I first discovered coconut oil a few years ago when a health-focused grocery store opened in my neighborhood.
While I originally bought it for cooking, I quickly found plenty of ways to use it around the house. Now I’m using so much that I’m investing in huge Costco vats to save money; an 84 ounce tub costs $ 15.99 and usually lasts four to six months.
If you’re new to coconut oil, you’ll be surprised how adaptable this once-unknown ingredient can be.
The health benefits of coconut oil
The first use you probably think of for coconut oil is in cooking. The most common I find Indian recipes that call for this oil, but I’ve used it in a variety of dishes, from curries and stir-fries to granola and muffins.
There is some controversy over the consumption of coconut oil because of its high saturated fat content. According to Harvard Medical School, Coconut oil has more saturated fats than butter or lard – around 90%. Saturated fat is known to raise LDL (AKA “bad”) cholesterol levels, so it is not advisable to consume too much coconut oil.
However, Harvard Medical School also points out that coconut oil is particularly good at raising HDL (or “good”) cholesterol levels – more so than any other oil that is high in saturated fat.
Although some sources advise against consuming coconut oil, it remains a staple in cooking. Healthline reports that the saturated fat content of the oil makes it more resistant to oxidation and increases its heat resistance. This makes it suitable for roasting, baking and similar cooking methods.
Wellness mom points out some more health benefits of coconut oil. It has antimicrobial properties that can be beneficial for intestinal health and is a rich source of lauric acid (second only to breast milk). In addition, coconut oil contains called processed fats medium chain triglyceridesthat can boost your immune system and even improve your brain function.
25 uses for coconut oil
Here are just a few of the more unusual ways you can use coconut oil in the bathroom, kitchen, and beyond.
Curls lists numerous beauty treatments for coconut oil, including a deeply penetrating hair mask. I have found that it is better to cover my dry hair from center to tip and cover it with a shower cap for 30 minutes to an hour before washing it out in the shower. This ensures that I get the moisturizing benefits of the oil without the permanent greasiness that can appear when used after shampooing.
2. Unfrizzled hair
Coconut oil is also great for taming frizz and flyaways throughout the day. Keep a small saucepan on your desk or in your car – just keep in mind that it will run liquid in high temperatures so make sure you store it upright so it doesn’t leak.
3. Make-up remover
I have a small jar of coconut oil in my bathroom that I use to remove my eye makeup. I find it’s strong enough to remove eyeliner and mascara, yet gentle enough to use on the delicate skin around my eyes.
4. Moisturizer for the body
After getting out of the shower, I lather myself with coconut oil instead of purchased lotion. I feel better when I put something natural on my body than a product with suspicious-sounding ingredients.
5. Lip balm
Coconut oil can also be used as a lip balm. I put something on my lips every night before bed to keep them hydrated overnight and have found that my lips are much less dry in the morning than they were before starting this routine.
6. Clean the makeup brush
Just as it can remove makeup from your face, coconut oil can help remove makeup from your brushes. Apply the oil to your makeup brushes and work it in to remove any excess makeup. When you’re done, wash the brushes with soap and water to remove the oil and let them air dry.
7. Diaper rash cream
When my son was a baby he had sensitive skin and was prone to diaper rash. Instead of using zinc oxide or petroleum-based products, I applied coconut oil when changing diapers. Healthline says that while the effects of coconut oil on diaper rash have not been researched, the oil can help with inflammation, itching, redness, and irritation while also providing a barrier to prevent future diaper rash attacks.
8. Relief from eczema
In addition to being prone to diaper rash, my son’s skin is prone to eczema. I’ve found that applying coconut oil helps heal rough or irritated areas on his skin. A 2014 study published by the National Institutes of Health found that coconut oil was more effective than mineral oil at relieving eczema symptoms.
9. Soothe the itching of insect bites
Coconut oil can help soothe the annoying itchiness associated with mosquito and other insect bites. Rub a little oil directly on the bite and let it work in and take effect.
10. DIY toothpaste
To make a natural toothpaste from coconut oil, Recommends today Mix 4 tablespoons of coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 3-4 drops of flavor extract (like peppermint). Use it on your toothbrush as you normally would to clean your teeth in the morning and evening.
