Introduction: 6 Under-appreciated Things About Petroleum Jelly

Picture of 6 Under-appreciated Things About Petroleum Jelly

Every house has a jar of good ol' Petroleum Jelly. Yet this jelly is very under appreciated for all of it's great uses.

Here are a few of the most interesting!

Step 1: Loosening Stuck Drawers

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Have a stuck drawer? Use petroleum jelly to prevent it from sticking and make the drawer move smoother.

Step 2: Prevent Light Bulbs From Sticking

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A common problem with outdoor light bulbs is having them stick to the fixture. If this happens trying get out the bulb might end up in it breaking. Put some petroleum jelly around the threads before putting the bulb in to allow for easy removal later.

Step 3: Open Your Shower Quicker

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Having a hard time rushing out of the shower? Put some petroleum jelly on your curtain rod for your shower to open it lightening fast!

Step 4: Remove Squeak From Door Hinges

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A bit of petroleum jelly on a door hinge can take away that annoying squeak. Then you can sneak around your home effectively.

Step 5: Starting a Fire

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You can use petroleum jelly to help you start a fire. It works pretty well with stuff that is having a hard time starting.

Step 6: Replacement ChapStick

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If you run out of chap stick, Petroleum jelly is a great lip moisturizer. Just apply liberally to the lips and BAM no more chap-ness.


marxdarx (author)2011-12-11

I just use a quick spray of WD40 on my hinges.

Tracer Fett (author)marxdarx2012-10-11

And the longevity of said hinges will diminish... You should never use WD40 for that. It's not actually a 'lubricant'

LegoSurvivor (author)Tracer Fett2017-11-30

WD40 is a solvent.

Anoni Mouse (author)2016-01-13

if you have Perioral Dermatitis don't use Vasaline on your face!

It will probably trigger an outbreak.

gserrano701 (author)2012-09-21

Good to know there are other alternatives to baby oil, cooking oil, wax and WD40 that I can use for the applications you list. I would add lubricating screws and saws to make them run smoothly. Thanks for sharing.
I liked the fire starter, sounds great and quite simple.

I've used soap to get wood screws to screw in better, but this sounds a lot more effective.

susan.leibler (author)2014-08-17

All of these comments are hilarious! I think a little common sense is necessary too, along with the ideas mentioned. I'm going to go light a fire now . . . . .

keerava (author)2013-08-13

It can also help with nose bleeds. Just put some on a q-tip and rub inside your nose.

Takelababy (author)2012-03-15

A skin specialist recommended liberal use of petroleum jelly on the face and lips as a defence against drying cold winter winds. My horses get it slathered on their nether parts during the biting bug season. It lasts about 3 days and sure helps the horses.

Orkekum (author)Takelababy2012-12-23

Darn, gotta keep that in mind for incoming summer on my horse >_>

Critter Mel (author)2012-12-19

For those of you who say "oh, it's carcinogenic" or "it's motor oil or grease" it's actually white petrolatum. Developed in the 1850s and sold as Vaseline starting in the 1870s, it's pretty much proven to be safe to use. Otherwise doctors wouldn't still be prescribing it for diaper rash, not to mention the countless studies that have been done on this. Personally, it's the only thing that will stop my incredibly dry hands from cracking in the winter.

jennybotha (author)2012-11-17

Interesting hints and comments. Met an elderly lady in the bus and commented on her very youthful, lovely skin. She confided in me and said she only used vaseline as her regular night cream since she was very young.

the potato (author)2012-07-24

this has already been made its called vaseline

xenograftsoul (author)2010-07-20

It isn't clear how petroleum jelly will help you light a fire. It isn't easily flammable, a.k.a. will not light with a regular lighter.

it will burn you just need to put it on cotton wool also nail varnish remover burns really well on cotton wool

lalexander (author)xenograftsoul2011-06-23

rub it into cotton ball. as much as it will take. it can be lit with a flint even after dunking in water. squeeze water out, pull it apart so tiny threads are exposed, strike flint and it goes up easy. wind proof. far better than magnesium shavings. burns for at least 5 min and wont blow out. place the cotton ball on top of a tea candle and itll burn for near an hour. it melts the wax and the cotton ball acts like a oversized wick. with no wind, the flame can get 8 inches tall. place the whole thing under wet wood and you can get water soaked wood to burn. vaseline, cotton ball and a teacandle is the best firestarter ive ever found.

Its like a candle. try to light the wax alone and all that will happen is it melts and drips away but when you add a wick, the wick soaks up the melting wax and holds it in the heat to become a gas and then that gas burns. So to get the petroleum jelly to light you need a wick material like leaves, bark, and small twigs. To see just how flammable petroleum jelly really is in a small metal cup melt then boil and light a small quantity of it. It burns rather nicely. Old socks work fabulously for wicking materials and can be wrapped around a stick for a torch.

