creams can be ineffectual and expensive.
Try applying a good amount of petroleum jelly to your hands before bed instead, and watch how soft and smooth they’ll be in the morning.
7. Keep ants out of your pet’s food.
Summer can mean ants parading in and out of their house like they pay rent, and your pet’s food bowl is one of their favorite watering holes.
If you ring the rim with petroleum jelly, though, they’ll have to move onto greener (hopefully outdoor) pastures.
6. Improve your home manicure game.
If you’re like me, you can’t give yourself a home manicure without getting polish all over your cuticles.
If yo dab some at the base of your nails (and maybe along the sides for good measure) before you start, it will keep the polish from getting onto your skin.
5. Break in a new baseball mitt.
Everyone knows it takes time to break in a new baseball or softball glove, but did you know petroleum jelly can help?
Use as much as you need, work it into the leather with your fingers, and rubber band a ball inside it overnight or for a few days.
4. Smooth your eyebrows.
If your eyebrows tend to go every which way and you can’t find that elusive brush in your makeup draw, a quick dab and swipe will calm them right down.
3. Protect doorknobs while painting.
Painting is a chore, and so is the taping that comes beforehand. Some things – like doorknobs and hinges – are also often removed to keep them paint-free during the process, but what if you could avoid that extra step?
You can simply rub the edges of the metal with petroleum jelly instead, and the paint won’t be able to stick.
2. Help prevent diaper rash.
Babies are going to develop diaper rash sometimes no matter how diligent of a parent you are, and diaper creams are kind of hit or miss.
Simple petroleum jelly will provide a great barrier between that chafing diaper and baby’s sensitive skin.
1. Never struggle to open a nail polish bottle again.
Bottle caps can get crusty and stuck if you haven’t used them for a while – but not if you rub petroleum jelly on the rim before you close it in the first place.
I’m definitely going to try a few of these and hopefully you found something you want to try, too!
If you know of other clever uses for this product, please drop them in the comments!