Five thrifty uses for baby oil

Miss Thrifty13 March 19, 2011

uses for baby oil

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

baby oil clean steel kitchen I would like to thank Miss Thrifty reader Shaz North for turning me onto this tip.

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

baby oil 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!

baby oil zipper 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

baby oil razor 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

baby oil price sticker 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!

Image credits: worak, aaron13251 and kevinspencer.

Did you enjoy this post?

Free Daily Digest

13 Responses to “Five thrifty uses for baby oil

Mhairi says:

Yes, mineral is bad news on both the human health front and the environmental front. It is of course refined from crude oil!

An authoritative source on various harmful chemicals in toiletries and cosmetics is the Women’s Environmental Network. Also Greenpeace.

But I love the non-skin uses of baby oil, like stuck zips, so thank you very much for this post.

March 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Your Mother says:

I have used baby oil as eyemakeup remover for EVER!! It leaves the skin round the eyes looking good – never itches or causes rashes, is quick and cheap to remove and I can not believe that you did an article on babyoil missing an item that was on the top in the bathroom in your old house used by your old mum!

March 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

Well, at least I know now what it was doing there all this time! I swear you’ve had the same bottle since 1979… Thanks Mum x

March 20, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Jessica Hollis says:

Another use is to use it instead of shaving foam. It works much better, you can see if you have got all the hairs on your legs and what not and leaves them lovely and smooth.

March 20, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Moira says:

Another use for baby oil and razors is to actually use it to shave with. My husband has taken to using shaving oil and says that not only is it easier to shave but that it’s a smoother finish too. Just a dab, rub it in and apparently that’s all it takes – saves on buying silly foam or special soaps, saves on scrubbing out the washbasin too!

I also wouldn’t go out and buy baby oil, being mineral oil, but using a light vegetable oil seems to work for shaving.

March 21, 2011 at 12:54 am

What a hoot! These are great ideas.

I don’t care for the perfume in baby oil — way too redolent of the changing table. However, here are a couple of other tricks:

You can use it to clean the greasy residue that collects on the tops of kitchen cabinets, and on the trim near the stove.

If you pour a little into the toilet before you deposit No. 2, it really keeps the odor down. 😉

For removing eye makeup, BTW, olive oil works just as well and it’s got to be better for your skin than a petroleum product. I imagine it would work to protect your razor blades, too. Kinda messy for shaving your legs, though.

March 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Another tip: if you have dry/damaged hair, rub baby oil into both your scalp and the ends of your hair once a week. Sleep with it on your hair overnight, and wash out in the morning. Instant shine and softness! Coconut oil also works well.

If you have normal hair, do the same, but rub baby oil only into the ends of your hair, not the scalp.

March 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

@Mhairi @Jessica @Moira @Funny @Paula: Wow: thanks for the comments & additional tips! I will definitely be looking up the Greenpeace line, using my seemingly limitless supply of baby oil on the grease that collects above kitchen cupboards, trying baby oil instead of shaving soap and testing it out as hair conditioner. Hmm, may have to do a follow-up post…

March 21, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Flexicover says:

Great tips! Baby oil also works really well as makeup remover!

March 24, 2011 at 10:12 am

Margaret says:

I use baby oil in my shredder. Instead of paying around £20 for pre oiled sheets of special paper to run through the shredder to keep it running smoothly. I take a piece of paper that I’m going to be shredding, an old bank statement say, drizzle some baby oil on it and then put the edges together so that the oil covers the whole pages, then just take apart and run through the shredder and it oils the blades and keeps everything running perfectly. Do this regularly and your shredder will last for years.

September 24, 2012 at 1:04 am

Leave a reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *