Is Petroleum Jelly Flammable? Everything You Need To Know

Do you know that feeling when you’re standing too close to a campfire and you can feel the heat licking at your skin? Well, imagine if that heat could set you on fire.

That’s the kind of danger we’re talking about when it comes to petroleum jelly. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the question: is petroleum jelly flammable?

We’ll explore the science behind it, debunk some myths, and provide you with essential tips on how to safely use and store this versatile product.

PropertyPetroleum Jelly
Flash Point>200°C (392°F)
Melting Point37°C (98.6°F)
Potential RiskFire hazard
Common UseSkin care, lubrication
UsageMoisturizer, lubricant, protective
Environment ImpactMinimal, but not eco-friendly

So, whether you’re planning a camping trip or just want to keep your skin moisturized, keep reading to get all the information you need to stay safe and informed about petroleum jelly.

What Is Petroleum Jelly?

Petroleum jelly is a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. It’s commonly used as a moisturizer and for various other purposes, such as lubrication and protection of skin.

When it comes to the flammability of petroleum jelly, it’s important to note that it’s indeed flammable. Although it isn’t highly flammable like gasoline or other volatile liquids, it can still catch fire under certain conditions.

The flash point of petroleum jelly, which is the lowest temperature at which it can ignite when exposed to an open flame, is around 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit). Therefore, it’s essential to handle petroleum jelly with caution and avoid exposing it to direct heat or flames that could potentially cause a fire.

Is Petroleum Jelly Flammable Or Not?

When handling petroleum jelly, be cautious as it can catch fire under certain conditions.

Petroleum jelly, also known as Vaseline, is a widely used substance with various applications. However, it’s important to understand its flammability.

Is petroleum jelly flammable? Yes, petroleum jelly is considered a flammable substance. Although it isn’t highly flammable, it can ignite and burn in the presence of an ignition source.

The flammability of petroleum jelly is attributed to its composition, which contains hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons can release flammable vapors when exposed to high temperatures or open flames.

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep petroleum jelly away from heat sources, sparks, or open flames to prevent the risk of fire. It’s also important to store it in a cool and well-ventilated area to minimize the potential for ignition.

Is Petroleum Jelly Flammable

Can I Use Petroleum Jelly Near An Open Flame?

You should avoid using petroleum jelly near an open flame. Petroleum jelly is highly flammable and can easily ignite when exposed to an open flame. This is because petroleum jelly is made from a mixture of hydrocarbons, which are highly combustible.

When near an open flame, the heat can cause the petroleum jelly to reach its flash point, which is the temperature at which it can ignite. Additionally, open flames have a ready supply of oxygen, which is necessary for combustion.

If the petroleum jelly catches fire, it can quickly spread and cause a larger fire. Therefore, it’s important to keep petroleum jelly away from any open flames to prevent the risk of fire.

How Do Petroleum Jelly Cotton Ball Fire Starters Work?

To create petroleum jelly cotton ball fire starters, you’ll need to combine petroleum jelly with cotton balls. Petroleum jelly, also known as petrolatum, is a semi-solid mixture derived from petroleum. It’s flammable, meaning it can ignite and sustain a fire.

When combined with cotton balls, which are highly flammable due to their fibrous nature, the petroleum jelly acts as a fuel source and helps to ignite and prolong the burning of the cotton balls. The petroleum jelly seeps into the cotton fibers, saturating them and providing a steady source of fuel for the fire.

This combination creates an effective fire starter that’s easy to ignite and can be used in various outdoor situations where a reliable source of fire is needed.

Does Petroleum Jelly Really Come From Petroleum?

Petroleum jelly is commonly derived from petroleum, typically through a refining process, and is often referred to as petrolatum. It’s a semisolid mixture of hydrocarbons, primarily composed of long chains of carbon atoms.

The process of obtaining petroleum jelly involves the removal of impurities and the separation of different components from crude oil. The resulting product is a smooth, translucent, and odorless substance.

There are two main types of petroleum jelly: white petroleum jelly and yellow petroleum jelly. The difference lies in the refining process and the presence of additional ingredients. White petroleum jelly is highly refined and purified, while yellow petroleum jelly contains additional impurities. Both types have similar properties and uses.

Although petroleum jelly isn’t flammable in its pure form, it can act as a flammable substance when combined with other flammable materials.

How Do I Make Petroleum Jelly Cotton Ball Fire Starters?

