15 Practical And Problem-Solving Uses For Vaseline

Practical Uses For Vaseline - collage: woman using a toothbrush; hand putting vaseline on a refrigerator drawer; hand putting vaseline inside the heel of a sneaker

There Are So Many Things You Can Do With Vaseline

Intensely moisturizing and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, petroleum jelly has many benefits and can be used in a dizzying number of ways! Today I’ll be sharing some of the best uses for vaseline with you, including quite a few that are real life-savers when you’re in a bind!

But before we dive into that list, I wanted to quickly address some of the confusion regarding the safety of petroleum jelly (sometimes referred to as Vaseline, the name of a widely available brand of petroleum jelly).

Is Petroleum Jelly Safe To Use?

Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of petroleum production, so can petroleum jelly cause cancer? The short answer is no.

Vaseline, one of the most widely available and popular brand name petroleum jelly products, is purified three different times during the production process. This ensures the final product is free of impurities, including any cancer-causing compounds.

The EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which rates the potential hazards of cosmetic products, rates Vaseline with a score of 1, or “low hazard.” (But if you’d still prefer to avoid petroleum jelly, my two-ingredient “non-petroleum jelly” will work just as well for any of the uses I’ve listed below.)

15 Practical Uses For Vaseline

Practical Uses For Vaseline - using vaseline to lubricate a refrigerator drawer

1. Lubricate Fridge Drawers

If your fridge drawers aren’t gliding smoothly, opening and closing them can get infuriating very quickly! But luckily for us, all you need is a bit of vaseline to fix it!

Spread a thin layer of vaseline on the outer edges of the drawer where it slides along the track. This added bit of lubrication will help your fridge drawers glide much more smoothly!

2. Heal A Chapped Nose

It’s almost impossible to avoid chapped skin when you’re frequently using tissues to wipe or blow your nose — no matter how soft or lotion-packed your tissues are!

Applying a bit of petroleum jelly to the chapped areas of your nose can help immensely. Not only will it help heal the chapped skin, but it will also help prevent further dryness and cracking too.

Practical Uses For Vaseline - dabbing vaseline inside the heel of a shoe

3. Stop Blister Pain

It happens all the time — you wear a new pair of shoes to an event, only to realize that they’re giving you blisters an hour later. Having a bit of vaseline in your bag can be a lifesaver in this situation!

Just apply a bit of it to the area of your shoe that is causing the blister. It’s not a perfect fix, but it can help prevent the blister from getting worse before you’re able to remove the shoes.

4. Make A Scrub

A little manual exfoliation can help keep your skin soft and moisturized. Make a simple body scrub by mixing together petroleum jelly and sugar (or sea salt!)

Scoop the paste-like mixture into your hand and massage it over damp skin in a circular motion. When you’re finished, wash yourself off with soapy water and apply a generous amount of lotion.

Practical Uses For Vaseline - dabbing Vaseline on a dog's paw pads

5. Treat Dry Paw Pads

Just like our skin can start cracking if it gets too dry, your pet’s paws can get dry and cracked too. Treat the dryness and help heal the cracks by applying a thin layer of vaseline to the area. (It can help to use a recovery collar to keep them from licking it off!)

6. Control Unruly Eyebrows

A dab of petroleum jelly can tame unruly eyebrows that are determined to misbehave. Those unruly brows will stay put all day, and look sleek and glossy to boot!

Practical Uses For Vaseline - dabbing Vaseline on a wooden chair leg

7. Hide Scuffs On Furniture

Many visible marks and stains on wood furniture are caused by moisture issues (either too much or not enough). Apply a bit of petroleum jelly to stains, rings, scratches, or scuffs on your wood furniture and let it sit for 24 hours. The next day, wipe away any excess jelly and give the area a good polish. Good as new!

8. Prevent Dye Stains

Before dyeing your own hair or someone else’s at home, grab your jar of vaseline! Smear it liberally around your hairline to prevent wayward drips and splatters of dye from staining your skin.

Practical Uses For Vaseline - woman using a toothbrush to scrub her lips

9. Soften Dry Lips

Apply a liberal amount of petroleum jelly to your lips and let it sit for a few minutes. Then gently scrub your lips with a clean, soft toothbrush and rinse clean.

Related: The Best Fix For Chapped Lips Might Surprise You

10. Remove Gum From Hair

I suspect that dealing with a “gum stuck in hair” scenario is some sort of rite of passage for parents. It’s been years since I’ve had to tackle that one, but I must have done it half a dozen times when my kids were younger!

But removing gum from hair is one of the best uses for vaseline! All you have to do is apply it generously to the gum and the hair it’s stuck to, then work it through with your fingers until you can slide the gum free. (This also works for silly putty, play doh, and all sorts of other things kids find a way to get stuck in their hair!)

Practical Uses For Vaseline - using Vaseline on a cotton swab around a too-tight ring

11. Unstick A Ring

So you discovered the hard way that a ring is too small, and now it’s stuck on your finger. Never fear! Just apply some jelly to the area around the ring, then gently slide the ring back and forth until you can slide it off.

12. Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders

Hanging bird feeders can attract all sorts of wildlife to your yard, including crafty, feed-stealing squirrels! If your feeder is hanging from a post, you can coat the post in a layer of vaseline as a squirrel deterrent.

When the squirrels try to climb the post, they’ll just slide right off! And it won’t bother the birds, who can still settle comfortably on the feeder itself.

Practical Uses For Vaseline - collage: hands rubbing Vaseline on bare foot; putting sock on over vaseline

13. Treat Dry Skin Overnight

An intensive, overnight petroleum jelly treatment is one of the fastest and easiest ways to heal patches of dry or cracked skin. Smear jelly onto any dry patches before you go to bed, and by morning, your skin will feel so much softer!

