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  • Writer's pictureJason - Dustpan & Brush

5 Excellent Ways to Use and Clean With Olive Oil in the Home

Olive oil for cleaning? Whether you’re just starting or well on your eco journey, we’re sure you’ve looked into or are using essential oils in your cleaning routine. If not making DIY home cleaning concoctions, it’s almost guaranteed that some of the eco-friendly products you buy from trusted eco brands will have a range of essential oils as part of their active ingredients.


Eucalyptus, tea tree, perhaps even clove oil are some beautifully effective and commonly used ingredients, the list however does not end there and can feel almost non-exhaustive with so many different scents and relative applications depending on the extract.


At times, finding and sourcing these oils for DIY'ing can be a little daunting and a lot time consuming, especially so if you’re looking for something organic, which can be very difficult and often very costly if properly certified, but that’s where something you’ll likely already have in your pantry becomes your best friend for home maintenance. Olive oil.

 

Olive oil is a natural and effective alternative for many household cleaning tasks, we specifically use and recommend an organic option as we’re all about reducing all potential exposure to contaminants or toxic by-products. This is because organic olives are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals or lab-made fertilisers, which may be present in trace amounts in non-organic olive oil or other products. If you don’t have access to organic oils, the usual supermarket suspects will do more than fine, there’s certainly no need to be using the Italian imports on maintenance tasks!

Olive Oil House Cleaning

What can I clean or maintain with organic olive oil?

There are actually a number of really useful applications for cleaning and maintenance around the home using organic olive oil! Some people tend to use application-specific, or unfortunately, lab-made synthetic options for tasks such as stainless steel and brass polishing, wood maintenance, even cast iron and stainless steel preservation, but a clean olive oil from the pantry will work wonders for many of these at-home jobs, without the added price tag, here are a few ways to take advantage of this wonder oil.

1. Furniture and Wood Polish:


Sometimes small scratches or blemishes make their way onto our prized pieces, despite all our efforts to avoid or prevent it from happening (hi kids). For wood surfaces, natural oils such as olive oil can assist with nourishing and moisturising the wood, which can help with preventing time and temperature related drying and cracking. Natural oils can also give wood a uniquely beautiful, natural shine when regularly maintained, especially so when compared with synthetic alternatives.

Wood Polishing

To use olive oil as a furniture polish, mix 1 part olive oil and 1 part apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in a container of your choosing. Mix thoroughly, and use a soft cloth such as a microfiber or a lint-free cotton cloth and apply the mixture to wood furniture in minimal amounts, dab and be sure to apply the mixture in the direction of the wood grain. Once the mixture has been applied, wipe away all excess with a clean cloth and buff the surface to leave the beautiful shine that once was.


Remember that some grains can be quite sensitive, always make sure to test it in a small, inconspicuous area before using it on a larger area. This will help ensure that it won't leave a greasy residue or damage the surface. If you have some expensive mid-century or vintage pieces, be sure to read more about vintage furniture cleaning, caring and maintenance here.

 

2. Stainless Steel Streak Removal:

Stainless steel in the home has long been a practical and durable choice for a variety of applications, including appliances, cookware, sinks, taps, countertops and even splashbacks, and olive oil can be a very effective way to remove fingerprints and streaks from stainless steel surfaces. Simply apply a small amount to a soft cloth and wipe it onto the stainless-steel surface; be sure to use a light touch, as too much can leave a greasy deposit and the idea here is to polish rather than cover! Once the oil has been applied, buff the surface to a shine with a clean, dry cloth.

stainless steel cleaning

A secondary note; there are increasing numbers of people finding themselves with allergies to nickel related stainless steel products. Practically all “standard” stainless steel cookware contains nickel, a known allergen which leeches into food/water if used for heating, cooking or boiling. If you have a nickel allergy or have found yourself experiencing allergic reactions when cooking with stainless steel cookware, feel free to read here for more information on allergy sensitive “no nickel” stainless steel alternatives. We make all our own organic cleaning products, many of which require boiling for sanitisation purposes. The stainless steel boilware we use is all 'zero nickel' to ensure all possible reduction of allergenics! For more low-tox cooking related options, and cookware types, read here.

