Got coconut oil in your pantry? It may be the most versatile item in your entire home — believe it or not — and it can help keep you fit and feeling peppy at any age! Often touted as one of nature’s most potent and nutritious superfoods, coconut oil offers a high dose of essential fatty acids like medium-chain triglycerides, which help keep your body energized all day long and support an overall healthy metabolism. But in addition to its myriad health and weight-loss benefits, coconut oil can actually be used around the home for everything from caring for your pets to polishing old leather and soothing insect bites. Read on for 22 genius ways that you can use coconut oil to improve all areas of your life. We bet you never knew that coconut oil could…
Apply as an Overnight Hair Mask
Make an overnight hair mask.
If the summer sun and intense heat has left your strands looking dry, heal them with a DIY coconut oil hair mask. To do a hair mask: Before bed, warm one tablespoon of coconut oil in the palm of your hands, massage into damp hair, and use a comb to distribute the oil throughout your hair and scalp. Cover with a shower cap. In the morning, wash your hair as you normally would. The fatty acids in coconut oil will penetrate your hair cuticles to provide deep hydration, leaving you with flowing, healthy locks.
Extend the Life of Eggs
Extend the life of eggs.
You love buying fresh eggs at the farmers' market, but you never finish the carton before they go bad. The save: Coat the shells of room-temperature eggs in coconut oil, then let dry before placing eggs in the fridge. The oil creates a seal that keeps the eggs from being exposed to oxygen, ensuring that they last longer.
Wipe Away Rust
Wipe away rust.
If you find that your trusty kitchen knife has started to develop rust spots, try this: Dip a washcloth in coconut oil and carefully rub it over the blade. Place the knife on a paper towel, let sit for an hour, then rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly. Acids in the oil break down the rust, so your knife looks — and works — like new.
Slim Down Faster
Slim down faster.
An easy way to trim pounds: Enjoy two tablespoons of melted coconut oil stirred into your morning smoothie, melted into oatmeal, or drizzled over veggies daily. The medium-chain fatty acids in the oil improve the thyroid’s ability to convert food into usable energy — an effect shown to increase metabolism by up to 50 percent.
Restore Shine to a Handbag
Restore shine to a handbag.
While going through your closet, you discovered a beautiful leather bag you haven’t used in years — but it looks a bit dull. To restore its rich, shiny finish, rub a small dollop of coconut oil into the leather, then buff with a soft cloth. (Test on an inconspicuous spot first.) The oil’s lauric acid will break down dirt and stains, while its fatty acids condition and moisturize the dried-out leather.
Soothe a Sunburn
Soothe a sunburn.
When fun in the sun leads to a painful sunburn, slathering your skin with coconut oil can help you feel better fast. To heal your sunburn with coconut oil, first take a cool shower before bed, then use your fingers to cover the sunburned skin with the oil. Leave the oil on overnight, then rinse off in the morning. Repeat daily as needed. The fatty acids in coconut oil soothe inflamed skin to ease pain. Bonus: The moisturizing oil nourishes dehydrated skin and minimizes peeling.
Remove Stubborn Labels and Stickers
Remove stubborn labels and stickers.
To remove the sticker on the new vase you picked up to display the gorgeous flowers from your garden, simply coat each sticker with the oil and let sit for 10 minutes before removing the stickers. The oil’s fatty acids will dissolve the adhesive so you can easily peel off the paper and wipe away any remaining glue residue.
Healthify Your Baked Goods
Healthify your baked goods.
The next time you make cookies, cupcakes, or muffins, try using coconut oil instead of butter. (You can swap them in a 1:1 ratio.) Since coconut oil is a saturated fat like butter, your treats will be as moist and rich as usual, but with the added benefits of coconut oil’s slimming medium-chain fatty acids and immunity-boosting lauric acid.
Soothe Your Dogs Skin
Soothe your dog's skin.
Summer’s heat and humidity can cause painful hot spots to crop up on your pup’s skin. To heal the sores naturally, gently rub a dollop of coconut oil onto the irritated patches daily. Coconut’s lauric acid will kill the bacteria behind the sores, soothe redness and irritation, and help prevent a future infection.
If makeup remover irritates your eyes, try coconut oil: Put a dab of the oil on a cotton pad, sweep it over your lids, then rinse. The oil will dissolve every trace of makeup, plus moisturize the delicate skin around your eyes.