To make petroleum jelly cotton ball fire starters, gather the necessary materials. Here is a list of items you’ll need:

  • Cotton balls: These will serve as the base material for your fire starters.
  • Petroleum jelly: This flammable substance will act as a fuel source to ignite the cotton balls.
  • Ziplock bag: Use a sealable bag to store your fire starters and keep them dry.
  • Tweezers: These will help handle the cotton balls and prevent any direct contact with the petroleum jelly.
  • Ignition source: You’ll need a match, lighter, or fire starter to ignite the cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly.

To make the fire starters, simply dip the cotton balls into the petroleum jelly, ensuring they’re fully coated. Store them in the ziplock bag for later use.

When ready to start a fire, place the petroleum jelly cotton ball in your fire pit or kindling and use your ignition source to light it. The flammable nature of petroleum jelly will help ignite the cotton ball, providing a reliable fire starter.

Is Vaseline And Petroleum Jelly The Same Thing?

Vaseline and petroleum jelly are essentially the same thing. Vaseline is actually a brand name for a specific type of petroleum jelly. Both Vaseline and petroleum jelly are made from a mixture of mineral oils and waxes, primarily white petrolatum. They’ve similar properties and uses, making them interchangeable in many applications.

When it comes to flammability, petroleum jelly, including Vaseline, isn’t flammable when used as intended. However, it can be flammable in the presence of an open flame or a spark, especially if it’s combined with oxygen. This is why caution should be exercised when using petroleum jelly cotton balls as fire starters. While they can be effective for starting fires, it’s important to handle them with care and keep them away from sources of ignition.

What Dissolves Petroleum Jelly?

When trying to remove petroleum jelly, you can dissolve it using certain substances. Petroleum jelly is a skin product derived from hydrocarbons, particularly paraffin. Here are five substances that can effectively dissolve petroleum jelly:

  • Acetone: A common solvent that can dissolve petroleum jelly quickly and effectively.
  • Isopropyl alcohol: Also known as rubbing alcohol, it’s another effective solvent for petroleum jelly.
  • Mineral spirits: A petroleum-based solvent that can break down the hydrocarbons in petroleum jelly.
  • Dish soap and warm water: By creating an emulsion, dish soap can help dissolve and remove petroleum jelly from the skin.
  • Vinegar: Its acidic nature can help break down the petroleum jelly and facilitate its removal.

What Happens If Petroleum Jelly Catches Fire?

If petroleum jelly catches fire, you should immediately extinguish the flames using a fire extinguisher or smother it with a non-flammable material.

Petroleum jelly is highly flammable due to its hydrocarbon composition. When exposed to a heat source, such as an open flame or a hot surface, it can ignite and burn.

The high flammability of petroleum jelly is a concern, especially when used on the skin as a moisturizer or for treating skin conditions. The heat from the fire can cause serious burns or injuries to the skin. Additionally, the burning petroleum jelly can release toxic fumes and smoke, which can be harmful if inhaled.

It’s crucial to handle petroleum jelly with caution and keep it away from any potential sources of ignition to prevent accidents and injuries.

How Can I Safely Store Petroleum Jelly?

To safely store petroleum jelly, keep it in a cool, dry place away from any sources of heat or ignition. Here are some important tips for storing petroleum jelly:

  • Choose the right location: Store your petroleum jelly in a cupboard or drawer, preferably in a room with a stable temperature. Avoid places like the kitchen or bathroom, as these areas tend to have fluctuating humidity levels.
  • Keep it tightly sealed: Make sure the lid is securely tightened to prevent any moisture from entering the container. This will help maintain the petroleum jelly’s effectiveness as a skin protectant.
  • Avoid exposure to sunlight: Sunlight can degrade the quality of petroleum jelly, so keep it away from direct sunlight or any other UV light sources.
  • Separate from other ointments: Store petroleum jelly separately from other ointments or skincare products to prevent any cross-contamination.
  • Check for changes in texture or odor: Periodically inspect the petroleum jelly for any changes in texture or odor. If you notice any unusual changes, it’s best to discard it and replace it with a fresh container.

Providing Storage Tips For Maximum Safety

Store petroleum jelly in a cool, dry location to maximize safety. It’s important to store petroleum jelly properly to minimize the risk of fire. Petroleum jelly is flammable due to its semi-solid mixture, which can easily catch fire when exposed to high temperatures or open flames.

To ensure maximum safety, keep it away from heat sources such as stoves, heaters, or direct sunlight. Avoid storing it near flammable materials, such as cotton fibers, as they can easily ignite. Additionally, always make sure the lid is tightly sealed to prevent any potential ignition sources from reaching the jelly.

What Should I Do If Petroleum Jelly Catches Fire?

