Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Useful Object of the Day: Olive Oil

I was making my way through New Uses for Old Things, and was surprised to read such high praise of Olive Oil as a multi purpose tool.

I guess this makes some sense, as Olive Oil is edible so it can be used on and near your skin, and yet is an oil so it can be used as an improvised WD-40.

Some of my favorite uses:

  • To shave with, rather than shaving cream. A bottle of olive oil should be much more compact than shaving cream. Perfect for travel.
  • To unstick zippers and basically act as a lubricant
  • As a shoe polish alternative
  • As an improvised moisturizer
  • As lamp fuel. If you've got an orange lying around, you can use it and some olive oil to quickly make a lamp.

There are, of course, lots more uses (including curing ear infections and getting rid of lice!).

I couldn't resist taking a few minutes and fashioning a quick olive oil lamp. It was surprisingly easy. I used the bottom of a soda can to hold the fuel, tiny binder slips to hold the wick in place and a tightly wound bit of paper towel as wick. See:

I placed the setup in a Pyrex measuring cup and had a functional and portable lantern. A little splash of olive oil lasted about 40 minutes.

Definitely an impressive tool. I'm going to have to add a few ounces to my Dopp Kit, and see how I can put this all to use on the road.


  1. I wish I had read this earlier, would of made a great light for my jack-o-lantern.

  2. So true! I had that thought, though we just went with plain old tea lights.

    I'm telling you, come Chanukah, I'm so rigging up an olive oil menorah.