The Top Ten Uses of Vegetable Glycerin at Home

The Top Ten Uses of Vegetable Glycerin at Home

Unlock the power of vegetable glycerin and save money - naturally.

Glycerin is a best kept secret in the natural product and DIY lifestyle community, also known as vegetable glycerin, it is one of those under the radar miracle ingredients that gets no love in the DIY community,  yet has so many uses around the home. Whether you’re making homemade moisturizer for dry skin or using glycerin as a natural preservative in your baked goods, vegetable glycerin products can save you significant amounts of money and create safe, non-toxic solutions for your home.

First, what is vegetable glycerin?  It is a liquid, organic compound made of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Its thick, odorless, and colorless and is used in a wide range of beauty products such as moisturizers, soaps, and more. Bulk glycerin is also used in the printing industry, in pharmaceuticals, and in food as a sweetening agent. 

What is the difference between glycerin and vegetable glycerin?

It’s important to note that you should always use a product that is explicitly vegetable glycerin, which is usually derived from coconut, palm, or soy plants, this will ensure that the glycerin is non-toxic and safe for use anywhere in your home or business. Any other type of glycerin has the potential to be derived from animal fats and/or contain non-natural ingredients.

Glycerin Uses and Benefits

There are plenty of good reasons you would add glycerin to your DIY home toolkit.

  • It helps to retain moisture. All skin types tolerate it well without any adverse reactions. 
  • Glycerin is also inexpensive, making it another great option for the frugal home manager.
  • Glycerin is non-toxic, making it perfect for skin products that are manufactured specifically for infants and young children. It is also known to be the most versatile ingredient in beauty products because it does not lose its chemical stability when combined with other substances. It is also highly unlikely to cause any type of allergic reaction. These qualities are what make it perfect for those with sensitive skin.


What’s vegetable glycerin used for in the home?

Here’s some great tips and recipes for using vegetable glycerin.

  1. Moisturizing Spray
    To create a glycerin moisturizing spray combine 1 part vegetable glycerin with 4 parts distilled water into a spray bottle. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you would like. Shake well and use frequently to help keep skin supple and prevent drying.

  2. Homemade Toothpaste
    I love this homemade toothpaste recipe! The glycerin gives the paste a more authentic toothpaste consistency and increases the sweetness of those of us who like that.

    Homemade Coconut Oil Toothpaste Recipe
    3 Tbsp coconut oil
    3 Tbsp baking soda
    25 drops peppermint essential oil
    1 packet stevia
    2 tsp vegetable glycerin.
    Mash the coconut oil and baking soda in a bowl until blended. Add the peppermint essential oil, stevia and vegetable glycerin and continue to mash and stir until you’ve reached toothpaste consistency.

  3. Restore Dried-Out Play Dough
    Every parent has had to wonder, how to fix dry play doh? Well it’s simple, drop a few teaspoons of glycerin into a bowl, add your dried out play doh and knead until it comes back to life. It’s that simple!

  4. Homemade Bubbles
    Glycerin has another toy related use and that is making homemade bubble liquid. Maybe you’re at home for a long summer day with the kids and need a quick playful distraction for them, or you simply don’t like using up all of those plastic bottles that the bubble liquid comes in.

    Here’s a quick and easy way to make your own bubble liquid.
    Simply mix together:
    6 cups distilled water
    1 and ½ cup liquid dish soap
    ⅓ cup vegetable glycerin

    Mix gently and do not shake or be over aggressive when mixing. The end result is a great bubble mix that you can store all summer long. And just for the record, glycerine is the secret ingredient to the best bubble mix you’ve ever made! Evaporation is what causes bubbles to pop, and by adding glycerine to your bubble mix, you essentially create a thicker skin. This slows down the evaporation process and makes them stronger, which means bigger bubbles that will last longer. Go Bubbles!

  5. A Natural Preservative
    Use glycerin as a natural preservative in baked goods. Are your baked homemade natural baked goods drying out too quickly? You can extend the life of your homemade cakes and baking products by adding vegetable glycerin to the batter.

