12 Uses for Coconut Oil on Your Body and Around the House

CC BY 2.0. JustyCinMD

Coconut oil is my newest green beauty obsession. I keep multiple jars of it in the bathroom, bedrooms, and kitchen so that it’s always at my fingertips. The wonderful thing about coconut oil is that it is healthy, versatile, and serves so many functions that it comes in handy at the most unexpected times.

Before getting into the many ways in which to use coconut oil, I feel compelled to say that it isn’t entirely perfect. First, I don’t like the big plastic container that my favourite Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil comes in, though I reuse the container to store bulk food items. (Spectrum sells coconut oil in a glass jar, but it’s more expensive and reviewers complain about a metallic taste.)

Secondly, as one reader pointed out when I wrote “7 ways to use oil in you green beauty routine,” it’s important to consider the environmental impact of harvesting, extracting, processing, and shipping a South Pacific product for North American consumers. While I agree it’s far from ideal and would like to learn more about its production, I have been able to decrease significantly the number of other products I buy as a result of using coconut oil. I do hope to find a fair-trade, sustainable source of coconut oil in the near future.

These are some ways in which coconut oil is useful:

1. Moisturizer

Slather it on your face morning and night for some luscious treatment. It feels a bit greasy at first, but is quickly absorbed, leaving skin soft and supple. Use it on dry skin, chapped lips, and kids’ rosy cheeks.

2. Whipped lotion

Whip 2 cups of coconut oil (or half shea butter) in a stand mixer until soft and fluffy. Add essential oil, if desired. Scoop into a container. The oil will not harden.

3. Face wash and makeup remover

If you’re into the oil cleansing method, coconut oil is great for cleaning. Rub a bit between your hands until it softens or melts (its melting point is 76 F/24 C), then rub all over your face. Wipe away with a hot washcloth.

4. Ultimate hair product

Work a small amount into your hair to tame it and produces well-defined waves and curls without greasiness. Do an overnight deep-condition.

5. Luscious massage oil

There’s no need to invest in expensive massage oil when coconut oil does just as good a job. Soften between your hands before using.

6. Spot and stain remover

Rub a piece of coconut oil into a spot on upholstery or a carpet, and it will loosen the stain or item. You can mix with baking soda to make an effective stain remover. (This same baking soda-coconut oil mixture makes a good whitening toothpaste.)

7. Diaper and nipple cream

Apply it to your baby’s bottom for moisturizing and antibacterial treatment. If you’re nursing, use it in place of lanolin to treat sore nipples.

8. Sweetener and whitener for coffee and tea

9. Natural shaving cream

10. Oil pulling

Good for oral health. Swish some coconut oil around your mouth for 15 minutes in the morning to 'pull' bacteria out of your mouth. Spit and rinse with water.

11. Medicinal uses

Coconut oil helps yeast infections, vaginal dryness, ear infections, cold sores, nosebleeds, rashes, and bug bites.

12. Household uses

Season cast iron pans, polish patent leather, remove chewing gum, and clean shower scum with coconut oil on a rag.