10 Household Items You Didn't Know Were Made from Oil

You might have an idea as to how much petroleum is a part of your daily life. I mean, the gas in your car and the oil in its engine are a given, right? But what about those products made with some petroleum-derived material that aren’t the usual suspects?

I mean, who would of thought that the crayons your kids are using to scribble in those colouring books are made from paraffin wax, a substance created from petroleum? What about the lipstick you just put on, or that which you have on your cheek unknowingly after a kiss from your mom?

Depending on the brand, that lipstick could have very well been made using mineral oil or petrolatum, both of which are by-products of refining crude oil to make petroleum products such as gasoline.

These are just a few of the every day items we use as consumers that we might not think or would suspect are made from petroleum. What others are there?

Here’s a list of 10 common household items you didn’t know where made from oil:


Believe it or not, petroleum is even in some of the drugs we use.

Aspirin, a pain reliving, anti-inflammatory and fever reducing drug which is sold over-the-counter at pharmacies across the world, is in part made from a hydrocarbon named benzene that originates from coal tar.

Since coal tar is a product of crude oil, aspirin is essentially a product of petroleum.

Hair colour

Remember that hair colouring you used a while ago?

Well, there’s a chance that it too needed petroleum to make as there are many coal-tar hair dyes currently on the market.

This substance isn’t limited to just hair colour; it also is used in lotions, shampoos and many other beauty products ‘till this day.


When your skin is feeling rather dry and flaky, you probably already have a bottle of this stuff in hand.

Not all lotions are derived from petroleum, but the ones that are will have elements derived from mineral oil and petrolatum in them.

Dog collars

Man’s best friend even wears a product derived from petroleum when out and about in the dog park.

While not all dog collars are the same, many do use plastic, synthetic leather and webbed nylon to make.

Nylon, for example, is a synthetic thermoplastic polymer that is (you guessed it) made with the help of petroleum.

Cash money

What about those dollar bills in your wallet? Are they exempt from our list? Not a chance!

Canada is currently using a series of polymer bank notes which are derived from petroleum.

These bank notes last substantially longer than paper notes, which as a result is expected to help reduce the environmental impact and production costs over the long term.


Taking care of your teeth is a critical aspect of maintaining your health over the long term. Thankfully, we have toothbrushes to help us with that! 

Many of these little brushes make use of plastic handles and tiny nylon bristles which help us clean the gunk out of our teeth on the daily.


Sunglasses aren’t just an essential part of your stylish wardrobe… they also help to protect your eyes from harmful sunlight in the form of ultraviolet radiation (UV) and high-energy visible light (HEV light).

While all sunglasses aren’t made from petroleum derived materials, many that you’ll see on the store shelf make use of plastic and metal frames with polycarbonate lenses.

Pencils & erasers

You might have just taken a break from doing homework or reviewing those important notes from your meeting earlier in the day to read this article. You may also have used a mechanical pencil and eraser during those activities.

Well, the plastic encasing mechanism you’ll find in most mechanical pencils is made from polystyrene, while the end eraser is most likely made from a synthetic rubber.

Contact lenses

Like all the other household items on this list, contact lenses have come a long way since their introduction into society in the late 1800s.

However, long-term and comfortable, breathable soft contact lenses made partly by plastic polymers, weren’t mainstream until the 1960s and 70s. Plastic polymers are largely made derived from oil.

Light bulbs

We all need light throughout our day to help us perform daily tasks with plain sight of what’s going on in front of us. Thankfully, the lightbulb helps us do that.

Whether it’s HD or a traditional bulb, their production is almost entirely done by machines. These machines need lubrication to work properly and produce what they have been made to.

Lightbulbs may not be technically derived from petroleum, but they definitely couldn’t be made on such a large scale as they are today without.

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