25 Uses for Olive Oil Around the House
My family had an ornamental olive tree when we lived in Colorado, and I remember passing hours around and on it while I was growing up. It's where I learned to climb trees, it's what held the tire swing, and it's where I learned to make two leaves whistle when you put them between your thumbs. The leaves were long and slender, fuzzy and a soft sea green on the bottom, and deeper, darker green on the top. The trunk looked like something out of a fairy tale. And yet after all that, I didn't know very much about real olives or olive trees.
Apparently wild olives were collected in prehistoric times, as early as 8,000 BC. Originally found exclusively in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and western Asia, they have now been planted in similar climates throughout the world.
The word for "oil" in many languages stems from the root word for olive. The tree itself is an evergreen shrub, very short and broad, and often has a gnarled trunk. I sort of imagine Old Man Willow when I think of olive trees. Olives are harvested when they turn green or purple. One thing I didn't know was that black olives become black using artificial means, namely ferrous sulfate (an edible form of iron.)
There are all sorts of olive oils out there, and I'm going to recommend that for the purposes listed in this article, don't buy the expensive stuff! There's cheaper olive oil out there, and that's probably what you should use here. It's pricey stuff when you get into the specialty types, but in a bind, a little dab of even the good stuff will get your makeup off.
Health & Beauty
- Bath - Add about 3 tbsp. olive oil to your bath. You know that saying, "like a duck out of water"? In this case, that's awesome! Water will glide effortlessly off your skin as you towel dry, and will look and feel amazing and supple.
- Cuticles - Moisturize and treat your cuticles to some pampering by rubbing olive oil onto them and over your finger and toenails. As an extra special treat, mix 1/4 cup warm water + 1/4 cup olive oil, and soak your fingers and toes. This will re-hydrate your cuticles and stop them from cracking and splitting.
- Cough - Is a throat tickle making you cough over and over again? Want some relief? Take a sip of olive oil and kiss your cough goodbye. Dear cough, you won't be missed.
- Diaper rash - Your poor baby! Help sooth your baby's diaper rash. Gently dab your baby's bottom with a clean cloth dipped in olive oil. Repeat at every diaper changing and see your baby smile again.
- Earache - Help cure ear aches by gently and very carefully rubbing a cotton swab dabbed in warm olive oil into the ear cavity. This will also help break down earwax.
- Exfoliate - Use olive oil to help exfoliate your face and hands once a week. It's great to do this in the bath, if you have one, and is luxurious and makes you feel great. Rub your face, hands, or body with straight olive oil, then course sugar or salt. Rinse off with warm water. Your skin is left feeling invigorated and supple.
- Hair frizz - I don't know about you, but in the winter I become a static magnet, and my hair goes nuts (especially after wearing my favorite wool hat.) To combat the frizz naturally, rub a few drops of olive oil onto your comb. Comb this through your hair, and voila! Sleek, soft, smooth hair.
- Lip balm - You can use it straight, or mix it up. Try this: mix olive oil + melted bee's wax in a 1:1 ratio. This really hits the spot when you can't find anything but petroleum products on the store shelf.
- Makeup - Remove your makeup with olive oil! It's natural, green, and leaves your skin feeling soft and supple. Don't use harsh, carcinogenic chemicals! Dab a few drops onto a cotton disc and wipe makeup away. It's that easy.
- Sex - Looking for a natural, safe, non-toxic lubricant? Food grade? Look no further. Olive oil is tried, tested, and healthy, and has been used for thousands of years.
- Shaving cream - Olive oil is a safe, natural lubricant that can help you get a better, closer shave. In fact, many shaving creams add olive oil as a "special" ingredient. Why not just go straight to the source and cut out the harsh chemicals, scents, and dyes?
- Skin - Turn your rough elbows, knees, and bothersome patches into baby-soft skin in days. Rub olive oil onto the offensive spots daily, making sure it soaks into the skin. You're such a baby!
- Snoring - Take a sip of olive oil before bedtime. Depending on the cause of your snoring, this might help. It'll lubricate the muscles in your throat that contribute to snoring!
Around The House
- Condition leather - Old, worn leather can look like new again. Use a cloth to rub olive oil into old, beaten-up leather jackets and baseball mitts. Let the oil soak in for 30 minutes, then shine with a clean cloth. The leather will be supple and nice once again.
- Garden tools - It's great to have clean, rust-free garden tools. Rinse dirt off each time you use them, then rub olive oil onto the cutting and digging surfaces of your garden tools. Also works great on lawn mower blades. The olive oil will repel dirt and rust and keep your garden tools spruce and looking like new.
- Gum - Remove gum from your shoes (or hair) with, you guessed it, olive oil. Soak some olive oil into a cloth or tissue, wrap around hair or let sit on shoe for ten minutes. Gum will break down and slide right out of hair and off of shoe.
- Hairballs - Have you ever seen a cat trying to cough up a hairball unsuccessfully? The cat looks freaked out and unhappy, and I bet if you looked at yourself in a mirror, you'd look just the same as you watch them. Make it a more comfortable experience for them (and you) by adding a few drops of olive oil to their food each day. It also gives your cat a shiny fur coat.
- Lamp - You can use olive oil to make an emergency lamp, or burn it in your favorite oil lamp. You'll need to have some oil lamp wicks and a shallow bowl or plate. Pour some olive oil into the container, place an oil wick into it, and make sure one end sits a little bit out of the oil. Light this end and you've got a functional oil lamp.
- Paint - Remove paint off your hands with olive oil. That's right! Rub olive oil onto the painted parts, let sit 5 minutes, then rinse with soap and warm water. It's gone.
- Shoes - Polish your shoes with a thin coating of olive oil. Put a few drops on a clean cloth, rub, rub, rub your shoes, then polish off with a dry cloth. Perfecto!
- Stickers - Remove stickers painlessly and fast by using olive oil. Dab oil onto the sticker, or soak a tissue or cloth in olive oil and let it sit over the sticker for a while. Sticker will slip right off and take all the sticky residue with it. It works.
- Squeak - Do you have a squeaky door or hinge? Instead of going to the store to buy dry graphite or more chemically products, try using olive oil first. Drip a few drops of olive oil onto the top of the squeaky hinge. Move hinge back and forth a few times to work it in. The squeak should be gone.
- Tarnish - Your pots and pans will thank you. Rub a very thin layer of olive oil over your stainless steel and brass. Buff off with a clean, dry cloth until shiny. This will prevent them from tarnishing and corroding, and also prevents streaks.
- Wood polish - Lackluster wood table and chairs? Shine them up and preserve the wood's natural moisture by rubbing with straight olive oil. For more cleaning power, mix 1 tbsp. olive oil + 1/4 tsp. vinegar, put small amount on cloth, and rub mixture onto the wood.
- Zippers - We've all been there; mostly with metal zippers, and occasionally with plastic ones. Everyone's ready to go, you go to zip your zipper, and... nothing. It's totally messed up and you just can't get it to zip up (or down.) Use a cotton applicator swab to dab olive oil onto the "teeth" of the zipper. No more problems!