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22 Uses For Coconut Oil That Will Surprise You

uses for coconut oil

Surprising Uses For Coconut Oil

While I tend to feel a bit skeptical when I see people position something as a “cure-all,” I try to approach most things with an open mind. So back in the early 2010s when coconut oil began gaining popularity as a remedy for, well, almost everything, I figured I would look into it to see if it could possibly live up to the hype.

Now all these years later, I still make use of many of the uses for coconut oil that I discovered back then. Between its nutritional content, its unique molecular structure, and its beneficial properties, coconut oil can come in handy in a surprising number of ways!

Check out my list of 22 surprising uses for coconut oil below.

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22 Surprising Uses For Coconut Oil

uses for coconut oil

1. Homemade Vapor Rub

Using coconut oil and a combination of congestion-fighting essential oils, you can make your own homemade vapor rub in just about 5 minutes. Much like its name brand counterpart, this vapor rub helps open your airways so you can breathe a little easier when you’re dealing with chest congestion or a cough. Get the recipe here.

2. Soothing After-Sun Lotion

You can also use coconut oil to make an after-sun lotion that’s packed with rich, nourishing ingredients. It not only helps protect your skin so it can get to work healing, it also helps soothe the pain of having stayed out in the sun a bit too long. Get the recipe here.

3. “Magic Shell” Ice Cream Topping

You can make your own homemade crackly chocolate topping for ice cream with just two ingredients: coconut oil and Nutella. Just stir 2 parts coconut oil and 1 part Nutella together in a bowl, then pour it into an airtight container for storage. Pour it over ice cream and it will set into a crackable shell within a minute. See video below!

uses for coconut oil

4. Lip Scrub

With just sugar, a bit of coconut oil, and a drop of peppermint oil, you can make a great lip scrub in about one minute. Use it to exfoliate, soften, and hydrate your lips anytime, or use it just before putting on your favorite lip color to scrub off dead skin so that it goes on as smoothly as possible. Get the recipe here.

5. Popcorn Cooking Oil

If you’re a fan of homemade popcorn, you have to try cooking it in coconut oil at least once! The coconut oil adds another layer of flavor that’s really delicious, and it makes a nice change of pace from other oils. You get all those good, healthy fats from the coconut oil in your popcorn too, which is a nice bonus.

6. “Buttered” Cinnamon Toast

No joke, buttered toast with cinnamon sugar on top is one of my favorite foods. I’ll eat it any time of day! If you like cinnamon toast too, you simply must try it using coconut oil in place of butter. Toast your bread, “butter” it with coconut oil while it’s still warm, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Delicious!

uses for coconut oil

7. Smoothie Booster

Elevate your morning smoothie with healthy fats by adding a tablespoon of coconut oil before blending. Or make a simple and tasty berry smoothie by pouring 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil into your blender cup, then adding 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup of berries, and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.

8. Garlic “Butter”

Many people only think of using coconut oil in sweet contexts, but it can be just as delicious as a savory element. Give it a try for yourself by mixing up a simple garlic “butter” by combining 1/4 cup of coconut oil with 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Try spreading it onto bread or adding it to pasta.

(Want a more traditional garlic butter flavor without sacrificing coconut oil’s healthy fats? Try using butter-flavored coconut oil instead.)

9. Pet Food Supplement

Because coconut oil is such an excellent source of healthy fats and other nutrients, many vets recommend using it as a supplement to dry dog food. (Erik and Kaitlyn have done this with their boxer Milo who has alopecia. The fatty acids help hydrate his skin so it doesn’t get as flaky.)

Talk with your vet about whether coconut oil may make a healthy supplement to your pup’s food. If you do start supplementing their food with coconut oil, make sure to start with a very small amount (1 teaspoon or less) to make sure your dog tolerates it and can adjust to it gradually.

uses for coconut oil

10. Homemade Sunscreen

You can use coconut oil to make an all-natural sunscreen that’s simple and effective. It also contains rich natural moisturizers that will leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated. Get the recipe here.

11. Gum Removal

We’ve all heard about using peanut butter to solve those dreaded gum-in-hair moments, but coconut oil can get the job done too. Apply some coconut oil to the gum, let it sit for a couple of seconds, then work the oily gum with your fingers until you’re able to slide it out.

