32 Survival Uses for Vaseline

Survival Uses for Vaseline

Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is a mainstay in most homes’ medicine cabinets. It has many medical uses but also has a variety of uses for survival.

Some great survival uses for Vaseline are:

  • Gas mask seal
  • Lubricant (firearms, tools, knives, etc.)
  • Firestarter
  • Insect management
  • Healing and soothing chapped skin
  • Protecting small cuts
  • Blister prevention
  • Treating and preventing diaper rash
  • Frostbite prevention

Besides these, there are also many more survival uses for Vaseline. Here are 30 ways that you can use Vaseline for survival and to make your everyday life easier.

Survival Uses for Vaseline

Survival Uses for Vaseline

Gas Mask Seal

One reason why the military requires most of its members to be clean-shaven is so they can use a gas mask. Facial hair prevents the mask from forming a seal between itself and the user’s face. This can allow contaminants inside the mask, rendering it useless.

Vaseline can be used to help people with facial hair use a gas mask without having to shave. Apply large amounts of vaseline to both your beard and the portion of the mask that forms the seal. The Vaseline will help form a seal, reducing the chance that contaminants will make it into the mask.

Seal a Plunger

Vaseline can also be used to seal plungers similar to how it can help seal a gas mask. This is helpful because plungers must form an airtight seal between itself and the toilet bowl in order to be effective. Few things are more frustrating than trying to plunge a toilet and having the water ramp out of it like an Olympic ski jumper.

Apply a layer of Vaseline around the portion of the plunger that will be making contact with the toilet bowl. This will help prevent air from escaping from between the plunger and the bowl. While plunging, try to have 100 percent of the seal in contact with the bowl.

Firearm Lubricant

Keeping your firearms well-maintained will help ensure that they operate reliably when you need them to. Vaseline can help you lubricate your firearm in the event you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any gun oil or some other traditional lubricant.

Apply a thin layer of Vaseline to moving parts. On handguns, this could be locking lugs on your slide and barrel, a magazine release, and slide rails. For rifles and shotguns, you can lubricate bolts, charging handles, pumps, and other moving parts. 

Although it is great for moving parts, I would not recommend putting Vaseline in a firearm’s bore. It is much thicker than regular gun oils and could create hydraulic pressure inside the barrel. This could possibly cause it to bulge or worse.


One of the most popular survival uses for Vaseline is using it as a fire starter. Vaseline’s main ingredient is petroleum, which is flammable. When applied to cotton balls, dryer lint, or other similar materials, it will allow them to catch fire easier and stay ignited longer.

Many campers and survivalists like to carry cotton balls and Vaseline premixed in ziplock bags. This will allow them to start fires much easier and under worse conditions than if they were just using a fire steel or lighter.


Vaseline Candle

Vaseline can also be used to create a survival candle. Take a glob of it and place it in a small bowl or dish. You can also use an upside-down soda can if you need to. Then, take a cotton ball and thoroughly coat it with Vaseline.

Stick the cotton ball into the Vaseline so that part of it is still sticking out. This is the candle’s wick. Then light the candle. The Vaseline will act as a fuel for the flame.

Controlling Candle Wax

If you use candles regularly you know that it can be difficult to remove candles from their holders. This is because the wax runs down the side of the candle and into the holder, basically gluing it in place. Vaseline can help prevent this.

Rub a thin layer to Vaseline onto the candle holder before you place a candle into it. This will prevent the wax from sticking to the holder, making it easier to remove the candle when you need to.

Prevent Battery Corrosion

Car battery terminals tend to corrode, which can be a mess to clean up. What’s even worse is that it can drain the battery’s power and reduce its lifespan. Applying a thin layer of vaseline will help prevent this corrosion. If the battery already has corrosion, be sure to clean it off before applying the Vaseline.

Prevent Rust

Another way to use Vaseline for survival is as a rust preventative. You can apply it to garden tools, knives, bicycle chains, and other items to keep them in good shape. Vaseline can also be used to lubricate folding knives so that they open freely.

Lubricate Tools and Bearings

You can also use Vaseline to lubricate tools that have moving parts, such as adjustable wrenches, clamps, and vises. Add a little to joints and threads to make them easier to move. 

Vaseline can also lubricate moving parts on other equipment, such as castor bearings and garage door wheels. Doing so will make them easier to move and reduce strain on motors, such as garage door openers. You can even add Vaseline to threads on nuts and bolts to make them easier to remove and replace.

Note: When using Vaseline to lubricate tools and equipment, be sure to wipe away any excess. Having excessive amounts of Vaseline or any lubricant will attract dust, dirt, and other particles that can really gum up moving parts and even wear them down.

Protect Leather

Vaseline on Leather

Mankind has been using leather to create clothing and gear throughout its entire existence. Even with newer, more modern materials, leather is still a top choice for pouches, belts, holsters, jackets, and many other items. It is strong, durable, and can last a lifetime if properly maintained.

One weakness of leather is that it will begin cracking and start to break down if it dries out. Preventing this from happening is essential, but it is also very easy. There are many products available that will help you preserve your leather, but a simple tub of Vaseline will work in a pinch.

Use a soft, lint-free, cloth to apply the Vaseline to the leather and rub it in. This will soften the leather so that it remains flexible and free of cracks. It will also make the leather shine which is nice for items such as shoes.

*Note: Do not apply Vaseline to rawhide leather.

Lock and Key Lubricant

Padlocks on gates, doors, and other structures remain in the elements constantly. They may go for several months or even years without being opened. This can cause them to freeze up, making them difficult to insert a key into and unlock. I struggle with this on the deer stands my dad and I use.

Spraying lubricant into the lock is a good way to solve this problem, but if you don’t have any, Vaseline can work also. Rub a small amount of it onto the key before you run it into the lock. The Vaseline from the key will lubricate the inside of the lock as it travels through, which will make it easier to open. It can save you a bunch of frustration and may even prevent you from breaking a key.

Zipper Lubricant

Vaseline also works well to lubricate sticky zippers on coats, jackets, pants, backpacks, and sleeping bags. Use your finger to spread a small amount of it onto the zipper’s surface and then work the zipper back and forth. This will help the zipper work smoother and easier.

Eliminate Squeaky Door Hinges

Having squeaky door hinges can be annoying, especially if you are trying to be quiet so that you don’t wake up family members. Fortunately, Vaseline can help eliminate these sounds on both cabinets and doors.

For cabinets and other doors that don’t have a removable hinge pin, simply apply some to the outside surface of the hinge and move it back and forth. After the Vaseline has worked its way into it, wipe off the excess to prevent it from picking up dirt and dust.

For doors with removable hinge pins, remove one of the pins and wipe off any dirt or grime that is already on it. Then apply Vaseline to the pin and coat it as evenly as possible. Re-install the pin into the hinge and move the door back and forth several times. Repeat these steps with the other hinges.

*Note: Only remove one hinge pin at a time so that you don’t have to take down the door and put it back up. That can be a big pain.

Make Windows Less Sticky

I always hate having to pretend I am a professional weight lifter just to open my window a little bit. Windows, especially those that don’t get opened very much, tend to stick. Vaseline can help with this also.

Start by cleaning out the track that the window travels on as it is opened. Be sure to clean both sides. Then apply some Vaseline to it. Open the window and clean out the portion of the track that you couldn’t access with the window closed. Apply Vaseline there also.

Open and close the window a few times to help distribute the Vaseline as much as possible. This can also be used on sliding glass doors to make them easier to open.

Make Drawers Open More Smoothly

Vaseline as a Lubricant

Vaseline also works well on drawers with sliders, such as those found in tool chests and office desks. Start by opening the drawer all the way. If you can remove it completely that is even better.

Wipe off any dust or grime that may be present. Then apply some Vaseline to the drawer’s slides. Open and close the drawer a few times. It should be working a lot more smoothly. This also works on drawers inside of refrigerators.

Make Sure Light Bulbs Don’t Stick

One problem with outdoor light bulbs is that they tend to get stuck in their socket. You can prevent this from happening by applying a thin layer of Vaseline to the bulb’s threads before inserting it into the socket. This will lubricate it and help prevent corrosion that could make it difficult to remove later.

Refrigerator Seal Repair

Over time, the gasket that goes around the edge of your refrigerator’s door may start to dry out. This can reduce the seal’s effectiveness and can make it useless after cracks start to form.

If your refrigerator’s door gasket is starting to dry out, rub some Vaseline onto it. This will help it form a better seal until you can replace the gasket.

Note: This will not work on gaskets that are already severely damaged.

Protect Water Hose Fittings

Vaseline Water Hose

Water hoses, spigots, and attachments are exposed to the elements almost constantly. This can cause them to get stuck together or be difficult to assemble. To prevent this, work some Vaseline into their threads before you put them together. Doing so will make them easier to disassemble later.

Fly Trap

Flies are disgusting creatures that can be a real nuisance and even spread disease. Vaseline can help you deal with them though. Apply a liberal amount of it to a surface. The flies will get stuck in it when they land and die. 

Insect Barrier

Flies aren’t the only insects that you can use Vaseline on. You can also use it to create barriers to control other bugs, such as ants. One popular way to do this is to use it to protect pet food.

Rub some Vaseline on the floor around your pet’s food bowl. This will create a greasy force field that ants can’t penetrate. Just don’t forget about it and slip on it. Accidentally creating a Home Alone-style booby trap could result in severe injury.

Clean Hands and Surfaces

Vaseline can also work well to clean your hands and surfaces. Vaseline will remove dirt and things like sap from your hands. However, you will need to use soap, such as Dawn, to remove the Vaseline afterward.

As far as surfaces go, Vaseline can clean soap scum off of faucets. It can also be used to remove water ring damage from wood. Apply Vaseline to the affected area and allow it to sit for 24 hours. Then wipe away the excess and rub it into the wood.

Remove a Stuck Ring

Removing a stuck ring can be painful, and in some cases, almost impossible. To make this easier, apply Vaseline to your ring and finger. Rotate the ring to spread it out and then pull the ring off. This could be very helpful if you or someone else is injured and you need to remove a ring before the hand starts to swell.

Shaving Cream

If you need to shave but don’t have any shaving cream, Vaseline can help. Apply some of it to your face to help the razor run smoothly and help avoid cuts.

Chapstick Alternative

Vaseline can also make a good alternative for Chapstick. Apply some to your lips just like you would Chapstick or lip balm. This will help ease pain from chapped lips and help them heal.

Moisturize Dry or Chapped Skin

If you have dry or chapped skin on other areas of your body, Vaseline can help there also. This is especially useful for areas such as your hands that could dry out because of the weather or other reasons. It also works well on dry and cracked feet.

Apply Vaseline to the affected area. It will moisturize it and help ease the pain. This works very well if you can wear soft gloves or socks over your hands or feet. The gloves or socks will keep the Vaseline from rubbing off, making sure it stays where it needs to. This is great to do at bedtime.

Protect Small Wounds and Cuts

Vaseline can also do a good job protecting small wounds, such as paper cuts and razor cuts. Clean the wound and your hands. Then, apply a small amount of Vaseline to the affected area. This will help them stay moist and provide a protective layer that will help keep out contaminants.

Prevent Blisters

Taking care of your feet is very important. That is true whether you have a job that requires you to be on your feet all day, you’re on a hike, or have to make a long trek back to civilization. Vaseline can help you avoid painful blisters on your feet and other areas of your body.

Apply a small amount of Vaseline on areas that you know are prone to suffer blisters. For me, this is the platform of my feet right behind my toes. I’m weird and tend to walk on my toes. Cover the area with a sock. The Vaseline will protect your skin from friction and reduce the chance of a blister forming. 

You can also use Vaseline to protect your hands. This is important if you will be doing lots of manual work, such as digging. Apply Vaseline, and then cover it with a bandage before putting on gloves. This will prevent it from making a mess.

Pet Care

Vaseline pet care

Vaseline can be used to help you take care of your pets’ feet as well. Paws, just like people’s feet, can become very uncomfortable when they dry out and start cracking.

If this happens to your pet, clean their paw and then apply Vaseline. Try to do this before they go to bed so they won’t track it everywhere or lick all of it off.

Prevent and Treat Diaper Rash

If you have small children you know that if the baby ain’t happy, then no one is happy. One sure-fire way for a baby to scream non-stop is for it to develop diaper rash. 

Vaseline can be used to help prevent and treat diaper rash because it moisturizes the baby’s skin. Clean the baby and then apply it to their skin before you put on a new diaper. 

Chafing Prevention

If you suffer from chafing, Vaseline can treat this as well. Apply it to the affected area for its moisturizing and soothing properties.

Treating Hangnails

Vaseline can also be used to help treat painful hangnails. Start by cleaning the area with soap and water. Then apply Vaseline to it gently using a circular motion. Allow it to soften the hangnail by letting it sit for 10 minutes. From there, you can remove the hangnail.

Frostbite Protection 

If you are in a cold environment, frostbite can be a real threat. However, Vaseline can help you protect your skin by forming a barrier between it and the cold. Apply it to exposed areas that are prone to frostbite, such as your nose and cheeks.

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