13 Uses for Olive Oil, Your Go-To Cooking Aid

published Dec 22, 2019
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Olive oil is naturally a cooking staple in the kitchen, but if you don’t already have an affordable bottle in your cleaning cabinet, it’s time to hit the grocery store. This jack of all trades item not only tastes delicious drizzled on salads, but it can also polish wood furniture, quiet squeaky door hinges, and so much more. Below, 11 uses for olive oil you may not have thought of.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Clean your cast iron pans

In addition to olive oil, you’ll need a teaspoon of course salt and a stiff brush. Mix the olive oil and salt and use the brush to scrub the mixture into your cast iron pans. Finally, rinse with hot water for a squeaky-clean finish. Wipe dry to avoid rust.

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2. Polish your shoes

Yes, a little bit of olive oil on cloth can do just the trick when it comes to polishing your shoes in a pinch. But wait! Test it out on a small spot first to make sure the oil doesn’t alter the color of your particular pair of shoes. If you’re good to go, use a soft cloth—like an old t-shirt—with just a little bit of oil to buff your shoes shiny.

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3. Get paint off your hands

So, you’re painting your bedroom and things go awry. How can you get that paint off your hands? Just rub olive oil all over your skin, let it sink in for five minutes, and then rinse with hand soap.

4. Camouflage scratches on your leather furniture

A small amount of olive oil on a cotton cloth comes in handy again when neutralizing the appearance of scratches on your leather furniture. Just rub the oil onto each scratch in a circular motion for a refreshed look.

5. Protect rattan and wicker furniture

Warm up your olive oil a bit and rub a thin layer over your rattan and wicker furniture with a cloth to keep it from drying out and cracking.

6. Shine stainless steel

Rubbing a bit of olive oil over your stainless steel appliances will bring back their shine.

7. Polish wood furniture

As with stainless steel, you can give your wood furniture a good-as-new shine using olive oil. Combine two cups of olive oil with one cup of lemon juice or vinegar and use a soft cloth to rub the mixture on your furniture. Or, mix equal parts olive oil and lemon juice to soften the look of scratches on light-colored wood.

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8. Tame squeaky door hinges

Before spending money on a specialized solution, try rubbing some olive oil on your squeaky door hinges. It just may do the trick for a fraction of the cost.

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9. Remove sticky labels

Has a price tag left a sticky residue on your new candle? Let some olive oil sink into the spot and then wipe off the residue in a breeze.

10. Keep candle wax from sticking

Speaking of candles, we could do without candle wax getting stuck to our nice candlesticks. To minimize cleanup, cover your candlestick or candle holder in a thin coat of olive oil before lighting a candle. The dried wax will peel right off.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Clean makeup brushes

Mix two parts unscented antibacterial soap with one part olive oil for the perfect makeup brush cleansing solution.

Credit: Emma Fiala

12. Clean tree sap off your hands (or your pet)

If you’re sticky with sap after setting up your Christmas tree, use a bit of olive oil to help remove the residue. Then wash your hands with soap. For your pet, use olive oil followed by a pet shampoo.

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13. Un-stick a stuck zipper

A stuck zipper may be incredibly frustrating, but it’s no match for olive oil. Just dot a small amount onto your zipper and it should come undone. Just be sure to note that olive oil can stain fabric, so this trick should be used with much caution.