Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly’s distinct characteristics lend it remarkable versatility across various sectors. Its primary component, a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons, is the key to its broad range of applications. The substance’s ability to form a protective barrier makes it valuable in skin care, where it locks in moisture and aids in healing minor wounds and burns. This protective quality extends to its use in the wood and leather industries, where it serves as an effective conditioner and preservative. In this article, we will discuss the unique properties of petroleum jelly, its production process, and its diverse applications in detail. 

Before going through the details of petroleum jelly, it is insightful to highlight JAM Group Co., a standout entity in the petroleum jelly market. Equipped with advanced machinery and easy access to high-quality raw materials, JAM Group Co. is a prominent petroleum jelly manufacturer and supplier. Their experience crafting petroleum jelly is evident in the quality of their products, which have positioned them in terms of price and reliability among petroleum jelly suppliers. The company has the capability to offer petroleum jelly in various grades of purity and packaging, helpful to a diverse range of needs. Additionally, using reliable shipping lines, JAM Group Co. ensures that their high-standard products are delivered efficiently and safely to customers worldwide. You can click on About Us to read more about this company and its pricing.


What is Petroleum Jelly?

Petroleum jelly, known in various forms as petrolatum, white petrolatum, soft paraffin, or multi-hydrocarbon, is a semi-solid blend of hydrocarbons, categorized as a petrochemical product. With a composition featuring hydrocarbons with carbon numbers above 25, this substance first gained attention for its healing qualities. It has become a familiar product in many households, initially marketed under the American brand Vaseline in the 1870s. This odorless, inert jelly is composed of mineral oils and waxes. It finds application in industrial uses, such as metal protection and lubrication, especially in the food and beverage sector, as well as in the pharmaceutical industry, where it’s a key ingredient in various ointments and barrier creams.

Over time, petroleum jelly has transcended its original medical use, finding a place in cosmetics and home remedies. While it was once considered a panacea for a host of minor ailments ranging from toenail fungus to colds, scientific advancements have refined our understanding of its appropriate applications. Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes petroleum jelly as a safe and effective over-the-counter skin protectant. Its popularity in skincare persists, where it’s often broadly classified under the term’ mineral oil’.

Petroleum Jelly Properties

Petroleum jelly has a melting point between 40 and 70 °C (105 and 160 °F), depending on its specific composition. Unique in its physical properties, it remains stable under normal conditions, only becoming flammable when heated to a liquid state. At this point, the vapors ignite, necessitating a wick for combustion. Pure petroleum jelly is generally colorless or may exhibit a pale yellow hue if not entirely distilled. It stands out for its lack of taste and smell, highlighting its purity. Additionally, petroleum jelly is resistant to oxidation when exposed to air and remains largely unaffected by most chemical agents.

Its solubility does not dissolve in water but can mix with dichloromethane, chloroform, benzene, diethyl ether, carbon disulfide, and turpentine. Interestingly, it is only slightly soluble in alcohol. Petroleum jelly’s influence on polypropylene is notable, as it acts as a plasticizer, yet it’s compatible with most other plastics. Its semi-solid nature is fascinating; the substance maintains its shape indefinitely like a solid yet conforms to the shape of its container, similar to a liquid, without flowing on its own. At room temperature, petroleum jelly consists of 20.9% solid fat content. The microstructure is characterized by partially crystalline stacks of lamellar sheets, which immobilize the liquid portion. Compositionally, it typically contains 7–13% high molecular weight paraffins, 30–45% smaller paraffins, and 48–60% small paraffins.


Different Grades of Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is classified into different grades. These classifications depend on a range of factors, including purity, refinement, intended use, and specific properties.