If petroleum jelly catches fire, immediately extinguish the flames using a fire extinguisher or smother it with a fire blanket. Here are some important steps to follow in case of a fire involving petroleum jelly:

  • Stay calm and avoid panic.
  • Cut off the oxygen supply by covering the flames with a fire blanket or a thick, non-flammable material such as a woolen blanket or heavy clothing.
  • If a fire extinguisher is available, aim it at the base of the fire and use short, controlled bursts to extinguish the flames.
  • Don’t use water to put out the fire, as petroleum jelly isn’t water-soluble and it may spread the fire further.
  • If the fire is too large or uncontrollable, evacuate the area immediately and call emergency services.

Remember to prioritize your safety and take appropriate measures to prevent the fire from spreading or causing harm.

Factors Affecting Flammability of Petroleum Jelly

Flammability of Petroleum Jelly

To truly understand the factors affecting flammability, you must master the art of avoiding accelerants. These are substances that can increase the rate of combustion or make a material more prone to catching fire.

  • Factors influencing combustion: presence of oxygen, heat, and a fuel source.
  • Oxygen is essential as an oxidizer supporting the chemical reaction.
  • Heat provides the energy needed to initiate and sustain combustion.
  • A fuel source is required, any material capable of burning.
  • Combination of factors determines the flammability of a substance.
  • Flammability testing methods are crucial for evaluating fire hazards.
  • Methods involve subjecting materials to controlled conditions.
  • ASTM E84 (Steiner tunnel test) measures flame spread and smoke development.
  • ASTM D2863 test determines the oxygen index of a material.
  • Oxygen index indicates the minimum oxygen concentration required for combustion.

By evaluating the factors influencing combustion and using reliable testing methods, scientists and engineers can understand the flammability of materials and develop strategies to mitigate fire risks.

Safety Precautions of Petroleum Jelly

Safety Precautions of Petroleum Jelly

Safety precautions are essential in preventing fires and ensuring the well-being of individuals when handling petroleum jelly. Here are some important safety measures to consider:

  • Keep petroleum jelly away from open flames or heat sources as it’s highly flammable. Avoid smoking or using any kind of open flame in the vicinity of the product.
  • Store petroleum jelly in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight. Exposure to high temperatures can increase the risk of ignition.
  • Always use petroleum jelly in well-ventilated areas to minimize the buildup of flammable vapors.

Handling precautions should also be followed to minimize the risk of accidents:

  • When using petroleum jelly, make sure to clean your hands thoroughly before and after application. This’ll prevent the transfer of any flammable substances onto your skin or other surfaces.
  • Avoid using petroleum jelly near electrical equipment or outlets. The product can act as an insulator and increase the risk of electrical fires.
  • Use caution when applying petroleum jelly to large areas of the body, as excessive amounts can create a greater risk of flammability. Use only the recommended amount as directed on the product label.

By following these safety measures and handling precautions, you can minimize the risk of fire and ensure the safe use of petroleum jelly.

Common Uses of Petroleum Jelly

Common Uses of Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly, also known as petrolatum, is a versatile product with a wide range of uses. One of its key uses is moisturizing dry skin, as it forms a protective barrier that helps to seal in moisture.

It is also commonly used for treating minor cuts and burns, as it can help to soothe and heal the skin. In addition to these skincare uses, petroleum jelly has other household uses, such as lubricating stuck zippers or hinges, removing makeup, and polishing shoes.

Moisturizing dry skin

If you’re looking for a quick fix to soothe dry skin, slathering on some moisturizer feels like a cozy hug for your parched epidermis. And when it comes to moisturizers, petroleum jelly is a top contender.

Not only is it widely available and affordable, but it also offers exceptional benefits for moisturizing dry skin. Here are three reasons why petroleum jelly is a go-to choice for dry skin remedies:

1. Intense hydration: The thick consistency of petroleum jelly creates a barrier on the skin, locking in moisture and preventing water loss. This helps to replenish and restore the skin’s natural hydration, providing relief to dry and flaky areas. Its occlusive nature makes it an ideal choice for those with severely dry skin.

2. Skin protection: In addition to moisturizing, petroleum jelly acts as a protective shield for the skin. It forms a barrier that shields the skin from harsh environmental factors like wind, cold weather, and pollutants. By creating this barrier, petroleum jelly helps to prevent further moisture loss and protects the skin’s natural barrier function.

3. Soothing and calming properties: Dry skin can often feel itchy and irritated. Petroleum jelly has soothing properties that help to alleviate these discomforts. It forms a gentle and non-irritating layer on the skin’s surface, providing relief from dryness and reducing itchiness. Its calming effect can be particularly beneficial for individuals with sensitive or damaged skin.

When it comes to moisturizing dry skin, petroleum jelly is an excellent choice. Its intense hydration, skin protection, and soothing properties make it a reliable remedy for dry and flaky skin. So go ahead and embrace the cozy hug of petroleum jelly to give your skin the nourishment it craves.

