Some you know; some you’ll never have heard of! There are so many interesting vaseline uses.
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Petroleum jelly—more commonly known by the commercial name Vaseline—is a wonder product. Interestingly, its original name was in fact “Wonder Jelly”. Whatever you call it, Vaseline is one of those items that you should always have a jar of in your house because it is useful for so many things.
History of Vaseline
A little history: In 1859, Robert Chesebrough discovered that Pennsylvania oil field workers were using rod wax, which was the residue from oil pumps, to deal with cuts and burns. Chesebrough took some of this wax, extracted the petroleum jelly through a triple purification process and refined it to manufacture what he patented in 1872 as Vaseline. By 1874, his customer base grew at a rate of a jar a minute, and included Queen Victoria, who awarded Chesebrough a knighthood as a result of his efforts! Those numbers continued to grow and even in 2005, a tub of Vaseline was sold every 39 seconds somewhere around the world!
“Chesebrough traveled around the state of New York in a horse and cart, spreading the word about his “miracle” product by demonstrating on himself – burning his skin with acid or an open flame and then spreading the clear jelly on his injury, showing at the same time past injuries that had healed with the aid of his protective jelly. Don’t try this at home!”
Sounds like an odd beginning for this now ubiquitous product, but people the world over use it today as a standard way to retain moisture and protect skin, and therefore keep it hydrated.
But what else can you do with this slippery stuff?
Help babies with diaper rash
Whether to prevent it at all, or to help soothe and protect baby bottoms that have already been afflicted with the dreaded rash, Vaseline has curative effects by both keeping the damaged skin hydrated enough to heal, while protecting it from getting worse with exposure to more urine.
Keep skin from chapping
If you work in the cold, as anyone who has ever done so will tell you, Vaseline will protect any exposed skin from the chapping, drying effects of the weather. It won’t freeze, even under the worst of circumstances and in 1909, was taken by Commander Robert Peary on his expedition to the North Pole, to keep his skin safe. If it can handle that, it can handle almost anything!
Interestingly, it’s also good for the rubber edges on car doors, if you want to make sure you can open them despite an overnight deep freeze, without putting undue stress on the seals.
Got a sunburn?
Vaseline, as far back as World War I, was touted as the original curative for burns and sunburns. The idea is that it would help the burned skin heal while keeping dirt and other particles out. In WWII, the Surgeon General of the US Military believed in the product so much that he requested the creation of sterile gauze with a layer of Vaseline embedded, for the treatment of burns. While it does not contain any antibiotic or other antibacterial ingredients, it kept the skin hydrated AND protected from foreign bodies.
Want your expensive perfume to last longer?
Dab a little Vaseline on the points where you plan to put a little of your favourite perfume: wrists, behind the ears, behind the knees… It will hold the scent better and for far longer!
Crazy eyebrows driving you… crazy?
Tame them with a little Vaseline. It’s also good for dry ends and flyaways but don’t overdo it unless you enjoy the ‘wet look’. And if you’re not a fan of mascara, Vaseline makes a perfect natural way to enhance the fullness of your lashes, all the while giving them some much needed conditioning!
Cracked heels won’t heal?
Put a good dollop (though what exactly a ‘dollop’ is will depend a lot on how bad your heels are!) of Vaseline on your cracked heel skin at bedtime and wear socks. Your skin will soak it all in by morning and help hydrate that so hard to heal spot! The socks, however, will likely not survive the process so use an old pair!
Do you self tan?
Self tanning creams have a hard time dealing with dry areas like elbows, ankles and behind the knees, so rub on a thin layer of Vaseline before you apply your tanning cream to those areas to avoid streaking on those spots. It’s also great to put on your hairline before you colour your hair, to avoid any staining on your skin.
Want a perfect mani-pedi?
Add a good amount of Vaseline to the cuticle area all around your nail before you start painting. You will have a professional quality manicure at home, quickly and easily! Rub the remainder in, when your nails have dried, for a perfect cuticle moisturizer.
And to keep the cap on your favourite bottle of polish from sticking tight, put a little bit of Vaseline on the cap threads. Your colour will not dry out and you’ll be able to get it open the next time you want to use it!
Want a shade of lip colour that’s a little lighter?
You can get some extra life out of that little bit of your favourite lipstick colour left in the tube by scooping it out of the tube, melting it in a microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds at a time until it has fully softened, and mixing it with some Vaseline in a clean lip balm tin: instant tinted lip balm!
Polish up your shoes!
If you just need to get rid of some scuffs or dust from your favourite leather shoes, a little Vaseline on a cloth will go a long way. It’s also good for handbags and other leather goods, though you should always test a hard to see corner first to make sure you’re okay any darkening effects the jelly produces.
Lift makeup stains from your favourite blouse
It’s inevitable: you’re hurrying to get ready to go out and you accidentally swipe the finger that has foundation on it on the edge of your blouse. A little Vaseline and a damp cloth will bring that RIGHT up.
In fact you can lift off the makeup from your face with Vaseline too! A little goes a long way to get rid of eye shadow, liner and mascara, which is the hardest of all. It’s particularly good if you’re partial to false eyelashes, as it will get that pesky lash glue off too!
Got slugs? Or gum? Or a squeak?
Any green thumb will tell you that the best way to keep slugs and snails off your flower pots is to put Vaseline along the edges! The critters hate it and will keep off!
Who hasn’t dealt with a kid coming home with gum in their hair? You don’t necessarily have to snip out the affected locks however! A good dose of Vaseline on the affected area should help you work it out smoothly, with a minimum of tears.
If you don’t have any WD-40 around and an endlessly squeaking cupboard door, just rub some Vaseline onto the hinges! Done and dusted!
Repair watermarks on wood
If someone was careless enough to put a cup down on your favourite coffee table ‘sans’ coaster, you can diminish the watermark or any resulting scratches by rubbing in Vaseline and leaving it to soak for a day. Then rub it in with a clean cloth and remove the excess.
Do you use Vaseline as a solution to one of life’s little annoyances and we haven’t listed it here?