When winter hits, lips become dry and chapped. If you’re anything like me, your go-to solution is a thick layer of Vaseline. It not only soothes my pout but also doubles as an intense moisturizer when rubbed on elbows and feet.
But sometime, especially during the cold snap, the solid jelly can be hard to slather on the skin. On such occasions, melting Vaseline in the microwave offers convenience. However, concerns about the safety of this melting method and its effectiveness abound.
In other words, can you microwave Vaseline?
The answer is unequivocal yes; you can safely melt Vaseline in the microwave. However, Vaseline is non-polar, meaning that it is not vulnerable to the electric field of microwaves. As a result, it will remain unchanged and will not emit toxic fumes or explodes.
For more insights into microwaving Vaseline, why it is not reactive to microwaves, step-by-step instructions for making lip balm at home with melted Vaseline, its uses in wintertime, and much more, please read on.
Is It Safe to Microwave Vaseline?
While it is absolutely safe to microwave Vaseline, it is a non-polar substance and thus not microwave-reactive.
To explain this more simply, let me take you back to your high school chemistry class.
Remember the lesson on polarity? In chemistry, there are two types of substances: polar and non-polar. Polar substances (such as water) have an electric charge that can be positive or negative, while non-polar substances do not.
In other words, the polar molecules are electrically charged, allowing them to form new bonds with each other or other charged particles. So, when exposed to microwave radiation, an oscillating magnetic field is created, causing these oppositely charged ions to spin around at incredible speeds. This results in friction, which generates heat or energy.
The opposite is true for non-polar substances like Vaseline. It consists primarily of petroleum jelly, a hydrocarbon classified as a non-polar substance. As a result, the molecules in Vaseline lack an electrical charge, making it impervious to microwaves. If microwaved, this all-purpose ointment will not explode or emit harmful fumes.
Thus, to melt Vaseline, employ alternative heating methods that do not rely on microwaves as a heat source.
Why Would You Want to Microwave Vaseline?
If you’re a novice to the idea of microwaving Vaseline, don’t fret. There are many benefits that come with this process.
Here are five reasons to microwave your Vaseline:
- Fast and easy: There’s no need for stirring or burning yourself on the stovetop. I can set my timer and do other things around the house without worrying about my Vaseline burning on the stove. Plus, I get to have it ready in a matter of seconds!
- Clean-up is a breeze: What’s better than not dealing with dirty pans from melting your Vaseline? With microwaves, there’s less chance of spillage, and I don’t have to scrub any burnt remnants off my pan either. All I have to do is wipe out the microwave interior, and that’s it.
- The consistency is right: The texture of microwaved Vaseline is surprisingly different from what I imagined. It has a smoother feel when compared to melted Vaseline on the stovetop. It is also pliable and mouldable, making it easier to spread and manipulate.
- No toxic gas emission: The fact that Vaseline is not susceptible to microwaves means that its chemical composition does not change under any circumstance. Therefore, it releases no harmful emissions into the air, making it safe to microwave and use as desired.
- Melt evenly: For some reason, I was under the impression that microwaving Vaseline would result in clumps of solidified ointment. But instead, every glob of Vaseline melted into a uniform liquid that I could easily scoop up as needed.
How Long to Microwave Vaseline?
Microwaving is one of the quickest and most convenient ways to melt Vaseline. It will take 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on your microwave’s wattage, to completely liquefy 100 grams of Vaseline or a medium-sized jar.
However, to avoid overheating your Vaseline, only heat in short bursts, rather than one long session. This will give you more control over the process and allows you to pause at any time if needed. If microwaved for too long, your jelly can burn, leaving charred black residue and rendering it unusable.
As a result, I suggest microwaving in 15-second intervals until you have a clear liquid consistency with no lumps. Don’t forget to stir the Vaseline after each burst to distribute the heat evenly.
Will Vaseline Harden After Melting?
If left to sit in the open air, Vaseline will harden again. Vaseline is made of petroleum jelly, which is a mix of hydrocarbons. When these hydrocarbons are exposed to oxygen, they solidify and harden.
This is true for most petroleum-based products, including motor oil and grease. When exposed to air, Vaseline molecules naturally break down to form new compounds with the hydrocarbons. The result is a gel that’s stiff enough to cling together.
Therefore, keep your melted Vaseline in an enclosed container or transfer it back into its original packaging after use.
How To Melt Vaseline in Microwave
Contrary to popular belief, you can melt Vaseline in the microwave. Here’s a step-by-step instruction for getting started.
- Scoop the desired amount of Vaseline into a microwavable container or bowl. Avoid microwaving in the original Vaseline packaging as it may melt, releasing toxins into your melted product.
- Place the container/bowl in the microwave and set it on high for 30 seconds. Once the timer goes off, remove the container from the microwave and stir to ensure even heat distribution throughout the Vaseline.
- Put the container back in the microwave and heat it on high in 15-second bursts until the Vaseline is smooth and with no chunks. Remember to stir in between heating intervals. If it is not completely melted, continue heating and stirring until the Vaseline is completely liquefied.
- Once melted, remove the Vaseline from the microwave and use it for various purposes such as applying balms, lip glosses, and so forth. Keep it in an enclosed container to prevent it from hardening.
How To Make Lip Balm Using Vaseline in Microwave?
Lip balm is everyone go-to for soothing chapped lips and a great way to pamper yourself. The good news is that you can make some at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought varieties.
Below is an easy DIY lip balm instruction using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen cabinet.
What You’ll Need
- 1 tsp petroleum jelly (or appropriate amount)
- ¼ tsp pure peppermint extract
- Lipstick with a tint (optional)
- Scoop the desired amount of Vaseline into a wall-raised microwave-safe dish or bowl. A raised dish will allow you to stir in all ingredients without effortlessly spilling over.
- Add the peppermint extract to the Vaseline and stir until well combined. However, do not add too much of the extract as it may induce burning sensations on the skin when applied. For best results, I suggest using just enough to bring out the flavor while not overpowering it.
- If desired, tint with a drop or two of lipstick. I love the sheer color and subtle minty taste of lip tint, but if you’re not keen on adding a shade of pink to your lips, you can skip this step entirely.
- Place the dish containing the mixture in the microwave and heat for 2 minutes on high power. Stir every 30 seconds and continue microwaving in 15-second intervals until completely melted.
- Remove the dish from the microwave using oven mitts as it will be very hot. Pour the liquid lip balm into a clean container, such as old lip gloss tubes, small jars, or empty Chapstick containers, before closing tightly.
Alternative Ways to Melt Vaseline?
Sometimes things happen, and you may find yourself without a microwave. If this is the case, there are other ways to melt your Vaseline. One method is to use a double boiler.
The good news is that it is easy to make one at home using two pots or pans. Simply fill one pot with water and snugly fit the other inside (don’t worry about getting them perfectly aligned).
Once boiled, place the Vaseline in the top pot, which will melt from the heat of the boiling water below.
Another option for melting Vaseline is to place it in a plastic bag and float it in a saucepan of hot water. Leave it for a few minutes or until the Vaseline has melted completely before carefully removing it from the hot water. Drain the liquid into a clean container by cutting a small corner off the bag.
Microwaving is an easy and quick beauty hack, especially for those of us with a busy schedule. It also saves money on the already pricey melted Vaseline sold in stores.
Just make sure to use a heat-safe container and microwave in short bursts to avoid overheating. Don’t forget to stir occasionally, so your jelly doesn’t cool and become lumpy. Finally, pour it into a clean jar or airtight container before using or storing it.