  • Purity: This factor is crucial, particularly for pharmaceutical and cosmetic grades. Higher grades, like USP or BP, minimize the level of impurities present, such as unsaturated hydrocarbons or contaminants, ensuring suitability for sensitive applications like skincare and medicinal products.
  • Refinement: The degree of refinement influences the texture and consistency of petroleum jelly. More refined grades offer a smoother texture, which is preferred in cosmetic applications. Conversely, less refined grades may be suitable for industrial applications where texture is less of a concern.
  • Intended Use: The specific application of petroleum jelly determines its required grade. For instance, USP and BP grades are indispensable for pharmaceutical uses, whereas industrial grades are apt for mechanical lubrication or protective coatings.
  • Properties: Specific physical and chemical properties are key in classifying petroleum jelly grades:

Kinematic Viscosity at 100 °C: This measures how easily the jelly flows at a given temperature, which is essential for both industrial and cosmetic applications.

Congealing Point: The temperature at which the jelly transitions from a liquid to a semi-solid state, indicating its stability under different environmental conditions.

Penetration Consistency: This reflects the hardness or softness of the jelly, influencing its spreadability and application in various products.

Color (Lovibond): The visual appearance can be critical, especially in cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications, where a colorless or pale product is often preferred.

Acidity or Alkalinity: Ensuring a neutral pH level is crucial, especially for products intended for sensitive skin applications.

Odor: Odorlessness is desirable, particularly for pharmaceutical and personal care products, to ensure user comfort and avoid any potential irritations.

In the following paragraphs, we will present some famous grades of petroleum jelly on the market.

Industrial Grade of Petroleum Jelly 

Industrial-grade petroleum differs from its medical and cosmetic counterparts chiefly due to its coloration and specific applications. Known also as yellow petroleum jelly or Vaseline industrial-grade, this variant typically presents a yellow hue, making it less suitable for cosmetic or pharmaceutical production, which generally requires white petroleum jelly. However, certain naturally yellow ointments might find this industrial-grade product appropriate.

  • Properties:

Speaking of its physical and chemical properties, industrial-grade petroleum jelly has a kinematic viscosity at 100 °C of 4.5-6 cSt (as per ASTM D-445), ensuring adequate flow at elevated temperatures. Its congealing point lies between 54 and 58 °C (according to ASTM D-938), indicating its stability in various environmental conditions. The penetration consistency is measured at 110-150 (0.1 mm) by ASTM D-937, reflecting its softness. In terms of color, it registers a maximum of 1.7 Y on the Lovibond scale (IP-17 Method A 33 cell), which is indicative of its yellow tint. Lastly, its acidity or alkalinity aligns with the standards of the British Pharmacopoeia (B.P 2007), ensuring its suitability for industrial applications.

  • Applications:

The industrial utility of this grade is vast. The grade finds uses in lubricating and moistening plastics, coating items prone to corrosion, conditioning leather, wood finishing, protecting against moisture loss, and serving as a release agent in plaster molds and castings. Its application extends across rubber, automotive, and general industrial sectors. Color is often not a critical factor in these industries, but it allows for the versatile use of white or yellow variants. The demand for industrial-grade Vaseline in large quantities reflects its utility across these diverse sectors.

Ph. Grade of Petroleum Jelly

The pharmaceutical grade of petroleum jelly is specially formulated to lock in moisture, making it a key component in skin care. The production process involves distilling the waxy petroleum material initially found on oil rigs, ensuring its purity and suitability for medical applications. Tracing its history back to 1859, it originated as rod wax, an unrefined by-product of oil drilling, used by workers to treat skin injuries and burns.

  • Applications:

This grade of petroleum jelly is vital in various medical products. It’s used in ointments, bandages, eye medications, and skin treatments, playing a crucial role in healing and protecting skin. Globally, the product is recognized for its ability to heal dry skin, ranging from cracked hands to rough heels, and is also used in beauty routines for lip softening and cheekbone highlighting. In addition to cosmetic uses, it’s effective in preventing diaper rash and protecting against minor cuts and burns. It is renowned for its skin-softening properties and ability to retain moisture in dry, cracked skin.