    Glycerin works as a “humectant” and helps reduce the lost of moisture in baked goods. I recommend using 3 tsp in a vanilla, yellow or lighter cake, and 2 tsp in a chocolate cake or brownies. Feel free to use to extend the freshness of cupcakes as well. Check out my full blog on using vegetable glycerin in baking.

  6. Enhance Shaving Cream
    To enhance shaving cream Add a few drops of glycerin to your shaving cream in order to soothe shaving irritations and hydrate skin.

  7. Moisturizing Lotion
    For dry skin glycerin is not only a humectant, which means it’s very effective at retaining and preserving moisture, it’s also an emollient, which means it provides a protective, moisturizing layer on the skin. These two properties make glycerin an excellent choice as a natural skin moisturizing lotion.  Glycerin also has a naturally long shelf life, which means you don’t need to add preservatives or other synthetic agents. Finally, glycerin doesn’t oxidize easily so exposure to air and light will not damage it. It’s no wonder glycerin is perfect for skin moisturizing products including this moisturizer recipe that I highly recommend.

    DIY Natural Moisturizing Lotion Recipe
    4.5 oz Coconut Oil
    1.5 oz Emulsifying Wax 
    16 oz Distilled Water*
    8 oz Glycerin 
    10-15 drops Essential Oils - I prefer lavender or chamomile.
    *Using distilled water will give your lotions a longer shelf life. 

    Combine the coconut oil and the emulsifying wax in a double boiler on the stove or in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until melted. Add the distilled water, glycerin, and essential oils if and stir thoroughly. Pour the combined mixture into your storage bottles and let cool before using, This fantastic homemade natural moisturizer can be used daily or as needed to keep skin soft and smooth. 

  8. Hair-Strengthening Shampoo
    Glycerin also works well as an ingredient in shampoos and conditioners. The same properties that allow glycerin to help lock in moisture in your skin apply to your hair as well. You can add a few drops to your current shampoo and strengthen it’s moisturizing power or for those who are all-in on the DIY lifestyle here’s a great simple recipe for a Glycerin Lemon Shampoo.

    Simple Lemon Glycerin Shampoo Recipe
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    2 teaspoons starch
    1/4 cup glycerin
    Add the lemon juice and starch to a saucepan over a medium-low setting. Heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the liquid thickens. Allow it cool, and add the glycerin. Shake before each use.

    Note that this shampoo won’t foam up like commercial products but trust me, it’s still doing its job cleaning, moisturizing, and strengthening your hair – at a fraction of the cost of the suds and bubbles.  Several people have told me that they added vitamin E to this recipe as an added strengthener for their hair.

  9. Lemon Facial Cleanser
    I love this daily facial cleanser. It’s refreshing and light even with the added honey. 

    DIY Lemon + Glycerin & Honey Face Wash Recipe
    In your dispenser bottle combine the following ingredients:
    2 tablespoons of unscented liquid soap base*
    1/2 cup vegetable glycerin
    2 tablespoons of honey
    A few drops of lemon essential oil
    Shake well until combined

    * liquid soap base (sometimes known as castile soap) can be purchased from many local and online retailers or you can make your own. 

    This recipe was formulated around the 3 beneficial ingredients:
    Glycerin has anti-aging and moisturizing properties, which delay the development of wrinkles and fine lines. 
    Honey has the ability to effectively moisturize the skin as well as fight bacteria that causes acne. 
    Lemon essential oil is an effective skin brightener and toner, which evens out the skin tone and makes it bright when used regularly.

  10. A Cooling Skin Balm
    Create your own skin balm that soothes the discomforts of insect bites, rashes, and hives.

    Glycerin Skin Balm Recipe
    Combine the following ingredients into your dispenser bottle:
     2 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice
    2 tsp Vegetable Glycerine
    4 drop Eucalyptus Essential Oil
    Shake well to combine all ingredients and apply directly to skin as needed to calm and cool irritated skin.

These 10 tips for using vegetable glycerin are the ones that I use and benefit from in my home. From skin care, to baking, to kids toys, the list of vegetable glycerin uses is endless.   

Please spread the good news and share this article with others, and as always, I appreciate hearing your feedback and your own tips and tricks so use the contact button to reach out at any time.


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