Helpful Coconut Oil Uses That Actually Work

While many people are familiar with olive, vegetable, or avocado oil, there is another type of oil with lots of uses and benefits. Coconut oil is made from the kernel of mature coconuts and contains high levels of saturated fat.

According to Healthline, the fatty acids in coconut oil qualify it as a superfood. Not only can this oil benefit your overall health, but it can be used in numerous ways. From cleaning your house, soothing your skin, or regulating pet health, coconut oil has become a multipurpose savior.

Coconut Oil Is A Natural Deodorant

Woman applying roll-on deodorant
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

According to Allure, coconut oil can help prevent bad odors. The chemicals that make up coconut oil are filled with “antimicrobial properties,” which reduce the strength of foul odors.

There are a couple of options for using coconut oil as a deodorant. People can either use deodorants made with coconut oil or simply take the oil straight from the container and apply it to their underarms. Also, using coconut oil-based deodorants can be great for people with sensitive skin.

It Can Whiten And Clean Teeth

Olivia Culpo applying teeth whitener
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Dental health is crucial to overall wellbeing, and coconut oil can help. Healthline found that oil pulling has been trending recently, but the art of it dates back thousands of years ago.

Oil pulling is similar to using mouthwash but instead, people swish oil in their mouth for around 20 minutes. Doing this can remove harmful bacteria and plaque. Coconut oil can also be used in toothpaste and has been shown to help with teeth whitening. You can make a coconut oil toothpaste at home by adding a little baking soda and some essential oils.

Clean Wooden Furniture Around The House

cleaning a wooden table
Guillermo Gutiérrez/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Guillermo Gutiérrez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s important to keep things tidy around the house, but there are quite a few cleaners that contain harmful chemicals. For those who prefer to go the all-natural way, coconut oil will come in handy.

The Today Show explained that adding a small amount of lemon juice to about a tablespoon of coconut oil will work wonders on wood furniture. It’s best to use a soft, microfiber cloth for this and to test it out in a small spot that can risk getting damaged.

Get Rid Of Those Pesky Bug Bites

a boy pointing to his bug bite
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

There might not be anything more annoying than getting an itchy and painful insect bite. There are some sprays that can reduce the discomfort, but those often contain chemicals with foul-smelling odors.

Coconut oil is a great alternative to relieving bug bites. According to Sun Oven, “When coconut oil is applied to bites or stings, it forms a thin layer that protects the cut from dust and bacteria.” There are also anti-inflammatory properties in the oil.

Prevent Cats From Coughing Up Hairballs

a large persian cat getting groomed
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When cats groom themselves, they end up ingesting a decent amount of their fur. This causes them to regurgitate hairballs, which can damage their respiratory tract.

Canadian Living mentioned that allowing cats to eat a little bit of coconut oil in their diets can reduce the inflammation caused by their hairballs. Just adding about a teaspoon of coconut oil into their food promotes healthy digestion. The moisture from the oil allows them to easily pass the hairballs.

Coconut Oils Fixes Split Ends

sAlessandra Ambrosio wearing her hair down with a silver dress
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Getting hair to look perfect can be extremely difficult, especially when most people don’t have their own personal stylist. A common misfortune that comes along with maintaining long hair is having to deal with split ends.

According to The Cut, coconut oil isn’t a permanent solution for getting rid of split ends, but it can work temporarily. They said to rub a small amount over the split ends and it should help the hair tips stay smooth for a few hours or so.

Fix A Stuck Zipper In No Time

a red leather clothing item with a zipper
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Zippers can be quite unpredictable. One minute they are working perfectly and the next they can become stuck or jammed. Instead of endlessly pulling on a stuck zipper to get it to move, it’s better to use something with a lot of moisture to loosen it.

Apartment Therapy says that coconut oil can unstick a zipper. Dabbing a little bit of coconut oil on the zipper’s teeth and running it back and forth will give it some grease and get it moving again.

Protect Your Home From Dust

A woman wipes dust in an apartment
Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance via Getty Images
Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance via Getty Images

One of the most crucial elements of cleaning the house is dusting. Dust is all over the place and settles in many hard-to-reach places.

While dust is bound to settle in almost all areas of the house, it can be prevented for a little while. According to Apartment Therapy, adding a thin layer of coconut oil on hard surfaces can repel dust. It also makes them easier to wipe down if there is already an accumulation of dust.

Keep Cast Iron Skillets From Sticking

Cleaned and prepped cast iron skillets sit on a shelf
Gabe Souza/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Gabe Souza/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

There are so many uses for cast iron skillets. They can be used both in the oven and on the stove and can cook thousands of delicious dishes. Anyone who has owned a cast iron skillet knows that it needs proper care.

Seasoning a cast iron skillet will prevent food from sticking in the pan. Claudia Thompson, a registered dietician with a Ph.D., found that refined coconut oil is a great substance for seasoning a cast-iron skillet. First, add about a teaspoon of coconut oil and mix with warm water and kosher salt. All that’s left is scrubbing with a sponge.

Substitute Coffee Creamer With Coconut Oil

South Korean promoters make coffee
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

USA Today found that over half of Americans over the age of 18 are drinking coffee every day. Coffee on its own does have some nutritional benefits, but additives such as creamer can make it very unhealthy.

