How to Clean Up Vaseline

By Kay on Wed, Oct 3, 2007

General, House Tips, Parenting Tips

If you’ve read my post, “It’s Too Quiet…” then you know why I’ve been on a quest to find the answer to the simple question of how to clean vaseline off of well… everything. (Amazing how much damage a 18 month old and 3 year old can do in just a few minutes time!)

So, after MUCH searching, I finally found a site that had directions on how to get vaseline off of clothes and fabrics. (FYI, ‘Vaseline’ is just a brand name of petroleum jelly.) Check out this diy site’s suggestions:


And then, I had a friend forward this mom’s story about vaseline and how she got it out of her son’s HAIR!!!! So I decided I should include her experience, too…

Baking soda – one thing every household should have at all times. Why you might ask? The answer is simple – for emergency vaseline removal. (Okay, minds out the gutter – this is G rated!)

When your two year old happens upon a jar of vaseline and bathes himself in it – hair and all – you must immediately reach for the baking soda. Here is what I learned this morning, thanks to Google.

Run a hot bath. Put child in tub. Mix a good amount of baking soda and shampoo, lather head, rinse, repeat several times – at least 5 or 6 for short hair. (Parents of kids with long hair – good luck – I recommend you invest in a good set of clippers!).

Now, move to the body. Once again, mix baking soda and soap (preferably liquid – a bar doesn’t work so well) and lather childs body using your hands. Again, you may have to repeat several times or at least until the water stops beading on the child and just runs off smoothly.

STAY CLEAR OF COLD WATER – this just tends to make the vaseline clump up and become more of a mess.

So there you have it. I guess you really do learn something new every day!!

What about you? Have you had any experience with this lovely globby stuff? What worked for you???

Written by Kay Hesketh - Visit Website

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30 Comments For This Post

  1. Dez Says:

    I had my 3 yr old girl cover my 1 yr old sons head in a tub of vaseline once and after trying everything ( I mean EVERYTHING! Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Shampoo, Dish Liquid, Soap, etc ), I was told by a daycare worker 2 days after that LEMON JUICE works like a charm. So I tried this and it got rid of all the greasyness….just pure lemon juice!

  2. Kay Says:

    Thanks for the great info! I wouldn’t have thought to use lemon juice, but considering the acidity and the fact that you’re trying to cut through the grease of a petroleum product, that makes PERFECT sense! Glad to know that there’s another way out there to get rid of this stuff !! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tim Says:

    What about if he has put vaseline on the carpet, walls and stuffed animals and himself – any ideas? What a disaster.

  4. Kay Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mess. Believe me when I say, I feel your pain! And my first question is, have you taken a picture of it all for posterity. (and to help you laugh at it now, instead of run screaming from the room?)
    I’m not sure I have any more ideas about carpet and walls, but I know that you can probably wash the stuffed animals in the washing machine. Just throw them in an old pillow case, tie up the open end, and put ’em in with the laundry you would normally wash on hot or warm – stay away from cold water, it just makes the stuff clump even worse.
    Since vaseline is a petroleum product, you probably want to stay with soaps and acidic solutions (like the lemon juice that Dez mentioned in the above comments) to help cut through it all.
    Best of luck to ya, Tim!!

  5. Bobbie-Ann Says:

    My lil girl just put half a jar in her hair. I washed it w/ V05 three times, Johnson’s twice, and Dawn a few more. I finally conditioned it and put her in bed since she was devastated by soap getting her eyes. She also put some all over my ipod touch (like the iphone). Does anyone have ideas for the ipod?? and I will try lemon juice in the am on her hair.

  6. Kay Says:

    How did the lemon juice work this morning on her hair? Hope you had some luck with that!

    Not sure about anything electronic (that’s always the scariest stuff to try to clean without RUINING it!), but I’m wondering if a wipey might do any good at removing at least some of the layers of the stuff? Maybe a rag dampened with vinegar? Just trying to think of things that might acidic enough to cut through the goo. Wish I could be of more help!

    If you come up with something else that works, please be sure to let us know! Good luck! πŸ™‚

  7. Wendy Says:

    Here’s another one for you. I just spent 2 hours cleaning my 4 year-old’s room after she painted the walls with Vaseline and put it through her hair. After scraping the walls with a spatula (yes, it was that thick), I tried Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap and hot water. I scrubbed and followed it up by wiping with a paper towel. It worked well, didn’t hurt the paint at all, and is an organic fix.

