Kerosene is one of the more versatile fuels we have in modern society. Also known as paraffin or simply lamp oil, kerosene has a long history spanning centuries since the earliest written account of its production process was traced back to Ancient Persian scholar Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi in the 9th Century AD. The world goes through an incredible amount of kerosene, consuming roughly 1.2 million barrels every single day, which amounts to nearly 250 million litres! Because kerosene is incredibly versatile, many odd and unique usages for it have been discovered over the generations of its use. Take a look at three examples of odd uses for kerosene:
Kerosene as a cleaning agent
As a solvent, kerosene is excellent at breaking through grease and oily substances, and as such, makes a fantastic cleaning agent for some specific purposes. Now, using kerosene to clean yourself off is never advisable! Getting kerosene on you will defat your skin and could cause dermatological issues if done regularly. However, for grease-laden tools, kerosene is the perfect cleaning agent! It is particularly popular for cleaning bike chains and other very oily items.
Kerosene as a pesticide
Kerosene makes an effective pesticide, and is actually an old wives’ remedy for headlice, though it is certainly not recommendable to put it on your head on a regular basis (see above)! Kerosene can be sprayed onto beds and mattresses to kill bed bugs, but its toxicity and the smell it’ll leave behind may make you want to consider other options. Kerosene can also be spread across the surface of stagnant water to kill mosquitos and other insect larvae.
Kerosene in the entertainment industry
Kerosene is also in proliferent use in the entertainment industry! Due to its thick viscosity, kerosene is often used in pyrotechnics as it won’t spill or run as easily as diesel, and it isn’t explosive like petrol. Common uses for kerosene in the entertainment industry include everything from large-scale stage pyrotechnics and fire shows to individual performers with fire poi, staffs, or batons. Fire eaters and fire breathers also use kerosene, but they must be very careful not to swallow any or inhale its fumes, as the health risks are serious.