Coconut oil is one of the hottest items on the shelf today. Not only do the benefits of coconut oil include it as a beauty aid, household cleaner, lubricant and healthful oil alternative in cooking, it has proven antibacterial properties.
We asked Kayla Jindra, marketing director for Kelapo Coconut, and Maxwell Ryan, founder and CEO of Apartment Therapy, to share some of their favorite uses for this versatile oil. Read on and, chances are, you’ll be nuts over coconut, too!
1. Remove labels and sticky residue from plastic, glass, wood and other hard surfaces. Apply coconut oil to the sticky area and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe off with a cloth or paper towel.
2. Remove gum from hair, apply the oil directly to the gum. Allow it to sit for a moment before sliding the gum out.
3. Fix squeaky hinges with a dab of coconut oil.
4. Keep dirt from sticking to garden tools with a coat of coconut oil.
5. DIY furniture polish: Add a small amount of lemon juice to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Rub on wood furniture using a soft cloth. (Test first in an inconspicuous spot.)
6. DIY bathtub and shower cleaner: Mix coconut oil with baking soda to form a paste. Wipe a thin layer on soap scum and mildew. Let sit for 10-15 minutes then wipe clean.
7. Remove crayon from walls by rubbing the area with coconut oil, then wiping the crayon marks away.
8. Lift scuff marks from floors using a tiny bit of coconut oil and a cloth. Wipe up the oil completely to prevent slipping.
9. Clean and moisturize leather by rubbing it with a small amount of coconut oil. Allow the oil to penetrate for a few minutes, then wipe off excess using a clean cloth.
10. DIY bronze polish: Rub a little into bronze items to clean and deepen the color.
11. Coconut oil play dough: Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil over low heat. Add 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 2 tsp. cream of tartar, gel food coloring. Continue stirring until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool before using.
12. Keep litter from sticking to a litter box by rubbing the bottom of the box with coconut oil.
13. Remove rings from fingers by applying a little coconut oil to swollen fingers.
14. Remove dead bugs or sap from the car hood by applying coconut oil. Allow it to set for a few minutes, then wipe off with a cloth.
15. Clean ink off plastic and vinyl by using a dab of coconut oil.
16. Make patent leather shine by applying a light coat of coconut oil.
17. Let coconut oil light your fire. Add a few cotton balls soaked in coconut oil to the kindling wood.
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18. Season cast-iron cookware by rubbing coconut oil onto the cooking surface then placing the pan in a 250-degree oven for two hours. Repeat the seasoning process after the next three or four uses or until the pan has a non-stick surface.
19. Make stainless steel appliances gleam. Using a circular motion, rub a small amount (start with a teaspoon) of coconut oil on the fridge or other appliance. Cover the entire surface. Remove excess oil with a dry cloth, rubbing in the direction of the grain to create a spotless, shiny surface.
20. Make measuring spoons and cups easier to clean. Spray it into measuring cups or spoons before measuring honey or other sticky foods.
21. Condition and sanitize wood cutting boards by rubbing a small amount onto the items. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid—all of which are proven effective against common bacteria.
22. Condition wood utensils by rubbing with coconut oil as needed.
23. Prevent tomato sauce and other stains in Tupperware by rubbing the inside of the container with coconut oil before filling.
24. For easier clean-up, rub it on utensils before using.
25. Spray muffin tins and cake pans before adding batter. Cakes will come out easily.
26. To prevent water stains on sinks, rub a small amount of coconut oil along the inside of a clean, dry sink.
27. Pour melted coconut oil onto a cookie sheet to remove baked on residue. Wipe clean then wash as usual.
28. Use equal amounts of coconut oil in place of butter and cooking oil. Great with eggs, meats, fish, veggies and salads—even on bread. It not only tastes delicious, it’s a healthy oil that can raise good cholesterol levels.
29. DIY peanut butter gets a flavor boost from coconut oil. Process 2 cups of peanuts until creamy (10-15 minutes, scraping down the sides of processor often). Add a mixture of 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Pulse until well-mixed.
30. Blend with fruits for a delicious smoothie.
Health and beauty
31. DIY natural toothpaste: Mix 2 tablespoons baking soda, 4 tablespoons coconut oil and 3-4 drops of any flavor extract. Dip toothbrush in mixture and brush as usual.
32. DIY tinted lip balm: Don’t toss out lipstick tubes without scooping out the residue at the bottom of the tube. Melt this with some coconut oil and store in a tin for a lip balm that colors and moisturizes.
33. Soften and deodorize cracked, rough feet overnight by first exfoliating them and then applying a generous layer of coconut oil. Slip on some socks. While you sleep, the coconut oil, with its natural antibacterial ingredients, moisturizes and deodorizes your feet.
34. Bath soak: Add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil to bath water for super moisturizing. Combine with Epsom salts to soothe achy muscles.
35. Clean makeup brushes: At least once a month, dampen brush and dip in a 2:1 mixture of antibacterial dish soap and coconut oil. Work the mixture into the bristles, rinsing and re-soaping until no make-up remains. Avoid getting water or soap in the metal tube that holds the bristles together because this could loosen the glue. Dry overnight at an angle, with the brush side down, on a paper towel.
36. Aromatherapy: The aroma of coconut is extremely soothing and a great way to de-stress.
37. For minor scrapes and cuts, apply coconut oil to the affected area. Its antibacterial properties can help promote healing.
38. Clear sinuses with coconut oil vapor rub. Mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with 5 to 7 drops of essential oil such as eucalyptus or peppermint (Add more essential oil as needed.) Massage onto chest or apply a dab beneath the nose.
39. Soothe itchy bug bites by rubbing them with a bit of coconut oil.
40. Moisturize dry skin by applying a small amount of coconut oil. Especially luxurious as an after-shower or after-shave moisturizer.
41. A luxurious cream that leaves hands silky and soft, carry coconut oil with you in a contact lens holder or small tin for on-the-go use.
42. DIY exfoliating body scrub: Mix coconut oil with sea salt or sugar. Rub on, scrub off for soft, radiant skin.
43. DIY hair mask: After shampooing, apply a generous amount of coconut oil to wet hair. Allow it to sit for five minutes, then rinse. Your hair will be moisture-rich and shiny.
44. DIY facial mask: Mix equal parts of coconut oil and honey. Apply to face and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing. Moisturizing and antibacterial!
45. Moisturize cuticles by rubbing coconut oil on and around them.
46. De-frizz hair by rubbing a pea-size amount on the bottom couple inches of your hair. For thicker, coarser hair, apply the coconut oil from mid-shaft to the ends.
47. Pat a small amount of coconut oil underneath the eyes to moisturize before applying make-up.
48. DIY make up remover/pads: Melt coconut oil in a microwave-safe container. Use 1 teaspoon of oil for each round cotton pad you’re making. Lay the pads in the oil overnight. Store in a plastic bag.
49. Help new tattoos heal by applying coconut oil regularly.
50. Shaving cream: Smooth onto legs before shaving. Not only will it give you a comfortable, close shave, it will moisturize your legs at the same time. Because oil is slippery, it’s best to shave outside the shower or tub.