Petroleum jelly has long been a part of many American households. You’ve likely encountered the product in your kitchen drawers or cupboards growing up. Known for its versatility and ability to heal childhood wounds, Vaseline has been around since 1872.
Generally speaking, Vaseline is the perfect survival companion. It has a variety of uses such as healing cuts, treating bed bugs, and preventing rust. Any discerning prepper knows that tools that are multi-purpose AND portable are extremely valuable and worth stocking up on in case an emergency occurs.
However, before heading off to stock up on your petroleum jelly, you may be wondering, does Vaseline expire? And what happens if you’ve got Vaseline that’s gone past its expiration date? Not to worry, we’ve got the answers for you. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Vaseline?
Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly that’s long been used for a variety of household applications. While this product is commonly used for wounds, chafes, and burns, many survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts have taken advantage of its versatile properties to aid them in emergency situations.
You may think that you don’t need this product as a survivalist, but don’t let its unassuming nature fool you—it can be handy and even life-saving when you’re out in the wilderness.
Why You Need Vaseline In Your Survival Gear
You need to start keeping Vaseline in your survival kit, and here are undeniable reasons you should start ASAP:
Reason #1: You can use it to heal skin wounds
When you’re out there in the cold, harsh winds, the first parts of your skin that will suffer will be your hands and lips. Water will also be scarce, so you’ll be suffering from hangnails and lip cuts.
While the ladies may use Vaseline for lip therapy, you can use it to safeguard areas of your body prone to chafing, cuts, and damage from the elements in the harsh wilderness. As a result, there will be fewer chances of infection.
Reason #2: You can use it to seal your gas masks
What do you do when you have to soldier through dust, gas, and other contaminants? Masks are a no-brainer, but what happens when you don’t properly seal them around your skin? With a Vaseline on hand, you can apply jelly around the area and make sure the mask sticks to your skin. This way, you prevent the tiniest contaminants from traveling through your nose and mouth.
Reason #3: You can use it as part of your first aid process
Bandaids, gauzes, and topical antiseptic should be part of your first aid kits, but Vaseline should also be regarded with the same importance. It can melt into your skin as soon as you apply it, which then acts as a barrier. After cleaning your wounds, apply the petroleum jelly to keep the area moist and bacteria-free.
Reason #4: You can use it to keep bugs away
When you’re in the wilderness living in tents and other makeshift shelters, bugs will be aplenty. You can easily keep them away by rubbing light coats of petroleum jelly onto the exposed areas of your skin. You can also dab some onto the tent entry points or around your sleeping bag, so you’re sure nothing comes crawling in as you sleep.
Reason #5: You can keep the rust away
You’re skilled enough to know the best tools for survival and gather them up for use, but what happens when rust and corrosion take over? Regular use of these tools can wear out your axes, knives, and hammers, but a light coating of Vaseline can keep them sharp and shiny.
Reason #6: You will be able to keep your food fresh
Many do not realize that Vaseline is also an excellent pest control solution. It traps flies, ants, and even bees, making sure that your food is always protected. In survival mode, food is your top priority—and a little jar of good ol’ petroleum jelly keeps your resources safe and sound.
Reason #7: You can use it as a lubricant
If you need things to run smoothly, a tub of your Vaseline can also help. It’s like oil and grease, making sure that windows and doors slide smoothly—and without noise. When in survival mode, it’s important to remain as quiet as possible.
Reason #8: You can use it as a candle
If you’re desperately in need of light, Vaseline petroleum jelly will also be useful. However, it’s important to transfer it to a proper vessel, such as a glass jar. Plastic jars can easily catch fire, but if you have no glass in sight, a random metal plate will do. If you can gather dried leaves, you’re sure to get a steady source of light.
Reason #9: You can use it to light a fire
Likewise, you can also use Vaseline petroleum jelly to start a fire. You know that building a fire is one of the basics of survival, so give your campfire a boost with Vaseline. You won’t need much, just dab some on dried leaves and spare cotton balls, and you’re good to go—the perfect companion for chilly nights.
Reason #10: You can use it to protect your skin
If you’re out there in either scorching heat or freezing winds, you will be susceptible to wind burns and chapping. Vaseline can easily protect your skin, so rub some on your face and hands, and then proceed to cover up with scarves, gloves, or hats.
Can Vaseline Expire?
Given its petroleum base properties, Vaseline does not easily expire. However, it can go bad when exposed to bacteria and fungus.
Where To Find Vaseline’s Expiration Date Code
You can find the expiration date at the back of the container, printed in black letters. However, some tubs will have dates printed directly on the back label, depending on the type you’ve purchased.
What’s The Shelf Life Of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly?
Vaseline petroleum jelly has a recommended shelf life of five years, but it doesn’t really go bad. Petroleum jelly never really expires, making it a perfect survival companion. It lasts longer than the usual products, so long as you store it properly.
How To Store Vaseline Properly?
Vaseline recommends users to consume their petroleum jelly within five years, but unopened ones can last even longer. Just don’t expose the tub to direct sunlight. When it comes to chemicals, the general rule of thumb is to keep them in cool, dry places.
How Do You Know When Petroleum Jelly Has Gone Bad?
When exposed to elements and contaminants, petroleum jelly can go bad—but can only be harmful when used on the skin. It will usually emit a strong chemical odor, so keep it away from your skin. However, for starting fires, lubricant purpose, and so forth, it will still be very much viable.
Bacteria and Vaseline
Bacteria can only grow in your Vaseline tub with help. If you dip your fingers constantly in the tub, the chances are that bacteria will grow. If you plan to use it on your skin, it’s best to clean your hands first. In the wilderness, though, prod it with a knife or tool you can disinfect constantly.
What Happens When You Use an Expired Tub Of Vaseline?
As previously mentioned, petroleum jelly rarely causes issues. However, don’t just smear old Vaseline onto your skin—especially if you’re wounded. It will be home to millions of bacteria, so best to keep it as a tool for everything else other than your skin. This way, you avoid nasty infections
Which Vaseline Should You Get For Your Survival Kit?
Now that you know how Vaseline petroleum jelly can aid your survival kit, here are some of the best Vaseline variations for you:
- Vaseline Blue Seal is the original, with a creamy consistency that’s perfect for your skin and other needs. From protecting your tools to keeping your lips from chapping, having a tub or twenty of these can help you survive.
- Babies have sensitive skin, and if you’re traveling with one during survival, nothing beats having the Vaseline Jelly Baby. You ease their discomfort and prevent diaper rashes. Convenient for your little bundle of joy, indeed.
- Aloe vera is one of the best plants to look for in the wild, but you can now travel with it in petroleum jelly form. The Vaseline Aloe Fresh combines the benefits of petroleum jelly with aloe vera, making it perfect for the wilderness and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If you’re still wondering about Vaseline petroleum jelly, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions here:
How Long Can Vaseline Last On The Skin?
It’s important to remember that your skin doesn’t absorb petroleum jelly. It stays on top and functions as a barrier, which protects your skin from harsh elements and keeps moisture locked in. It usually takes around 15 seconds to adapt to your skin.
Has Vaseline Ever Had Products Recalled?
No, Vaseline remains to be a trusted brand across the world. People with skin conditions like psoriasis use Vaseline as a safe and effective way of keeping their skin healthy.
How Can I Find Your Vaseline’s Batch Number?
If you wish to find your Vaseline’s batch number for validity, you can check it through their batch code finder.
Vaseline is an undeniably powerful survival product. It offers countless uses, from protecting your skin to protecting your tools—and you can never go wrong with having up to 20 tubs of it for survival. The only thing left to do now is to update your survival kit with Vaseline petroleum jelly.