Introduction: 11 Unusual Uses for Baby Oil

Picture of 11 Unusual Uses for Baby Oil

Have you heard that joke about baby oil? The one that goes something like:

If corn oil is made with corn and peanut oil is made with peanuts, then what is baby oil made with?

The answer: Baby oil is made with mineral oil and fragrance by industrial professionals; babies don't have the fine motor skills or chemistry knowledge to create baby oil, duh.

Baby oil is useful for a lot of things beyond baby bottoms. It'll smooth, soften, lubricate, refinish, clean, and so much more. It also has some usual uses for which it really oughtn't be used. Read on for some tips and tricks that'll help you step your baby oil game up.

Step 1: First, Some Don'ts

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Don't use baby oil as a "personal" lubricant, particularly if you are using a latex condom. (Just look at the next step to see who wins in the latex vs. baby oil battle royale.)

Don't use baby oil to tan. Melanoma looks bad enough without being shiny.

Don't eat baby oil. It has laxative properties and likely doesn't taste delicious. (Mineral oil is safe for human consumption, but only up to around 100 mg. Many of those milligrams come from food-grade mineral oil that's used in baking and other industrial food processing places because it's odorless and tasteless. My guess is that baby oil mineral oil isn't food-grade. Stay safe: don't guzzle a bottle of it.)

Don't use it in your 2-stroke engine.

Don't aim baby oil at helicopter pilots. Wait... that's for lasers. But you should still be careful around helicopter pilots with baby oil. It can be a slip-fall hazard, and pilots prefer the scent of aviation fuel.

Step 2: Get Latex Paint Off of Skin

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I've worked as a painter for a couple of years, and one thing was certain: I ended up with paint on me. Somewhere.

Latex paints and primers are sneaky. Sometimes they just rub off like rubber cement, other times they'll stay in your knuckles for a couple of days. Whenever some Lava soap couldn't get all the Lemon Ice or Chesapeake Gray paint off of my hands, baby oil would come to the rescue.

Rub a little onto the part of your body covered in paint using a cotton ball, shop towel, napkin, or anything else you've got on hand that will absorb the baby oil. Rub in concentric circles from the outside in without applying too much pressure. This isn't a scrub, it's more a gentle, localized massage. You can scrub to your heart's content after you've washed it off with some soap and water, once you feel you've made some progress with the oil.

This worked when I dropped a five gallon bucket of paint on myself while on a ladder in a Sears, because five gallons manages to get past the normal problem areas (hands, arms, flecks on the face from rolling out a ceiling) and into some unusual locations that could be sensitive to paint thinner. Presumably the oil degrades the latex to the point that it will flake off. This is why condom + baby oil = one beautiful bundle of joy 9 months later.

Step 3: Massage Oil

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Use it as a massage oil. Remember our latex lessons from the previous step. Rubber gloves will degrade, as will balloons and some parts of massager attachments.

Try this or this if you need some massage ideas.

Step 4: Remove Earwax

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When in-ear headphones were just starting to become a thing, I went deaf in one ear. Panicked, I went to the doctor only to discover that I had a cebum compaction, earwax clogging my ear to the point I couldn't hear. Gross, right?

For the temporarily hearing impaired, there's an easy home remedy to handle that waxy buildup: baby oil!

While laying on your side or tilting your head so your affected ear is up, drop five drops of baby oil inside (warmed, if you really want to dissolve the mess) your ear. Let it stay for long enough to dissolve some of the wax, then let the oil drain out onto a clean towel or into the sink. A small amount of warm water can be used to dislodge any last bits with a small bulb or needle-less syringe.

Step 5: Take Off Eye Makeup

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Put some baby oil on a cotton ball. Gently rub it over any eye makeup that you want to remove. Maybe use another cotton ball to wipe away any excess oil.

This one does double duty: removes makeup and makes your eyelids soft and supple.

Step 6: Bath Oil

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Put a few drops into the next bath you draw. It'll leave your skin feeling touchably soft and silky. May not prevent pruniness in the extremities.

Step 7: Post-shave Oil

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Use as an after-shave oil after shaving any non-face part of the body. Works best as a layer over the top of some traditional moisturizer to lock in the freshness.

