Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know how huge coconut oil is in the health and wellness community. It’s been shown to have several properties that are incredibly beneficial. It’s practically a must-have in the pantry of any home. Whether it’s ingested or topically applied, coconut oil has quite a few unique uses that you may not be aware of.
Here are some ways in which coconut oil can be used around the household.
That’s right! Sounds strange, but coconut oil is a great mouthwash. It’s been approved as a great natural alternative to chemical antiseptic mouthwash. It has no side effects and has been proven to be just as effective as one that is clinically prescribed.1 It may even help reduce symptoms of gingivitis.2 Next time your breath doesn’t feel quite as fresh as you’d like, just take a spoonful of coconut oil and swish it around just as you would a mouthwash. It may feel strange at first but it really works.
Coconut oil is a great way to moisturize skin. In fact, people who live in the tropics where the coconut tree is native, have been using it as a moisturizer for centuries. The oil prevents water from escaping through the skin, keeping it hydrated. In fact, it has also been shown to be effective as a treatment for drying skin conditions like xerosis and eczema.3 4
Studies have shown that coconut oil actually has a sun protection factor (SPF) of around 8.5 It blocks about 20% of the sun’s UV rays. However, it cannot be used as a replacement to commercial sunscreens, since the minimum recommended amount of SPF is 30. It is worth mixing some into your sunscreen for its moisturizing properties.
Coconut oil is great at fighting infections. It has been to reduce colonization of bacteria on skin with dermatitis.6 It has also been shown to reduce the incidence of diarrhea-causing bacteria, and inhibit its growth.7 In a study on young rats, coconut oil was seen to help wounds on the skin heal faster.8
5. Anti-inflammatory Supplement
Coconut oil has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One study showed that it reduced damage and stress on the kidneys and liver.9 It was seen to do the same with nasal inflammation and reduced oxidative stress in the upper respiratory system.10
6. Hair Oil
Researchers have found that coconut can actually help repair protein loss in both healthy and damaged hair. This may be due to the lauric acid in coconut oil which can penetrate the shaft of the hair in a unique way.11 The use of coconut oil for hair is great for those with hair that is prone to dryness. It is especially popular among those with curly hair to keep their curls looking glossy and healthy.
7. Baby Oil
Coconut oil may actually help your newborn gain weight. A study showed that massaging your newborn with coconut oil may cause them to gain weight faster. This was beneficial in the case of premature babies.12 Even if weight gain isn’t the main goal, coconut oil as mentioned earlier is a great natural moisturizer and antibacterial substance.
Caution: Make sure your baby is not allergic to coconut. Always check with your doctor first before applying anything unfamiliar to your baby’s skin.
8. Insect Repellent
Studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil and the essential oil from the Cananga tree native to Indonesia, can be effective as a natural mosquito repellent. However, these oils are too potent to be used on their own. Coconut oil acts as an effective carrier oil for these essential oils to be diluted in. Not to mention, the moisturizing benefits of coconut oil which make this remedy beneficial two-fold.
9. Stain Remover
Coconut oil mixed with baking soda makes for an effective stain remover. It works on carpets and other kinds of upholstery. Apply this paste onto the stain, let it sit and then wipe away. It is more effective on greasy, waxy and fat based stains.
Body odor is not actually a result of sweat. Rather, it is a result of bacteria that accumulates on our skin that causes the odor. Coconut oil’s antibacterial properties make it a great option for a natural deodorant that doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. You can mix it with other essential oils as well.
11. Wood Polish
Coconut oil can help repel dust and bring out the natural sheen in wooden furniture. This use also eliminates the need for commercially produced polishes that have strong smelling fragrances. They may not be entirely safe for the household to be inhaling either.
12. Lip Balm
Coconut oil’s intense moisturizing properties are great for keeping your lips from getting chapped. It can even provide a little bit of sun protection. You can use it on its own or mix with an additional oil and even a few drops of beetroot juice for a slight tint.
13. Makeup Remover
Coconut oil’s greasy texture makes it easy to remove makeup. Just put some on a cotton pad and wipe over the eyelid gently. It comes off quite easily. Even if you keep your eyes shut tight, you may find your vision a little blurry afterward but this is perfectly safe. It will go away on its own after a few minutes.
Considering all these unique benefits from a single substance, you must be rejoicing knowing that you have easy access to it. If you didn’t already have a bottle of coconut oil sitting in your pantry, you should probably go out and get one soon!
|↑1||Kaushik, Mamta, P. Reddy, R. Sharma, P. Udameshi, N. Mehra, and A. Marwaha. “The Effect of Coconut Oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans Count in Saliva in Comparison with Chlorhexidine Mouthwash.” J Contemp Dent Pract 17, no. 1 (2016): 38-41.|
|↑2||Peedikayil, Faizal C., Prathima Sreenivasan, and Arun Narayanan. “Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis—A preliminary report.” Nigerian medical journal: journal of the Nigeria Medical Association 56, no. 2 (2015): 143.|
|↑3||Agero, Anna Liza, and V. Verallo‐Rowell. “P15 A randomized double‐blind controlled trial comparing extra‐virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis.” Contact Dermatitis 50, no. 3 (2004): 183-183.|
|↑4||Evangelista, Mara Therese Padilla, Flordeliz Abad‐Casintahan, and Lillian Lopez‐Villafuerte. “The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double‐blind, clinical trial.” International journal of dermatology 53, no. 1 (2014): 100-108.|
|↑5||Kaur, Chanchal Deep, and Swarnlata Saraf. “In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics.” Pharmacognosy research 2, no. 1 (2010): 22.|
|↑6||Verallo-Rowell, Vermén M., Kristine M. Dillague, and Bertha S. Syah-Tjundawan. “Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis.” Dermatitis 19, no. 6 (2008): 308-315.|
|↑7||Shilling, Michael, Laurie Matt, Evelyn Rubin, Mark Paul Visitacion, Nairmeen A. Haller, Scott F. Grey, and Christopher J. Woolverton. “Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile.” Journal of medicinal food 16, no. 12 (2013): 1079-1085.|
|↑8||Nevin, K. G., and T. Rajamohan. “Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 23, no. 6 (2010): 290-297.|
|↑9||Nair, S. S., J. J. Manalil, S. K. Ramavarma, I. M. Suseela, A. Thekkepatt, and A. C. Raghavamenon. “Virgin coconut oil supplementation ameliorates cyclophosphamide-induced systemic toxicity in mice.” Human & experimental toxicology 35, no. 2 (2016): 205-212.|
|↑10||Gao, Meixia, Anju Singh, Kristin Macri, Curt Reynolds, Vandana Singhal, Shyam Biswal, and Ernst W. Spannhake. “Antioxidant components of naturally-occurring oils exhibit marked anti-inflammatory activity in epithelial cells of the human upper respiratory system.” Respiratory research 12, no. 1 (2011): 92.|
|↑11||Rele, Aarti S., and R. B. Mohile. “Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.” Journal of cosmetic science 54, no. 2 (2002): 175-192.|
|↑12||Sankaranarayanan, K., J. A. Mondkar, M. M. Chauhan, B. M. Mascarenhas, A. R. Mainkar, and R. Y. Salvi. “Oil massage in neonates: an open randomized controlled study of coconut versus mineral oil.” Indian pediatrics 42, no. 9 (2005): 877.|