Light a Campfire Quickly
Light a campfire quickly.
An easy way to get a fire roaring: Coat a few cotton balls in coconut oil, toss them onto the logs, and use a long match to ignite. The flammable oil will catch fast and burn long, so you can sit in front of the fire for hours.
Soothe Insect Bites
Soothe insect bites.
No matter how much insect repellent you spray on, you always wind up with an itchy bug bite or two. For quick relief, dab a bit of coconut oil onto the spots. The oil’s natural anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties will help ease the itch, reduce redness and swelling, and speed the healing process.
Prevent Candle Wax Buildup
Prevent candle wax buildup.
Enjoy the warm glow of a candlelit dinner without having to scrape hardened wax out of your candleholders later with this trick: Coat the outer lip and interior of the candleholder with a thin layer of coconut oil. The slickness of the oil will prevent wax from adhering, so you’ll be able to wipe away any drips with ease.
Remove Static in Pet's Fur
Remove static in your pet's fur.
Petting your pal is so relaxing, except when those tiny electric jolts strike! To reduce static caused by dry winter air, make a pet-friendly leave-in conditioner by mixing two tablespoons of melted coconut oil (place in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds) and eight ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle. Spritz over your pet’s fur before brushing. The oil moisturizes hair to prevent the buildup of static-causing electric ions — plus, it adds shine to his coat!
Heal Cracked Lips
Heal cracked lips.
To protect your megawatt smile this winter, fill a small container (like an old lip balm pot) with coconut oil and apply throughout the day. The oil’s fatty acids will create a barrier that locks in moisture and guards against the drying effects of cold and wind.
Silence Squeaky Door Hinges
Silence squeaky door hinges.
The sound of the patio door screeching whenever anyone goes in or out of the house is starting to drive you bonkers! Quiet the noise by putting some coconut oil on a rag and using it to coat the door’s hinges. Unlike WD-40, vegetable oil, and other solutions, coconut oil will lubricate the metal without staining or dripping.
Clean Small Cuts
Clean small cuts.
Ouch! You sliced your finger on some paper while paying bills and now you have a nasty little cut. Speed recovery time by rubbing the wound with a dab of coconut oil. The oil’s antibacterial properties will kill germs, while the fatty acids act as a protective barrier to keep out dust and dirt. You’ll be healed in no time!
Keep Gardening Tools Dirt Free
Keep gardening tools dirt-free.
To avoid constantly having to brush dirt off your trowel and fork while you garden, rub a dollop of coconut oil into the metal part of the tools before you start working. The oil will help dirt slide right off instead of sticking.
Use as a Shaving Cream Alternative
Use as a shaving cream alternative.
Oops! You forgot to pick up shave gel at the drugstore and you need to shave before heading to the pool. The in-a-pinch swap that works just as well? Coconut oil, of course. Simply apply a thin coat over legs and shave as usual, then rinse. The slick oil allows the blade to glide over your skin, ensuring your legs are soft and silky.
Clean Crayon Marks Off of Tables
Clean crayon marks off of tables.
The little one in your life was a bit too enthusiastic during craft time and got crayon all over your table. To get rid of the marks, dip a paper towel in coconut oil and rub it over the marks, then wipe the table with a damp washcloth to remove the oil residue. Coconut oil’s lauric acid will dissolve the crayon residue, leaving your table spotless.
Line the Litter Box for Easier Clean-Up
Line the litter box for easier clean up.
Clumps of litter always get stuck to the bottom of your cat’s litter box, making it nearly impossible to clean. What can help: Next time you replace her litter, use a paper towel to rub coconut oil on the bottom of the litter box before adding litter. The oil, which is safe for animals, will leave the pan’s surface slick, so litter won’t stick to it.
Waterproof A Cutting Board
Waterproof a cutting board.
After a few months of use, your wood cutting board is starting to look dry and dingy. The fix: Wash it as usual, then use a clean cloth to rub a dollop of coconut oil into the wood. The oil will fill in any tiny crevices in the wood, preventing water from entering and causing it to crack or split. Plus, the oil’s natural antibacterial properties will help keep the board sanitary. Repeat every few weeks or as needed.