If you are a typical DIYer you want to live healthy and have something in your pantry that can be used for many things. Coconut oil is the “poster child” of such products. Look at the following examples and see what it can do for you:
1) Remove Rust: Rust is somewhat of an inevitable fact of life. Unless you can keep your scissors/knives/etc. away from oxygen, you’re going to encounter rust eventually. To get rid of these pesky spots, spread a thin layer of coconut oil over the rusty area. Let it sit for 1-2 hours, then run warm water over the oil and wipe clean with a soft cloth.
2) Healthy Wood Polish: Most wood polish coats surfaces in a slick layer of synthetic chemicals, which makes the wood look all sleek and shiny…for a little bit. Coconut oil, on the other hand, sinks into the wood and keeps it looking “healthy” longer. The appearance is much more natural, and it stays that way. It may not look as dramatic as a store bought polisher, but I find it a much more pleasant and effective option to keeping wood looking it’s best.
3) Deodorant: Sweat on its own typically doesn’t smell. In fact, most sweat doesn’t smell at all, since most sweat glands on our body are eccrine, which produces mostly water with some salt and maybe some uric acid. Apocrine sweat glands become active during puberty, and produce sweat from our underarms, around the genitals, etc. The sweat from apocrine glands has other stuff in it, such as lipids (fats.) When the bacteria on our skin feed on these fats, the byproducts smell. Like store-bought deodorant, coconut oil helps decrease the bacteria count that’s causing the odor. Mix about a tablespoon of arrowroot powder into 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil for an easy homemade deodorant. Apply as needed; adding beeswax to solidify it some if you feel the coconut oil is too thin on its own.
4) Rash Soother: There are two things that come to mind when I think of discomfort caused by a rash of any kind-itching and painful swelling. Coconut oil, with its anti-inflammatory effects, is an obvious go-to for helping the swelling. It will also help take the edge off the dreadful itching, curbing the vicious cycle of scratching and further irritating your skin.
5.) Fight Inflammation: Coconut oil appears to have a direct effect on suppressing the natural chemicals responsible for mediating inflammation. The studies that have been done on this action so far point to lauric acid and capric acid as the biggest contributors, both of which are part of the magnificent medium chain fatty acids found naturally in coconut oil (capric acid alone makes up roughly 10% on its own.)
6.) DIY Vapor Rub: Mix peppermint essential oil with coconut oil to make a vapor rub that you can apply beneath your nose/on your chest when you’re congested. It’s a simple, but effective, way to clear out stuffiness and help you sleep better at night.
7.) Cold Sores: Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, generally type 1, and as such they have no cure. If you harken back to science class, you’ll recall that bacteria can be wiped out, while a virus cannot. So how can coconut oil possibly help? It doesn’t wipe out the virus, but it can inhibit its assembly and how it spreads. Coconut oil contains a substance known as lauric acid. When combined with glycerol, it creates a substance known as monolaurin. Studies done so far have shown that monolaurin affects the lipid envelope of the virus, and prevents the virus from reproducing how it normally would. In turn, it is not able to spread as efficiently and tends not to last as long. Apply a bit of coconut oil directly to the sore several times a day.
8.) Reduce Risk (or effect) of Alzheimer’s: Alzheimer’s is devastating to all who experience it, whether personally or with a friend or family member. It is no wonder that we search so desperately for a cure. The word that coconut oil could possibly “cure” or prevent Alzheimer’s started circulating with vigor when a pediatrician published a book about feeding coconut oil to her husband, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and got positive results. Other studies have confirmed that ketones, which are essentially “brain food” provided to keep the brain functioning when the body runs lower on glucose, can help improve memory, and potentially “reverse” the effects of Alzheimer’s. It’s a much more complex subject and process, but that’s it in a really wrapped up nutshell. The dosing that I have uncovered implies 2 teaspoons taken daily with food to help improve cognitive function.
9.) Get Rid of Soap Scum: Soap is alkaline, and most oils are acidic. This is part of why soap works so well against grease and grime, most of which is stuck to us with oil. Apply a thin layer coconut oil to the soap scum and let it sit for 10-20 minutes. Wipe away with the rough side of a sponge, if the surface allows. For a little extra kick, mist the coconut oil with some vinegar after applying it to boost the acidity.
10.) Oil/Butter Replacement: There’s no better way to get the benefits of coconut oil than to replace other less desirable fats with it. When cooking or baking, substitute it for butter or just about any oil. It lends moisture, freshness, and richness to baked goods, and a subtle complimentary flavor to savory dishes. How much you substitute will depend on the recipe you are making. For baking, most people will fall in the 1:1 ratio or 80% coconut oil 20% water when subbing for butter. For basic cakes, cookies, and brownies I find 1:1 to be sufficient. When it comes to more complex pastries that get their flaky puffiness when steam is escaping, you may find yourself tweaking the amount a little. For oil substituting, subbing 1:1 is a good route to go.
11.) Remove Chewing Gum: Why does coconut oil remove chewing gum? I don’t know, but I don’t feel the need to question it. Whether its ground into your carpet or your kid is panicking because they think they have to chop off a big chunk of gummy hair, coconut oil has a weird way of getting the stuff out. Most likely, it sinks in and just makes it so the whole glob glides out over the fibers/hairs easily. This is one case where you can feel free to apply liberal amounts. Rub it thoroughly over the chewing gum and let it sit for 2-5 minutes (or longer, if you deem it necessary.) Use a soft, textured cloth to wipe the gum away. Follow up with a mild soap rinse (or shampooing) to remove any excess oil.
12.) Bee Sting Soother: As a beekeeper, bee stings are a reality that I face quite often. While honeybees are really quite gentle creatures, some stings are simply inevitable at times. To help reduce the swelling, heat, and pain that comes along with bee venom, rub a little coconut oil onto the site after the stinger has been removed. For an extra soothing kick, add a drop of lavender essential oil to it as well.
13.) Small Motor Lubricant: Use a small amount of melted coconut oil to lubricate small motors, such as on blenders. A little goes a long way. Too much and it can have the opposite effect of running smoothly when it solidifies.
14. Popcorn Topping: Melt some coconut oil and drizzle it over your popcorn. Add a touch of salt, toss until each piece if coated, and enjoy a magnificent show time snack.
15.). Ease Arthritis Pain: Acute inflammation present with arthritis is responsible for quite a bit of discomfort and stiffness that accompanies this common malady, which can be eased by the anti-inflammatory effects of the coconut oil. Massage a bit of the oil into each joint thoroughly 1-2 times a day to relieve soreness.
16.) Treat Athletes Foot: The anti-fungal action of coconut oil helps fight off athlete’s foot when you apply it daily. Be sure to rinse your feet first and pat them dry, then thoroughly apply a thin layer of coconut oil, massaging it in well. Wash your hands before applying to the other foot to avoid spreading the fungus.
17.) Lessen a Dry, Hacking, Cough: You don’t want to suppress your cough if it is productive, meaning you are coughing up phlegm. Your body needs to get rid of all that stuff. However, if you have a dry hacking cough, swallowing a teaspoon or so of coconut oil can help ease the itchy irritation. It is especially nice because it coats your throat and seems to protect it more from irritating things such as dust, whereas water only provides very temporary relief.
18.) Aromatherapy: Add your favorite blend of essential oils to some coconut oil to dab on your temples and the back of your neck when you feel stressed or nauseous. Peppermint and eucalyptus for headaches and tension, or lemon/lime/orange for nausea, are nice places to start.
17.) Dry Nostrils: Dry nostrils feel like they need to be picked at. Picked at nostrils become sore and irritated nostrils. It’s a vicious cycle. Rub a little bit of coconut oil on the inside of each nostril to moisturize it. Use only a little bit. Because coconut oil melts rapidly at body temperature, too much can make you look (or feel) like you have a runny nose!
18.) Fade Age/Sun Spots: Coconut oil can help heal or lessen the appearance of a wide variety of skin blemishes, and people have found that daily application of it have helped fade sun or age spots. Rub coconut oil onto sun spots daily to help fade them.
