Olive oil has been prized for thousands of years, but most of us only utilize it in select, tried and true ways, if at all! Yet, olive oil can not only be used in cooking or baking, it can be used throughout your home. You can even use olive oil for household maintenance, saving you time and money with continued use.
Join us below as we explore the ways YOU can use olive oil to maintain your home!
Ways YOU Can Use Olive Oil | Household Maintenance
Few of us would be surprised to see olive oil in a kitchen, but what about throughout the home?
Did you know that you can use olive oil for household maintenance? Not only that, but through regular use it can potentially save you thousands of dollars when used to protect valuable appliances, furniture, equipment, and more!
A few of the ways olive oil can be used for household maintenance include:
WOOD FURNITURE POLISH
While beeswax makes a wonderful, natural wood furniture polish, olive oil is an effective alternative.
Dust furniture prior to applying a thin layer of olive oil with a clean rag. Rub any excess off and repeat as needed to keep wood moisturized, protected, and full of shine!
NOTE: Wood furniture that has been painted or coated with a thick sealant will not absorb the olive oil effectively. Additionally, the olive oil may negatively impact certain paints.
If you find yourself missing the lemon scent of that favorite cleaner, or simply desire a spray cleaner that implements olive oil, you can create your own!
Simply take ¼ cup of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Then mix together and place in a spray bottle—reuse one you already own or purchase a new one at your preferred local or online store. Keep in the refrigerator to maintain your furniture spray.
NOTE: While likely an unpleasant flavor, someone accidentally consuming your olive oil-based cleaner will not lead to harm; however, it is still best to label your furniture spray to avoid consumption.
Would you like to diminish the effects of water rings or scratches in wood? Simply dust the area before taking some warm olive oil on a clean cloth and applying to the water ring/scratch before buffing with a clean towel to reveal the treated wood!
NOTE: If stains or scratches do not appear to diminish/lighten or if they become prominent again over time, simply repeat the above steps. To better maintain this improved appearance follow these steps several times per year.
While reaching for WD-40 or similar lubricants is effective, there are times when either these are not available or you do not want to use harsh chemicals. Olive oil is a wonderful alternative in many instances and can easily be put on a cotton swab for tight spaces.
NOTE: Olive oil, like all oils, can stain certain materials, so be sure to: start with a small amount; apply with a cloth, paper towel, or cotton swab to accurately direct the oil; use caution around materials you have not previously tested. While things like zippers or hinges do well with olive oil, certain machinery—like clocks—may not warrant its use… be sure to research before use if you are uncertain.
Olive oil can be used on many leathers to maintain moisture and longevity. Simply take a clean cloth and rub the olive oil—after doing a successful test patch—over the leather, then buff with a clean towel to remove excess residue. Reapply as needed. For old leather that has not been conditioned in a long time it may be necessary to rub olive oil into the leather repeatedly over the course of several days.
NOTE: Do not apply to suede. No matter what leather conditioner you use, it is best to do a test patch BEFORE applying to entire surface; if test area does not meet with your approval DO NOT apply to the rest of the leather. Buffing is important not only for incorporating the olive oil, but also to prevent transfer onto other materials.
PROTECT GARDEN TOOLS
Garden tools are easily overlooked when it comes to household maintenance, however, taking care of these can save time and money later on. To clean and protect metal or wood portions of garden tools, simply remove excess dirt or residue before wiping a little olive oil onto the surface, then rub in with a cloth or paper towel.
For metal or wood that needs additional care and/or does not achieve desired results, this process can be repeated. To best maintain garden tools, follow the olive oil application steps several times per year. Never leave tools covered with sap, soil, etc., and always store them where they will not be exposed to excess moisture.
REMOVE PAINT, GUM, & MORE FROM SKIN & HAIR
While not directly a home maintenance tip, this can certainly be useful after many home maintenance and improvement jobs. Consider, for example, painting a ceiling. Often this task leaves behind little flecks of paint, or worse, in your hair and on your skin. This is where olive oil comes in…
To remove paint from hair or skin, simply coat the paint-covered area(s) in olive oil, let stand for a few minutes, and then gently take a towel or tissue—that you do not mind paint and oil on—to the area. If oil or loose paint remain on hair or skin, wash as usual with warm water and shampoo/soap.
This same process can also help remove gum and many other sticky or paint-like residues from hair and/or skin, however, some substances, such as gum, require the olive oil to sit for 5-10 minutes.
NOTE: When wiping the oil and paint away from hair or hair-covered skin, follow the hair’s growth direction for best results. Olive oil, like most oils, can stain certain materials, as can paint… use care when using around anything that might stain and utilize previously damaged towels when cleaning paints.
For tough stains on skin, combine a few drops of olive oil with about a teaspoon of sugar. Mix well and then scrub gently onto the stained area. After scrubbing, rinse away the mixture with water or cleanse with a damp washcloth. Repeat if needed or desired.
NOTE: While sugar is a gentle exfoliate, everyone’s skin is different; should skin appear overly red or sensitive do not continue scrubbing and gently rinse. Olive oil, like all oils, can stain materials, use caution around any items you are uncertain of.
PREVENT TARNISH ON BRASS, COPPER, & STAINLESS STEEL
Brass, copper, and stainless steel tarnish over time, but there are things we can do to slow this process…
While there are many methods to slow the tarnishing process, olive oil is one of the few natural options available. When applying olive oil to brass, copper, or stainless steel, it is always best to begin with a clean surface. Be sure to remove all of the dust and/or residues you can…
Then apply olive oil to a clean cloth or paper towel and rub on the clean brass, copper, or stainless steel surface in long, smooth strokes, following one direction when possible. Take a dry, clean cloth or paper towel and buff metal surface, following the same long, smooth strokes whenever possible. Not only will your metal shine, but the tarnishing process will be slowed, saving time and money down the road.
Repeat this process as needed to maintain your brass, copper, and stainless steel items and help prevent decay.
NOTE: While olive oil inhibits tarnishing on certain metals, where such metals are kept and how they are used—or not used—can enhance or diminish the process of tarnishing. For long-term care of brass, copper, and stainless steel, do not leave outside or in an overly moist or dirty environment whenever possible, and reapply olive oil multiple times per year, particularly when an ideal environment is not available.
While this is a varied list of how to use olive oil for household maintenance, it is far from being a comprehensive list. Olive oil can be used for so much more! Look for other My Olive Tree blogs to learn about other uses of olive oil, as well as recipes, tips, and choosing the right olive oil for your home…
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