Preparedness blog

Multiple Uses of Vaseline

By Ready Expert
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Most often, we think of using Vaseline on scrapes and cuts. However, this most famous brand of petroleum jelly does have multiple other uses that can save you time and money. Robert A. Chesebrough was a chemist born in London and raised in New York. While he was visiting a large oil well one day, he saw workers smearing their cuts with residue wiped from their drills. Chesebrough experimented with the substance and extracted petroleum jelly! He patented the invention in 1872 and named it Vaseline.

He would then travel from town to town showing off his great invention. He would injure himself in front of large audiences and cover his wounds with Vaseline. He would horrify his audiences by burning his arms and legs over open fires. Chesebrough lived to be 98 years old and swore that he lived so long because he ate a spoonful of Vaseline every day.

Multiple Uses of VaselineNow, Vaseline has been found to be helpful in many areas including pet care, painting, preventing corrosion, starting fires and more. In order to stay prepared for any situation, check out these uses of petroleum jelly below.

Paint without Worry
Painting your door but don’t want to get splatters on the hinges or the frame? Simply apply petroleum jelly to the areas that you want to protect from paint. Paint away, and then after the paint dries, wipe away the petroleum jelly.

Open Glue Bottles
Don’t you hate it when you can’t open the glue bottle because it has essentially sealed itself shut? Next time you open your glue bottle, dap a bit of petroleum jelly on the inside of the lid and it will be very easy to undo next time!

Tighter Seal in the Bathroom
Petroleum jelly is also a great sealant. If you fear that your plunger isn’t working in the bathroom and you need to get a better seal - use Vaseline! Cover the plunger’s rim with jelly and you’ll be able to get a better seal and better suction.

Horse Care
In order to help flies stay out of your horse’s eyes, simply dab a little petroleum jelly around each eye. This should keep flies away.

Prevent Battery Corrosion
Hopefully, your car battery isn’t so corroded that the rods can’t get a proper connection. However, if you want to avoid having corrosion issues with your car battery, occasionally coat the rods with a bit of petroleum jelly to keep them from corroding. You can also tape a copper penny to the top of the rod. That will attract the corrosion to the penny and not the battery posts.

Rusty Tools

Prevent Rusting
Along with corrosion, petroleum jelly is also good at keeping rust off your tools and other metal goods. Lightly coat your tools after you clean them with a bit of Vaseline and you’ll be set to go. For tools that you only use on an occasional basis, wipe some petroleum jelly on them and then wrap them in a cloth to keep them for a longer time.

Starting Fires
Besides it’s protective qualities, Vaseline is also very good at helping you start fires. Pack a dozen cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in a plastic bag inside your 72-hour kit. When you’re having trouble starting a fire, place the cotton balls around the base. Light the cotton balls and they will help you sustain a blazing fire.

How do you use Vaseline?
Comment below to share your experiences. See what others have used petroleum jelly for and see how you can use it in an emergency. Remember to check out our full listing of emergency supply essentials to supplement your preparedness kit.

12 years ago
Alyce Heidt
12 years ago at 6:51 AM
I use it to take my makeup off and also have used it to clean the leather on shoes. Great Product!!
12 years ago at 6:54 AM
I am glad you mention a lot of uses for Vaseline that are not for your body specifically, because it is poison to the human body. It is similar to rubbing engine oil onto our skin! YUCK! Who would do that??! But the other uses are good to know about, thank you for sharing. I just won't use it on my skin or my body. Thanks Rebecca
12 years ago at 7:14 AM
Your NEVER supposed to put vaseline on a burn. Sealing in a burn will force the heat to go deeper causing the burn to be worse. And you don't want to apply vaseline to cuts because it can create an infection. Please use common sense and proper first aid skills.
9 years ago at 1:40 PM
My dermatologist told me to use Vaseline on my wounds to keep them moist as they heal & also to keep them covered so they don't form a scab. He told me not to waste my money on antibiotic ointments that Vaseline would work by itself. I have taken his advice and it works! Drs think differently today than years ago regarding wounds, burns, etc... My pjs caught fire over 50 yrs ago while I was attempting to light an oil furnace that had gone out with striking two kitchen matches together to light. After I was able to put the fire out, I immediately put Vaseline on my wounds...later, when I was admitted to the hospital, the nurse cried as she removed the Vaseline from my burns. Today, the idea is to treat the wounds & then keep them in covered while it heals... Go figure...
Roger Cole
8 years ago at 5:35 PM
Vaseline applied to a burn excludes bacteria and seals in moisture, thus preventing the burn drying out. The heat that caused the burn will already be long gone by the time the wound is dressed.
12 years ago at 7:20 AM
I just bought a jar this week. I use it to coat the rubber seals on my car doors. I have issues with the door freezing shut after a rain/wet snow and freezing temperatures. I've had to use a pry bar..gently of open them in the morning. The coating eliminates that.
12 years ago at 7:33 AM
If the inventor ate a teaspoon a day and lived to 98, I would hazard a guess that this petroleum product is less harmful than HomeINsteader has imagined - or didn't you read that part??
12 years ago at 7:45 AM
I use vasaline when dying my hair. I put it around my hairline so that the dye doesn't dye my skin! And it works!
12 years ago at 8:34 AM
Had the inventor not eaten a teaspoon of Valoline a day he might have lived to be 138...or didn't you think of that?
Mike Crowe
12 years ago at 10:16 AM
It is great for keeping squirrels out of the bird feeder. If you have a bird feeder hangong from a pole and the little buggers manage to shimmy up the pole to get at the tray or destroy the baffle simly coat the pole generously with vaseline. The squirrel gets about 2/3rds up and slides back down then spends a few minutes freaking out over the vaseline on his paws. Very funny to watch.
Dora Alaniz
12 years ago at 10:18 AM
I have used it all my life on my face, bottom of feet, elbows on neck area and I am 67 years old and I have few wrinkles baby soft feet on my eyes keep them from drying. Also keep your scalp from drying and more manageable.
8 years ago at 4:04 PM
Yes it's Fantastic for ageing skin I agree with you Dora...could you tell me how to use on scalp? I have hear sme folk put it on there Hair?.?
12 years ago at 10:30 AM
They now sell the small "sample" size. It is great to add to your 72 hr kit or camping gear. We bought ours to add to our Girl Scout troop fire starting kit.
12 years ago at 5:26 PM
I agree my family has been using vaseline for many years on our skin..we have bad winters up here and have used it for chapped lips forever and dried skin...people have become so parnoid about everything that touches them..jeezz if your that worried never do in the kitchen of a will never eat out again... Tom
12 years ago at 5:33 PM
This is also great in the summer for relieving skin rash around your arm pits if you've been working in the yard or woods.
12 years ago at 5:45 PM
Actually, Jamie -- burns need to be covered to close off the heat. Though there are other options out there for burns that are better than vaseline. The exposure to air is what keep the pain in the burn. ( EMTS taught us to cover burns). Thanks for the fire starter tip though. Thats a quicker project than melting down old candles. ;)
12 years ago at 6:21 PM
You can use it on your stuck zipper.
12 years ago at 7:54 PM
I use it as a base to make ointments, stop cuts from bleeding, keep cuts clean when a bandaid isn't feasible, in locks during the winter time, as a food grade lube on my slicer, and fun on door knobs and toilet seats in college. It also prevented scarring on my face from a deep cut (before triple antibiotic oinment). You will always find more uses out of necessity
