Need to unstick, untangle, soften, de-scum, smooth out, depilate, shine-up or de-squeak something? Two words: baby oil.
This familiar nursery emollient is often found in homes without babies. The scented mineral oil is good for dozens of applications that have nothing to do with kids.
Following are more than two dozen good uses for baby oil:
1. Bath oil
I’ve poured it into the tub to soften my winter-weary skin. Adding a little bubble bath makes the experience even more pleasant, according to a blog called Fidgety Fingers. Note: You must use some cleanser on the tub afterward, lest the oily residue cause the next bather to slip and fall.
2. Bath gel enhancer
Fidgety Fingers suggests adding ¼ to ½ cup baby oil to half a bottle of shower gel — again, to soften your skin.
3. After-bath moisturizer
Don’t feel like scrubbing an oily tub every time you bathe? Towel-dry yourself a little and then smooth a little baby oil on your still-damp skin to lock in moisture.
4. Substitute for shave gel
Use a thin layer of baby oil on your legs instead of gel (or soap).
5. Replacement for after-shave moisturizers
Rub a little more baby oil on your newly shorn legs for a smooth finish.
6. Use it après-wax
If you’re waxing brows, legs or, uh, other parts of the body, use a little baby oil first to remove any lingering wax and then to soothe your startled skin.
7. Eye makeup remover
A cotton ball dampened with baby oil takes care of eye shadow and eyeliner without irritating delicate skin.
8. Temporary tattoo remover
Did Junior come home from a birthday party festooned with garish superhero tats? Rub them off with a little baby oil.
9. Nail polish frame
When you paint your nails, does the polish sometimes seep into the cuticles? Use a cotton swab to saturate the perimeter with baby oil. After you’re done painting, use a cotton ball or tissue to remove the oil (and any polish) carefully.
10. Cuticle oil
Sushmita Munda of the Makeup and Beauty blog uses baby oil on her hands when she gives herself a manicure. Sure, there’s a product called “cuticle oil,” but she never buys it.
11. Lip fixer
Munda also makes a lip scrub with 1 teaspoon of baby oil, ½ teaspoon of sugar and a few drops of lemon juice. Every night before bed she rubs it lightly on her lips to remove dead skin.
12. Massage unguent
Baby oil is an inexpensive alternative to massage unguents.
13. Earwax buildup fighter
According to the Mayo Clinic, you can remove excess earwax buildup with baby oil — as long as you don’t have tubes in your ears or a hole in your eardrum. Apply a few drops of oil twice a day; after a day or two, use a rubber-bulb syringe to (gently!) squirt warm water into the ear canal.
Let the water drain out, then dry your outer ear with a soft towel or a hair dryer. Note: If the situation doesn’t improve after a few such treatments, see a doctor.
14. Fix for scaly feet
Do your feet look positively lizardlike in the winter? Rub some baby oil on at bedtime, then don plain white socks. While you sleep, your feet will soften right up.
15. Remove a stuck ring
Did your hands swell up because of pregnancy or air travel? Trickle a little baby oil on the puffy digit and gradually ease off the ring.
16. Necklace chain helper
If the pendant you inherited from Grandma is on a knotted chain, rub just a drop of oil onto the tangle, then pick it apart with a straight pin.