19.) Soften Dry Elbows: Elbows are one of the hardest places to keep soft. Rub coconut oil onto them morning and night to help them stay supple. I don’t suggest doing this if you are going in for a big test and plan on setting your elbows on the desk. The horror if they slipped off and you ended up banging yourself against the table in the middle of a dead silent room.
20.) Soothe and Prevent Hangnails: Fun fact-hangnails are also known as a “stepmothers blessing” in several parts of the U.K. as well as a “catchy” in other parts of the world .Whatever you call them, these little bits of torn skin seem benign, but cause major pain. Often times they end up creating a whole inflamed sore patch around your nail that’s tender for days. Rubbing some coconut oil around the outer edges of your nail can help keep the skin soft and pliable, making it less likely for it to “rip” and land you with a hangnail. When the little bits of skin get hard and stiff, rubbing some coconut oil on it will also help soothe the pain with its anti-inflammatory actions.
21.) Metal Polish: Rub a bit of coconut oil over metal with a soft cloth. Let it sit for a minute, and then buff to a shine. It’s helpful to wipe the surface free of dust before applying the oil.
22.) Clean Your Retainer (or Mouth Guard): The antibacterial and antifungal constituents of coconut oil take center stage here. Rub a little bit of it onto your retainer after rinsing it at night to help keep it clean, and it doesn’t taste so bad either. You can also use this on a mouth guard as well. If you’re going to get tackled to the ground, you might as well have a pleasant taste in your mouth when you hit the dirt.
23.) Ink Cleaner: Don’t cry over spilled ink. If you find yourself with irritating ink smears and smudges on your hand, simply rub a little coconut oil over it and let it sit for a minute or two. Wipe off with a dry, clean, cloth.
24.) Dust Repellent: A thin layer of coconut oil rubbed into certain surfaces (such as wood, or a dashboard) can help keep dust from collecting. It seems counter-intuitive, like the dust would just stick in the coconut oil and make it all fuzzy, but it doesn’t. Instead you get a nice lustrous polished look and you keep the dust bunnies at bay. Rub a small amount over the desired area, being sure to rub it in thoroughly, and then allow it to dry. Use ONLY enough as needed. Be sure to test on a small area first to make sure it does not discolor or in any way negatively affect the surface.
25.) Tupperware Stain Prevention: When it comes to dishware malfunctions, Tupperware stains are pretty bothersome, especially when stained with red sauce. It isn’t exactly appetizing to place fresh food in a clean, but very dirty looking, container. To help prevent these stains, rub a very thin layer of coconut oil into the Tupperware and allow it to sink in/dry. This forms a layer that prevents discoloration from setting in. At times this can even help with clean up, as things slide out easier. If you are worried about coconut flavor/taste being imparted, use refined coconut oil.
26.) Maintain Lawn Mower Blades: Apply a thin layer of coconut oil over clean lawn mower blades to prevent grass clumps from sticking and jamming the mower.
27.) Clean Sap: I grew up trying to climb the old pine tree in my backyard which, naturally, got me covered in sap. It was my Dad who first showed me that mayonnaise could magically get that pesky sticky sap off your hands, and it only made sense when I learned that coconut oil could do the same. I am not sure why, but rubbing the sappy spot with coconut oil and then rinsing with warm soapy water does wonders!
28.) Grease a Bicycle Chain: If you want to try “green grease” try a little bit of coconut oil on your bike chain to keep it running smoothly. A thick layer is not needed, as coconut oil solidifies temperatures under 76 degrees Fahrenheit, and you don’t want to gum up your chain.
29.) Shape Your Beard/’Stache: If you’re going to for a sleek, styled look, use a little bit of coconut oil to shape your beard or mustache into your desired look.
30.) Lubricate Kitchen Appliances: Rub a thin layer over the blades of kitchen appliances to keep them running smoothly. Be sure to store in a cool place so the layer stays firm.
Amazing, isn’t it?
And as astonishing as all of the above verbal illustrations are there are still more examples of the marvel that is coconut oil! To see them go over to Every Day Roots to be further amazed.
Life is tough enough so it is definitely nice to know there are goods out there like coconut oil that make matters a little easier!