Is petroleum jelly safe to use?

Is petroleum jelly safe to use

It’s important to consider if using petroleum jelly is safe for your skin. While petroleum jelly is widely used as a moisturizer and for various beauty purposes, it’s essential to understand the potential health risks associated with its ingredients.

When considering the safety of petroleum jelly, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Choose products that are free from fragrance and other additives. Fragrances and other additives can potentially cause irritation or allergic reactions, especially for those with sensitive skin.
  • Look for products with a high level of purity. Ensure that the petroleum jelly you’re using is highly refined and has undergone purification processes to remove impurities and contaminants.
  • Be cautious when using petroleum jelly on broken or irritated skin. Applying petroleum jelly on open wounds or skin conditions like eczema may hinder the healing process or lead to further irritation.

By taking these considerations into account and selecting petroleum jelly products that meet high safety standards, you can minimize potential health risks and enjoy the benefits of this versatile skincare product.


Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions about petroleum jelly.

Is petroleum jelly toxic?

Can Ky Jelly catch fire?

Is petroleum jelly inherently flammable?

These are common concerns that arise when discussing the flammability of petroleum jelly.

In the following section, we’ll provide detailed answers to these important questions.

Is Petroleum Jelly Toxic

You may be wondering whether petroleum jelly is toxic. Here are some important points to consider:

  • Petroleum jelly is generally considered safe: It’s made from mineral oil and white soft paraffin, both of which are widely used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
  • Minimal risk of toxicity: Petroleum jelly is non-toxic and has a low risk of causing harm when used as directed.
  • Potential for skin irritation: While rare, some individuals with sensitive skin may experience mild irritation or allergic reactions to petroleum jelly.
  • Use caution with ingestion: Although petroleum jelly is generally safe for external use, ingesting large amounts may cause digestive issues. It isn’t meant to be consumed.
  • Avoid using on open wounds: Petroleum jelly shouldn’t be applied to open wounds or burns, as it can interfere with the healing process.

Is Ky Jelly Flammable

Continuing the discussion on flammability, let’s explore whether KY Jelly is flammable.

KY Jelly is a commonly used personal lubricant that’s similar to petroleum jelly in terms of its texture and consistency. However, unlike petroleum jelly, KY Jelly is specifically formulated for intimate use.

When it comes to flammability, KY Jelly is considered non-flammable. This means that it doesn’t easily catch fire or support combustion. The main reason for this is the absence of volatile compounds or low flashpoint substances in its composition.

KY Jelly is primarily composed of water, glycerin, propylene glycol, hydroxyethylcellulose, and other non-flammable ingredients. Therefore, you can use KY Jelly with confidence, knowing that it poses no significant flammability risks.

Is Petroleum Jelly Inherently Flammable?

Petroleum jelly isn’t inherently flammable, but it can be flammable under certain conditions. Understanding these conditions is important to ensure proper use and safety. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Thin layer: When petroleum jelly is applied in a thin layer, it’s less likely to catch fire. Thicker layers can trap heat and increase the risk of flammability.
  • Saturated hydrocarbons: Petroleum jelly is primarily composed of saturated hydrocarbons, which have a higher flashpoint and are less volatile compared to unsaturated hydrocarbons.
  • Liquid petroleum jelly: The flammability of petroleum jelly increases when it’s heated and reaches its flashpoint temperature. At this point, it can ignite and burn.
  • Minor burn: In case of a minor burn, applying petroleum jelly can provide relief and promote healing. However, it’s important to ensure that the burn isn’t actively bleeding or oozing, as this can increase the risk of infection.


In conclusion, petroleum jelly is indeed flammable, making it important to exercise caution when using it near open flames. Its ability to ignite cotton balls and act as a fire starter is due to its flammable properties.

Despite its name, petroleum jelly doesn’t come directly from petroleum but is derived from petroleum byproducts. To ensure maximum safety, it’s recommended to store petroleum jelly in a cool, dry place away from heat sources.

In the event of a fire, promptly extinguish it using appropriate fire safety measures.

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karl-rock fire fighter

Karl Rock

Hey there, I'm Karl Rock, a dedicated firefighter with a passion for safety. Through my blog, I'm here to share crucial insights about the nature of flammability and effective ways to safeguard both lives and homes. With years of experience on the frontlines, I'll bring you valuable tips and knowledge to help you understand fire's behavior and how to prevent its devastating impact. Join me on this journey to empower yourself with life-saving information and create a safer environment for you and your loved ones. Together, we'll conquer the flames and ensure a secure future.

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