  • Properties:

In terms of physical and chemical properties, this grade has a kinematic viscosity at 100 °C of 6.1 cSt, falling within the range of 6-8 cSt, which speaks to its optimal flow at higher temperatures. Its congealing point lies between 45 and 58 °C, indicating its stability across various environments. The penetration consistency is assessed at 140-160 (0.1 mm), denoting its ideal firmness for topical applications. With a maximum color rating of 0.5 Y on the Lovibond scale, it’s nearly colorless, aligning with the aesthetic needs of pharmaceutical products. Its formulation is designed to be odorless when applied, enhancing patient comfort. Additionally, it meets stringent health standards regarding polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, with levels not exceeding the absorbance of a solution with 6 mg/l Naphthalene in DMSO at 278 nm, ensuring its safety and efficacy for medical use.

Cosmetic Grade of Petroleum Jelly

The cosmetic grade of petroleum jelly is a specialized product modified for the beauty and skincare industry. Initially embraced for its healing properties, this grade has evolved far beyond being a simple product in medicine. While its role as a universal remedy has been recalibrated with a better understanding of its appropriate uses, cosmetic-grade petroleum jelly remains a cornerstone in various beauty and skincare products. This grade of petroleum jelly is distinguished by its extra white color and lack of smell, attributes that are crucial in cosmetic applications. 


It is widely used in a range of products, including skin and hair care formulations, where it serves as an effective moisturizer, preventing moisture loss and aiding in hair grooming. Its lubricating properties also benefit skincare, ensuring smooth application and skin protection. In addition to personal care, cosmetic-grade petroleum jelly plays a role in product care and protection, offering coating and finishing benefits. It is used in the production processes for its lubricating properties and surface cleaning applications. Even pet care products often incorporate this grade of petroleum jelly due to its gentle and practical characteristics. Most creams and ointments designed for cosmetic or current medical treatments leverage the unique properties of cosmetic petroleum jelly.


From a technical perspective, this grade has a kinematic viscosity at 100 °C of 6-8 cSt, signifying its optimal flow at elevated temperatures. Its congealing point ranges from 54 to 58 °C, showcasing its stability under various conditions. The penetration consistency lies between 140-160 (0.1 mm), indicating a balanced firmness suitable for topical applications. The color is crucial, with a maximum rating of 0.7 Y on the Lovibond scale, ensuring an aesthetically pleasing, almost colorless appearance. Additionally, it is designed to be odorless when applied to the skin, enhancing user comfort and making it a preferred choice in many cosmetic formulations.


Petroleum Jelly Production Process

The manufacturing process of petroleum jelly is important, as it directly influences the characteristics and purity of the final product. This process determines the jelly’s final application and ensures that it reaches the highest standards of refinement. Given the critical nature of this process, it is essential to explore the various stages involved in its manufacture. The following paragraphs offer an in-depth exploration of these stages.

1st Stage: Crude Oil Extraction

The production of Petroleum jelly begins with crude oil extraction, a vital process in its production. Crude oil, a naturally occurring fossil fuel, is found in underground reservoirs and is composed of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. This initial stage is fundamental, as the quality and characteristics of the crude oil directly impact the final product.

Crude oil extraction involves locating underground reservoirs and drilling wells to access this valuable resource. Advanced techniques like seismic surveys are often used to identify promising sites. Once a site is determined, drilling commences, penetrating deep into the earth to reach the oil reservoirs. These reservoirs can be several miles beneath the surface and require sophisticated drilling equipment to access.

2nd Stage: Distillation

Distillation is the second stage in producing petroleum jelly, following the initial extraction of crude oil. This process is vital in transforming crude oil into a usable form for various products, including petroleum jelly. Distillation occurs in a large column, where the crude oil is heated to high temperatures. This heating causes the different components of the crude oil to separate, leveraging their distinct boiling points.

As the crude oil heats up, the lighter hydrocarbons, such as gasoline, rise and are extracted at higher points in the column. Conversely, heavier fractions, including waxes, the primary ingredient for petroleum jelly, are collected lower down as they require higher vaporization temperatures. This separation is essential for obtaining the specific hydrocarbon chains for petroleum jelly production.

