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My Olive Oil “Soap Box”

 
By Carol Firenze, The Passionate Olive
04/01/2011

I often tell people, “You can bring up any subject and I will relate it to olive oil.” So when someone asks for a solution to an everyday problem, whether it’s a friend who just creatively painted his living room, kids coloring Easter eggs, or my priest after Ash Wednesday services, I give the same answer. Before you reach for the soap – reach for the olive oil!

Removing paint from skin and hair

Despite all your good intentions, you’ve become a walking paint sample for the walls of your new living room.

Start by rubbing olive oil onto the paint residue on your hands, face (or wherever on your skin it may have landed) and allow the oil to soak into the skin for five minutes. Then rinse with soap and water.

You can easily remove oil-based paint from hair by using a cotton ball dipped in olive oil and rubbing it into your hair. Olive oil is a gentle and natural moisturizer that will actually condition your hair while removing the paint. If you have large clumps of paint in your hair, you will need to saturate the hair with olive oil. You may need to put plastic wrap around your head for an hour to let it soak in before removing the paint with a fine-toothed comb. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly.

Removing Easter egg dye
Dying Easter eggs is fun for kids (and adults, too) but it’s definitely a hands-on process!

Easter egg coloring kits contain food-safe dye and the intent is to create beautiful color on eggs. However, it also leaves color on anything and everything it comes into contact with, including your hands. Rather than just waiting for the color to wear off, you don’t have to use harsh chemicals. Reach for the olive oil; add a little sugar and rub your hands together briskly so that the particles of sugar (working as an abrasive cleaner) will scrub away the dye. Rinse and scrub again, if needed. Wash your hands with mild soap, dry and use a few drops of olive oil to moisturize your hands afterwards.

Removing ash stains

“Use olive oil,” I recently told my parish priest, who mentioned he had tried all types of soaps to remove ashes from his thumb after blessing hundreds of parishioners on Ash Wednesday.

Many Christian churches celebrate Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, which derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of people as a sign of repentance to God. Traditionally, the ashes are created by burning the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service. However, ashes are quite messy and they won’t come off a person’s forehead without some help. Thank heaven for olive oil! I suggested that he mix a small amount of olive oil with the ashes to make the ashes both easier to apply and easier to wipe off later without getting ashes all over hands and clothing.

Yes, my first thought when it comes to everyday problems is to turn to olive oil. As a history buff and connoisseur of both wine and olive oil, I often think of the philosopher Pliny (23 AD – 79AD) who counseled the Romans on how to achieve a longer and happier life: “Sip the wine and splash the oil”.

Tip from the Publisher: As an avid bicyclist, I can add that olive oil is also a great way to remove grease stains from your chain on your hands or legs. Next time you have a flat tire and you look like you were in combat with your bikes, think about olive oil!