Will Vaseline Work to Restore Plastic? Application and Common Issues

There are many items made of plastic that we use daily in our households. Notably, these plastics are prone to fading, and sometimes it can be hectic and expensive to restore their luster. But, have you ever imagined you could correct and make them look great again using vaseline? In this post, you will learn whether vaseline can work to restore plastic. Also, you will learn the best way to do it. Read on.

Usually, when it comes to restoring plastic, many people are curious about the effectiveness of using Vaseline. Usually, Vaseline is common in our homes as it’s often used as a lubricant or moisturizer. It’s a petroleum jelly-based product widely used for various purposes ranging from being used as a skincare product to lubrication to protecting metals from rust.

But can it restore plastic? Let’s explore the application of Vaseline in plastic restoration. Also, you will learn about the common issues that may arise when you use vaseline to restore plastic and how to handle plastics.

Application of Vaseline for Plastic Restoration

Usually, there are many products available in the market one can use to restore plastic that is severely or moderately damaged. One of the commonly used products is Vaseline. People result in using vaseline even when there are alternative products available. However, there is often a debate about whether or not Vaseline can be effective when used to restore plastic. Mainly, Vaseline can be used to restore plastic. The vaseline layer protects against harsh weather elements and helps prevent further damage. The following are the steps to apply vaseline on a slightly faded plastic object.

Thoroughly Clean the Plastic Surface

Before applying Vaseline, it is crucial to clean the plastic surface. Remove any dirt or debris. Ensure that the plastic surface is clean and free from any dirt and dust. Importantly, to remove stubborn dirt from plastic, you can clean the plastic using mild soap and water. After cleaning, dry the surface thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Apply Vaseline

Using a clean cloth or your bare fingers, take a tiny little amount of Vaseline and apply it evenly to the plastic surface. Ensure to spread it evenly across the entire faded plastic surface. Notably, there is no technical expertise or specialized tools required to apply the vaseline layer. You can do it independently using a clean cloth or your fingers.

Importantly, to avoid the build-up of vaseline, ensure you apply a thin layer that covers the entire surface uniformly.

Wipe Off Any Excess Vaseline

Sometimes, even when you are keen, you may apply excess vaseline. Therefore, you should wipe off the excess vaseline. Use a separate clean cloth to wipe off the excess vaseline from the surface of the plastic. This will remove streaks and ensure only the recommended thin layer of vaseline is left.

Let it Sit

After applying the vaseline, you shouldn’t begin using the plastic immediately. Wait for some time to allow the vaseline to penetrate the plastic. The vaseline will fill in the small cracks and scratches.

Common Problems of Using Vaseline for Plastic Restoration

While Vaseline can effectively restore plastic, some common problems may arise, and you should be aware of them. However, these common issues should not deter you from using vaseline to restore plastic, especially when you don’t have an alternative product. The following are some of the common problems of using vaseline on plastics.

  • After some time, Vaseline can cause the plastic to become discolored. This issue is common, especially if the plastic is exposed to sunlight for long hours. The plastic begins changing color to yellow or brown.
  • This is another common problem with using vaseline on plastic objects. This happens if you apply too much Vaseline to the plastics. The vaseline builds up on the surface of the plastic, becoming sticky and challenging to clean.
  • If Vaseline is not applied evenly, it can cause thin unappealing lines to begin appearing on the plastic surface. To avoid streaking, apply Vaseline evenly and buff the surface thoroughly after application.
  • Attracting Dirt. A layer of vaseline on a plastic surface will attract dirt and dust. It will make the plastic surface appear dirty and dull.
  • Limited Effectiveness. Mainly, Vaseline is not 100% effective in restoring severely damaged plastic. Although vaseline can be an excellent choice for restoring plastic, especially when you don’t have another affordable option, it’s not always the best choice.
  • Applying vaseline is only a short-term solution. To maintain the beautiful plastic surface, reapply Vaseline regularly. Usually, Vaseline is not a permanent solution for restoring plastic. Over time, the Vaseline will wear off, and the small cracks and scratches will reappear.
  • Difficult to clean. While it’s easy to apply vaseline, sometimes it isn’t easy to clean it off plastic surfaces.