3rd Stage: Vacuum Distillation

In transforming crude oil into petroleum jelly, vacuum distillation is another critical stage, following the previous distillation process. This stage addresses the heavier fractions extracted earlier, focusing on refining them further under controlled conditions. Vacuum distillation operates at lower pressures than standard distillation, a deliberate approach to prevent thermal cracking – a process that can degrade the quality of the product.

The key to vacuum distillation’s effectiveness lies in its ability to boil the heavy fractions at lower temperatures. Since pressure is inversely related to boiling point, reducing the pressure inside the distillation unit allows these heavy components to vaporize at temperatures that do not cause thermal decomposition. This gentle approach is essential for maintaining the integrity of the heavy hydrocarbons, which are crucial for high-quality petroleum jelly. It is interesting to know that a valuable fraction known as “slack wax” is extracted during vacuum distillation. 

4th Stage: Deoiling

The fourth stage in producing petroleum jelly is known as “deoiling.” It is a crucial process that refines slack wax into a more pure form. After vacuum distillation, the slack wax contains a mix of waxes and oils. Deoiling is designed to separate these components, reducing the oil content and concentrating the wax.

During deoiling, slack wax is treated with a solvent, often a propane mixture, chosen for its effectiveness in dissolving the oil content while leaving the wax intact. The solvent and slack wax mixture is carefully managed under specific temperature conditions. These conditions are optimized to ensure that the solvent selectively dissolves the oil. The dissolved oil is then separated from the wax.

5th Stage: Solvent Extraction

Following deoiling, the fifth stage in the manufacture of petroleum jelly involves solvent extraction. This step is dedicated to purifying the deoiled slack wax further by eliminating any residual impurities that might still be present. The aim here is to achieve the highest possible purity, which is crucial for the quality of the final petroleum jelly product.

Solvents such as acetone or methyl ethyl ketone are used in this process. These solvents are particularly effective in dissolving unwanted compounds lingering in the slack wax. The choice of solvent is critical; it must be one that can selectively remove impurities without affecting the desirable wax components.

6th Stage: Hydro Finishing

The sixth stage in the production of petroleum jelly is hydro finishing, a process crucial to refining the purified slack wax obtained from earlier stages. Hydrofinishing involves a hydrogenation process, where the wax is treated with hydrogen in the presence of a specific catalyst. This stage is crucial for enhancing the quality and consistency of the final product.

In hydro finishing, the wax is exposed to hydrogen gas. The catalyst facilitates the reaction between hydrogen and the wax’s unsaturated compounds. This reaction is carefully controlled to ensure that any remaining unsaturated hydrocarbons are saturated, effectively removing them. 

7th Stage: Deoiling and Decolorization

The next stage of petroleum jelly manufacturing is deoiling and decolorization, which refines the hydro finished product to its utmost purity and clarity. This stage is vital in ensuring that petroleum jelly meets the highest standards for cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.

During deoiling and decolorization, the hydro finished wax undergoes additional purification to remove any lingering impurities that could compromise the quality. It is achieved through adsorption and filtration processes. Adsorption involves using materials like activated clay with a high surface area to attract and hold impurities from the wax. This process effectively captures unwanted particles, including those responsible for coloration, without altering the desired properties of the wax.

8th Stage: Distillation and Fractionation

At the eighth stage of petroleum jelly production, the process of distillation and fractionation comes into play. This stage is critical for separating the refined wax into different grades of petroleum jelly, each distinguished by its melting point. This differentiation allows for the production of various types of petroleum jelly, each customized for specific applications and properties.

During this stage, the refined wax is subjected to distillation, which involves heating the wax to turn it into vapor. This vapor is then cooled and condensed back into liquid form. Distillation is not just a singular process; it’s repeated in a controlled manner, enabling the separation of the wax into distinct fractions. Each fraction condenses at different temperatures, correlating to their unique melting points. Fractionation follows distillation. Here, these separate fractions are isolated and collected. Some fractions yield a softer jelly, ideal for skin care products, while others result in a firmer jelly, suitable for more industrial applications.

