5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Kerosene

  1. Kerosene has been used by humans for centuries.

The first written account of using a distillation process to produce kerosene were written by famous scholar called Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, who lived in Ancient Persia (modern day Iran) in the 9th and 10th centuries CE. Razi was a poet, philosopher, physician, and alchemist, who dedicated much of his life to his scholarship. His Kitab al-Asrar, or Book of Secrets, contained two methods for producing Kerosene. The production of kerosene for lamp fuel was popularised across China during the Ming Dynasty from around the 13th century onwards.


  1. The world uses 1.2 million barrels of kerosene per day.

Although kerosene is not as common in use for lighting and heating in homes as it has been in the past, many homes that are reliant on kerosene still exist in the UK, and we produce and use an incredible amount of it as a species. On average, the world consumes 1.2 barrels of kerosene every single day, which equates to 54 million gallons, or 246 million litres. When a single fuel tanker only holds around 36,000 litres, that’s an insane amount of kerosene being used around the world each day!


  1. People have been known to use kerosene as a pesticide…

In the past, kerosene has been popular as a pesticide, even on the human body! Kerosene was commonly used to kill head lice, but this method is (somewhat obviously) no longer recommended by any health professionals! The risk to burns is too great when using fuels like kerosene. It has also been used to kill bed bugs, and can be layered atop stagnant water to kill mosquitos and other larvae that sit on the surface.


  1. …and as a cleaning agent

Kerosene is excellent at breaking down grease and oil, making it ideal (although still very dangerous) for certain cleaning purposes. Cleaning the lubricant off the chain of a bike before relubrication and removing black, burned-on grease inside ovens are both common applications of kerosene’s grease—busting properties!


  1. Kerosene is popular in the entertainment industry.

Kerosene is very popular in the entertainment industry for its use in pyrotechnics and fire displays such as fire breathing, fire poi, and fire staffs. Kerosene is an ideal consistency to ensure that it will soak thoroughly into the material and won’t flick off into the audience when alight!