10 Weird and Wonderful Uses for Olive Oil

uses for olive oil

Humans have been plucking the fruit off olive trees for over 10,000 years, so it’s no surprise we’ve found creative ways to use olives and their oils.  They’re native to the Mediterranean-basin, and probably first domesticated in Crete, but who first hatched the recipe for extracting olives’ oils remains an mystery.

We know the stuff is tasty, and its nutritional benefits go far beyond  keeping cholesterol levels in check.  But if you’re aiming to simplify your lifestyle, tapping in the versatility of this kitchen staple is a reasonable way to begin. From hand cleaners to skin moisturizers (without parabens, additives or perfumes) to gum remover… check out ten tasks for this Levantine wonder that you won’t see on the Food Network.

  • Hand Cleaner – make a paste of olive oil and sugar (or salt) and scrub your paint-splattered hands (strips almost any sticky goo).  The mess slides right off, and your skin will glow.
  • Hair Conditioner – warm a bit of oil (set it in a cup inside a bowlful of boiled water) and apply a few tablespoons onto dampened hair.  Massage into the ends (avoid scalp), pop on a shower cap and let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash hair as usual, thoroughly removing the residue. You’ll be sleek as a seal.
  • Skin Moisturizer – pour a few drops in the palm of your hand, dip in a few fingers and pat the oil on your skin.  Gently massage in. Used in small amounts, it’s quickly absorbed. Best to scent with a few drops of your favorite essential oil, or risk smelling like a Caesar salad.
  • Leather Conditioner - same technique as above (minus the nice-smelling additives).  Live in arid Jordan for a few years and you learn there’s not much difference between moisturizing your leather and your skin.
  • Stainless Steel Polish – give the item a general wash, then drop a bit of oil onto a soft, clean cloth.  Using a circular motion, buff stainless, copper and brass surfaces to a brilliant shine.
  • Label Remover – saturate the sticker with oil, and let it sit awhile. Using a flat edged knife or spatula, peel the label right off.
  • Chewing Gum Remover – I’ve cleaned gum out of my kids’ hair and our dog’s tail with this technique: soak the affected hair in a generous amount of oil.  Leave it on for as long as the patient’s patience will allow (20 minutes is ideal) , then gently pull hair loose from the sticky wad.
  • Lamp Fuel – replace the noxious stuff in your Tiki lamp with pure olive oil.  We did this in a pinch during a summer barbecue and were stunned to see it really works. Many Jews use olive oil for their weekly candle lighting ceremony.
  • Furniture Polish – mix well 2 ounces of lemon juice with a teaspoon of olive oil for a combo wood cleaner – and – polisher.  Apply the same technique as for shining metals: soft cloth and circular buffing.
  • Shoe Polish – following on the heels of the first nine tips, this one’s sort of intuitive. If olive oil can clean skin, shine appliances, and moisturize skin, of course it can keep your shoes tidy.  (Not recommended for cleaning Uggs.)

Image of olive oil in water by Shutterstock

11 thoughts on “10 Weird and Wonderful Uses for Olive Oil

  1. Anne28

    Great piece!

    I use olive oil in my food, my hair and skin and while it sounds a bit weird when you 1st think about it, i believe that olives and olive oil is a blessed ingredient with so many different ways. My health improved, my skin look more beautiful and shinny and i lost weight which was my ultimate objective.
    After that i started reading more and more about it and i found it very interesting to learn about it’s origin but also it’s contribution to the economies of the olive companies that produce it. I’m sending you a piece as i find it very very interesting.

    Hope you find it interesting
    https://www.exportgate.gr/overview/sectors/agriculture/olive-oil

    Reply
  2. VeggieVixen

    I used evoo for aftercare on my tattoo. My artist said it was the number one ingredient in one of the pricey products sold at most shops.

    Reply
  3. Kwazai

    The ancient romans also used the eevo to make ‘strong drink’ out of wine. sg is .78 and it will fractionally distill wine,beer,liquor to fuel grade alcohol. an immiscible line of demarcation forms.

    Reply
  4. Agnes

    I was just researching home remedies for unplugging clogged ears and guess what came up on various sites? Drop warm olive oil in clogged ears and it will loosen up the wax. I also put a teaspoon in my dog’s food for a shiny coat.

    Reply
  5. Betty

    I increased food use, as a substitute for butter as a food. It was amazing how cutting out butter had an effect. I do use it on my skin, as well. Also the use of sea vegetables has been huge.

    Reply
  6. Betty

    Olive oil has been a great boon for me. When I stopped using dairy, and switched to olive oil, the debilitating eczema that had plagued me for years dropped away. Following up by cutting out meat except for seafood has allowed me to live a happy life again.

    Reply
  7. laurie

    Readers sent 3 additional uses, man this is the wonder product:

    Ancient Romans shinied up with olive oil while at the baths, then get scraped down with iron blades as part of a cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing.

    One guy dips a cotton swab in the stuff and uses it to moisturize his hearing-aid-weary ears.

    And a woman swears it’s the trick for removing her kids’ fake tattoes.

    Step back from that bottle of EVO, Mario Batali – looks like there;s stiff competition!

    Reply
  8. klingsor

    well guys, that is not weird at all, that is exactly how mankind used olive oil for more then 10,000 years. in our super post-modern industrialized way of life we just forgot. maybe cut the chewing gum and label remover thing out ;) but the rest is history with a long beard. cheers.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>