14 Things to Do with Olive Oil Besides Cook

Olive oil is most commonly thought of as a kitchen staple, but for thousands of years it's also been used for all sorts of things that have nothing to do with food. Check out these smart alternative household uses for that unassuming bottle of olive oil hanging out in your pantry.

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Unstick a Zipper


A sticky zipper can be lubricated with a little bit of olive oil. Just dab some on a cotton swab, and wipe down the teeth.

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Silence Squeaky Hinges


WD-40 may be your go-to for squeaky doors, but if you haven’t got any of that handy product in the house, try lubricating that hinge with a little bit of olive oil.

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Clean Garden Tools


Coating your garden tools with a thin layer of olive oil will help stave off rust and make dirt slide off of them more easily. You can also use olive oil to condition the wooden handles to keep them from cracking and splitting.

Related: 8 Top Tools for Taming Your Landscape

Clean Up Paint on Skin


After you’ve finished up a painting project, rub some olive oil into your skin to remove paint from your hands naturally, without harsh chemicals. Let the oil soak in for about five minutes to loosen the paint, and then rinse with water.

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Moisturize Wood Furniture


Periodically rub a thin coat of olive oil into your wood furniture to help keep the finish moisturized. Wipe the excess off with a clean, soft cloth, and the wood will look sleek and shiny. 

Related: 7 Ways You May Be Ruining All Your Furniture

Shine Brass


Rub a little bit of olive oil onto brass you’ve just polished to help prevent tarnish from coming back so quickly.

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Polish Leather


Whether you’re cleaning up an ottoman, a baseball glove, or your shoes, you can polish up leather with olive oil. Just rub it on, let it sit for about 30 minutes, and then wipe off the excess.

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Remove Stickers and Labels


Empty glass jars can be repurposed in so many ways, if only you can get off those pesky labels! Remove stuck-on price stickers and labels by working a little olive oil into the adhesive. The oil should help to loosen the label and make it slide off.

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DIY an Emergency Oil Lamp


You can DIY an oil lamp with not much more than a dish or jar, some olive oil, and a length of lamp wick or 100 percent cotton rope. These makeshift lamps are great for gifts or for general ambience, and they’re handy to have around for emergencies. A tablespoon of olive oil will burn cleanly and brightly for several hours.

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Lubricate Cooking Measures


Sticky things like honey, molasses, or peanut better are tricky to get out of measuring cups and spoons. Rub or spray a little bit of olive oil into them before filling, and the contents will slide out more easily. Cleaning them will be easier too.

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Condition Cutting Boards and Knife Handles


Wooden cutting boards and knife handles can dry out and crack or split over time. Regularly rub them down with olive oil to keep them moisturized and always ready for use.

Related: How To: Clean a Wooden Cutting Board

Prevent Razors from Rusting


Dab a bit of olive oil onto your razors after use to keep them from rusting.

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Make an Ointment


You can make a natural alternative for petroleum jelly using olive oil and beeswax. Just combine one part beeswax and four parts olive oil in a pot on the stove, and heat the mixture slowly over a low flame until the beeswax melts. Pour the liquid into a jar and let it cool, and it’s ready to use. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils if you’d like a little fragrance.

Related: 14 Unusual Uses for Vaseline

Prevent Dirty Nails


It will be easier to clean the dirt off your hands after gardening if you rub some olive oil into and around your fingernails before you start. When you wash up, any dirt that has gotten caught under your nails will slide out more easily. 

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