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11 Unusual Uses for Baby Oil

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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.
 
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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

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

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

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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.
reddhedd6 months ago
Baby oil is also great for cleaning and softening leather.I have used it on shoes ,purses,jackets & just about anything leather you can think of.
DIREED10 months ago
Another use for Baby Oil:
After working on a greasy car engine; saturate your hands with baby oil and wipe off with paper towels before washing hands with any kind of soap. Won't need to scrub so hard with harsh brushes/soaps.
Lillfot1 year ago
Heh, it ain't winter here in Sweden if it's above -10°C. Tough it out! :)
Baby oil is also useful for stopping creaking floor boards. Just trickle a small amount on the joint and hey presto.
Talc is far better !
dejure eight3 years ago
While you are generally right, insofar as noise is concerned, it depends on the situation and effects you are seeking.

Creaking is the result of shrinking of the wood caused by loss of moisture. If appropriate, oil can swell the wood and reduce noise. On the West Coast, decks often look horrible in the summer, after they've dried and shrunk back down, revealing cracks and splits. Oil, when it soaks into the wood, has the same swelling effect as water, but without rot problems and it doesn't evaporate at the rate water does.

Similar to with decks, mineral oil is good for butcher blocks. I have restored them by merely slathering on mineral oil (not adulterated mineral oil, like baby oil). After soaking for a few days, all the separations between pieces and cracks from drying disappeared.
If it's 'Baby Oil', how can it be 'adulterated', wouldn't it become Matured Oil?
I need to go to bed, this is getting to me!!
Groan
baby oil has added scent, which wouldn't be a good thing for a Butcher block or cutting board where food is going to be prepared. using plain mineral oil is a better option in that case.
using any petroleum based product near food is a bad idea.....walnut oil, etc. better for wood surfaces that are used for food.
well, that's very true and I'd never thought of walnut oil. I was only commenting on the inadvisability of adding baby oil scent to food. LOL next time I have trouble with a cutting board I'll find some walnut oil rather than tossing it.
dejure KittyF3 years ago
Just for reference, be aware walnut cooking oil is a hardening oil, whereas mineral oil is a non hardening oil.

Hardening oils include oils like tung oil and boiled linseed oil. While both would be poisonous to ingest. "Boiled" linseed oil is flax seed oil with heavy metals added to speed hardening (polymerization). It tends to darken wood. Tung oil often has heavy metals added too, but would be toxic without them. It and walnut oil do not darken wood like boiled linseed oil.

Hardening oils take time to harden. If they are pre-polymerized and have hardeners added, they will dry quicker. In any event, all excess hardening oil should be wiped off, or it will orange peel, and will take longer to dry.

Many people use olive oil to treat wood food preparation surfaces. However, olive oil goes rancid (lots of free radicals) from exposure to air. You can usually smell a breadboard treated with olive oil.

When any standard finish (e.g., shellac, polyurethane, lacquer, hardening oil) hardens, it is considered safe for food grade finishes.

While I agree mineral oil probably isn't something we should be drinking, the amount you would get on your food, after treating a butcher block or bread board would not be significant. Too, after treating with mineral oil, you can put a hardening oil or other oil compatible finish on to seal in the oil.
linseed oil does not have to be "boiled" to harden, it will just take longer (a few weeks instead of a few days) and therefore penetrate further. An example of a vegetable oil that stays liquid is sweet almond oil...almond and walnut oil can be toxic if not pressed a certain way though
Linseed oil is not actually boiled. It is said it got its name because it appeared to be boiling, as air was blown through it to speed up polimyerization.

