You probably already know that coconut oil is a master facial moisturizer, makes a nourishing hair mask, can help get your teeth sparkly white and remove the day’s makeup. It’s also one of our favorite cooking oils.
But did you know it also can polish, clean, buff and smooth items in pretty much every room of the house? This tropical-smelling, do-it-all oil is the ultimate natural ingredient that does everything from warding off bugs to making your favorite boots look like new. Here are some of our favorite ways to put coconut oil to use around the house.
1. Get Rid of Sticky Label Residue
Ugh. You know that tacky film left behind when you peel off labels? It seems like you need super powers to clean it away—that is, unless you have a jar of coconut oil on hand. Just apply a bit to the sticky part and let it sit for five minutes or so. Wipe it off with a cloth or paper towel and bask in the smooth-surface glory.
Speaking of stickiness, coconut oil also can help get gum out of your hair or carpet—here are some other brilliant ways to remove gum from pretty much anything.
2. Season a Cast-iron Skillet
You already know the trusty cast-iron skillet is a master at making pancakes, fajitas, cakes and stir-frys (or any of these 38 cast-iron-ready recipes), but before you get cooking, you have to season it first. Treat your cast-iron skillet to a coconut-oil rub, and it’ll stay nonstick for years. To season a new pan, slather it liberally with coconut oil and put it in a cool oven. Set the oven to 300 degrees, and once it reaches 300, let your skillet cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let your skillet cool completely before removing.
3. Keep Bugs at Bay
Coconut oil is an easy detractor for pesky buzzers that won’t leave you smelling like bug spray. Mix coconut oil with a few drops of essential oils (try citronella, rosemary or peppermint) and rub it over your skin. A bonus? The coconut oil also will act as a gentle moisturizer.
4. Buff and Restore Leather Goods
It’s a bummer when those once-polished boots, bags and belts lose their sheen and begin to look scuffed up and dull. Bring them back to life with coconut oil. It acts as a leather conditioner just like shoe polish—simply wipe the leather with a damp cloth, then rub on a small amount of coconut oil in a circular motion. Finish the job with a rub from a clean cloth, and the leather will look as good as new.
5. Polish Furniture
Wooden chairs and tables can be polished to like-new status the same way as leather goods. Wipe the wood with a damp cloth, then rub some coconut oil on the wood with a clean cloth in a circular motion. Let the wood absorb the oil for about 15 minutes, then wipe it away with a clean cloth.
6. Remove Grease Stains
Grease stains from that late-night scarf-down of french fries can mean a mess for your favorite shirt, and they can be a major chore to try to remove. But a quick treatment with coconut oil can help lift the stain with ease. Combine coconut oil and baking soda and work it into the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe away. Reapply as needed.
Some stains need a different method of removal. Here’s how to quickly work out some of the most common types of stubborn stains.
7. Condition Your Cutting Board
Wooden cutting boards can dull easily and collect bacteria on the surface after each use. Rubbing a little coconut oil over the surface can help revive its brilliance, keep the wood moisturized and remove harmful bacteria.
8. Scrub Away Soap Scum
Keep your shower and bathtub sparkling with a simple coconut oil solution. Mix it with baking soda to form a paste, then wipe it across any mildew or soap scum spots. Let it do its magic, then wipe away after 10 to 15 minutes.
Baking soda is coconut oil’s best cleaning buddy, but it’s also amazing when paired up with some other household standards. Here are 50 more ways to clean with baking soda around the house.
9. Make Play Dough
When creativity strikes, whip up a batch of homemade play dough to start crafting! Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil over low heat. Add ½ cup salt, 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 2 tsp. cream of tartar and gel food coloring of your choice. Stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool before using.
It just makes sense to keep a jar (or two) of coconut oil around the house. It’s way cheaper than specialty cleaners and polishes, and you can feel good about using natural ingredients around your house from the bathtub to your clothing and beyond. Plus, it makes a pretty delicious spread on avocado toast—trust me on that one.