Step 8: Keep Warm

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My little sister went to school in Montana. The temperature routinely dropped below -10 degrees Celsius. She would use baby oil or Vaseline as an extra layer of insulation on any exposed skin as she hiked her way to class. It apparently prevented any facial frostbite, as she still has her nose attached.

There are limits to how helpful or practical this is. You can't just grease up and head out in your skivvies when birds are dropping from trees encased in ice. But YMMV.

Step 9: Soften Cracked or Dry Heels

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If your heels are cracked, dry, and unsightly... baby oil and a sock will help. (I recognize that these two items are often used in conjunction for other purposes: filming extra-slippery versions of the Risky Business slide, freshening up a pair of stinky socks, and even - though I hesitate to mention it - cleaning off the sides of a dribbly bottle of baby oil.)

Apply some baby oil over your heel before bed, put on some socks, then wake up transformed like a Jergens-Kafka mashup.

Step 10: Reduce Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

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Apply some baby oil to soften skin and prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. I hear good things about cocoa butter as well. Shea butter. Anything greasy and easily-absorbent.

But baby oil is perfect, since you're applying the oil directly to the baby's temporary home.

Step 11: Shine Wooden Furniture

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If your dinner party is starting in ten minutes and you've just noticed that there are hideous water stains on your tabletops, have no fear. Baby oil can help by providing a quick polish.

The mineral oil will put a nice shine on the furniture, helping to create a water-proof barrier and an understated shine that should impress any and all guests. Plus, it'll smell fresh and baby-like.

Step 12: Untangle a Necklace Chain

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Sometimes there will be a snarl in your necklace that seems impossible to undo. Before you throw away your diamonds and gold in frustration, try a quick baby oil bath. It'll lubricate the metal links, allowing them to separate more easily. Use a pin to work out the tangled knot after the dunk in oil.

Presto! You just saved a couple grand by not throwing away your jewelry. You're welcome.

Step 13: Remove Bubblegum, Wax, or Bandaids

Picture of Remove Bubblegum, Wax, or Bandaids

If you've got some bubblegum or wax on your body or in your hair, baby oil will get it out. Apply a small amount to the affected area, let it sit, then work at the mess with your fingertips. It'll make the gum easier to get out, it'll soften the wax, and it will help the bandage come off without tearing out any hair.

This is a particularly good method of removing excess wax after an eyebrow or bikini job.

For those of you who remove more band-aids than body hair, applying some baby oil around the bandage is a great middle-of-the-road option for people who can't subscribe to the RIP IT OFF! camp or the IT'LL FALL OFF ON ITS OWN, DON'T TOUCH IT! contingent. Firm but gentle, that's the way to do it. Tough love.


jaxboy (author)2017-10-18

Regarding your tip to remove ear wax, there is a much better way. Mix a roughly 50-50% combination of hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. Put about 10 ml in your ear. It will fizz like Alka-Seltzer for a while as the peroxide dissolves the wax, then start to settle down. Dump the contents of that ear into a tissue and repeat for the other ear. The hydrogen peroxide dissolves the wax, and the alcohol evaporates quickly, thus helping to remove both the peroxide and the wax, plus both are antiseptics.

ChristianA139 (author)2017-07-02

"another years later"
it's normal for me to be at 25 celcius degree guys. its better than ever.

Caspar (author)ChristianA1392017-07-03

Paraffin oil. It used to be available in supermarkets.

Codswallop (author)Caspar2017-07-05

"Paraffin oil" is what the British call kerosene, folks. Please ignore the bad advice above.

Sean of Earth (author)Codswallop2017-07-11

We just say "paraffin", and it may not be strictly the same mix, but it's pretty close.

OK, Just had to mention our recent 10 day heat wave which included 5 or 6 days over 110.

Cookin in Bakersfield, CA

PS. BO dissolves make up on brushes to then clean them with dish soap.

SarahH25 (author)villagepigmom2017-07-03

Feeling your pain in Fresno.

JamesN158 (author)2017-07-09

Wilgubeast missed one. Making smoke for a smoke machine. I use it in a paint can to test vacuum leaks, but it is the common ingredient used in most smoke machines that use heat to make smoke, like stage or dance floor effects. You can make your own with a paint can, Ni-chrome wire and fiberglass wick and a 12 volt source.

Pinguino72 (author)JamesN1582017-07-10

Interesting.. You should totally make an instructable on this.

