The versatility of olive oil is virtually limitless. Called “liquid gold” thousands of years ago in ancient Greece, it thought to be a gift from the gods and widely celebrated as a source of healing, magic, wealth, and power. Today, its status hasn’t changed that much: It’s still used for everything from preventing heart disease to enhancing beauty products—and, let’s not forget, providing a tasty flavoring to pasta al dente. But more than being nutritious and flavorful, this rich golden oil can benefit your home, too. Read on for five ways in which your favorite cooking oil can quell the common household complaint.
1. LET IT SHINE
No need to be embarrassed in front of guests by a dull stainless steel sink. Restoring the original shine is as simple as pouring out a few drops of olive oil. Wash and rinse your sink completely: the interior of the tub, the fixtures, and the surrounding rim. After a thorough dry, apply a few drops of olive oil to a clean cloth and buff the stainless steel. Work in the direction of the grain, and you’ll soon see that your sink regains a like-new luster.
2. CLEAR UP CLOUDY PLASTIC
When the plastic covering on your car’s interior instrument panel clouds over or a thin white film compromises the headlights, the distortion can dangerously mess with your visibility. Many car owners commonly—and mistakenly—clean these plastic coverings with alcohol-based cleaners. A better remedy for the haze, though, is a dab of olive oil. Pour a few drops on a lint-free cloth and rub the oil into the affected area. Continuing buffing the surface for a few minutes, and the cloudiness will disappear leaving the plastic looking good as new.
3. SPIFF UP YOUR GARDEN TOOL SET
Soil buildup on shovels, spades, and other metal tools can be difficult to remove, but left uncleaned this residue can lead to rust and ultimately shorten the life of your gardening equipment. Make cleanup easier by misting a little olive oil onto the metal portion of your hand tools (with either spray bottle or a can of olive oil spray) before you beginning digging. The protective film of oil prevents dirt and other debris from sticking to the surface. Less buildup equals less cleanup!
4. SQUASH A SQUEAK
Does the sound of a squeaky door grate on your nerves? While it may not be as cringe-worthy as the sound of nails on a chalkboard, a creaky hinge can still certainly annoy. The good news: You don’t need to trek out to the store for the tools to silence it. Instead of purchasing a silicone spray, just reach into the pantry for olive oil. Clean the hinge, and apply the oil to it sparingly using a small brush or a lint-free cloth. The next time you pass through the door, you’ll come and go quietly.
5. GET OUT OF A STICKY SITUATION
Whether you’re struggling to remove gum from the sole of your shoe or sticker residue from glass, open your pantry for the answer. A cloth dipped in oil and wrapped around the affected area for 10 minutes can soften the sticky situation. The oil helps break the adhesive bond between the gum and the surface, making it easier to scrape away the unwanted mess. The same process applies to stickers: To remove an old decal from your car windshield or a stubborn label from a recent purchase, apply a drop of olive oil directly to the surface of the sticker and rub it in around the edges. If the sticker isn’t ready to budge, prick it with a pin a few times to help the oil penetrate. Before long, the bond will break and the sticker will lose its grip.