Miracle in a Jar

February 8, 2015 Updated: February 7, 2015

I believe petroleum jelly or Vaseline should be called by its rightful name, which is “Miracle in a Jar.”

The miracles of petroleum jelly were first discovered when they were laying the rails for the transcontinental railroad. The workmen’s hands, which were exposed to all kinds of weather, remained soft and smooth. Doctors and scientists realized it was due to the petroleum jelly that the men smeared on the rails before laying them. That’s the official story. I believe the men came home, their wives noticed how soft their hands were, and said, “Whatever you’re using, get me some.”

Vaseline has so many uses. Many doctors I’ve worked with have told me that the finest and cheapest moisturizer on the market is plain old Vaseline. One told me the biggest challenge to medical science is finding a moisturizer that works as well as Vaseline but is more pleasant to use.

I used to suffer from cracked heels as soon as the weather got cold. I used expensive creams to no avail. Now I use Vaseline every night before bed and my heels are smooth and soft.

I sometimes use Vaseline to remove eye makeup, although in this particular instance, baby shampoo works even better.

Ever since I was very young, I’ve been wetting the skin around my eyes and mouth and then applying Vaseline before bed.

I have fewer wrinkles around my eyes than my contemporaries and I never have chapped lips. Instead of spending a lot of money on expensive lip glosses, why not use Vaseline?

The trick is to moisten the skin before applying it to keep the moisture from evaporating. Vaseline also keeps my lashes in good condition.

Other uses:

Metal, which is left outside and exposed to the elements, will not rust if you apply a thin layer of Vaseline. I’m told that it also softens dried-on food in a frying pan.

Vaseline is also the best way to clean and protect patent leather. Wipe it on and then wipe it off. Dust, dirt, and scuff marks wipe off and shoes and purses are left shined and protected.

While I’ve never tried it, I have read that Vaseline will remove lipstick stains on fabric.

If a lock is difficult to turn, put a little Vaseline on the key.

Any other uses you have for Vaseline? Please let me know.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan. She may be reached at silverbergm@mindspring.com

(*Photo of lotion via Shutterstock)