Coffee creamers are known to have high amounts of sugar, fat, and calories, so it might be time to switch to a healthier alternative. Coconut oil can be a great coffee creamer because it’s all-natural, non-dairy, and sugar-free.

Soothe A Dog’s Skin And Keep Their Coat Smooth

a woman petting her dog
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Dog owners can agree that keeping their pets safe and healthy is a top priority. A common ailment among these furry companions is skin irritation, which is usually noticed when they are constantly scratching themselves.

According to Healthline, coconut oil can be used to treat dry skin and eczema when applied topically on dogs. This works because the oil contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying coconut oil to their fur can also make it shinier and prevent it from becoming damaged.

Remove Residue From Stickers And Labels

coconut oil jars with labels
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There are so many products that come with labels and stickers, but people don’t always want to leave them on. Removing them can be a pain because it can leave the items with a bunch of sticky residue that won’t come off.

Lifehacker was able to figure out that this pesky residue can be removed with coconut oil. Combining it with a small amount of baking soda will create a polishing paste that will get all that harsh gunk off in no time.

It Pulls Gum Out Of Hair

Organic vegan cold pressed coconut oil in coconut shell and wooden spoon over grey texture background
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Chewing gum can be fun, but it might not be so great if it accidentally gets stuck in your hair. Instead of aimlessly trying to get that messy gunk out, there are some better alternatives.

Healthline wrote that cooking oils such as coconut oil can remove the gum because they are hydrophobic. This means that they can easily separate from water, which allows them to break down the stickiness of the gum without ruining hair.

Take Off Makeup In A Snap

Ali Fedotowsky taking off her makeup
Charley Gallay/Getty Images
Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Since makeup usually takes a long time to put on, it’s good to figure out a way to remove it as thoroughly as possible. Store-bought wipes and liquid removers usually work well, but can get pricey.

Doctors Anthony Youn and Carl Thornfeldt have worked in skincare for many years and agree that coconut oil is a great makeup remover. It’s not only safe on skin, but also provides many benefits such as being anti-bacterial and anti-yeast.

Start A Campfire With Ease

people sitting around a campfire in the moonlight
Tom Smart/Getty Images
Tom Smart/Getty Images

Going camping can be a rewarding experience filled with nature walks, soothing animal noises, and fresh air. One activity that has been enjoyed by many for centuries is sitting around a campfire.

Starting the fire can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Most oils, including coconut oil, are flammable and work well for starting a fire. Backpacking Light suggests soaking the kindling in coconut oil before lighting it. Coconut oil is also a good choice because it’s safer for the environment.

It Can Act As Sunscreen

Rory McIlroy putting on sunscreen
Warren Little/Getty Images
Warren Little/Getty Images

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 because it blocks out 97 percent of the sun’s UV rays.

If there’s a time when you don’t have sunscreen around, but have some coconut oil, you can use it as a sunscreen. Although it isn’t as effective as store-bought sunscreen, coconut oil can block up 20 percent of the sun’s rays. It also keeps skin hydrated, smooth, and soft.

Stop The Door From Squeaking

an old woman opening a door
Tom Stoddart Archive/Getty Images
Tom Stoddart Archive/Getty Images

When a piece of furniture starts to squeak and creak, the likely choice to fix it is with WD-40. However, not everyone has WD-40 on hand and there are other substances that can do the same job.

According to Apartment Therapy, a more natural solution to fixing a squeaky hinge is using coconut oil. First, apply the oil to the hinges and open and close the door a few times. Then, let the oil soak on the hinges overnight. Finally, wipe it off after about 24 hours.

Coconut Oil Is Good For Your Lips

Samantha Cameron putting on chapstick
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Seventeen magazine recommends using coconut oil as a natural lip balm or scrub. It has a multitude of moisturizing effects, which make it perfect for fixing chapped lips.

According to Healthline, lips are extremely sensitive to moisture loss because the skin is very thin. Lips are also exposed to the elements, which can cause them to become dry and chapped a lot faster than other parts of the body. Coconut oil can also keep lips germ-free and prevent infections.

Use Coconut Oil As A Makeshift Shaving Cream

Young woman shaving her legs
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Gillette agrees that “when less force is needed to cut each hair, your shave can be more comfortable.” That means that putting on shaving cream before a shave can prevent cuts and scrapes.

Most shaving creams contain a lot of chemicals and can actually dry out the skin. Coconut oil can work just as well as shaving cream, especially when mixed with olive oil, shea butter, and eucalyptus essential oil. It has about the same consistency and actually helps skin stay moisturized and smooth.

Make Some Delicious Homemade Dog Treats

Mary Nee feeding her dog a treat
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Most dog owners want to make sure that they’re feeding their pets food that’s both nutritious and delicious. If store-bought dog treats don’t live up to those standards, owners can make their own dog treats at home.

Healthline states that coconut oil is generally safe for dogs to eat, as long as it’s done in small amounts. One recipe for healthy dog treats is sticking about equal parts coconut oil and all-natural peanut butter in an ice cube tray and freezing for about 24 hours.