12 years ago at 8:03 PM
Vaseline and wounds: I treat my patients' surgical wounds and smallish burn wounds with gauze that is impregnated (smeared) with vaseline. These are sterile, of course, like closed band-aid. I also put on various over-the-counter antibiotic ointments that contain vaseline. In 99% of home wound care treatments complete sterility is not possible. Vaseline, applied with a clean and cotton ball, preferably sterile, will coat the wound to prevent bandages from adhering. It also acts as a barrier to keep bacteria OUT of the wound. Yes, some will be under the vaseline as they would be present in most moist wounds.
12 years ago at 8:09 PM
Actually for burns you are both right. You want to lightly cover a burn not seal off the burn. The Vaseline will seal off the burn and make it worse due to the heat not being able to escape
12 years ago at 8:16 PM
Vaseline as a skin balm: There is no lotion, cream, or ointment that will put moisture back into dry skin. Daily use of the same can help to keep it from drying so quickly however, improve the quality and beauty of the skin, and even make one stronger in grasp. Yes, that's right, I said stronger. Research has shown older people who work vaseline into the hands after their daily showers or bathing will improve their grip strength. How? Dry skin slides over other objects more easily than moist skin. In physics it is called the "coefficient of friction", that is, moist skin grabs and holds better than dry skin. Beauty tip: I have been practicing for 30 years. Back in my early years, the older women taught me the trick of working a dab of vaseline into their hands and feet before bed and donning socks and cotton cosmetic gloves (still around but harder to find) to protect the bed linen. The result is gorgeous skin and nails. Diaper rash: Regularly smearing on vaseline over your baby's bum will help to prevent the rash reaction that occurs in a moist environment and greatly ease the discomforting scratch of diapers. Ants destroying your backyard peach (other other fruits) crop? Smear a bad of thick vaseline around the trunk to keep bugs from climbing to the fruit. As has already been said, vaseline cannot penetrate the skin any better than iodine or most other topical applications. Yes, the skin is an organ, the largest organ in the human body. Its main purpose is to keep moisture in and bad things out. Many other purposed, but protection from the loss of H20 and against the environment are key. Anything that can help to keep your skin healthy will help to keep you healthy. We live in an increasingly toxic world. Healthy skin is paramount. Vaseline helps the skin to keep moisture in skin cells a bit longer as they gradually die and dry, moving towards the surface. It also prevents other damaging substances from irritating the skin. Going to work on a greasy machine and won't always have gloves on? Work a bit of vaseline into your hands before and you will find that they clean much easier afterwards, avoiding the needs to scrub vigorously and damage your skin.
12 years ago at 8:53 PM
My wife learned this trick as a gymnast in college. Mix the Vaseline with however much cayenne pepper you cant take to make your own rub for sore joints. Its like the old Tiger Balm you used to be able to get. Be careful with how much cayenne you use though, it can get real hot real fast!
12 years ago at 9:16 PM
I would not recommend Vaseline, or any other petroleum jelly product, as a lubricant for rubber gaskets. The petroleum will break down the rubber faster than exposure to the weather. Yes, there are some new gaskets that have a different composition that is unaffected by Vaseline, but be sure you are using the right one.
12 years ago at 10:06 PM
I dip screws in it and they won't rust plus my cordless battery lasts much longer.
Sheila Orr
8 years ago at 7:41 AM
I use a toilet wax ring for this!
12 years ago at 10:17 PM
I always store mine together in my camping gear but I like Harold's method. I am going to start keeping them separate Cat
12 years ago at 8:51 AM
A thin coat on the refrigerator door gaskets on the hinge side will keep the gasket from tearing and will let the door close easy.
12 years ago at 6:52 PM
My mother uses a dab in each nostril when allergy season hits. It seems to trap the pollen before it can be breathed in. She doesn't use allergy meds anymore.
12 years ago at 8:50 PM
Vaseline is a natural product, great for kick-starting fires, keeping skin baby smooth AND maintaing regularity (I said it). If you're having troubles going, eating a little (1 tbs) vaseline works great. Most often recomended for dogs, but hey, I'm an animal too.
