Coconut oil has been the "it" ingredient for some time now, thanks to its versatility in cooking, beauty, and more. You might think you know it all when it comes to this multi-use product, but there are a number of other surprising uses for coconut oil you may have not heard of. Most of us know about using coconut oil for oil pulling, rubbing it on your face for moisturizer, or adding it to your coffee for a boost of energy, but there are plenty of other innovative ways to use coconut oil that are less well-known — but just as useful.
"Do a quick internet search and you will find hundreds of pages describing the amazing benefits of coconut oil," Dr. Raul Serrano tells Bustle. "There are so many health benefits and versatile uses that coconut oil is one of those superfoods which can cause some confusion when you bring a jar home from the grocery store. I found myself asking, 'Where do I keep this? The pantry? The bathroom?' With so many different uses it is truly an essential superfood for every home."
Here are 17 surprising, but genius uses for coconut oil that can help you save time and money.
1. Bathroom Cleaner
No need for toxic chemical cleaners when you can just use coconut oil. "Bathroom build-up soap, dirt, or mildew in the shower can be easily removed by wiping with a paste of coconut oil and baking soda," cleaning specialist Lucy Norman tells Bustle. "Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and wipe with a clean cloth."
2. Label Remover
If you're trying to remove a label from an object, don't stress about having to peel it off smoothly. "Cover the label with coconut oil and once soaked, wipe it off easily," says Norman. "If there is any sticky residue left, remove it with a bit of oil on a towel."
3. Gum Remover
Getting gum stuck in your hair can be frustrating, but instead of yanking at your locks, put your favorite multipurpose oil to use. "Apply some coconut oil on the gum, let it sit for a couple of seconds, and slide the gum out," says Norman. Crisis averted.
4. Makeup Highlighter
Getting that poppin' highlight has been all the rage lately, and you can get that coveted shine using coconut oil. Just add it to your cheek bones and eye lids for a natural glow that requires no make up, make up removal, or extra expensive products to purchase, Dr. Josh Axe tells Bustle.
5. Shoe Polish
No need to buy special polish for your leather shoes — you can keep them looking spiffy clean by rubbing some coconut oil on them to make them look shiny and fresh, suggests health and wellness expert Caleb Backe of Maple Holistics.
Finding a good natural deodorant is hard, but coconut oil does the trick. Because it moisturizes, it keeps your armpits soft and irritant free. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. "This wards off excess odor created by bacteria and fungi," Adria Ali, founder of Everyday Essence, tells Bustle.
7. Foot Fungus Fighter
Keep your feet clean and fungus-free using coconut oil. You can use it to fight foot fungus or even help with ingrown toenails. "All you have to do it swipe some on your foot," Elaine Consalvo, owner of Natural E skincare, tells Bustle. "It will work even if you don’t massage it in."
8. Burn Relief
Use coconut oil as Mother Nature’s burn relief. "I have successfully treated burns from the stove top and curling iron with coconut oil, which has antibacterial properties and is shown to reduce infection and speed up healing," Cynthia Rowland, founder of Rejenuve, Inc., tells Bustle.
9. Prolong The Life Of Eggs
Coconut oil helps seal the pores in an egg shell to prolong the life of the eggs in your refrigerator. "Try swiping a small amount of oil over the shells of the eggs and leaving it to penetrate, which will help prevent exposure to oxygen," says Axe. "This method should extend the life of your eggs for one to two weeks."
10. Makeup Brush Cleaner
Many people don't clean their makeup brushes enough — or at all — but they can carry bacteria. "Rub coconut oil on your makeup brushes, and leave them for one [to] two hours in order to disinfect them," says Axe. "Then wash thoroughly, although there is no need to worry about any oil remaining on your brush since it won’t harm your makeup or skin."
11. In-Grown Hair Preventer
We all hate those pesky in-grown hair bumps and lumps, but coconut oil is here to save the day — just rub the areas where you are prone to bumps with some oil. "The oil helps to soften skin so hair can easily grow through the follicle properly without becoming ingrown," says Axe. "Plus it kills bacteria at the same time."
12. Constipation Relief
If you're feeling "backed up" or bloated, you might want to give coconut oil a try. "Try taking one tablespoon of coconut oil in the morning or before bed in order stay regular," says Axe. "The oil penetrates the digestive track and keeps things running smoothly by killing off harmful bacteria and allowing your gut flora to rebalance."
13. Wound Salve
Coconut oil can be used to help heal rashes, burns, and open wounds, and you can use it in the same way as a wound-healing agent like Neosporin. To make a homeopathic wound-healing agent, Axe suggests mixing coconut oil, frankincense, lavender and melaleuca oil. "The antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil help to keep the area free of infection, and the lauric acid in coconut oil helps to speed healing," he says.
14. Candida Killer
"Coconut oil contains caprylic acid which has anti-microbial properties that can kill yeast and candida," says Axe. If you suffer from issues like yeast infections, you might benefit from adding 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to your daily routine — or applying oil directly to affected areas. One study found that coconut oil was active against species of Candida at 100 percent concentration, greater than the drug fluconazole.
Coconut oil is a great natural, chemical-free alternative to lube. "If you are not one that is prone to vaginal infections (as it can disrupt the vagina's natural pH) or going to be using a condom (as coconut oil can break down the latex), coconut oil can be a good choice," clinical sexologist Dr. Stacy Friedman tells Bustle.
16. Sunburn Smoother
If you've found yourself with a painful sunburn, break out that coconut oil for some relief. "Coconut oil can help inflamed and irritated skin," says Serrano.
With all these different ways to use coconut oil, there's no reason you shouldn't keep this convenient ingredient on hand.