From cleaning jewelry to perfectly-measured ingredients, read on for some of the most interesting ways to use this pantry staple. Have a favorite use of your own? Let us know in the comments!
Earlier: 10 Surprising Uses for Charcoal
In the Kitchen.
1. Prevent Sticky Lids. The lids on honey, syrup, and other sticky stuff often stick to the container. Here’s a quick way to prevent that from happening: run a vegetable oil-coated paper towel along the threads of the jar.
2. Measure Sticky Ingredients. Sticky ingredients like honey and peanut butter can be a pain to measure accurately, but you can prevent that by applying a light coat of vegetable oil to the spoon or cup before adding the ingredient.
3. Grate Cheese with Ease. Grating semi-soft cheeses is a huge pain — the cheese clumps up, sticks to the grater, and is difficult to clean up at the end. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Lightly coat the grater with vegetable oil (you can use cooking oil spray, too) before grating to make the process go a lot more smoothly.
4. Repair Nonstick Pots & Pans. Vegetable oil is commonly used to season cast iron cookware, but this pantry staple can also help nonstick cookware. Pour a little oil in the pan, rub it into the nonstick surface with your fingers, and wipe away any extra oil.
Beauty, Health and Fashion.
5. Remove Splinters. Ugh, there’s nothing worse than a splinter that just won’t come out. To remedy that, let the area soak in vegetable oil for about 5 minutes. The oil will soften the skin, easing the pain and making it easier to remove.
6. Treat Your Hair. Want, shiny, silky, hair? Of course you do! Heat a cup of vegetable oil in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until warm but not hot. Massage the oil well into dry hair, cover with a shower cap or wet towel and let it soak for about 20 minutes. To remove, get in the shower and shampoo it a couple times.
7. Clean Pearls. Pearls are delicate, and many of the popular DIY cleaners, like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, can damage them. Vegetable oil, however, is an excellent way to clean them. Pour a few drops of the stuff on a soft cloth, wipe the pearls gently, and let dry overnight. The next day, take a dry soft cloth to the pearls to buff.
8. Unstick Zippers. If that zipper just won’t seem to budge, dab the teeth with a cotton swab dipped in vegetable oil. If it still won’t unzip, apply a little more until it will.
Garden, Projects and More.
9. Unstick Locks. Unstick a stubborn lock by wiping your key with some vegetable oil. This will help it open with ease.
10. Get Rid of Stubborn Labels and Stickers. Love reusing old jars, but can’t stand the stickers? Rub some vegetable oil before peeling it off.
11. Remove Paint from Hands. It can be hard to avoid getting paint on your hands while you’re working. Skip the paint thinner, though, and try removing oil paints with vegetable oil.
12. Make Your Own Oil Lamp. Like a candle, but better! Click here for instructions on how to make your own lamp with vegetable oil.
13. Shovel More Effectively. Coat your snow shovel, as well as the shovels and trowels you use in your garden, with some vegetable oil to prevent snow or dirt from clumping.
14. Maintain a Mosquito-Free Birdbath. A couple spoonfuls of vegetable oil in your birdbath won’t deter or harm birds, but it WILL deter mosquitoes.
15. Prevent Grass From Clumping Up Your Mower. If you’re sick of clumps of grass sticking to your lawn mower’s blade, coat the blade and housing with some vegetable oil.