    Tomorrow I’ll try it in her hair with the baking soda. . .thanks for the tips!

  8. Wendy Says:

    BTW — I mixed the castile soap and baking soda, and her hair was squeaky clean on the first rinse. I followed it with regular shampoo and we were back to normal. Wahoo!

  9. Kay Says:

    Thanks for the tip and the follow-up, too! So glad to know that if the Vaseline fairy decides to visit us ever again, I’ll have several tools in my belt for handling the mess she leaves behind! πŸ™‚

  10. ESRA Says:

    Thanks… baking soda+baby oil works fine

  11. Kim Says:

    My daughter smeared Vaseline all over herself, her favorite blanker, my duvet covers, pillow shams and also my IPhone.
    What a huge mess !
    Thanks for the advise.

  12. Kay Says:

    So glad to be of help. Sounds like you had a really big mess on your hands! Let us know what worked best, now that you have tons of experience… πŸ™‚

  13. nikki Says:

    I’ve just had my first vaseline nightmare – child number 4 – had sudocrem nightmares in the past. 2 year old was in bed supposedly asleep but an hour later came out covered in the stuff – it is all over books, clothes, carpet, window – everywhere – aaarrrggghh – going to have my work cut out in the morning but glad to find the tips above πŸ™‚

  14. Kathy Says:

    Anyone know how to get vaseline off of painted woodwork without damaging the paint?

  15. Cheryl Says:

    Anyone know how I can get vaseline out of the eye sockets of my daughter’s doll? One of them now has to be manually opened and closed!!!!! I’d hate to think how much is in there…….would the lemon juice work do you think, or do I risk ruining the eye completely??

  16. Tara Says:

    my son just COVERED him self in Vaseline while i was in the other room nursing his little brother… ugh i dont want to have to cut his hair πŸ™ thanks all for posting the above ideas i will be trying them

  17. jenn Says:

    I was just nursing my 4 week old daughter and realized my 2.5 year old was being way too quiet, I put my daughter down to go check on him upstairs and to my suprise he had painted himself in an entire jar of vaseline! He was covered! Aswell was my husbands guitar, our playpen, my rocking chair, our king size blanket, plant, carpet, tv stand pictures and walls! Omg I am praying the lemon juice and baking soda work!!!!!!! Who knew such a small person could make so much damage! πŸ™

  18. Lynn Says:

    I have twin daughters, 2 1/2 they have painted the walls in our staircase with vaseline, aarrgghh. Trying this in the am. Fingers crossed.

  19. Mad Jack Says:

    Now I know why I never had kids.

    I would have guessed that alcohol would work, although I note that no one has tried it. If you do try alcohol, do not use denatured alcohol. Use the potable version. I’d go for a very cheap bottle of vodka (yes, I’m serious) and see if it will cut the petroleum jelly.

    The lemon juice makes a good deal of sense.

    I’ll have to ask my own dear mother if I were this much trouble when I was a mere twist on the carpet. I’m guessing not; I’m still alive and have all my fingers. The old man, you see, had quite a short fuse and just the thought of Vaseline all over everything would have put him through the roof.

  20. Lauren Says:

    I would just like to say Thank you for this blog because this morning when I realized my son was in fact “way to quiet” I should have know what I would walk into when I went to get him out of bed. He emptied and entire large container of vaseline, mostly on his head, but also his bed, the walls, the carpet and the dresser. I dont feel quite as alone in this battle knowing that other mothers have had to search for ways to get vaseline out of their childrens hair and off the walls. So thank you! πŸ™‚

  21. Caraid Ashley Says:

    I was wiping the tears of frustration away from my cheeks and frantically asking Google how to remove the copious amounts of petroleum jelly off my 2 and 1/2 year old’s bed, body, and hair. Your site allowed me to gather hope rather than further hyperventilate, so thank you!

  22. Kay Says:

    Caraid Ashley,
    I’m so grateful that this post helped you out and was able to help you bring you a little bit of peace, too. It can be so alarming and frustrating when little ones do things like this, but as a mom of a now 12, 10, and 8 year old, I’m reminded at how quickly that toddler phase passes. Oh, believe me, it doesn’t feel like it at the time (especially when you’re trying to clean Vaseline off everything!), but it truly does fly by. Hug that little one extra tight tonight and write down this adventure in his/her baby book. I promise you’ll laugh at it – maybe even one day soon! ????