Ekdog (author)2012-01-29

@Cerafem: There are cases of people smoking into their 90's. Does that mean tobacco is harmless? I don't think so.

tedgar (author)2011-12-11

Vaseline.. essential when racing motorcycles across the desert or cross-country for hours at a time.. Also called "crack-wax" .. save yourself terrible chafing by applying liberally between cheeks ( nearer the top ) to prevent a roadrash like condition that will make subsequent days of riding hell on wheels-

punkhead58 (author)tedgar2011-12-23

I second this.

-max- (author)2011-12-14

it doesnt matter which is which. they both carry a current. its just that the live wire floats at around 120v compared to ground. while the neutral doesn't carry a current if connected a load between it and ground.

SO, when their is a load across the live and neutral, an AC current will flow.

A_Steingrube (author)2011-12-11

This is a HUGE fire hazard. If you want to "lube" your light bulbs, there is nonflammable, conductive grease that you should use. Petroleum jelly is often found in survival kits as a fire-starter for a reason. Placing it in a very hot environment that is prone to sparks is a very bad idea.

-max- (author)A_Steingrube2011-12-14

i hardly believe it hegs hot enough to start fire and it wont spark. but its possible.

and NEVER use conductive grease, the electricity will go through that and heat it up and not go into the lightbulb.

dscotthep (author)2010-07-16

Put a half teaspoon full of petroleum jelly on your finger, let your cat lick it off. Repeat monthly. No more hairballs!

lazemaple (author)dscotthep2010-07-18

Olive oil or butter works as well and wont' give kitty cancer. Vaseline is a petroleum product.

AutumnJazz (author)lazemaple2010-07-18

And nothing has shown it to be a carcinogen.

lazemaple (author)AutumnJazz2010-07-18

With the exception of cats who cannot metabolize petroleum by products like vaseline. If a child 30 pounds plus can't ingest it, how is it safe for a 10 pound cat? US National Library of Medicine Household Products Database Product Name: Vaseline Petroleum Jelly-Old Product Warnings: For external use only. Not to be applied over deep or puncture wounds, infections or lacerations. If redness or swelling develops, consult a physician promptly. Keep out of reach of children.

rafain (author)lazemaple2011-12-12

I've read all your links above and none of then suggest any kind of danger by ingestion, nor that it is a carcinogen. We're talking about small quantities, in larger amounts everything is deadly even water!

lazemaple (author)rafain2011-12-12

Clearly you have read none of it and for some reason the relationship between petroleum from right on the product label and petrochemicals has gone right over your head!
Good lip balm made with quality ingredients is the easiest thing in the world to make and for those who don't wish to smear car lube on their lips here is a nice one especially if flavoured with peppermint oil and virgin coconut oil is used.

2tsp coconut oil 
1 tsp beeswax 
1 vitamin E capsule
Melt together and pour into a container, allow to cool.

lazemaple (author)rafain2011-12-12

if you want to spread engine grease on your lips I guess that's your prerogative.
I'd rather use organic olive oil and beeswax thanks all the same.

rafain (author)lazemaple2011-12-12

I think your prerogative is to belive whatever you read.

We weren't talking about engine grease but petrolatum and if you'll take a moment to read the links you've supplied you'll notice that NONE of them points in conclusive that petrolatum is carcinogen. Even if you read carefully one of your links stated below you'll notice it: "Petrolatum - Impurities in Petroleum Jelly or commonly known as Vaseline, under suspicion as a carcinogen in Breast Cancer - Petrolatum Banned in products ..." It aimes to Impurities in Petroleum Jelly not the Jelly itself. I could tell you myself that not all Petroleum Products are carcinogens (only a very small portion of it) since I've being involved in scientific studies within this kind of products and cancer for the last decade in an internationally renowned university. And Petrolatum is among the safest.

BTW: Google "life in mars" result in 503,000,000 hits!!!! LOL

lazemaple (author)rafain2011-12-12

Selective Vision?
Google 'petroleum jelly cancer' results in 350,000 hits!

here are a couple of them
Petrolatum - Petroleum Jelly - Cancer and Health Concerns
Petrolatum - Impurities in Petroleum Jelly or commonly known as Vaseline, under suspicion as a carcinogen in Breast Cancer - Petrolatum Banned in products ...
Petroleum jelly possible cancer risk | Green and Chic
Rating: 9/10 - 4 reviews
16 Sep 2008 – Petroleum jelly possible cancer risk in the news vaseline, dry skin, acne, hair care, cancer, lotions, petro oil propylene glycol.

