Olive oil is one of those must-have staples for every homesteader. It truly stands alone in terms of its nutritional benefits and in terms of its many other uses around your home and property. With its high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help boost your “good” cholesterol (HDL) and lower your “bad” cholesterol (LDL), olive oil is also in rich in antioxidants that help fight inflammation in the body.
The cultivation of olives – and their precious oil – began around 5000 B.C. on Crete and its surrounding islands. Ancient Greeks considered the olive tree as a gift from the gods and, as a result, they incorporated its use into many religious rituals. The ancient writer Homer, author of the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, referred to olive oil as “liquid gold.” Others felt the same way – in the 6th and 7th centuries B.C., the Greek law punished the crime of cutting down olive trees with execution.
During the Roman Empire, olive oil became a trading commodity that spread throughout the known world.
Although ancient cultures used olive oil for cooking, they also discovered many other purposes for it, including everything from use for skin care and as a lamp oil. As you simplify your lifestyle and look for multiple purposes for the items in your possession, it is time to give olive oil another look.
Here are 11 uses for olive oil on the homestead that you may not have considered.
1. Door or Cabinet Hinge Lubricant – If you usually reach for WD-40 when you have a squeaky hinge, you might be interested in a hydrocarbon-free alternative. All natural olive oil can be used as an effective lubricant. Simply wipe a squeaky hinge with a cotton ball that you have moistened with olive oil. Another option is to fill a spray bottle with olive oil and then lightly spray the hinge. Your squeaks will be a thing of the past.
2. Sticky Substance Remover – Have you done battle with stickers, paint, sap, chewing gum or other substances that stubbornly adhere to your belongings or to your hands? Next time, try scrubbing the sticky area with an olive oil and salt mixture. For example, for sticky hands, rub one teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of salt into your dry hands, working the mixture through your fingers and your palms. Rinse well with water.
3. Free a Zipper – Doing battle with a stuck zipper can be a real time waster and can even be embarrassing. Instead of pulling needlessly, apply a little olive oil to a cotton swab and then dab the teeth that are stuck. After you let the oil sit for a few minutes, you should be able to move the zipper easily.
4. Wood Cleaner and Furniture Polish – Olive oil is an effective cleaner for wood and wood furniture. You can create a natural, non-toxic furniture polish by mixing a teaspoon of olive oil with one-fourth cup lemon juice.
5. Leather Cleaner – Similarly, olive oil can be an effective leather cleaner for your leather clothing, belts, and shoes. By applying a thin layer of olive oil to your leather goods, you can preserve their suppleness and good looks longer. Just be sure to wipe away any dust before applying the olive oil.
6. Lice Remedy – You can combat a lice infestation naturally with olive oil. Here’s how:
- Pour a tablespoon olive oil onto dry hair. Next, using a nit comb, remove any visible lice. Cover the head with a shower cap and leave hair untouched for about seven hours.
- Now, comb a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into the hair. Cover with a shower cap again and leave the mixture on overnight.
- Next morning, shampoo hair and remove any remaining eggs with a nit comb.
7. Earache Remedy – Did you know that olive oil can provide soothing, natural relief for an earache? Simply place two to three drops of slightly warmed olive oil into the painful ear.
8. Sore Throat Relief – You can also help heal a painful throat simply by swallowing one tablespoon of olive oil. The soothing oil coats your mouth and your throat, easing soreness and reducing your urge to cough. Another related tip? Olive oil can help reduce snoring.
9. Hairball Prevention – Do you have cats? They are great as pets and as a means of decreasing the mice and rat population around your homestead. However, cats can be prone to hairballs. By mixing in one-fourth teaspoon of olive oil into your cat’s food on a daily basis, you can decrease the likelihood of it getting hairballs. An added bonus is that olive oil helps your kitty’s coat look shiny.
10. Lamp Fuel – Olive oil works well as an emergency lamp fuel. It burns easily, and it does not produce the same amount of smoke as other oils.
Making an olive oil lamp is easy. To hold the oil, you can use anything from a used vegetable can to a clean glass jar to a hollowed out orange peel for a vessel.
Next, you need a wick. You can use a piece of cotton cut from old clothing or a strip from a mop head. Other options are paper towels or even fiberglass insulation. As you would with any open flame, use caution around an olive oil lamp. Here’s a video that demonstrates how to make a simple olive oil lamp.
11. Improving Skin Health – Finally, olive oil is great for your skin and contains no potentially harmful chemicals. In fact, it is gentle enough for your baby’s tender skin.
Now that you know some of the many alternative uses for it, you will want to keep a bottle of olive oil or two in your pantry at all times.