olive oilFor nearly three-quarters of a billion people around the world, olive oil is a culinary must-have.  But for those of you seeking household and beauty remedies that are less expensive, less environmentally caustic and equally as effective, olive oil could become your newest lifestyle must-have.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the various grades of olive oil, here’s a quick run-down.  Just note, for these non-food uses, the lower grades work just as effectively and are less expensive, so save your EVOO for the kitchen.

Olive Oil Grades:

Extra-Virgin (EVOO): comes from the first pressing of the youngest olives; highest quality

Virgin: has an acidity level less than 2% and contains no refined oil content

Pure Olive Oil: usually a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil

Extra Light: usually more of a marketing term than a grade; usually highly processed, may be mixed with other oils or may be just pure olive oil grade.  The “light” refers more to flavor than caloric content.

Pomace, Cake or Lampante: not intended for human consumption; used for industrial purposes, such as soap making or lamp oil.

Non-food Uses:

– After polishing copper or brass, rub it with olive oil to slow down tarnishing

– Can be used as a stainless steel cleaner; apply sparingly and buff with a soft cloth

– Rub small amounts into wooden cutting boards to prevent cracking, staining and marking

– Remove paint from hair or skin by dipping a cotton ball into olive oil and applying it to affected area

– Use it to lubricate hinges

– Use to unjam zippers—use a Q-Tip to apply

– Apply sparingly to shoes to restore shine

– Old leather can be made more supple by rubbing in olive oil—spot test first

– Apply a thin layer to garden tool blades to prevent dirt from sticking and rusting

– Mix 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts olive oil to make a wooden furniture polish

– Rub into fingernails and toenails before and after manicuring

– Extra light olive oil can be used as a massage oil

– Use olive oil as a shaving cream substitute

– Dip a razor into olive oil after use to prevent rusting

– Apply to chapped lips to alleviate dryness

– Can be used as a makeup remover

– Make your own castile soap

– Banish acne—mix 4 tbs. of salt with 3 tbs. olive oil.  Work paste around in your hands and apply it to the face; let it sit for 2 minutes then rinse with warm, soapy water.

– Condition your hair—heat up ½ cup of olive oil and apply it to your hair, paying close attention to the ends.  Cover your hair in plastic wrap and then a towel to retain the heat.  Let it sit for 45 minutes then shampoo and rinse as usual

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