Craig Bowerman
12 years ago at 9:48 PM
If when painting your house using a airless sprayer you take a rag and put vaseline on it. Coat the hose of your sprayer with a thin amount and the paint will not stick to it making it ugly as well as messy
12 years ago at 11:35 PM
If you get lice, smother your hair with the vaseline and it will suffocate the buggers. It is cheaper then the chemicals and "non-toxic" as well. It does take a while to eventually get it washed out of your hair (especially long hair), but it will be nice and soft and bug free when your are done.
12 years ago at 8:01 AM
I had a terrible problem of the hose nozzle rusting and unable to unscrew the hose. Now before you connect a hose, rub the connector with petroleum jelly before screwing in the hose. Prevents rusting and makes it easy to twist off when needed. Also use on shower heads. Rub in connector before screwing in your shower head, makes it easier to unscrew when needed.
12 years ago at 2:52 PM
Take a big glob of Vaseline and pack it in around your toes. Then put on your sox and running shoes. You can then run a marathon without any irritation or blister problems. Runners do it all the time and it's worked well for me in 6 marathons.
12 years ago at 11:24 PM
Why not use UNvaseline? It is non-toxic, not derived from a toxic petro chemical, AND it will not hurt gaskets. Vaseline on skin will dry the skin. It breaks down leather over time. And using all natural ingrediants is far better for the body-skin than something toxic. Plus is works GREAT and is in my emergency kit. And yes, it burns nicely on a cotton ball. Even olive oil does too.
12 years ago at 2:53 AM
1.) Never use vasoline on anything rubber, such as an "O-ring" or will slowly degrade it. 2.) Never, ever use vasoline on any gas's possible your life could get real exciting if you do...vasoline can and will support combustion, spontaneous or otherwise.(use a silicone based 'goo' or "gas tape" if you need to put something on a gas connection...anything but a petroleum based lube.
julie sahlberg
12 years ago at 11:27 AM
hi...Ive used Vaseline for as long as i can remember.... this is on my face and hands. and on babies........ i haven't had a a problem .
11 years ago at 11:35 AM
It is just amazing that one product can cause so much controversy! I read plenty of info on natural and all the scare of DONT USE VASELINE! I have spent thousands of dollars on natural, high end, and cheap products. And I am so tired of it...I use a cocoa butter/petrolatum lip balm that costs $1.39 and my lips have never felt better. I use Vaseline with Cocoa butter dabbed on my wrinkles for night great and super cheap and I rub the extra into my cuticles and my hands and facial skin are super soft when I wake up!!! I have tried natural products and my skin and hair get super dry and itchy so...what does that tell you? I don't know why or how all this paranoia started to stop using this or that. It is all marketing...I mean the beauty industry is a billion dollar industry but yet there are starving children in America. How does that make any sense????
11 years ago at 11:43 PM
My 9 yr old son accidentally got tree sap in his eye while backpacking. Vaseline cleaned the sap out in a few minutes.
11 years ago at 6:18 AM
BY all means listen to the naysayers and USE ONLY NATURAL products on your skin... Who would think of using something as UNNATURAL as a product that COMES FROM THE EARTH!!!
11 years ago at 7:05 AM
Cleaning purple kiddie chair with cleaner left the chair dull and colorless. Observing a child with greasy hand prints on the chair, brought color back. Thinking plastic is petroleum base, I rubbed Vaseline on 2 chairs, using a little heat from a hair dryer to soften the Vaseline, then rubbing it down....Voila my chairs are brand new. Bright purple.... Amazing Back in the '40...women used the Vaseline to emphasize their eyelashes...I'm still here.
11 years ago at 7:36 AM
Petroleum jelly can have its uses externally, but you should know what you are using and why. The only safe versions for topical use are USP (Vaseline would qualify). You should understand that it functions not as a moisturizer but as a total barrier to evaporation that prevents your skin from losing its own moisture. That means that if you smear it on, your skin will appear more moist after several hours because of the lack of evaporation, although you will have done nothing to cure your essential problem of dry skin without enough natural lubricant. The total barrier provided by petroleum jelly can be good or bad depending on what is under it. If there are bacteria or yeast there, and particularly if your skin is broken, you can end up with a nasty infection. There is also a slight risk of aspiration pneumonia if you use it inside your nose. Sterilized, it is used in medicine when a totally occlusive dressing is wanted (no air or water in or out). Vaseline dressings have mostly been superceded by newer substances with fewer drawbacks, but still have some recommended applications (burns aren't one of them these days). As for taking Vaseline internally, it is the same as taking mineral oil. It is totally indigestible, so your GI tract will rush to get it out your other end. On the way, it will take fat-soluble vitamins in your intestinal tract with it. So, it won't poison you, but it isn't good for you either. Even if you are in need of laxative, there are far, far better choices.