Reasons You Can Use Vaseline to Restore Plastics

Despite the above few shortcomings of using vaseline on plastics, there are reasons one would opt for vaseline over other plastic restoration materials. The following are some of the core benefits of using vaseline to restore plastics:

Vaseline is affordable

Compared to other plastic restoration products, such as specialized plastic cleaners, polishes, or sprays, Vaseline is much more affordable.

A readily available product

Vaseline is a popular household product that can restore the shine and luster of plastic surfaces that have become dull and faded over time. Even if it’s unavailable at home, you can easily buy one in your nearest drugstore, supermarket, and online stores. It is a convenient plastic repair option when you don’t have time to look for an alternative in a specialty store.

It makes plastics look beautiful and more polished

When applied to plastic surfaces, Vaseline restores their shine and luster, giving them a like-new appearance.

Safe to use

Vaseline is non-toxic; hence you can use it on most plastics. Also, vaseline is generally safe for most types of plastics. However, it is essential to test it on a small, inconspicuous spot on the plastic surface first to ensure it does not cause any damage or discoloration.

Provides a protective barrier

Vaseline forms a protective barrier on the surface of plastics, helping to prevent damage from exposure to moisture and other environmental factors that can cause the plastic to deteriorate over time.

Easy to use

While other methods may require specialized equipment or tools, making the process more complicated, Vaseline is easy to apply to plastic surfaces. All you need is a soft cloth or sponge to apply it.

Tips on How to Avoid Common Issues When Using Plastics

Since Vaseline is a readily available household product that you can use to restore plastic items that have lost their shine and luster, you need to know how you can overcome the shortcomings. The following are tips to avoid common issues and keep your plastic items looking new longer.

  • Clean the plastic surface thoroughly.Before applying Vaseline, ensure the plastic surface is clean and free of dust and dirt. Use a mild detergent and water to clean the surface, then wait for it to dry.
  • Apply vaseline sparingly. Only use a small amount of Vaseline on the plastic surface. Applying too much Vaseline can cause the plastic to become greasy and attract dust and dirt.
  • Apply the vaseline evenly. Avoid leaving any clumps or patches of Vaseline. Use a soft cloth or sponge to apply the Vaseline evenly across the plastic surface.
  • Always wipe off any excess vaseline from the plastic surface. After applying the Vaseline, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off any excess. This will help prevent the plastic from becoming greasy and attracting dust and dirt.
  • Reapply vaseline whenever necessary. Since vaseline is only effective in the short term, you can always clean and reapply the vaseline to restore the plastic’s luster appearance regularly.
  • Use isopropyl alcohol to remove vaseline from plastic surfaces. When you want to clean vaseline off the plastic, it won’t be easy to use soap and water. For a perfect cleaning job, use isopropyl alcohol to clean the vaseline off the plastic surface.
  • Avoid using Vaseline on certain plastics.Vaseline may not be suitable for all types of plastics. Avoid using it on plastics that are sensitive to petroleum-based products.
  • Avoid using Vaseline on outdoor plastics.If you’re restoring plastic items that will be used outdoors, it’s best to avoid using Vaseline. The sun and other elements can cause Vaseline to be ineffective and create a discolored mess.


Considering the affordability, availability, and convenience of using vaseline, it’s a suitable material for restoring plastic. You can use it for little DIY projects restoring old and slightly damaged plastics.

However, since there are a few shortcomings of using Vaseline, such as discoloration of plastics after application and the attraction of dirt and dust, you should only use it for minor works and when you don’t have an alternative.

Lastly, following the above steps and tips, you can use vaseline to restore your plastic surfaces to their beautiful former state with Vaseline. When using vaseline, apply it sparingly and evenly, wipe off any excess, and reapply it regularly whenever necessary.