25 Alternative Olive Oil Uses

by Chris Gardner

There are many olive oil uses beyond what you might normally think of (cooking!). It's an incredibly versatile substance that you can put to good use in a lot of interesting situations. Here's how ... 

olive oil uses

Nutritionists will continue to tout olive oil for its high content of healthful, monounsaturated fats, like oleic acid, and polyphenols. The fruit oil practically propelled the entire Western world in antiquity, and is mentioned in nearly every sacred text this side of the Tigris and Euphrates.   

As a cooking fat, it’s high up on the heart-smart  list…which works out, ‘cause it tastes darn good. (As a tip, Consumer Reports has rated Goya brand extra virgin olive oil [from Spain] as the best general purpose olive oil, and as their best buy. I whole-healthy-heartedly concur.)

Olive Oil

There are plenty of other olive oil uses around your home, outside of the sauté pan. There’s no need to waste your expensive Greek or Spanish Extra Virgin for these tasks, just grab a bottle of inexpensive, domestic olive oil for around-the-house use. You can cut down on excess oil by investing in a refillable spray can, such as the Misto.

1. Shave. Olive oil can provide a safe and natural lubricant for a close shave. Rub in an extra teaspoon after washing your body or face once finished.

2. Wood Furniture Polish. Wipe with a teaspoon of olive oil and a soft rag. Add a bit of vinegar of citrus juice to bulk up the cleaning power, and add a fresh scent.

3. Fingernails. Use a bit of olive oil to moisturize cuticles, or mix oil and water and soak your hands before a manicure.

4. Lubricate Measuring Cups and Spoons. Rub or spray olive oil on your measuring tools for easy clean-up of sticky substances like honey, grain mustards, and sugar syrups,

5. Control hair frizz. Comb a bit of olive oil through dry hair to tame the frizz and flyaways on humid days or in the winter.

6. Free a stuck zipper. Use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the teeth of a zipper, then gently ease the tab down.


7. Care for your kitty. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs, and provide a shiny coat.

8.  DIY Lip balm. Mix olive oil and melted beeswax in a 1:1 ratio, with an essential oil for fragrance, and say goodbye to dry and chapped lips.

9. Stop Snoring. Take a sip of olive oil before heading to bed. It might lubricate your throat muscles, and stop yourself, or your partner, from snoring.

10. Shine stainless steel and brass. Rub a bit of olive oil on a clean rag to prevent streaks, corrosion, and tarnish.

Pots and Pans

11. Exfoliate your face and hands. Rub your skin with olive oil, then scrub with sugar or coarse salt, and rinse.

12. As you bathe. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to your running bath water. You’ll be amazed when you towel off.

13. Remove makeup. Dab a bit under your eyes, on your cheeks and forehead, then wipe with a damp cloth.

14. Cure an earache. Very carefully, use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the outside ear cavity to help with earaches and excess wax.

15. Remove paint from your skin. Rub on olive oil onto messy hand and arms (or faces) and allow the oil to soak into the skin for five minutes, then rinse with soap and water.

16. Treat lice. Apply olive oil to your youngster’s hair, and leave on for at least 40 minutes. Shampoo twice, then apply a preventative.

17. Stop a throat tickle. Take a sip of olive oil to stop the itchy flicker that is making you cough.

18. Fix a squeaky door. Use a rag or cotton swab to apply olive oil to the top of a problematic hinge in your home or automobile. 

19. Shoe polish. Rub down your shoes with just a spray of olive oil to maintain their shine.

20. Personal Lubricant. It works…

21. Soften your skin. Rub olive oil daily on notoriously dry areas, such as your feet or elbows, especially after a shower, shaving, or waxing.

22. Easy clean up of garden tools. Spritz some olive oil on your tools to cut down on dirt buildup. Read more here!

23. Condition leather. Rub olive oil into worn leather, such as a baseball glove, and let set for 30 minutes, then wipe away any excess.

24. As a hair tonic. Comb some olive oil through your hair for the vintage look of pomade without the build-up, or add a bit to wet hair for grungy, but clean, look.