 

3. Brass Maintenance and Polishing:


Similar to stainless steel, brass has been making its way into bathroom and kitchen sinks, taps and ledges due to its beauty, but tends to oxidise very easily, especially so around wet areas where brass is currently mostly used in higher-end finishes. You can use olive oil with the same application and via the same method as the stainless-steel polishing above, better still, this process can act to protect the brass from oxidisation in future, win-win! While we feel that brass patina is absolutely stunning, if left unattended, unpolished or uncleaned for lengths of time, it can very easily become an overwhelming task to get back on top of when you do eventually get on to it. An important note; if your brass faucets, taps and handles are around soft stone such as travertine, marble etc, be very careful with using oils around these materials! While spills can be quickly cleaned up without lasting issue, if you’re not confident then it's best to avoid using oils around any kinds of soft stones to avoid stains. For more about soft stone maintenance and best practice, see here.


brass polishing
 

4. Leather and Vinyl Shine + Touch Ups:


oil for home cleaning

Olive oil as a leather cleaner, conditioner, as well as a vinyl shiner and protector is a very effective alternative to nut oils, jojoba or beeswax. Remember that you don’t want to use any abrasive materials on these kinds of surfaces either; you may have a vinyl benchtop area or vintage furniture that has become dull and aged, olive oil will go a very long way to getting it looking closer to what it should! Even small scratches can be remedied with this method. Mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice in a small bowl or container. Use a soft cloth (preferably cotton), or microfiber to apply the mixture to leather or vinyl furniture and accessories, making sure to apply the mixture in the direction of the ‘grain’ of the leather or in very light circular motions. Once the mixture has been applied, wipe away any excess with a clean cloth and buff the surface to a shine.


 

5. Cast Iron Pots and Pans:


Cast iron is an incredible low-tox cooking option, it’s no surprise that it’s being opted for in many kitchens and is seeing a resurgence among the health-conscious community after so many toxic “non-stick” alternatives were found to be making many people ill with higher rates of cancer due to carcinogenic 'forever chemicals' such as PFOA and PFOS. With the right maintenance, your health-conscious cast iron skillet is likely going to be your favourite kitchen comrade, and a bit of olive oil is all you’ll need to perform that maintenance for ongoing sheen and clean. After washing your cast iron skillet post-use, rub a small amount of olive oil onto the surface and wipe away any excess with a clean cloth, paper towel or cotton fibre. This will help prevent rust and keep the skillet in prime condition by maintaining a protective layer over the seasoning. For seasoning your cast iron, its better to use flaxseed as it has a higher smoke point, we use an organic pure flaxseed oil sourced from the brand Melrose. You can find this at some supermarkets, many health stores and even chemists.


healthy cast iron skillet

 

From a health and sustainability perspective, while organic olive oil is certainly not the required standard for these types of applications, if you are health conscious then it's also good to keep in mind that there are several reasons why organic olive oil may be considered superior or preferable to non-organic olive oil. Organic farming practices are generally more sustainable and environmentally friendly than non-organic alternatives. It emphasises the use of natural, plant-based fertilisers and pest control methods, and it often involves the use of cover crops and other techniques to improve soil health rather than relying on toxic chemicals which eventually, leach and end up in the end product your have in your home. If this is important to you, always choose certified organic wherever able.


Please remember that olive oil may be difficult to remove from particular surfaces and materials, always ensure caution for an area/item of the home you’ve not used a product on before, no matter what the product is, and if trying something out for the first time please take note that it's always a good idea to test it in a small, inconspicuous area before using it on a larger more visible area. Think about trying it on undersides of furniture, spares or inside drawers before the more visible parts!

 

essential oils, oils for cleaning

Don’t have the time to do all this kerfuffle yourself, or want a professional eco-friendly cleaner around? We know the feeling, that's why we're here!

Give us a shout out and we’ll be happy to help.



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