cleaning

Surprising ways to use olive oil in your home

Oct. 23, 2013 at 4:13 PM ET

Surprising Home Uses for Olive Oil
Maximilian Stock Ltd./Photographer's Choice/Getty Images /
Surprising Home Uses for Olive Oil

Olive oil is a pantry must-have, but did you know the cooking staple has tons of other uses too? Check out 20 other ways to use olive oil at home and in the garden.

1. Clean grease off your hands. Rub a little bit of olive oil and salt in your hands to remove stubborn grease.

2. Remove gum from shoes. Soak a facecloth in olive oil sit, then rest it on the bottom of your shoe for several minutes. It should break down the sticky stuff enough for you to easily remove it.

3. Season cast iron or wooden pieces. Rub olive oil into kitchen go-tos like cutting boards, salad bowls and skillets to season them.

4. Peel off kids’ stickers. Forget Goof Off— just pour a little olive oil on the sticker and let it sit for several minutes before you start pulling.

5. Make an emergency lamp. For in-a-pinch lighting, fill a bowl with olive oil and add a lamp wick, leaving one end exposed.

6. Prevent sticking. Coat measuring cups and spoons with a little olive oil before pouring in sticky stuff, like honey.

7. Unstick a zipper. Work a tiny bit of olive oil into a metal zipper so it slides much more easily.

8. Fake a healthy houseplant. Rub a little into plants’ leaves to keep them shiny and looking great.

9. Polish furniture. Pour some oil onto a dry paper towel and rub it into your wooden pieces.

10. Keep moles out of your garden. Saturate a rag with olive oil, then stuff it into a mole hole. It should keep the animals away—they can’t stand the smell of the stuff.

11. Improve aging leather. Work a bit of olive oil into leather items like jackets or baseball mitts to add moisture and smooth out cracks.

12. Prevent tarnishing. Rub olive oil into stainless steel and brass pieces, then buff it off with a dry cloth.

13. Clean garden tools. Rub some oil into your tools after using them—it keeps the dust and dirt away and imparts some shine.

14. Help cats with hairballs. Some folks say that adding a few drops of olive oil into cats’ food can help manage the issue—plus, it’ll make their coats look extra glossy.

15. Soothe dogs’ paws. Dogs can also benefit from a bit of olive oil: It helps to lubricate cracked or painful paws, a common side effect of walking on a hot sidewalk.

16. Shine shoes. Pour a little olive oil onto a soft clean cloth and rub vigorously into your shoes. Polish with a soft dry cloth.

17. Polish floors. Rub olive oil into hardwood floors with a soft, dry cloth. Follow up with another wipe down, or until the surface is dry and safe to walk on.

18. Make soap. If you’re a DIY-er, olive oil is a gentle, soothing, natural soap ingredient.

19. Eliminate squeaks. Put a few drops of olive oil into a squeaky door hinge and work it around for a while—no need for WD-40!

20. Polish stainless steel. Banish fingerprints by pouring a little olive oil onto a rag, then work into appliances or silverware.

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

TOP