he use of extra virgin olive oil passes over food and cosmetics. Since ancient times, virgin olive oil has been used for other purposes such as cleaning or the maintenance of wooden and metal items, amongst others. These uses were observed by the humanist Gabriel Alonso de Herrera from the sixteenth century who's work "General Agriculture" relates the following:

"All 'alpechín' (Olive Mill Wastewater) gives floors a great finish, and wherever it is used to wash down floors you wont find any fleas, mice nor ants [....] If you wet the wood of the bed with the 'alpechín', there wont be bugs [...]. And if you use it, mostly after being cooked, to smear the wood of clothes racks, chests, trunks etc so that the liquid properly embeds itself into the wood, you wont get any gnawing, rot or moth-eaten clothes[...]. Leather shoes, belts, straps etc well wet with 'alpechín' soften and they last longer."

The following is a list of home remedies based on extra virgin olive oil.




  • Remove water spots from furniture: You only have to rub the stain with extra virgin olive oil.

  • Remove oil stains on the wood: First of all, compact absorbent powder such as kaolin or talc over the stain, then rub with a cloth soaked in essential oil and finally varnish.

  • Polish furniture: Make a mixture of two parts olive oil, three parts turpentine and four parts vinegar. Then, stir the mixture and soak a duster or a dishcloth in the mixture, use it rub the surface.

    Extra virgin olive oil helps polish furniture and wood

The extra virgin olive oil is a good help for cleaning and polishing wood

  • Furniture conservation: To keep the furniture in good condition just rub regularly with a cloth dampened with a mixture of equal parts extra virgin olive oil and turpentine.

  • To waterproof and restore shine to furniture: rub the furniture with a cloth dampened with a mix of lemon juice, alcohol and olive oil in equal parts .

  • Clean wooden trimmings: Mix equal parts olive oil and turpentine. Soak brush in the mixture and scrub the wood.



 How you can get an oil stain out of fabrics


live oil stains are difficult to remove from the fabrics, however, talc is a good resource

  • Oil stains on clothes: The first thing to do is to cover the stain with talcum powder to soak up the olive oil. Then place one paper towel on top of the stain and one below, place somethingrelatively heavy on top and leave for two hours. After two hours, remove the paper and brush the stain.

  • Oil stains on silk and satin: Put a drop of ammonia over the stain. When the ammonia evaporates put a sheet of absorbent paper underneath the item of clothing, below the stain and with hotiron, iron over the stain. The stain will be absorbed quickly.

  • Oil stains on velvet: Wipe clean with a cloth dampened with ammonia and then washed with turpentine.



Olive oil to eliminate rust 

Rust can be removed with a mixture of virgin olive oil and other ingredients

  • Cleaning rusty objects: Mix fine tripoli (a brown compound used for buffing) and sulfur in equal parts, add olive oil and form a yellow paste. Then rub the object with this paste and then with a cloth.

  • Cleaning weapons: Firearms such as the shotgun is cleaned inside with oil firstly and then with absolute alcohol or oil mixed with gasoline. The butt is cleaned with oil. If they are rusty, make amixture of sulfur and Tripoli (a brown compound used for buffing) in equal parts and reduce to a paste with olive oil. Using a chamois soaked with the mixture, rub the rusted parts. This avoids anyscratches.

  • Cleaning aluminum: Prepare a mixture in a bottle containing half extra virgin olive oil and half alcohol. Shake the bottle to emulsify the ingredients. Then rub the metal to polish.

  • Cleaning tin utensils: These items generally lose their luster because of the fire. To recover its natural shine simply wipe with a cloth moistened with olive oil and ash. You can also add carbonpowder to the mix. Finally, rub the utensil with a woolen cloth.

  • Cleaning

     brass: Clean with a mixture of olive oil and fine tripoli (a brown compound used for buffing) and ultimately wash with a soap and water.

  • Remove tar stains: Dampen a cloth with olive oil and rub until the stain disappears. After this, wash the clothes as usual.

  • Remove gum stains: Soak a cloth with olive oil and rub until the gum is comes off, then rub with turpentine and finally wash the garment.

  • Cleaning lace doilies that has yellowed over time: Stretch the lace, roll it and put it in a cloth sack. Soak it in extra virgin olive oil for 24 hours. After that, place the bag in boiling soapy waterfor fifteen minutes. Finally, rinse with warm water and pass it through water lightly starched. Remove from the bag and lay the fabric to dry.

 Eliminate the yellowness from lace with olive oil

Lace doilies yellow or get soiled over time, olive oil is a good solution


  • Brass conservation: To improve and preserve the condition of your brass virgin olive oil is very useful; add 60 grams of resin for each liter of oil. The mixture should be made hot and shaken thoroughly. This method should help you avoid getting verdigris (green pigment that forms on weathered brass) on your brass.

    Protection of brass objects with olive oil

Olive oil is useful as for materials such as brass


  • Cleaning oil dispensers: Simply insert into the dispenser the remains of the freshly ground coffee that's left over in the coffee machine and shake in all directions to absorb the oil from the wallsof the oil dispenser. Then rinse.

  • Polishing pearl: To make these gems shine again, rub them with a cloth moistened with olive oil and then dry them with a dry cloth.

  • Sewing machine maintenance: Prepare a mixture of virgin olive oil and petrol in equal parts to which we must add 10% paraffin.

    Sewing machine maintenance with olive oil and petrol

Petrol along with olive oil helps to maintain sewing machines

  • Long lasting labels for garden plants: Write whatever you want in ink on ordinary cardboard. Next, put the label in olive oil and leave it submerged for an hour. Remove and fasten with a nailon a wooden stand. It will last two or three years.

  • Polished shell objects: Clean the surface of the object with a very fine sandpaper. Next, prepare a mixture with three parts of very fine tripoli (a brown compound for buffing), glycerin and oliveoil. Rub this mixture and finish by rubbing the object with tripoli powder alone, and dry.

Polishing shell objects with olive oil

The shell material can be polished with olive oil and other materials 

Source: March, L., Ríos, A., El libro del aceite y la aceituna, Ed. Alianza, Madrid, 1989.