Coconut oil is increasingly a go-to ingredient for cooking and body care, but this versatile substance can work wonders in a number of different contexts. Read on to discover 14 ways that you can use coconut oil in every part of your home.
- Season a cast iron pan. Cast iron needs a protective surface to stay in good working order. This step-by-step guide from The Kitchn will tell you how to season your cookware, but instead of vegetable oil or shortening, you can coat your pan in coconut oil.
- Condition a cutting board or wooden utensils. Once the wood is clean, use a soft cloth to rub in coconut oil. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then you can buff it off, as you would with any other conditioning oil.
- Lubricant for small-motor appliances. Use a teensy amount to lubricate any small motors on household appliances that need a bit of get-up-and-go. But do be careful because using too much, particularly when the oil solidifies, can cause malfunctioning.
BEDROOM & CLOSET
- Care for your leather. A bit of coconut oil can clean and revive worn leather. I've found it particularly effective on toe scuffs on my leather shoes.
- Unstick a zipper. You've probably heard the old trick of using Vaseline or Chapstick to unstick a zipper, but a dab of coconut oil can work just as well. Just touch the resistant zipper teeth with a bit of oil, and zip back and forth a few times. This should get it back in working order. (Be careful not to get oil on the surrounding fabric though, as it may stain.)
- Use as a base for aromas. I have a scent warmer, and I've found that a cheap and effective way to spread scent is to put a spoon of coconut oil in the warmer dish with a few drops of essential oils. If you want a slightly fancier solution, here is a recipe for making scented wax tarts with coconut oil and beeswax.
- Polish your faucets. Coconut oil makes a good metal polisher, and you can rub a bit of the oil over metal with a soft cloth. Let it sit for a minute, and then buff it to a shine.
- Get rid of shower scum. I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical of this one when I read it, because adding oil to scum seemed somewhat counterintuitive. But I gave it a shot, and darn it, it worked! Put some oil on a rag and scrub that scum away with ease.
- Polish your furniture. I already mentioned that you can use coconut oil to condition cutting boards and wooden utensils, but it also works with wooden furniture. As with the kitchen goods, give it a few minutes to seep in before you wipe off the excess. It won't give you a super-glossy finish, but it will give the wood a healthy, natural look.
- Get rid of sticky substances. Whether it's because of a price tag that refuses to let go or because your children have decided that chewing gum makes an excellent form of Play-doh, chances are, you will at some point be faced with a sticky residue that lingers. Coconut oil will help get rid of the residual tackiness, although you should test a small bit on any fabric or carpet before going at it with gusto, just to make sure that it won't leave an oily stain.
- Repel dust. A thin layer of oil will actually help repel dust from surfaces, making them easier to wipe down in the future.
- Fix squeaky hinges. If you don't have WD-40 at the ready or you want a more natural solution, then by all means, give your coconut oil a go.
YARD & GARAGE
- Remove rust. Spread a layer of coconut oil over the rusty area, and let it sit for at least two hours. Wash the oil off and wipe clean with a soft cloth. Really pesky rust areas may take longer to remove.
- Keep your lawn mower and bike running smoothly. Apply a thin layer of oil to your lawn mower blades to keep grass clumps from sticking. You can also add a thin layer of oil to your bike chain to keep it running smoothly. But heed the note in the kitchen section above. Applying too thick a layer can actually hinder motion, since coconut oil solidifies under 76ºF.
How else do you put coconut oil to work in your home?