There are so many uses for vegetable oil that have nothing to do with cooking. Read on to see how the kitchen staple can help with your beauty routine, furbaby, furniture, and more!
1. Easily measure sticky ingredients.
Whenever you make homemade cookies, sticky ingredients like honey or peanut butter tend to get stuck in measuring cups.
What can help: Pour a bit of vegetable oil on a paper towel and rub it on the inside of the cup before adding the ingredients. This pro trick creates a slick surface that helps sticky foods slide right out of the glass or plastic cup. Problem solved!
2. Strengthen nails for pennies.
If you notice your nails are peeling or cracking, try this DIY soak: Pour 3⁄4 cup of vegetable oil into a small dish and microwave until warm. Then soak your fingertips for 15 minutes.
The oil will deeply moisturize both your nails and nail beds, warding off the dehydration that causes brittleness.
3. Preserve the taste of cooking wine.
There’s a bit of wine left over from the bottle you opened last night, and you want to save it for a dish later in the week. To prevent spoiling, enlist the help of vegetable oil.
Simply add 1 tsp. of the cooking staple to the bottle before you store it in the fridge. The oil will float on top of the liquid, creating a barrier that prevents oxidation and seals in the wine’s flavor.
4. Quickly nix Kitty’s hair balls.
Yuck! If you’re tired of finding hair balls around the house, try this homemade cure: Add 1 tsp. of vegetable oil to Kitty’s food once a week.
The flavorless oil will help lubricate her digestive tract, making it easy for ingested hairs to pass through instead of becoming hair balls.
5. Revitalize dull leather shoes.
After walking outside on a particularly muddy day, your favorite leather boots are looking a bit shabby. To restore them for pennies, wipe off any dirt with a wet cloth, then pour a drop of vegetable oil on a dry cloth and rub over the shoes. The oil will condition the leather so it looks like new.
6. Remove stuck-on price tags.
You can’t wait to use your new serving platter, but you’re having trouble getting the pesky price sticker to come off clean. The save: Dip a paper towel in vegetable oil and use it to rub the sticky spots. The oil will dissolve the adhesive’s bond so it can be peeled away.
7. Make it a cinch to swallow large pills.
You’re ready to try a new brand of vitamins that got great reviews, but you didn’t realize just how huge the pills are! If you find that you’re having trouble swallowing the capsules, enlist the help of vegetable oil.
To do: Lightly roll each pill in the household staple before taking it. The slippery oil will help the pill smoothly glide down your throat, so you don’t have to feel uncomfortable whenever it’s time to take one.
8. Unstick stubborn oven racks.
Lately it’s been tough sliding out your oven racks to remove dishes, and you want to make sure everything goes smoothly on the occasion of your big dinner.
The fix: Remove the racks, rub the tracks in the oven with steel wool and wipe clean with a damp rag. After drying with another cloth, wipe the tracks with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Once the tracks are grime-free, the oil will lubricate them so they glide with ease.
9. Polish furniture in a pinch.
Guests are due to arrive in the next hour, when you discover you’re all out of wood polish. To quickly shine up your table, add 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1⁄2 cup of white vinegar to a spray bottle, shake and spritz on wood. Then wipe with a cloth. Vinegar will disinfect while the oil imparts shine.
10. Effortlessly lift paint from skin.
The virtual paint and sip you did with your girlfriends was a blast! The only problem? You got more of the paint on yourself than the paper.
To clean it up, apply a drop of vegetable oil to painted skin, then rub with a damp sponge. The oil will break down the paint pigments so they come off with just water.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.