While I tend to feel a bit skeptical when I see people position something as a “cure-all,” I try to approach most things with an open mind. So back in the early 2010s when coconut oil began gaining popularity as a remedy for, well, almost everything, I figured I would look into it to see if it could possibly live up to the hype.
Now all these years later, I still make use of many of the uses for coconut oil that I discovered back then. Between its nutritional content, its unique molecular structure, and its beneficial properties, coconut oil can come in handy in a surprising number of ways!
Check out my list of 22 surprising uses for coconut oil below.
Want To Learn More About Coconut Oil?
- The list in this post is a generalized list of things you can do with coconut oil, but I’ve written plenty of other posts over the years that you can check out to learn more about it:
- To learn about its beauty benefits, read 7 Coconut Oil Benefits That Will Make You Look And Feel Better
- To learn about its skin benefits, read 5 Skin Benefits That Will Make You Love Coconut Oil Even More
- For ways to use coconut oil for beauty, read The Best Coconut Oil Uses for Your Skin And Hair
- For ways to use fractionated coconut oil, read 9 Fantastic Things You Can Do With Fractionated Coconut Oil
22 Surprising Uses For Coconut Oil
1. Homemade Vapor Rub
Using coconut oil and a combination of congestion-fighting essential oils, you can make your own homemade vapor rub in just about 5 minutes. Much like its name brand counterpart, this vapor rub helps open your airways so you can breathe a little easier when you’re dealing with chest congestion or a cough. Get the recipe here.
2. Soothing After-Sun Lotion
You can also use coconut oil to make an after-sun lotion that’s packed with rich, nourishing ingredients. It not only helps protect your skin so it can get to work healing, it also helps soothe the pain of having stayed out in the sun a bit too long. Get the recipe here.
3. “Magic Shell” Ice Cream Topping
You can make your own homemade crackly chocolate topping for ice cream with just two ingredients: coconut oil and Nutella. Just stir 2 parts coconut oil and 1 part Nutella together in a bowl, then pour it into an airtight container for storage. Pour it over ice cream and it will set into a crackable shell within a minute.
4. Lip Scrub
With just sugar, a bit of coconut oil, and a drop of peppermint oil, you can make a great lip scrub in about one minute. Use it to exfoliate, soften, and hydrate your lips anytime, or use it just before putting on your favorite lip color to scrub off dead skin so that it goes on as smoothly as possible. Get the recipe here.
5. Popcorn Cooking Oil
If you’re a fan of homemade popcorn, you have to try cooking it in coconut oil at least once! The coconut oil adds another layer of flavor that’s really delicious, and it makes a nice change of pace from other oils. You get all those good, healthy fats from the coconut oil in your popcorn too, which is a nice bonus.
6. “Buttered” Cinnamon Toast
No joke, buttered toast with cinnamon sugar on top is one of my favorite foods. I’ll eat it any time of day! If you like cinnamon toast too, you simply must try it using coconut oil in place of butter. Toast your bread, “butter” it with coconut oil while it’s still warm, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Delicious!
7. Smoothie Booster
Elevate your morning smoothie with healthy fats by adding a tablespoon of coconut oil before blending. Or make a simple and tasty berry smoothie by pouring 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil into your blender cup, then adding 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup of berries, and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.
8. Garlic “Butter”
Many people only think of using coconut oil in sweet contexts, but it can be just as delicious as a savory element. Give it a try for yourself by mixing up a simple garlic “butter” by combining 1/4 cup of coconut oil with 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Try spreading it onto bread or adding it to pasta.
(Want a more traditional garlic butter flavor without sacrificing coconut oil’s healthy fats? Try using butter-flavored coconut oil instead.)
9. Pet Food Supplement
Because coconut oil is such an excellent source of healthy fats and other nutrients, many vets recommend using it as a supplement to dry dog food. (Erik and Kaitlyn have done this with their boxer Milo who has alopecia. The fatty acids help hydrate his skin so it doesn’t get as flaky.)
Talk with your vet about whether coconut oil may make a healthy supplement to your pup’s food. If you do start supplementing their food with coconut oil, make sure to start with a very small amount (1 teaspoon or less) to make sure your dog tolerates it and can adjust to it gradually.
10. Homemade Sunscreen
You can use coconut oil to make an all-natural sunscreen that’s simple and effective. It also contains rich natural moisturizers that will leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated. Get the recipe here.
11. Gum Removal
We’ve all heard about using peanut butter to solve those dreaded gum-in-hair moments, but coconut oil can get the job done too. Apply some coconut oil to the gum, let it sit for a couple of seconds, then work the oily gum with your fingers until you’re able to slide it out.
12. Insect Repellent
Mix some coconut oil with a couple of drops of either peppermint, tea tree, or rosemary essential oil, then apply it to your skin to help ward off mosquitoes and other summer insects. Rubbing coconut oil on an existing bug bite can also calm the itching and bring down the swelling.
13. Gluten Free Chocolate Bark
I love it when I find a gluten free treat that doesn’t taste gluten free, like this chocolate brownie “bark.” Coconut oil plays a major role in making this brownie bark absolutely delicious. Get the recipe here.
14. Homemade Deodorant
Use coconut oil to make an all-natural deodorant that’s cheaper and healthier than traditional deodorant/antiperspirants (and it won’t stain your clothes either!) Get the recipe here.
15. Nosebleed Prevention
Prone to nosebleeds? Smear a small amount of coconut oil around the inside of your nostrils every morning to keep that thin, fragile skin hydrated. Properly hydrated skin is much less likely to crack and bleed.
16. “Goo Gone” Substitute
Use coconut oil to make a substitute for Goo Gone you can use to cut through adhesive residue and other sticky messes. Just combine equal parts coconut oil and baking soda together and a couple of drops of a citrus essential oil like lemon or sweet orange. See how it works here.
17. Ear Infections
Virgin coconut oil may make a useful home remedy for ear pain associated with ear infection due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Lie on your side and put a few drops of melted coconut oil in your ear. Continue reclining for several minutes to allow the oil to absorb into the ear.
18. Homemade Toothpaste
Make a natural toothpaste using coconut oil and minty-fresh peppermint oil.
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 3 Tbsp baking soda
- 25 drops peppermint essential oil
- 1 packet stevia
- 2 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)
Put the coconut oil and baking soda in a bowl and mix them together with a fork, then add the peppermint essential oil, stevia, and glycerin (if using) and continue to stir until well combined.
19. Wood Conditioner
Keep your wooden spoons, bowls, platters, and cutting boards protected from from drying, cracking, and staining with a moisturizing “spoon butter.” Get the recipe here.
20. Cold Sores
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides that have antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal properties, which can help fight the virus that causes cold sores. Dab it on as soon as you feel the blister start forming, and find ways to add it to your diet as well.
21. Sore Throat Remedy
f you feel a sore throat coming on, let a spoonful of coconut oil dissolve on your tongue. It will coat your throat, reduce inflammation, and help soothe the pain. and help soothe the pain.
22. Lip Moisturizer
Keep a small container of coconut oil in your purse and use it as a natural moisturizer when your lips are feeling a bit dry.
What are some of your favorite uses for coconut oil?