5 brilliant ways to clean with olive oil

November 6, 2014

Olive oil has long been a staple in many kitchens, but did you know it cleans household items brilliantly? Here's how to go from sloppy to spic-and-span with our favourite type of grease.

5 brilliant ways to clean with olive oil

1. Furniture polish

Olive oil's moisturizing properties make it an excellent wood conditioner.

  • For a good homemade alternative to commercial products, combine one cup of olive oil with 1/3 cup of vinegar or lemon juice and use a clean rag to rub the mixture into your wooden furniture.
  • The vinegar or lemon juice helps dissolve dirt and kill bacteria, while the olive oil conditions the wood, protects it and adds shine.

2. Stainless steel polish

  • Using a clean rag, rub a little olive oil on the surfaces of your stainless steel pots, pans and appliances.
  • Soak a fresh part of the rag in vinegar and wipe the surfaces down again.

The oil will prevent tarnishing and remove fingerprints, while the vinegar will remove any oily residue and leave your steel shiny.

3. Shoe polish

  • Rub some olive oil into the leather of your shoes with a rag to clean and shine them.

The oil conditions and protects the leather so it lasts longer, and there's nothing like a pair of shiny shoes to make you feel like you're dressed to the nines.

4. Sticker remover

  • To remove stickers or sticker residue, soak a clean, soft rag in some olive oil and press it on the sticker.
  • Once the sticker is completely soaked, leave it for about 20 minutes to allow the oil to break down the adhesive.
  • Use the same oily rag to rub the sticker and adhesive off — this may take a little bit of elbow grease for stickers that have been in place for a long time.
  • To remove the oily residue left behind by the olive oil, wipe down the surface with a little vinegar.

5. Chewing gum remover

  • For gum stuck in hair, apply the oil to the wad, wait two or three minutes, then gently remove the gum with a comb. Wash the hair with shampoo to remove oily residue.
  • For wads stuck to the underside of a wooden table, it may help to carefully turn the table upside down. Drizzle olive oil over the wad of gum and wait five minutes for the oil to start breaking it down. Use a plastic spatula to remove the gum.

The quality of the oil

For cleaning purposes, you don't need the best quality olive oil. Save your gourmet extra virgin olive oil for the dinner table, and keep a big bottle of the cheaper stuff on hand for other uses.

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