Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Petroleum Jelly: Odd Household Uses

From shining shoes to rust-proofing car batteries, petroleum jelly has some unusual uses. Here are tips that I've tried or plan to try.


  • Shoe Sign: Leather and patent leather shoes clean up nicely with a sheen of petroleum jelly. I've tried this frugal polish step several times. "Skip the skin-staining polish and apply a quarter-size dab of petroleum jelly to the surface instead."--First for Women (FFW) magazine
  • Instant makeup: A small dab of petroleum jelly on eyelashes works like a cheap and clear application of mascara. Use an eyelash curler for an extra lift. Likewise, a dab of jelly is a cheap substitute for lip gloss. I've tried these tips with success.
  • De-squeaking the shower curtain: A thin coat of jelly on a curtain rod will remove that squeaky sound that comes when the shower curtain opens and closes. --FFW
  • Boosting perfume power. Slap on a little bit of jelly onto your wrists before spraying perfume. "The odorless oils in the jelly give cologne something to bond to, so the fragrance lingers..." --source FFW (I will try and report on the success).
  • Pumping up the toilet plunger: Give the toilet plunger more punch by applying petroleum jelly (about 2 tablespoons) around the plunger's outer rim. This step creates a tighter seal and enhances the de-clogging performance of the plunger. --source FFW
  • Car battery winter treatment: Remove and clean the caps from batteries. Also clean the posts by removing rust and gunk. "Smear 1 teaspoon of petroleum jelly over each clean terminal. The oil-based gel forms a waterproof layer that keeps the metal components safe from salt and snow, which can cause corrosion and rust." --FFW
  • Tear-free baths for babies and kids: Apply a bit petroleum jelly to the eyebrows of young children before bath time. This step establishes a "water-resistant barrier" against soap bubbles, especially if you are out of tear-free shampoo formulas.
  • Banish wood watermarks: White water rings will disappear if you rub one teaspoon of petroleum jelly into every watermark. Let it sit overnight and then use a dry cloth to buff the surface.
  • Anti-stick solutions for light bulbs: Whenever you change a light bulb, apply a small dab of petroleum jelly to the metal threads of the replacement bulb. This move prevents rust and prevents bulbs from sticking in sockets.
  • Remove lipstick stains from cloth dinner napkins: 1) Apply a half-teaspoon of petroleum jelly to the stain; 2) let the jelly sit for five minutes or more; 3) apply a dollop of liquid dish soap to the stain, and 4) toss the napkins into the regular laundry cycle.

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1 comment:

James & Miel said...

Darn, I never knew you could do so much with petroleum jelly! I though it was just for chapped lips!