Linseed oil is made from flax seed. After it is put through a process, which often includes adding heavy metal driers, it is called boiled linseed oil.
huh, I didn't know that. Are you sure? I would think that if you blew air through the oil, it would harden pretty fast and would therefore not keep well. It was my understanding that heating the oil changed it so that it reacted faster with oxygen, but as long as it wasn't exposed to air, it would keep, without polymerizing (setting).
Like I said before, pure linseed oil will still harden/oxidize/set, but a lot slower than boiled linseed.
static KittyF3 years ago
Vegetable oils can turn rancid (and generally does in time), that's why mineral oil is recommended for wood surfaces that come in contact with food. Mineral safe for human use can be found at the pharmacy.
good idea, I sometimes refinish wooden bowls, and walnut oil while somewhat expensive is really worth it, you really don't need much, just let it dry and buff it with a soft cloth
d_j_h eight3 years ago
I second that talc is better. So is graphite.
While oil works perfectly well enough, in a floor it also attracts dirt and eventually becomes sludge whereas the dry lubricants do not.
The same goes for lubricating door lock keyholes.
dejure d_j_h1 year ago
Talc works extremely well to stop squeaking resulting from two wood surfaces moving against each other. The most common example might be oak flooring. The squeaking could be from the flooring moving on the subflooring or movement against an adjacent board.

If the squeaking is from subflooring moving against the support beam, talc will do nothing to solve the problem, since the talc could not get to the trouble spot.
dejure3 years ago
For those of you interested in treating your furniture with lemon oil products, be aware the "lemon oil" products you purchase downtown are just mineral oil with a lemon scent. Using straight mineral oil will give you the same effect.

If your furniture isn't coated with wax, whether from Pledge or some other product, you can apply "tung oil finish," pure tung oil (polymerized is preferred) or boiled linseed oil. The latter two may emit an odor longer than the finish, which is just thinned linseed oil with resin, thus, a wiping finish. These will harden and, if thinned for application (the finish is already thinned), will soak in just as the mineral oil would.
gnach dejure3 years ago
And the shiny oil attracts and holds dust which accumulates to grime.
dejure gnach1 year ago
A day or so after application, the "shinny oil" finish no more attracts dust than does a varnish, shellac or lacquer finish.

Boiled linseed oil (just flax seed oil with [toxic] driers added, and which has been polymerized by blowing air through it so it appears to be boiling, thus the name "boiled linseed oil") and tung, or Chinese oil, as well as products that incorporate those names (e.g., "Tung Oil Finish") are hardening finishes. Boiled linseed oil and tung oil are common ingredients in high end finishes.
gnach dejure1 year ago
But now you're you're no longer taking about mineral oil but catalyzing finishes. Baby oil doesn't harden and as the solvent evaporates you are left with the oily residue. FIY, back in the day and in the 5 gallon drum, linseed oil WAS boiled, hence the name, which caused the molecule chains to polymerize. We used to use it on wooden ladders, A frame and extension, in electrical service. A warm sunny day would soften the finish and give a little extra "grip".
dejure gnach1 year ago
After more digging, it seems you are also correct, regarding some processes (e.g., boiling). It should be noted those information resources indicate very controlled conditions in the process (i.e., no oxygen). One site (http://www.sydneywoodturners.com.au/site/articles/finishing/oils.html) gives details.
gnach dejure1 year ago
Thank you dejure. I wasn't contradicting you in my first reply. I was agreeing that lemon oil is just scented mineral oil as is baby oil. Modern technologies have made great improvements in finishes. It's come a long way from crushed beetle shells or tallow. And getting better all the time. I've been a fan of catalyzed oils for a long time but they still require maintenance to keep it's protection and appearance.
dejure gnach1 year ago
Sorry, since your statement about "shiny oil" didn't make clear which oil referenced in my post would attract dust, I wanted to make clear the fact boiled linseed oil and tung oil, once hard and "shiny," would not.

Since the last of my post talked about hardening oils, as opposed to [non hardening] baby oil, I presumed people would note the difference, The difference in the types of oils is noted several posts down from this.

For reference, below is a quote from.jamestowndistributors site. Other sites can be found that describe the process. Batches could be ruined by overheating, such as by bringing them to a boil. That may be why a finish which would not normally melt "gave more traction when hot.

