All the Clever Ways You Can Use Glycerin Around Your House

All the Clever Ways You Can Use Glycerin Around Your House
Photo: EVANATTOZA, Shutterstock

When it comes to putting together your arsenal of standard household products, you probably already have things like white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and nail polish remover in a closet somewhere, or under the sink. But what about glycerin?

That’s right: It’s more than an ingredient in skincare products and the name of a 1994 Bush hit (though that’s spelled “glycerine” — the British way). In fact, glycerin has multiple handy household uses. Here are a few.

What is glycerin?

Glycerin — also known as glycerol — is a clear, viscous, water-soluble liquid with a slightly sweet taste that is part of the alcohol family of organic compounds. It’s used as solvent for flavours and food colours, as well as a sweetener, plasticizer, emollient, and filler in low-fat foods.

But glycerin is probably best known for being an ingredient in personal care products, like soap, toothpaste, mouthwashes, skin care products, hair care products, lubricants and cosmetics. That’s because it acts as a humectant — meaning that it can attract and bind to moisture.

Household uses for glycerin

Vegetable-based glycerin is available for purchase in most pharmacies and big-box stores. A 180 ml bottle of store brand glycerin will set you back around $6. Here are a few ways to use it around your house:

In the fridge and freezer

Does the bottom of your refrigerator and freezer have a few impossible-to-remove dried- and stuck-on foods you assumed were just part of the appliance now? After trying to clean off as much of the stuck-on food as you can, dab on some glycerin, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe the whole mess off.

In the laundry

Glycerin helps with different types of stain removal — especially on greasy stains, like tar or oil. Pre-treat the stain with glycerin, then wash the item clothing or piece of fabric as you normally would. You can also whip up this DIY spot remover, made of glycerin, liquid castile soap, water, and an optional essential oil.

In the garage

Because glycerin is a common ingredient in commercial antifreeze, as well as a lubricant, it can serve multiple purposes around the garage. For example, it can be applied to hydraulic jacks for lubrication and to prevent freezing.

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