Caspar (author)2017-07-10

Sorry, Codswallop, a better term to describe it would be "mineral oil". Nothing like paraffin or paraffin oil.

JamesN158 (author)2017-07-09

Of all of these the best use for baby oil is actually before spray painting. For me it was water towers when I was 19 years old (yes hundreds of feet by a rope). We put it on before spray painting, not aftetr on exposed skin, and the old VO5 (that greasy hair stuff, "a dab will do ya"). After painting you just shower as normal and it just washes off. The water tower part I cannot recommend unless you are still young and stupid or desperate.

BeanieandCecilC (author)2017-07-03

While it has the innocent name of "baby oil", it's really just petroleum, pure and simple and shouldn't be rubbed on skin of anyone, baby or adult. It clogs pores of the skin and prevents the skin from detoxing. Coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil are better alternatives. Same goes for vaseline which people rub on their lips and ingest. It's just refined motor oil and is toxic--puts stress on the liver, carries away fat soluble vitamins. Both are best used on machine parts but not on the body.

Mr Baron (author)BeanieandCecilC2017-07-06

WOW! Great info to share, and it's keeping on the main topic "Baby Oil". Thanks for sharing.

RussellS8 (author)2017-07-03

Stop the Slaughter! BAN BABY OIL!


HavelockT (author)RussellS82017-07-04

No! Do it early! They become teenagers and it's a lot harder then! :-(

Cueball21 (author)2017-07-03

Does anyone know of a baby oil product that is not so highly perfumed?

If so, please share it.

abqam (author)Cueball212017-07-04

Just buy mineral oil at the drug store. Same thing as baby oil but no fragrance. Food grade mineral oil is probably the best bet.

Gforcespud (author)2017-07-03

im pretty sure corn and peanuts don't have the fine motor skills or chemistry knowledge to create their respective oils either, duh

LucidMoments (author)2017-07-03

It's great for shining up stainless steel appliances. Use a normal cleaner such as ammonia based cleaner to clean it up then put a small amount on a soft cloth and rub it in it'll last and put a shine on that's resistant to moisture and fingerprints.

shaolingrrl (author)2017-07-03

I love your writing!

kohalabeeman (author)2017-07-02

S0 if 'baby' oil is made from babies , what do they make tongue oil from , I'm speechless .

Ha ha - that's good. (Just in case you really want to know...

"Tung oil or China wood oil is a drying oil obtained by pressing the seed from the nut of the tung tree (Vernicia fordii)." )

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aloha P.J.,
That 1 of the things as to why some people don't like to eat smoked 'tongue' ,too . They don't like to taste something that's tasting them right back.
 Now disabled ,darn vertigo  24/7 ,knocked me off the breadwinners list a year ago . So now , after fighting back and getting back to work , after 6 years of being disabled from a accident , this time it seems I'm home bound for good . The vertigo has made me determined to find or come up with a way to 'do it' with no power tools from home . Going from a shop an acre in size to a back yard garden shed and a nice flat concrete floor to an uneven yard side hill [all that there is], makes you spend more time taking out and putting away tools than working with them .   
 Some of the items that I focus on the most are Woodworking and how I can be productive now . When and if my prototypes 'pan out' , I'll send some photos of the tools so that anyone else that been sidelined also by vertigo or some other disabilitating mality , doesn't have to feel so wasted as to want to 'play cards with Elvis' , you don't want that ever ,he cheats [they say].
Aloha for now,
Mark Baker 

pgagen (author)2017-07-03

OK another use for Baby oil - Babies, who'd of ever thought!?

Or you can use it to protect metal garden furniture over winter. Just put some oil on a cloth and rub all over the furniture. Stops the rust and staining a treat and your furniture is fit to sit on next summer.

PatsyAnn27 (author)2017-07-02

Greetings. Fascinating as the weather debate is, to get back for a moment to the topic of baby oil: I am admittedly squeaky-cheap, in addition to being a person who abhors waste in any form. I became frustrated with the way my anti-perspirant often tended to break off before being completely finished. My solution: use a knife to pick out the clumps and crumbs of anti-perspirant remnant, and save them in a tightly covered jar until about 1/3 to 1/2 a cupful accumulates. Then transfer that to a small glass or stainless bowl, and using a strong dinner fork, mash together with spoonfuls of baby oil until a smooth, creamy consistency is achieved. Apply this mix to the armpits using one of those crafters' sponge-on-a-stick devices. Goes on nicely, and works as well as the original product. The pleasant baby powder fragrance is a bonus.

NancyK63 (author)PatsyAnn272017-07-02

Another cheap deodorant is rubbing alcohol.

PatsyAnn27 (author)NancyK632017-07-03

Thank you for that. My mother used to use baking soda, but while it worked to minimize odour, it was not effective as an anti-perspirant.

Mr Frugal (author)2017-07-02

I have a ridiculously large Jacuzzi-type jetted bath tub in one bathroom. It never gets used because it uses an insane amount of water. Because it was never used the drain trap would always dry out, allowing stinky sewer gas into the room. I added a bit of baby oil to the drain, and since oil floats on water, it stopped the evaporation.

tip of the day!

SuziM11 (author)Mr Frugal2017-07-02

Great tip!!

RickL10 (author)2017-07-03

Makes a nicely scented, cheaper lubricant for air tools, like nail guns.

paraquat (author)2017-07-03

...and it takes finger marks off brushed stainless steel

SherylAnnW (author)2017-07-02

I'm an artist and I use baby oil to clean my paint brushes along with a little soap.

I've heard of that idea. Have you noticed any undesirable interaction of the paints or 'mediums' with the baby oil residue left in the bristles? (It certainly smells better than turpentine.)

Stillapill (author)2017-07-02

You can also use baby oil to clean stainless steel appliances. Though just need a few drops on a cotton pad. Make sure to go with the grain. This works better than all the cleaners out there on the market.

Tanamoril (author)2011-03-27

On behalf of the nation of Canada, I am obliged to inform you that -10 C is not cold.
You get down to -20 and then we'll talk.

That being said, this is a really good way to prevent windburn, much like a good lipbalm, only all ovah ya face.

mrustebakke (author)Tanamoril2011-03-27

I acknowledge that -20 C is cold, but I'm from Montana. -20C is nothing, it's not strange to have -40F with a wind chill of -70 or 80. That would be about -57C...

AdmiralS1 (author)mrustebakke2014-11-15

-70F is not -57C.. it's -21C ... your point is invalid... yes I know, 3 years late, but someone had to tell you...

Phantagma (author)AdmiralS12014-11-20

actually -70F is infact -57C so their point is valid, sorry (-70-32)/1.8 = 56.7(1dp)

caramello1 (author)Phantagma2017-07-02

All this talk about temps and conversions is getting very confusing. By the way, that pretending being pregnant was hilarious

preschau (author)AdmiralS12017-07-02

3 years later.

I think I can see what happened here, +70 degrees F is +21 degrees Celsius.

-70 Fahrenheit is in fact -57 Celsius, easy mistake to make.

MeghanN1 (author)AdmiralS12015-07-17

Not sure what conversion app you're using, but -70F is most definitely about -57C. Farenheit and Celsius meet at -40 and then Fahrenheit starts seeming like the more impressive number, but Celsius would still be lower than -40.
-21C is about -6F

szehler7 (author)Tanamoril2017-07-02

Best comment of the day!

kweigant (author)Tanamoril2015-11-29

-20 still not cold enough. I've been out for 10 minutes in -26 with t-shirt and shorts. Saw powerlines fall th as t day.

Tanamoril (author)kweigant2015-12-05

Ten minutes. But would you say that you would normally go out in shorts in that weather? All day? Or that this would be a good idea that most Canadians should or would do? No. We're smarter than that. You did it once, and I'm going to guess it was because you had to do one quick thing and couldn't be bothered to get layered up for just a short while. I'm sure we all have done some point; I know I have.

glen.ryerson.1 (author)Tanamoril2015-11-29

Like we need anymore reasons to never live in Canada.

Tanamoril (author)glen.ryerson.12015-12-05

If you can't stand the cold, stay out of the refrigerator.

acarnes3 (author)Tanamoril2015-11-29

In that case, what do you call hot?

Tanamoril (author)acarnes32015-12-05

You know, a lot of this just comes down to personal preference and this comment thread is really just a pissing contest now.
I hate anything over 25 C. That's just me, probably.

On the behalf of the state of Maryland, let me tell you that it is normal for it to be -20

Lucky Day!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an English teacher and former Instructables staff member.
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