Petroleum jelly in containerPetroleum jelly, also known by the product name Vaseline, is a household staple, especially among families with young children. We all know about its anti-chaffing properties, but the slick substance can be useful in a lot of other ways. Here are 17 alternative uses for petroleum jelly:

1. Hate the circles left when visitors rest wet drink glasses on your favorite wood table? Buff them out with some petroleum jelly.

2. Fond of patent-leather shoes, but hate the boot-camp-like effort it takes to make them shine their best? A dab of petroleum jelly and a soft rag will have them gleaming.

3. Are you painting an intricate design on woodwork? Want to keep paint off of some sections? Coat them with petroleum jelly before picking up a paint brush. You can clean up with a paper towel afterward.

4. Have trouble keeping your hair dye in place while the magic happens? Coat the hair and skin you want to protect from runoff with some petroleum jelly.

5. Picked up the groom's 25 pounds, thanks to those regular, delicious meals? If your wedding band is so tight you can't get it off, fear not; just slather that finger with petroleum jelly and the ring will slide off like a greased pig through the arms of a farm child.

6. When stored for a long time, chrome can lose its luster. A thin coat of petroleum jelly on it, or any other ferrous metal surface, can keep that gleam intact for a long time.

7. Ants love nothing better than to carry off those enormous nuggets of dog or cat food from your pet's bowl. Stymie their invasion with a band of petroleum jelly around the bottom of the bowl.

8. Your toilet plunger only works well when it can seal off the inner workings of the toilet. A thick bead of petroleum jelly around the widest part will help created a tight seal so the plunger can do its thing.

9. Most perfumes go through a transition as they dry on the skin; if you favor the initial scent, prolong it by applying a thin coat of petroleum jelly over-top.

10. The traditional softening agent for a baseball mitt is neatsfoot oil, a product made from the bones of cattle. If you don't have any around, however, some petroleum jelly will do the job just fine. Don't overdo it, though, or the ball might come squirting out of your glove.

11. Has your bird feeder turned into a squirrel feeder? Try coating the pole with petroleum jelly.

12. For cabinet doors, interior doors, anywhere you have a hinge that won't stay quiet, a swipe of petroleum jelly will quell the noise and ease movement.

13. Do you experience white metallic buildup on the terminals of your car battery? Coat them with petroleum jelly to keep this from forming.

14. Petroleum jelly works fine in forming a neat goatee or mustache, and reins in the occasional wild eyebrow hair. (Somebody tell Andy Rooney that eyebrows are not meant to resemble tail feathers.)

15. If you're storing paint or products with screw-on lids that would be ruined if exposed to the air, seal the containers with a bead of petroleum jelly in the paint can track or on the thread of the screw-on top. This is also useful in water-proofing supplies for backpacking.

16. Perhaps some moisture has made its way into a lock in your house. Lube up those workings by applying some petroleum jelly to the key and work it in the lock a few times.

17. If you're one of the many men who have chosen a shaved-head look, buff that beauty to a healthy gleam with a little petroleum jelly.

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