  23. Becca Says:

    I’m wanting to do a live casting of my family’s hands but I don’t want my husband and I to have to remove our rings for it, I know Vaseline will help the plaster to not stick to the jewelry but I want to make sure I don’t damage the gold or diamonds when cleaning up after it. Any chemists out there know of anything that would work for that? I know the lemon and baking soda may be too abrasive for a soft metal like gold. :/

  24. Kay Says:

    What a fun idea to do a plaster of all your hands! Such a great memento!
    While I’m definitely no expert, I believe this may be a case where simpler is better. I know that hot water will get rid of most of the Vaseline by itself, but I think if you just added a small amount of liquid soap (especially something like Dawn) and use an old, soft toothbrush, you should be able to get your rings cleaned up pretty easily. I’m not sure I’d use anything more potent without checking with a jeweler first.

    Good luck to you, and please let us know how it turns out!

  25. kyle Says:

    Best ways to get vaseline off things your child tried to ruin with petroleum jelly:

    Clothes>rub thoroughly with a paste of baking soda and water, heat up vinegar to ~150 degrees, pour vinegar on clothes while agitating (be careful not to scald yourself!) will be gone pretty much immediately. DO NOT use on delicates..if it is on silk you’re pretty much SOL.

    Anything slick but NOT reactive to acids> citric acid..be it powdered in water, lemon juice, lime juice, whatever…for the same reason you add a bit of lemon juice to your vinagrette emulsifiers are king. If it is a very heavy amount, use hot lime juice. Tobasco actually works even better…but that stuff is like deck stain for..almost everything.

    Anything slick but reactive to acids> Car grease remover, can get it at any auto store. Use the one labeled “safe for paint.”

    Anything porous> boil in a solution of water, white vinegar, and salt OR if it isn’t heat tolerant make a salt and vinegar paste, coat thoroughly and wash thoroughly with water as hot as possible. The vinegar breaks up the grease, the salt acts as grit, and the water will carry the emulsified oil away. (you can also get pipe cleaning solution at your local pipe store if you can tolerate going into a place whose purpose is smoking marijuana. The stuff works great.)

    On your kid> citric acid. Treat them like they got sprayed by a skunk, tomato juice and an exfoliating cloth for the skin. Tomato paste mixed with lemon juice for the hair followed by a good shampooing.

    -Your friendly neighborhood guy who has an unedited memory and too much time on his hands.

  26. Kay Says:

    Thanks for all the great ideas, Kyle! I wish your advice had been around when I went through this all those years ago. LOL! πŸ™‚

  27. Hannah Says:

    Ugh. I’ve been extremely sick the past three days with pneumonia. My husband cooked us breakfast and we all ate, then we were all hanging out in our room. I fell asleep since my body is just so weak. Well, evidently he did too. I woke up to her jumping on top of me, totally cover d in Vaseline from head to toe. It’s everywhere. I’m going to wake his butt up and have him help me wash her with dish soap and lemon juice. Please, pray for us.

  28. Todd Says:

    Here’s a doozie……… My father had dementia. This morning he was in the shower for an awfully long time. He came out and my mother noticed to top to the Petrolium jelly sitting on the counter. The petroleum jelly was missing. A while later I was walking past the bathroom and I saw the petroleum jelly in the shower. My father had thought it was soap. The shower is now backed up by the petroleum jelly in the drain. Plunger isn’t working and Drano will not dissolve it. Any ideas?

  29. Kay Says:

    I wonder if this is a case where vinegar and baking soda might help more than even Draino. Just like the old volcano science projects from your younger years, it will bubble and foam and hopefully cut through some of that Vaseline, too. You might even try heating up the vinegar to give it a running start, too. Hope this helps!

  30. Nikki Says:

    Its nice cold and wintery here so here is how I got 3/4 of a large tub of Vaseline off my cold cold cold cold windows. 7 cups boiled water to 6 cups cold water almost half a cup of green works dish soap. 1 scrub brush one jiffy cloth or something similar and a large bucket or container and one pair of dish gloves. Youre also going to need pure white vinegar and paper towel. Soak your scrub brush in the water then scrub the window stop to rinse the brush repeat a few times untill the Vaseline is pretty much gone off your windows. Then wipe down with your cloth making sure to rinse every now and then. Let the residue from the soapy cloth dry on the window. Then generously spray with pure white vinegar and wipe off with a paper towel. Sorry for the poor grammar and or spelling. I just cleaned this nightmare off my window in my kids room. But I got it cleaned up and off the window in 15 minutes!

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