12. Insect Repellent

Mix some coconut oil with a couple of drops of either peppermint, tea tree, or rosemary essential oil, then apply it to your skin to help ward off mosquitoes and other summer insects. Rubbing coconut oil on an existing bug bite can also calm the itching and bring down the swelling.

uses for coconut oil

13. Gluten Free Chocolate Bark

I love it when I find a gluten free treat that doesn’t taste gluten free, like this chocolate brownie “bark.” Coconut oil plays a major role in making this brownie bark absolutely delicious. Get the recipe here.

14. Homemade Deodorant

Use coconut oil to make an all-natural deodorant that’s cheaper and healthier than traditional deodorant/antiperspirants (and it won’t stain your clothes either!) Get the recipe here.

15. Nosebleed Prevention

Prone to nosebleeds? Smear a small amount of coconut oil around the inside of your nostrils every morning to keep that thin, fragile skin hydrated. Properly hydrated skin is much less likely to crack and bleed.

uses for coconut oil

16. “Goo Gone” Substitute

Use coconut oil to make a substitute for Goo Gone you can use to cut through adhesive residue and other sticky messes. Just combine equal parts coconut oil and baking soda together and a couple of drops of a citrus essential oil like lemon or sweet orange. See how it works here.

YouTube video
I’ve tried every way imaginable to remove residue left from annoying stickers! This one is THE best!

17. Ear Infections

Virgin coconut oil may make a useful home remedy for ear pain associated with ear infection due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Lie on your side and put a few drops of melted coconut oil in your ear. Continue reclining for several minutes to allow the oil to absorb into the ear.

18. Homemade Toothpaste

Make a natural toothpaste using coconut oil and minty-fresh peppermint oil.



Put the coconut oil and baking soda in a bowl and mix them together with a fork, then add the peppermint essential oil, stevia, and glycerin (if using) and continue to stir until well combined.

uses for coconut oil

19. Wood Conditioner

Keep your wooden spoons, bowls, platters, and cutting boards protected from from drying, cracking, and staining with a moisturizing “spoon butter.” Get the recipe here.

20. Cold Sores

Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides that have antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal properties, which can help fight the virus that causes cold sores. Dab it on as soon as you feel the blister start forming, and find ways to add it to your diet as well.

21. Sore Throat Remedy

f you feel a sore throat coming on, let a spoonful of coconut oil dissolve on your tongue. It will coat your throat, reduce inflammation, and help soothe the pain. and help soothe the pain.

22. Lip Moisturizer

Keep a small container of coconut oil in your purse and use it as a natural moisturizer when your lips are feeling a bit dry.

What are some of your favorite uses for coconut oil?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Bright Ideas

    • Yes you do. Microwave it for 20 seconds and then in 10 second intervals until it is smooth. Let it cool for a bit and pour it over your ice cream. As I said above, store the extra sauce in an airtight container at room temperature. If it hardens, just microwave it for a short time.

  • All the food recipes etc. look delicious, and the sore throat remedy looks so good, but I dislike coconut, I wish I didn’t it’s like honey, I’ve never liked that either, though I will use it in hot lemon and honey drinks if I have a cold. I reckon I’d use coconut oil for my throat if I needed it.

  • I save my expired coconut oil for cleaning my hands. When I stain wood, I always get stain under my nails and all over my hands. I just take a little coconut oil and rub it all over and it cleans them up magically! Much safer than using gasoline or mineral spirits!

  • Don’t use for wood conditioning. Most of the oils people use for cooking go rancid in time. This is the one time buying the proper product is your best choice. You may think that $8 bottle of butcher block oil is expensive, but it will last year, and years. Butcher block oil, walnut oil, mineral oil, (the laxative is the same as the one sold at a higher price for wood), and some more solid kinds found in woodworker supplies.

  • I had the dreaded toenail fungus on both my big toes. I tried everything. I finally started using coconut oil at night after my shower and in the morning after my shower. I was very faithful to treating twice a day. After applying liberally all around the nail , underneath the nail and cuticles. Then I put on socks. I slept with socks at night and took them off in the mornings after getting dressed. I am very happily fungus free. I use it now just to maintain and I also use on my feet to make them super soft.

  • I use the coconut oil mixed with confectionery sugar and coco to make chocolates.
    ONE “part” of each – mix in a Ziploc bag (by squeezing – then when mixes–(one color) either chill and eat, OR
    just clip the bag’s corner and squeeze into molds, then chill in fridge.
    Some call me “The Chocolate Man”!