It Can Prevent Nosebleeds

Man blowing his nose
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

No one likes having dry and itchy nasal passages. When that goes untreated, it can sometimes lead to gushing nosebleeds. Luckily, coconut oil can stop this from happening.

According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, most nosebleeds can be prevented if the inside of the nasal passages are regularly moisturized. This can be done by dipping a cotton swab into some coconut oil and rubbing it gently inside the nose. Vaseline and antibiotic ointment are also some great internal moisturizers.

Coconut Oil Treats Dandruff

Drea De Matteo getting her hair washed
Djamilla Rosa Cochran/WireImage/Getty Images
Djamilla Rosa Cochran/WireImage/Getty Images

It can be embarrassing to notice that your hair is full of dandruff. These white, flaky things are pieces of dry scalp that have fallen off. Ugh!

Allure magazine discovered that coconut oil gets rid of dandruff. “Being anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, coconut oil can be useful for seborrheic dermatitis, a.k.a. dandruff.” All that needs to be done is to apply the oil to hair follicle roots and massage it with your fingertips in a circular motion. This softens the dandruff and makes it easier to take out.

Clean Leather Clothing And Furniture

Soft leather toy shoes, faux tortoise shoehorn and faux horn cleaning accessory
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Caring for leather products, whether they’re clothing or furniture, can be challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing. Special leather cleaners usually work, but there are ingredients around the house that work as well.

Apartment Therapy wrote that coconut oil can clean leather because it traps moisture. First, wet the leather item with a damp rag. Then, add a little coconut oil to a dry rag and rub it on the item. Finally, lay it out in the sun to dry.

Remove Stuck Rings From Fingers

Meghan Markle wearing a diamond ring
John Sibley/WPA/Getty Images
John Sibley/WPA/Getty Images

One way to make an outfit pop is to add a beautiful ring. Rings usually aren’t too tricky to slide on, but there are times when fingers swell throughout the day and the rings won’t come off.

The Today Show reported that coconut oil is a great tool for helping the ring to slide right off. Simply apply a dab of coconut oil to the swollen area at the bottom of your finger and the moisture from the oil will loosen it up.

Coconut Oil Can Clean Makeup Brushes

a girl getting her makeup done
Richard Blanshard/Getty Images
Richard Blanshard/Getty Images

Those who use the same makeup brushes every day may notice that they can get very dirty if they aren’t regularly cleaned. Scrubbing with soap and water can wear them down, so it’s best to use another method.

Cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski recommends using coconut oil to clean makeup brushes. The coconut oil can remove a lot of the makeup before they are washed with soap and water. It’s important to remove the coconut oil before washing them because the combination of soap and oil makes the brushes harder to clean.

Grow And Strengthen Your Nails And Cuticles

A woman with red nail polish
S. Alemdar/Getty Images
S. Alemdar/Getty Images

Celebrity manicurist Skyy Hadley and board-certified dermatologist Orit Markowitz claim that coconut oil is great for the growth and strengthening of nails and cuticles. It can also prevent nail ridges, cure hangnails, and treat toenail fungus.

This is because coconut oil is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The fatty acids easily absorb in the body to smoothen skin for long periods of time. Anyone can give their nails the spa treatment by applying a small amount directly on clean, dry nail cuticles and massaging it for about 30 seconds. It’s best to leave it on as long as possible before washing your hands.

Use It As A Cooking Oil

a man pouring coconut oil into a bottle
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There are tons of dishes that require some form of cooking oil. These can range from olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, avocado oil, and ghee, but there’s another oil that is perfect for cooking.

The Today Show mentioned that before cooking with coconut oil, it’s important to know which type to use. Virgin coconut oil is best for baking and sautéing and refined coconut oil is best for frying and cooking at higher temperatures. It’s easier to measure the oil when it’s in its liquid form.

Relax With Coconut Oil Aromatherapy

an essential oil diffuser
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than doing an aromatherapy treatment with essential oils. These can include lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and more, and each of them has its own healing properties.

According to Bulk Apothecary, the aroma of coconut oil can help ease stress and provide some much-needed comfort and relief. This can be done by melting about a quarter cup of the oil and putting it in a bath or an essential oil diffuser. It also provides a pleasant fragrance that will last throughout the day.

Coconut Oil Works To Heal Cuts And Scrapes

Doctor applying bandage to patient's hand and wrist
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In order to help wounds heal faster, they need to be cared for as soon as possible. Skin is very sensitive, so anything that is being applied to it should have healing properties.

The Today Show found that coconut oil can do this. The oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory elements that can quickly fix minor wounds such as cuts and scrapes. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to the wound and cover with a bandage.

Remove Crayons From Hard Surfaces

a yellow crayon on top of a box of crayons
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Most parents and teachers know that kids often make messes. While coloring, it’s possible that they could get carried away and accidentally get their crayons on things that aren’t paper.

Luckily, the crayon stains can easily be removed. The Today Show says that coconut oil can wipe away crayon marks. Cleaning it up barely takes any time. All that needs to be done is dip a rag, sponge, or toothbrush into some coconut oil and scrub gently.