"'Boiled' linseed oil, though, is not boiled. The actual boiling of some varnish oils changes their drying characteristics. With linseed oil, though, it is the addition of certain solvents that causes linseed oil to dry more quickly, acting as if it were boiled. This makes it a better product for preserving tool handles, decks, and furniture. I suppose they should have named it "sort-of-boiled linseed oil", or "kinda-like-boiled-but-not-really-boiled linseed oil". Boiled Linseed Oil is used as a natural wood finish and preservative, either alone or with other oils and solvents. Mixed with oil based paints and varnishes, it increases gloss and improves leveling and durability. A mixture of 2 parts boiled linseed oil to one part turpentine creates a semi-gloss wood polish for furniture. Can also be mixed with mineral spirits."

As elsewhere noted, the term boiled, when applied to boiled linseed oil, is said to be based on that the oil appeared to be boiling, when air was blown through the oil to speed polymerization.
nax3 years ago
Why? Olive oil is much nicer.
dejure nax1 year ago
Olive oil is prone to going rancid. For that reason, products to treat wood cutting boards/blocks and other surfaces use the petroleum based mineral oil.
muldoon man2 years ago
I've read that mineral oil is a non-conductive liquid. Because of this unique property I've seen people who have literally dropped a computer into a fish tank filled with mineral oil. Allegedly they work great, it's like poor man's liquid cooling.
it provides better cooling than fans and its noiseless and it has the possibility to be further cooled thus allowing you to overclock your system well above the norm
STCVKR2 years ago
Another use: Remove temporary tattoos from skin.
backscan2 years ago
A little less common use for baby oil is it's perfect for storing sodium or potassium as long as you make sure it's pure mineral oil (no perfumes)
evilution2 years ago
Baby oil is also very good for cleaning silicone "toys" and silicone hoses on your car.
wilgubeast (author)  evilution2 years ago
Nice! I hadn't considered that. Bonus points for showing us a picture of the automotive cleaning use. (And by bonus points, I mean a 3 month pro membership.)
Hopefully this will have worked, it was just a quick wipe with baby oil and a dirty paper roll. Takes the dirt off and gives it the shine back.

Also, to add to the list again (and as unlikely as this sounds it's a good one)...

If you eat something really spicy and your mouth is burning and you can't stand it, if you swill some baby oil in your mouth and spit it out it will take the burning away.

This is because the capsicum is usually an oil so it's hydrophobic. Water has no reaction, doesn't suspend it so doesn't lessen the burning. Swilling baby oil suspends the capsicum, "waters it down" and allows you to spit it out.
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thinkiam3 years ago
My mom used to put warm honey in my ear when I had swimmers ear. The honey, which was denser than the water, would "push" the water out. I have no memory of how she got the warm honey out of my ear!?!
old diver's remedy for swimmer's ear: grab a bottle of rum, a shot glass and a thimble. Pour rum into the shot glass and the thimble. pour the shot down your throat, the thimble full in your ear. Repeat till no pain is felt.
wilgubeast (author)  bryan31412 years ago
That sounds like it would absolutely work over the short term. Until the rum's gone. Or until it gets too difficult to pour rum into a thimble.
That's pretty cool = I have a version of Swimmer's Ear that water = a worse mess. And so far I see to be allergic to the commercial ear cleaner on the market. I use to go to the doctor's to be "flushed, and vacuumed" but that is really spendy. I switched to ear candling but that takes at least two people and makes a smokey mess.
All that to say: if you find out what cleaned out the honey = I'd sure like to know! :*)
I would strongly, strongly, strongly recommend against ear candling. Ear candling is a farce. The physics alone make the concept that it "draws" ANYTHING out of your head completely and physically impossible. The wax found inside the cones after they've burnt is the wax from the candle itself, not from your head. Normally, I'd say, "If you wanna blow your money on a pointless, useless, hoax 'remedy' then no harm, no foul" except that many, many people have been permanently damaged by ear candling, have gotten severe burns INSIDE their ear canals, and have even ruptured ear drums when scalding wax manages to hit them directly. Ear candling has not only been completely proven that does not work, but it's even dangerous. For this reason, you can't even purchase ear candles (legally) in Canada.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/ear-oreille-eng.php
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