9th Stage: Final Blending

Final blending is where the product truly comes into its own. After the distillation and fractionation processes, the separated wax fractions are brought together in a harmonious blend. This stage is crucial for achieving the specific consistency and characteristics that define high-quality petroleum jelly.

In final blending, different grades of the separated fractions are combined. The goal is to create a balance that results in the desired melting point range, a key attribute of petroleum jelly. This blending is not a haphazard mix; it requires precision and understanding of how each fraction contributes to the final product’s overall texture, consistency, and melting point.

10th Stage: Packaging

Petroleum jelly production culminates in its packaging, a critical stage that ensures the product reaches the consumer in optimal condition. After going through all these nine stages, the petroleum jelly is ready to be contained for distribution and sale. This stage is about more than just encasing the product; it’s about preserving its quality and making it accessible and usable for the consumer.

During packaging, the petroleum jelly is filled into various types of containers, each chosen based on the intended use and market requirements. Standard packaging options include jars, drums, tubes, and tubs. Jars and tubs are often used for consumer products, particularly for skincare and beauty purposes, allowing easy access to the product. Tubes are convenient for more targeted applications, such as lip balms or hand creams. For larger scale or industrial uses, petroleum jelly is packed in drums, facilitating bulk handling and transport.


Petroleum Jelly Applications

Owing to its unique properties, petroleum jelly finds its way into a multitude of industrial applications. The following paragraphs offer a comprehensive look at these petroleum jelly uses.

In Different Sectors of the Industry

Petroleum jelly is used extensively in various industrial settings. Uses of petroleum jelly are diverse as the substance’s properties:

  • Coating: This jelly is an excellent choice for coating items prone to corrosion, like metallic trinkets, non-stainless steel blades, and gun barrels. It acts as a water repellent, offering an affordable way to protect these items from moisture. Its application extends to the maritime sector, where it is used as an eco-friendly antifouling coating for boats and yachts. Notably, it was recommended in Porsche’s manual as a preservative for certain types of wheels to guard against corrosion from road salts and brake dust.
  • Finishing: Petroleum jelly is helpful in wood finishing, functioning similarly to mineral oil finishes. It’s also employed in conditioning and protecting smooth leather products, including bicycle saddles and motorcycle clothing. Moreover, when applied thinly and buffed gently, it can impart shine to patent leather shoes.
  • Lubrication: It is an effective lubricant for zippers, slide rules, and various seals and gaskets. Porsche has recommended its use in maintenance documentation for lubricating weatherstrips on doors, hoods, and sunroofs.
  • Rust Prevention: Applied to metal surfaces, petroleum jelly helps prevent rust and corrosion, a critical function primarily in the marine and automotive industries.
  • Other Industrial Uses: Due to its sealing and waterproofing properties, petroleum jelly is incorporated into the manufacturing processes of rubber, plastics, and adhesives.

In the Production of Several Products

Petroleum jelly plays a significant role in various production processes:

Candle Making: In the candle industry, petroleum jelly is valued for softening wax blends. This softening effect enables candles to hold more fragrance oil, enhancing their scent. Additionally, it aids in adhering the wax to the sidewall of glass containers, ensuring a uniform and appealing appearance.

Modeling Clay: Petroleum jelly is essential for non-drying modeling clays like plasticine. It works with other hydrocarbons of varying molecular weights, such as paraffin wax and mineral oil, to maintain the clay’s flexibility and consistency.

Printing Inks: In the printing industry, petroleum jelly serves as a tack reducer in inks. This application reduces paper lint ‘picking’ from uncalendered paper stocks, thereby improving print quality and reducing waste.