11 years ago at 10:13 AM
Rebecca, what wild information you give out that is not true. First, I have been using Vaseline since I was a child (1 years), and I am now 70 and I still use it, on my face and body, all the time. Guess what! Vaseline is also good for cold sores in the mouth and heals them quickly within hours. All you do is if it is in the inner lip next to your gums is pull up the lip, take a good amount and make sure you rub it all in because it will have a tendency not to go on smoothly with saliva. Once you get it all on, the pain goes away within minutes and if you do it for one day by the next day, depending on the severity of the cold sore, you will either have no sore, or a very small sore. Keep applying it to the inner mouth until the sore is gone. It is great for skin issues. However, some of you that are speaking I can tell have never used it, and are even afraid to try. So that you are not speaking from your own knowledge. People have asked me for my age why I am not wrinkled? Take one guess, and it has nothing to do with genes. So get with the program. Try it! It cannot hurt. It does not have any side effects. And if it does for you, you can always stop, right? It is great for dry skin and has keep my skin moisturized for years. And if you do not know how to wash before using any type of moisturizer, than you are already in a sad place. Everything you use requires some commonsense. Use it, its label is simply Vaseline, and especially if you have dry skin. I am anxious to try it with starting fires. I can understand why, because the same principle that is in curing the cold sore is there for starting a fire with a cotton ball. The oil is contained in the cotton ball making it more effective to start fires.
Dr Mike
11 years ago at 3:07 PM
Vaseline is safe for skin and does NOT get absorbed. Nor does it hurt you if swallowed in small doses as it also does not absorb in the guts. Technically speaking it is an extremely large molecule unable to penetrate skin or intestinal vasculature. This was the basis for things like Olestra-- too large to absorb so it just passed right through. Wouldn't recommend eating a whole jar but that is not because its toxic, but for it "cathartic" effect. But what do I know I'm just a physician and not an online commentator spouting off on "natural" alternatives. A common statement I use when someone uses the "natural" word at me is that botulism and rattlesnake venom are natural too but I'd rather give them a pass.
11 years ago at 3:50 PM
As a nurse of over 20 yrs, we often use Vaseline coated gauze for wound care. Both surface and deep wounds benefit from it as the gauze wont adhere to delicate tissue causing more damage. I have never read anything negative about it getting Vaseline in blood stream.
11 years ago at 2:35 PM
If your horses in the winter get snow and ice in their hooves you pick the feet then apply some, it helps prevent the snow from packing in. connecting anything put a little on it makes it go on easier and come off easier, like fishing poles, jar lids, locks, latches, outdoor hinges and put it on all rubber seals to protect them from drying and to help make them water tight. zippers work better draw back if you use it in dusty or dirty conditions, it will attract and collect the dust and create an abrasive.
10 years ago at 7:53 PM
Just wanted to add one common use is to coat the front of cars when they are transported long distances by trailers. The coating of Vaseline protects the cars paint from bugs and debris blown over it as it moves through the air on the highway. It can also be smeared onto a camera lens to create a soft focused image.
10 years ago at 12:54 PM
Antiques sellers use Vaseline on old metal tools, etc. to clean blades, metal handles and everything like that. It is slow-going, but 1. not expensive and 2. safe to use on almost everything from Bowie knives to wagon wheels,
10 years ago at 6:22 AM
I've smeared vaseline all around the pipes under sinks and commode to stop roaches from walking in. Worked well for about 5 months, now starting to see roaches again. Does vaseline break down after time? Thanks.
