18 Practical Household Uses for Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been hyped to mythical proportions. But, this is one product that lives up to its reputation. The fatty oils harvested from coconuts have many antibacterial, nutritional, cosmogenic and handy, everyday uses.
It comes in two forms: unrefined and refined. The most basic difference is that refined coconut oil has a longer shelf life and lacks the coconut smell. Choosing between the two does matter when you use coconut oil for health or cosmogenic purposes, but when it comes to using it around the house, refined will do just fine.
Think beyond the beauty treatments and discover the many uses coconut oil has for your home with the uses below.
1. Lubricate Your Snow Shovel
Keep snow from sticking to your shovel by rubbing a thin layer of coconut oil over it. Reapply every 1-2 weeks as needed. If your garage is heated, keep your shovel in a cool place to keep the oil from melting off.
2. Stain Remover
If you’re looking for a natural stain remover or need one in a pinch, mix one part coconut oil with one part baking soda to remove stains from upholstery and carpets. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off. Coconut oil will also remove ink from leather and vinyl furniture.
3. Remove Sap
The stickiest sap is no match for the natural oils in coconut oil. Rub it into your skin and rinse with warm, soapy water to easily remove tree sap.
4. Polish Wood Furniture
You can also look to your pantry for furniture polish. Mix ¼ cup melted coconut oil with 4 tablespoons distilled white vinegar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in a spray bottle. Shake it up and use with a clean cloth to give wood furniture a natural shine.
5. Leather Polish
Coconut oil doesn’t just shine furniture, it also shines leather. First brush off any dirt or dust with a dry cloth, then apply a small amount of coconut oil. Work it in in a circular motion and buff to a shine.
6. Season Cast Iron Pans
Seasoning a cast iron pan creates a layer of fat that protects the pan and creates a type of non-stick surface. If you haven’t already tried seasoning your cast iron pan, this technique will revolutionize your cooking. Liberally apply coconut oil to the inside of the pan and let it sit upside down in a 250–350℉ for an hour. Place a cookie sheet with aluminum foil under the pan to catch drips. Let it cool and do not wipe off any excess oil.
7. Condition Cutting Boards
Conditioning wooden cutting boards is also easy with coconut oil. Wipe the board down with a damp towel, then let it dry. Condition and deodorize with a soft cloth to rub to coconut oil mixed with lemon juice into the wood.
8. Repel Insects
Safely repel bugs by mixing 8 ounces of coconut oil with 40–50 drops of peppermint essential oil (less if you’re not a huge fan of peppermint). Rub it into your skin like you would any other insect repellent, but this version is safe and nontoxic.
9. Remove Rust
Rust can be a huge pain to remove, but with coconut oil, it requires much less elbow grease. Rub coconut oil on to any rusty metal, letting it sit for at least an hour, and then rinse with warm water.
10. Metal Polish
You can also polish that metal with coconut oil after you’ve removed the rust. Rub the coconut oil over the metal again, let it sit for a minute, then buff to a shine with a soft cloth.
11. Remove Sticky Residue
Removing stickers and sticky residue is nearly impossible. But with coconut oil you can. Cover the label or residue with coconut oil and let it soak in until it wipes off easily. Use a little oil on a towel to remove any residue left behind.
12. Remove Soap Scum
Soaking 10–20 minutes of coconut oil on soap scum will lift it right off. Just wipe the oil off with the rough side of a sponge (if it won’t scratch your surface). If the soap scum is especially gunky, mist the coconut oil with some vinegar after you’ve applied it. This increases the acidity of the oil which works to remove the alkaline nature of soap.
13. Shine Plants
Avoid making your plants glisten with a synthetic waxy, silicone sheen. Instead, give them a healthy glow and keep them dust free with a little coconut oil.
14. Maintain Lawn Mower Blades
Just like you use coconut oil to polish metal and slick your snow shovel, you can also maintain your lawn mower’s blades. Rub a thin layer of coconut oil over clean blades to prevent grass from sticking to it.
15. Motor Lubricant
You can also lubricate small motors with a little melted coconut oil. Just a little! Too much will cause pooling and that excess oil will then solidify at room temperature. If you’re worried about gunking up the motor, you can also apply a thin layer of solid oil to the blades of appliances to keep them running smoothly.
16. Detail Your Car
Detail your car at home with some coconut oil. You can use it to make your dashboard or leather seats shine, buff out scratches from the paint job and repel dust.
17. Prevent Stains in Tupperware
We know they’re clean, but tupperware stains always make it seem like the dish is still dirty. And they’re so easy to stain—especially when holding red sauce! Luckily, we can prevent these stains with a little coconut oil. Rub in a thin layer and allow it to dry, then go ahead and fill the container. The oil acts as a barrier for the stain causing foods and won’t add any flavor if you use refined oil.
18. Quiet and Unstick Hinges
Doors always manage to squeak at the worst times, like when your family is asleep or right after you’ve watched a horror movie. Quiet those squeaks with a little coconut oil rubbed in next time you sneak down for a midnight snack.
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