Most households seem to have an aged bottle of baby oil sitting around, even if there aren’t any babies. After all, it takes forever to use up and it isn’t as if baby oil has a best before date. We have a dusty bottle in the bathroom cabinet: I have no idea where it came from, when we bought it and why. But you can’t really chuck out an almost-full bottle of the stuff, can you? Fortunately I have found plenty of other thrifty uses for baby oil, over and above splashing it on babies, and using it as moisturiser and/or massage oil.
Baby oil is mineral oil, so it’s actually quite versatile. I was also interested to discover that there is a growing movement of anti-baby oilists. (They don’t really call themselves that; I made it up.) Their argument is that mineral oil is environmentally unfriendly: derived from distilled crude oil and processed synthetically, it contains pollutants and is not biodegradable. Others argue that baby oil is not suitable for baby skin because it slows down skin cell production and can cause vitamin deficiency. Are these claims true? I don’t know: I haven’t found any authoritative sources for these claims, just article sites and worried mums on messageboards. But I’d like to point that these five thrifty uses for baby oil do not involve babies, and are intended to use up the baby oil that you already have.
Five thrifty uses for baby oil
1. Use baby oil to clean stainless steel
She writes: “Can’t get the brushed steel surfaces in your kitchen smear-free? I now use baby oil! Any baby oil will do – it doesn’t have to be the best. Just pour a little on a clean, dry cloth and rub on. It lifts dirt and grease, removes all those finger marks and, as a little goes a long way, it’s cheaper than many kitchen cleaners.”
2. Turn cheap baby oil into posh bath oil
Ages ago, I posted my top tip for empty perfume bottles: prize off the lid or nozzle, add oil, give it a good shake and voila! Delicious-smelling bath oil is yours. I suggested using olive oil, but baby oil works just as well. You don’t have to wait until your perfume bottle is empty, either: you can always add a few drops or squirts of your favourite perfume to baby oil for the same result. Remember to give your bathtub a good scrub afterwards though…
3. Unzip those zippers!
Think of baby oil as WD40. Like WD40, which also contains mineral oil, baby oil is good for unsticking things around the house. For example a dab on the end of a cotton bud, applied to a stuck zip, works wonders. You only need a smidgeon.
I have found that it also works for door hinges and even the little hinges on pairs of glassses, when they become stiff and brittle.
4. Keep razors sharp with baby oil
Razorblades become blunt partly because of wear and tear, but mostly because of water corrosion. It doesn’t help that razorblades are stored in bathrooms: the most humid rooms of the house.
One trick is to store your razor, blade-down, in a beaker with a little baby oil in the bottom. Ensure that the oil covers the blade. I have seen anecdotal reports from people who do this and say that their razors last for a month or more.
5. Use baby oil to remove the gummy residue from price stickers
That ticky-tacky residue that sometimes gets left behind on a glass, metal or plastic item when you peel the price sticker or the barcode sticker away? Put some baby oil on kitchen paper, give the residue a good rub and it should come away. Try it!