  • I’ve used the magic shell recipe and also the Vick’s vapor rub – hack with the coconut oil.. My main problem is when it gets warmer weather in the Midwest where I live is that it melts and becomes liquidfied from our humid climate.

  • What an Idea. Making pie crust out of coconut oil! I would never have thought of that and I am a pie baker.
    I do like to pop corn in coconut oil and use it for frying and many things but that is a new idea and I am going to try it. I have a very dry and itchy scalp. Drives me crazy. It i very much like a cradle cap. I have been to the dermatologist several times ending up with some icky shampoo that I can’t stand and makes me break out. Wish I could come up with a solution for cradle cap scalp.

    • I’ve made pie crust with coconut oil. In fact, I exclusively use coconut oil to make it. It turns out great! I only use it in a solid state though. I’m not sure how it would turn out if already liquified like in the summer.

      • You can always store coconut oil in the fridge – that way it’s always solid!

      • You’re right. I guess I never bothered because I don’t like to bake in the summer so it’s a non issue. :)

    • I did research a couple of years ago and found the natural power of raw honey was mentioned a lot for cradle scalp. My issue was an itchy face and I started doing a raw honey mask once a week for 3 hours and then washing my face morning and night with the raw honey and my issues went away. I thought it would be terrible to put something that sticky on my face and in my hair, but with the addition of a little water is slicked right on. That is where I would start Judy.

    • Hasn’t been a problem for me. For several years I’ve been brushing my teeth with just baking soda, sometimes squirting a bit of peroxide on to moisten. I’ve had many fewer canker sores since quitting traditional toothpaste (fluoridated) and get great remarks from the hygienist.

  • Parents- we all hate the dreaded note that lice is going around the classroom. The products they sell in the stores are extremely toxic to put on young children’s scalps. INSTEAD use coconut oil! You want it liquified. Saturate your child’s hair & scalp with coconut oil. Comb it thru to make sure every strand is saturated. Put a shower cap on their head. Cover their pillows with old towels. Give it 24 hours. The coconut oil will smother the critters and the eggs will slide right out (which is the best part – store bought treatments don’t help with that). Use a lice comb making sure you comb every strand. Wash their hair and you are DONE & you did it without poisoning your child. Still have to do the cleaning tho.

    • Many years ago there was information that olive oil was good for this also. I am going to assume that any oil will work. Also, the little monsters love clean hair, so don’t believe you are unlikely to get guests because you shampoo daily.

    • I know this is an old post, but I’m new to OGT Quite some time ago, I saw a tip which works so well for getting rid of lice (why oh why does a person get an itchy head when that word is mentioned? ) it’s much quicker, and less messy than coconut oil, and is as good for your hair as coconut oil, but doesn’t smell as good, nor is it as cheap! It’s original Listerine (the golden coloured one) you just soak the hair (I do it over the bath, into which I’ve placed a bowl to catch the excess liquid, it can be re-used) squeeze out the excess, put on a shower cap and leave for an hour, rinse, put some conditioner on the hair, comb through with first a normal comb, then a nit comb, finally wash and condition the hair as normal.

  • I love coconut oil for at home manicures. Mixing a little bit of oil with sugar makes a fantastic scrub. My hands feel so amazing after!

  • I love coconut oil! Just last night my oldest son was talking about using coconut oil for cleaning. He said everyone gives him weird looks, but hey, it works a LOT of places a solvent-based cleaner would work, without the nastiness. So far everything I’ve “needed” turpentine, paint thinner, etc for, coconut oil works on. Paint on your skin? Car grease? Gum? Coconut oil breaks it right down, a quick wash with dish soap removes the oil, and bingo! : ) I buy my coconut oil in 50# cans. : )

  • I make a smoothie a day , have for over 3 years , I add 3 -5 Tbsp. Coconut oil , banana , strawberry , all greens , coconut water or coconut milk , a lot of unknown internal stuff going on just disappeared along with 30 lbs. (Nice bonus , unexpected !
    Instead of glycerin in the toothpaste I used the liquid coconut oil works perfectly !
    Great post , will forward to everyone tired of hearing my “soap box” talk on this incredible “good for you (no known allergies ) oil. Read The Coconut Oil Miracle . …Dr. Bruce Fife , it tells you the who,what , whys , when , and how this oil is so incredible .
    (Off the soap box now )
    Blessings to all .