lazemaple (author)AutumnJazz2010-09-30

The Environmental Working Group database says otherwise[RN]%20OR%20%22MINERAL%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22*MINERAL%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22DEOBASE%22[TW]%20OR%20%22HEAVY%20MINERAL%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22HYDROCARBON%20OILS%22[TW]%20OR%20%22LIGHT%20MINERAL%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22LIQUID%20PARAFFIN%22[TW]%20OR%20%22LIQUID%20PETROLATUM%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PARAFFIN%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PARAFFIN%20OILS%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PARAFFINUM%20LIQUIDUM%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PROLATUM%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22WHITE%20MINERAL%20OIL%2C%20PETROLEUM%22[TW]%20OR%20%22MINERAL%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PETROLEUM%20WHITE%20MINERAL%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22MINERAL%20OIL%20HYDROCARBON%20SOLVENT%20%28PETROLEUM%29%3B%20MINERAL%20OIL%20%28SATURATED%20PARRAFIN%20OIL%29%22[TW]%20OR%20%22ADEPSINE%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22ALBOLINE%22[TW]%20OR%20%22BAYOL%2055%22[TW]%20OR%20%22BAYOL%20F%22[TW]%20OR%20%22BLANDLUBE%22[TW]%20OR%20%22CRYSTOL%20325%22[TW]%20OR%20%22CRYSTOSOL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22GLYMOL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22KONDREMUL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22LIQUID%20PARAFFIN%22[TW]%20OR%20%22NEO-CULTOL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22NUJOL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22OIL%20MIST%2C%20MINERAL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22OIL%20MIST%2C%20MINERAL%20%28ACGIH%3AOSHA%29%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PARAFFIN%20OIL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PAROLEINE%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PETROGALAR%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PRIMOL%20355%22[TW]%20OR%20%22PRIMOL%20D%22[TW]%20OR%20%22SAXOL%22[TW]%20OR%20%22USP%20MINERAL%20OIL%22[TW]%20%29%20%20AND%20%28*toxic*%20OR%20cosmet*%20OR%20derm*%20OR%20irritation%20OR%20sensiti*%20OR%20%22personal%20care%20products%22%20OR%20skin%20OR%20gavage%20OR%20mutagen*%20OR%20carcinogen*%20OR%20%22biological%20activity%22%29

I tried that on my wife. It didn't work.

wocket (author)dscotthep2010-07-18

and no more cat

tchronin (author)2010-07-20

Ever heard of "popularly accepted theory” Lookup layers of the earth and most all articles present it as fact making no mention that is "popularly accepted theory". Where does oil come from? What is coming, Global warming or Ice age? We believe what we want when it suits us. Arguing back and forth pretending to have answers is both pointless and ridiculous. "The law of conservation of mass, also known as principle of mass/matter conservation is that the mass of a closed system (in the sense of a completely isolated system) will remain constant over time. The mass of an isolated system cannot be changed as a result of processes acting inside the system. A similar statement is that mass cannot be created/destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space, and changed into different types of particles. This implies that for any chemical process in a closed system, the mass of the reactants must equal the mass of the products." So everything "man-made" is in fact natural, if not where would we get the ingrediants. Now, do what we do best and dismiss my comments and insert your own reality and continue to believe that you are correct in your opinion. Thank you for the tips on howto use the "madmade\natural" substance know as Petroleum jelly. It also makes good wheel bearing grease for skateboards and rollerblades.

gnach (author)tchronin2011-12-11

You failed to mention that petroleum is also organic, as in chemistry, so no problem ;)

dagenius (author)tchronin2010-07-20

That law has nothing to do with the instructable... besides for the fact that vaseling is made of petroleum.

Spokehedz (author)tchronin2010-07-20

What is this... I don't even...

Shelby S (author)2010-07-15

1) WD-40! :D 2) Is that safe? 3) How about just having no curtain at all? :P 4) WD-40! :D 5) Is it safe to cook food on a fire started with this? 6) I really need some chapstick. Time to whip out the vaseline.

AutumnJazz (author)Shelby S2010-07-18

WD-40 isn't a lubricant, and it shouldn't be used as such. Use silicon lubricant or something.

I guess it all depends on what your trying to lube up. I prefer baby oil...

sassy8girl (author)Shelby S2010-07-15

for 5 i think it is safe because petroleum jelly is used in lip balms and if it was toxic it wouldn't be used for it (^__^) ★

easyrider1 (author)sassy8girl2010-07-18

you may want to read the new independent findings on the dangers of using commercially sold lipsticks at it turns out lipstick is not really safe to use. if you knew your parents were unknowingly using something that would adversely affect them in the long run would you want them to be informed so they could make an intelligent decision? they may want the same for you. don't put anything on your body that isn't with out a doubt safe to put in your body.go organic, it's only natural.

Shelby S (author)sassy8girl2010-07-15

Would you eat lip balm?

crickle321 (author)Shelby S2010-07-18

When lip balm is on your lips, you essentially are eating small amounts when you eat food or just licking your lips. It doesn't seem a lot until you get to the end of the tube and wonder where it all went...

mr.incredible (author)Shelby S2010-07-15

I didn't say I would. Bleeuch!

mr.incredible (author)sassy8girl2010-07-15

The finder of the original Vaseline or petroleum coak, use to eat a table spoon a day from the time he started hawking it until he died in his late 80's.

rcowgirl_6 (author)2010-07-24

Do NOT use petroleum jelly on lips, its very bad to ingest. You lick lips and you ingested it.

bigpig (author)rcowgirl_62010-08-04

The small amount that would be used on your lips is harmless.

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