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Eco-Friendly Household Hints with Olive Oil

 
By Carol Firenze, The Passionate Olive
05/14/2010

Have you ever wondered what to do with that bottle of extra virgin olive oil that you forgot in the back of your kitchen cabinet? Properly stored, olive oil will keep longer than other edible oils – up to two years. However, once opened, it is best to use the oil within 60 to 90 days. So, if your olive oil has turned flat or if you’ve bought an olive oil that you just don’t like … here are just a few environmentally friendly household tips from Mother Nature!

Polish furniture

Restore the luster of your wooden furniture by whipping up your own homemade furniture polish. Combine 2 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice or white vinegar in a bowl or a clean spray bottle. Using a circular motion and following the grain of the wood, apply or spray a thin coat onto the wood surface. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then use a clean, dry, soft cloth and buff to a deep shine.

You can also use olive oil by itself to remove water or alcohol spots from polished wood or furniture. Simply rub a little olive oil on the spot, let it soak in, and then gently rub off any excess oil.

Here’s a useful tip: if you want to remove paper that’s stuck to furniture, don’t try to scrape off the paper. Instead, dab a little olive oil on the paper. Let the oil soak in for a few minutes and then remove the paper by rubbing it with your fingers. It is like magic!

Remove paint from skin or hair

Remember your last paint job? Did you have to scrub your hair or skin afterwards with harsh chemicals or detergents to get the paint off? You can easily remove those undesirable spots by moistening a cotton ball with some olive oil and gently rubbing it into your skin and hair. Olive oil serves as both a lubricant and solvent to remove paint, and it is gentle on your body.

Protect and preserve gardening tools

Do you have rust and grime on your garden tools? You can protect your gardening tools, including clippers, trowels, pruning shears, and claws with your leftover unused olive oil. After using the gardening tools, and before putting them away, make sure you clean off any dirt or grime. Put a small amount of olive oil on a cloth and lightly oil the tool. You may wish to keep a spray bottle or mister with olive oil in it in your garage or tool shed. You’ll really notice the difference – no dirt buildup and no rust – and your tools will last longer!

Silence squeaky hinges

To lubricate squeaky hinges on doors, put a small amount of olive oil at the top of the hinge and let the drops of oil run down by moving the hinge back and forth. Wipe off the excess with a cloth. This tip is also great for hinges on your oven door, closet doors, tool box, plastic coolers, crayfish traps, refrigerator doors and galley latches.

There are so many things to do with this versatile product, you would be hard “pressed” to find a reason to not have it around the house to tackle any task that comes up. So the next time you find yourself wondering what to do with olive oil that’s past its freshness peak, think outside the kitchen and use your ingenuity, creativity and…olive oil!