In the Medical and Self-Care Contexts

The benefits of petroleum jelly in the medical and pharmaceutical fields are vast and varied, owing to its protective and healing properties:

  • Skin Protection: Petroleum jelly is widely used to shield the skin from irritation and chafing. In medical contexts, it is applied to areas vulnerable to bedsores or diaper rash, providing a gentle, protective barrier against skin damage.
  • Wound Healing: By creating a barrier over wounds, petroleum jelly aids in the healing process. It keeps the wounded area moist, which can accelerate healing and protect it from bacterial infection.
  • Medical Ointments: Petroleum jelly serves as a base in many medical ointments and topical medications, enhancing the delivery and effectiveness of active ingredients.
  • Preventing Moisture Loss: It reduces transepidermal water loss, thereby preventing dry, chapped skin and softening nail cuticles. This property is also used in scenarios like long-distance swims or outdoor sports in cold weather, where it provides heat insulation by preventing skin moisture evaporation.
  • Hair Grooming: Historically, in the early 20th century, petroleum jelly was a popular ingredient in hair pomades. A mixture of petroleum jelly and beeswax was used as an effective mustache wax.
  • Skin Lubrication in Sports: It reduces friction between skin and clothing in various sports activities, such as cycling and running, to prevent chafing. It’s also used in sports like wrestling and football in the groin area.
  • Personal Lubricant: Petroleum jelly is known for its distinct feel as a personal lubricant, as it does not dry out like water-based lubricants.

In Household Products

Petroleum jelly benefits for household products are significant, too. This product offers maintenance and care solutions for various items:

  • Furniture Polish: It is a key ingredient in furniture polish, used to restore the shine to wood surfaces. The jelly adds luster and offers a protective layer, shielding the wood from dust and minor scratches.
  • Leather Care: Petroleum jelly is an excellent conditioner for leather goods like shoes, belts, and bags. It helps keep the leather supple, prevents cracking, and adds a layer of protection against wear and tear.
  • Water-Repellent Products: In items like waterproofing sprays and coatings, petroleum jelly plays a crucial role. It contributes to the water-repellent qualities of these products, effectively keeping moisture and water at bay.

In Wood

Petroleum jelly, a versatile substance, finds several practical applications in the wood industry:

  • Repairing Scratches: It’s effectively used to diminish the appearance of scratches on wooden surfaces. By filling in and smoothing out minor scratches, petroleum jelly helps restore the wood’s appearance, making these blemishes less noticeable.
  • Removing Stains: Petroleum jelly can help remove stains from wood. Applying a small amount to a stain and letting it sit for a while can lift and remove the mark, rejuvenating the wood’s surface.
  • Waterproofing: Petroleum jelly shows a water-resistant quality when applied to wood. This protective layer helps prevent water damage, ensuring the longevity and durability of the wood, especially in moisture-prone areas.
  • Lubrication for Wooden Drawers: It is an excellent lubricant for wooden drawers, easing their opening and closing. A thin layer applied to the drawer slides reduces friction, allowing the drawers to glide smoothly without sticking.


About JAM Group Co’s Petroleum Jelly

JAM Group Co., a renowned petroleum jelly company, has established itself as a reliable manufacturer with an impressive portfolio. The backbone of their manufacturing capability lies in their advanced machinery and equipment, complemented by access to high-quality raw materials in Iran. This combination enables them to produce petroleum jelly that meets diverse needs in grade and purity. Their experienced team is adept at navigating the complexities of production, ensuring each batch of petroleum jelly adheres to stringent quality standards. 

As a supplier, JAM Group Co.’s reliability is equally notable. They understand supply dynamics in the petroleum jelly sector, offering products in various packaging to suit market segments, including white petroleum jelly suppliers. Their commitment to quality extends to their distribution process, where they utilize dependable shipping lines to ensure timely and safe delivery. This logistical efficiency is key in maintaining the integrity of their product, crucial for preserving both the petroleum jelly’s quality and its price competitiveness. For further insights about this company, you can peruse About Us page.