25. Cure diaper rash. Gently wipe on olive oil to your baby’s bottom to help with the irritation of diaper rash.

Curious about alternative uses for vinegar? Check out this useful cheat sheet!

created at: 03/27/2013

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Curbly Recession Busters: Free Alternative Christmas Trees

by DIY Maven

created on: 11/25/08

Christmas trees are the conifers of cut flowers: Beautiful but with short life spans. And, of course, they can be expensive. Just because you don’t have the bucks to spend on a tree this year doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the tradition of a Christmas tree.  Let’s think about this for a minute. What says ‘Christmas tree’ to us? First and foremost, the scent. Next might be their green-ness and conical shape. Of course they support ornaments–which give the holiday its bling. And finally, they’re the place under which we can tuck Christmas gifts. Keeping this interpretation in mind, we can replicate the Christmas tree experience* absolutely free.

First is the old standby: Decorate a house plant. It’s green and it’s a great way to display your ornaments. Any houseplant will do, but the bigger the better (for that tucking gifts part). If you don’t have a plant or a suitable plant to tart up this season, and it’s in your budget, you might want to look for a Norfolk Island Pine. Now through Christmas you can find them everywhere. In your big box store, grocery store and even drug store. They’ll set you back anywhere from 5 bucks for a tiny one to about 20 for a big one. Benefits of Norfolk Island Pines are the fact that they’re incredibly easy to grow; they’ll last from Christmas to Christmas, while adding a little life to your space during the in-between times; AND they usually come already decorated this time of year.

created on: 11/25/08

Last year, Apartment Therapy posted this picture. I’m not sure how practical–space-wise–it is to erect a ladder in the middle of your living room, but it’s an option. It fulfils the conical shape requirement (sort of), it holds dozens of ornaments, and there’s abundant room underneath it for Christmas presents.

An unused, or little-used, tripod will take up less space than a ladder, but it will still have all the benefits of a ladder plus a much more believable tree shape AND you have the ability to vary its height. If you don’t have the bucks for fancy ornaments, not to worry. The red glass balls came from Target in a package of 10 for $2 and the silver bead garland was a Walgreens find, also for $2.

created on: 11/25/08

I think my favorite alt-Christmas tree might just be the Charlie Brown knock off. I found this twig in my back yard–but there’s plenty in the neighbor’s yard or the park down the street to choose from too. I popped it in a heavy-ish pot to offset the top-heaviness of the branch and finished up with bit of excelsior moss. There’s not a lot of room underneath it for presents, and it doesn’t hold a lot of ornaments. It does however make me want to dance like Snoopy to the tunes of Vince Guaraldi, and if that isn’t tradition, I don’t know what is.

created on: 11/25/08

*Except for the scent. Can’t replicate that.

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Top 15 Alternative Uses for Ice Cubes

by DIY Maven

Top 15 Alternative Uses for Ice Cubes

This time of year, ice becomes troublesome. Around here, it’s everywhere. Roads, roofs, sidewalks. A certain hatred develops. What’s it good for, really, besides keeping my drink cold? And who wants a cold drink when it’s 8 degrees outside, anyway? Do I even NEED ice cubes in my refrigerator's feezer for the next three months? Apparently so, if I’m to attempt any of these alternative uses for the frozen blocks.

Water Plants and Christmas Trees:...

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Make Coffee Substitutes

by DIY Maven

whole grain barley

If you’re trying to cut down on your coffee intake, check out these recipes for coffee substitutes from make-stuff.com. The java alternatives are made from beech tree, chicory, wheat, barley, garbanzo beans and parsnip. Parsnip? Hmm, a little odd perhaps, but less expensive than coffee and I bet they won’t stain your teeth either, which means you’ll save money on teeth whitening too. Bonus!

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Top Ten Paper Towel Alternatives

by Chris Gardner

The Chicago member of the Apartment Therapy family has compiled a list of alternatives for the ultra-useful, and ultra-wasteful, paper towel. Have a look at the list, and then post some other options here.

Top Ten Paper Towel Alternatives
PS: That photo really makes me want to install an industrial paper towel dispenser in my bathroom, even if I don't keep it stocked.

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