11. Remove gum from your hair
If you have children, you have likely experienced the pain of removing gum from your hair. Fortunately, coconut oil can help. Simply apply the oil directly to the gums, let it sit for a minute or two, then slowly slide the gums out. Depending on how tightly adhered the gums are, you may need to make a few tries to remove them completely.
12. Polish furniture
To make a natural furniture polish, take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and add a little lemon juice to it. Rub directly on the furniture, work into the wood, then wipe with a clean cloth.
13. Wet leather
Coconut oil can make old leather look like new and prevent new leather from aging prematurely. Simply apply coconut oil directly to your leather clothing, shoes, or furniture, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe off the excess oil.
14. Remove dead bugs from your car
Summer has many good things, but littering the car with dead insects after driving the highway isn’t one of them. Remove dead bugs from your grille or hood by applying coconut oil and letting it sit on your car and let the dead bugs penetrate. After a few minutes, wipe it with a clean microfiber cloth, being careful not to scratch the paint.
15. Repair squeaky hinges
WD-40 is the usual savior on squeaky hinges, but if you don’t have one lying around, coconut oil can be used to lubricate them. Simply apply a small amount directly to the hinge and the annoying squeak should go away.
16. Remove sticker remnants
Stickers are fun, but leave a chunky residue that is difficult to remove. To get rid of it once and for all, apply coconut oil to the sticky residue, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it off with a cloth or paper towel.
17. Stain Remover
Life of mother earth suggests making a stain remover with one part coconut oil and one part baking soda. You can use it to remove stains from carpets and upholstery by applying it and leaving it on for about five minutes before wiping it away. For stubborn stains, you may need to repeat this process several times.
18. Get rid of colored pencils from walls
Another fun part of living with kids is when they decide to create works of art on your living room walls. Fortunately, coconut oil can remove crayon stains quickly and easily. Simply rub the affected area and wipe with a cloth; the crayon should come off with the oil.
19. Remove traces of abrasion from floors
You can easily remove scuff marks from tile or vinyl floors with coconut oil and a cloth. However, you should make sure that you completely remove the oil from the bottom or you can slip and fall in it.
20. Disinfect cutting boards
Rub coconut oil into a wooden coconut board to condition and disinfect it. The antimicrobial properties of the oil should get rid of any unwanted bacteria.
21. Prevent Tupperware stains
If you’re like me, half of your plastic containers are stained thanks to leftover chili or pasta sauces. To prevent tomato-based or turmeric-based dishes from leaving permanent stains, wipe the inside of the plastic container with coconut oil before pouring your leftovers into it. The coconut oil forms a protective layer that is supposed to keep the stains away.
22. Grease baking tins
Butter or spray oil are great for greasing pans to prevent sticking, and coconut oil is just the ticket. Before baking, grease any pan or pan with coconut oil to ensure your finished dish will slide out easily and won’t stick.
23. Relieve a sore throat
Dr. Ax recommends replacing throat tablets with coconut oil if the disease occurs. As little as ½ to 1 teaspoon can relieve pain and cough. I can confirm this personally because I live with two germ bags (i.e. children) and often get sore throats in winter. I have found coconut oil to be effective for my sore throat in the past.
24. Cleaning pets’ teeth
Coconut oil is beneficial to humans, but it can also benefit your four-legged friends. Keep your dog’s smile bright and healthy by brushing their teeth with coconut oil. Dogs love the taste, and the oil’s antimicrobial properties promote better dental health.
25. Prevent kitty hairballs
Swanson vitamins says you can decrease your cat’s hairballs and promote a healthier coat by applying half a teaspoon of coconut oil to your kitten’s paw.
Whether you use it for cooking or use it for anything and everything, coconut oil can be a great replacement for expensive items in your kitchen, bathroom, and detergent cabinet. Try buying it in bulk like I do to expand your savings even further.
Catherine Hiles from Ohio is a British writer and editor who lives and works in the United States. She has a degree in communications from the University of Chester in the UK and writes on finance, cars, pet ownership and parenting.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com