  • You never cease to surprise us. What great ideas and I will find some ideas very usefull. I have really dry skin due to medication. I hate greasy feeling or slick after hand lotion. I am very pleased with most of the recipes I see and have no chemicals in kitchen or bathroom. I am still using lemon pine soil for floors because my dog has a hard time with pottying on the floor. She is trained but excitement doesn’t get her outside fast enough. Looking into a doggy door. I make soap, lotion, bath salts for my sister. Dish soap, window cleaner and dusting. Most everything. Thank you.

  • I used coconut oil for a pie crust one night when I was out of shortening, and it turned out to be the best pie crust I’ve every made. It was wonderfully flaky and delicious. Even my kids liked it!

  • Following a hysterectomy, vaginal dryness became excruciatingly painful. Being a breast cancer survivor, I was told the medical prescriptions for vaginal dryness were not recommended for me to use. After suffering for years, it was suggested to use a small chunk of Organic Coconut Oil, inserted like a tampon. Very welcome relief.

    • Acidophilus capsules also work to prevent the dryness. It worked for me and eventually corrected itself. I no longer take them. I can’t remember how long it took to kick in, but not long. Maybe a week or so.

  • I had the misfortune of catching the true flu this winter. Four boxes of tissues later, my nose wasn’t sore, nor was it red and flaking like it usually does with a bad cold or flu. You guessed it, I started applying coconut oil about 3 days in and it at least took care of one of the side effects of the flu!

    Always amazed at what that wonderful stuff can be used for. Many, many things!!!

  • I love coconut oil and have been using the tooth paste for a long time .
    Please be aware of it returning to a solid going through your plumbing.
    I use my lined waste basket to spit into and I doubt that swallowing the resulting bacteria laden suspension would hurt.
    Coating my plumbing and septic system would hurt in a costly way.

  • My mom has always had very dry, flyaway hair, and scalp psoriasis to boot. I had her massage coconut oil into her hair and scalp every night for a week and sleep with a little plastic conditioning cap. Within the week, her hair was noticeably softer, and her scalp psoriasis had completely cleared up. She still does it 2 nights a week for “maintenance”.

  • Forgot to add that I often use coconut oil instead of butter or other vegetable fat when baking – carrot cake, apple cake, All Bran muffins, coffee cake – as well as in cooking certain vegetable or rice dishes. And it’s also supposed to help with cognitive problems in Alzheimer’s and MS – you can google for more info on that.

  • Another way of using coconut oil is using it to remove makeup, not just eye makeup.
    I just take about a table spoon of coconut oil on my palms, allow it to sit on my palm for 2 seconds and then massage it on my face, gently rubbing my eye area to remove mascara and eyeliner. I rub my face until I am sure the makeup has melted and is smeared all over my face. Your face would look like a hot mess but you can use a wet wipe to wipe off the oil from your face.
    Then wash your face with a gentle cleanser and wipe it off again with a wet wipe or a towel (however you like). I generally use a wet wipe and even wipe off the area on my neck. Also, I personally believe wet wipes are way more gentler than towels.

    This is a very inexpensive but a thorough way of remove your makeup with coconut oil.

  • We’ve been buying our coconut based toothpaste from a local farmers market, yet this recipe seems so doable! Thanks for sharing so many great, natural, inspiring DIY ideas :)

  • I’ve been using a recipe similar to your toothpaste recipe for about a year. Recently I switched it up a little and am very please with the results. My daughter even noticed my teeth were whiter. I use:
    1 Tablespoon each coconut oil, baking soda and betonite clay. (I thought the clay would taste nasty, but it doesn’t)
    After mixing to a paste, I add 10 drops each of peppermint and Thievish (DIY Thieves).
    I don’t add any sweetener, but you could if necessary.

  • Glycerine should not be used on ur teeth. It leaves a coating that u can’t get off and will cause cavities. I make the toothpaste without it but I put calcium in it to boost cavity protection.

  • You must be part mind reader. For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking of looking up a homemade toothpaste recipe and here it is! I was going to look through your posts that I had saved, hoping one was there. I’m looking forward to trying this. Thank you.

    • Actually Jillee has a recipe for nether region suppositories using coconut oil! As for the spoon or board butter, I use a blend of mineral oil and bees wax so it doesn’t go rancid in the wood, as most plant and animal based oils do.

  • All great ideas! But I would make sure to use a leakproof container if you’re going to put it into your purse. Since it can melt in warmer weather you can create a mess if you’re not careful. Ask me how I know…

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