Related: This Simple Hack Can Do Wonders For Dry Skin

14. Fix Sticky Shower Curtains

If your shower curtain keeps getting stuck on the rod, you can use a bit of jelly to fix it! Just apply a thin layer of jelly to the top of your shower curtain rod.

Open and close the shower curtain a few times, and it should start gliding smoothly.

Practical Uses For Vaseline - close up of a woman's hands checking a lock of her hair for split ends

15. Add Shine To Hair

For those of us whose hair is on the dry end of the moisture scale, frizziness and flyaways can be a frequent problem. Take care of both issues by dabbing a tiny amount of petroleum jelly to the topmost layer of your hair!

And not only will the jelly make flyaways stay put, but it will also add an enviable shine to your hair!

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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


Beauty Tips

  • When I was in high school, it occurred to me to preserve old patent leather shoes with Vaseline. It worked wonderfully, and fended off the cracking of some vintage shoes and purses I collected for my “preppy look”.

  • I keep a small container of vaseline in my room. I use it because I always no matter how careful I am tend to smear Mascara when putting it on my lower lashes. I think it must be the way my lashes grow.

  • A friend of my mother’s used vaseline as her nightly face and hand cream from her twenties (in the 40’s) on. When she was in her eighties her skin was completely wrinkle-free. Completely. Her regret was that she hadn’t used it on her neck, as well. It looked like a normal old, wrinkly neck.
    Btw, if you use it on hands or feet at night, be sure to wear socks so you don’t get it all over your sheets. I don’t know how she protected the pillowcases…

  • if you want to make furniture or a dresser look distressed, you can paint a base color on your object. After it dries put Vaseline on various spots where you want the bottom color to show through. Then add another color of paint. AFter the 2nd color dries, wipe off the object where you applied the Vaseline and the bottom color will show through. I made some window frames look distressed this way. Very fun project!!

  • One thing you can do with “real” vaseline is start fires. A small glob on a cotton ball does the trick. And since the “real” stuff is flammable, don’t use it on the sticky lightbulbs. Another trick, use a cotton swab and apply to the inside of cap of a tube of glue. That said, I enjoyed reading your ideas and will definitely be trying them. Thanks!

  • crafters- to prevent printer ink from smudging -with a sponge coat with vaseline will make your paper waterproof and gives your paper a rich color-this will also work with your stamp pads and new oxide stamp pads-you can continue stamping on top, use your other mediums over top–this works because there is no water in the vaseline to smear your paper-this works ! immediately–yes vaseline around paint and glue bottle lids

  • 1. Can I use vaseline on the threads of lightbulbs to keep them from sticking?

    2. Some lightbulbs are stuck in their ceiling sockets. How can I get them unstuck?

  • I live in the wonderful sunshine state of Arizona. Since we moved down here 9 years ago we have struggled with getting our outdoor faucets and hoses disconnected and attachments off, after a season of intense heat. So I started applying Vaseline to the hose and attachments then screw them together voila! , when it comes to disconnect they come off beautifully.

  • Thanks for all your great tips, Jill. I use Vaseline applied to the threads of the screw-in refrigerator water filter to make it easier to remove when I replace it. I find that the filter almost glues itself in when it sits in there for the six months before needing replacement, and the Vaseline sure speeds up the replacement process with far less frustration!

  • clean the terminals on a car battery from the acid that builds up over time, after cleaning them lather some vaseline on the terminals(put on a good amount) u will never see acid again

  • My dad used to apply a liberal amount of petroleum jelly to the blades of our family’s ice skates at the end of the season to prevent rust spots. Worked perfectly!!! Just needed to be wiped off at the start of the next season With a rag or paper towel.

  • I use it all the time on my hands and heels, winter and summer. I just slather it on and cover them with socks and go to bed. It’s fabulous and very inexpensive.

  • Its also great to put on the threads of glue containers. E6000, Gorilla Glue, Goop. all the ones that the caps get stuck on after first use. use a cotton swab to apply the petroleum jelly (for those concerned about trade marks LOL) use the swab and apply to the threads of the container. nomore stuck on caps.

  • I pit Vaseline on my eyes before putting in my eye drops, it helps me not to get the drops on my skin just in my eyes. The drops irritate my skin and causes itching. Vaseline works great,

  • My plastic surgeon told me to use Aquaphor (which he compared to medicated Vaseline) liberally all over my face at night rather than buying expensive lotions and creams. It has made a huge difference in only 2 weeks to my very dry skin!

  • I’ve done the Vaseline trick for nosebleeds too. You can also use Vaseline for hairballs with Cats. My last kitty was stubborn and wouldn’t lick it off her nose. I literally had to hold her mouth open and put the stuff on her tongue. She didn’t like the store bought Laxatone, remedy for the hairballs.

    • I always put a “glob” of petroleum jelly on my cat’s paw. Being a well-groomed feline, she licked her paw clean. No muss, no fuss, no struggles, no scratches, no bites. Purrfect!

      • I would put the Vaseline on the cats paw except, we didn’t want her to leave grease spots on our carpet.

      • put it on the fur part not on the toe pads. or put it on her belly. I regularly do this with my long haired cats. you could put the cat in the laundry room or bathroom until she licks it up or mix something she likes. a little tuna juice, gravy, a piece of cat food….

    • I let my cat lick coconut oil off my finger (about half a tsp.) not only does it help with hairball elimination, but he has the softest coat…………………….

  • When my son was young and suffered from nose bleeds in the winter when the air was dry, we put a bit of vaseline in his nostrils (right at the entrance) at night and no more nose bleeds

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