10 years ago at 11:59 AM
Fred, You claim to be a homeopath. What is the greyish substance found in a a tube of calendula salve. Not the cream.. I beleif it is petroleum jelly. Also, you may want to read Kent and the other homeopathic authors on rock oil etc aka Petroleum. Remeber the 6 different ways you can take a remedy.
9 years ago at 8:31 PM
It also gets rid of head lice. Coat your childs dry hair thick over nite and put a shower cap on the next morning comb out gets rid if nits and lice. It suffocates them. It is hard to wash out but it's worth it and non toxic and hair is soft. Also good on hands when dry and chapped. And a baby cheeks when they are chapped.
9 years ago at 1:55 PM
My mother-in-law used Vaseline on a cotton ball to clean, soften , & shine her nice patent leather dress shoes. After using, she made sure she didn't leave any excess behind. Her shoes were always beautiful. I followed her example & have done the same with my own patent leather heels - for over 50 for me too!
9 years ago at 5:19 PM
You say Petroleum Jelly is a natural product just because it is extracted from a natural substance, but I must protest! Petroleum makes FIRE! FIRE IS BAD AND WILL KILL YOU! This is why I don't drink alcohol, because it makes FIRE! I much prefer concoctions of thousands of different things, as long as I remain oblivious to their ingredients. I'd hate to learn that something I use daily also makes FIRE, so don't tell me. Thanks
9 years ago at 3:59 PM
Several comments. 1) there are better options than Vaseline for a fresh burn. 2). Vaseline impregnated gauze is often used on open wounds, surgical incisions, etc., to prevent too much "sticking" to the wound and to prevent having gauze stick to the wound and cause too much mechanical devridement, 3) moist wound healing is now the standard. The days of "letting a wound dry out" are far gone 4) Vaseline is OFTEN recommended following the removal of skin lesions, skin biopsies, etc. Products like Polysporin, Neosporin, Betadine can actually cause skin reactions due to the ingredients and can be toxic to the healthy tissue and cells that are healing the wound. 5). Applying Vaseline to the skin will not result in systemic absorbtion and the comment that it will clog your arteries is absurd. 6)! Using Vaseline on "hot spots" of the feet is a great way to prevent blisters during long distance races, but please remember to wipe it off after the run. 7). Do NOT use Vaseline or any moisturizer between your toes. That can result in excess moisture and a fungal infection-tinea pedis. 8). My comments are not based on internet misinformation, but are based on over 25 years in medical practice, performing surgery and seeing patients at a highly respected wound care center. So please consider your sources.
8 years ago at 6:44 PM
Every spring, when preparing my boat's engine, I change the impeller and lube it with copious amounts of vaseline. It turns smoothly, and creates enough vacuum to suck cooling water into the system. I use it on the gaskets as well.
8 years ago at 2:35 PM
This may be a slight divergence but has anybody heard of a product called BAG BALM. Its been used by farmers for many many years and from my experience is nothing short of miraculous! I have used it on myself and family for 50 years and don't hesitate to apply it to cuts, abrasions, sores, baby rash etc. I don't know whats in it but it looks exactly like Vaseline! I suspect its a Vaseline base with something added into it. The result is fantastic healing properties. It comes in a little green can and isn't cheap but worth every penny. As a retired EMT instructor I wouldn't hesitate to apply it to minor cooled down burns. I say cooled down because burns continue to cause tissue damaged even when the outside looks cool! Get minor burns under cold water and when you think its cooled, do it again. Yes it will hurt, but will pay back later. I say minor burns because a major burn suddenly immersed in cold water would cause shock that could kill your patient before the burn!! USE COMMON SENSE!!!!!
3 years ago at 8:28 PM
Petroleum products have been used for centuries to heal lesions in areas of the globe where crude oil bubbled to the surface. Here in California the local Chumash Indians used it to protect wounds from infection. It is really hard to argue with centuries of practice. A great many ointments that contain other ingredients also contain petroleum jelly. Petrolatum is just another name for petroleum jelly. Vaseline is pure petroleum jelly. If petrolatum is the base carrier for the antibiotic ointment that you smear on your cut, why would plain Vaseline be bad for a cut or "poison" you? Read the labels of the stuff you swear by. You will see that most ointments use petrolatum as the carrier.