Vegetable- and plant-based oils, such as olive and sunflower, dislodge dirt, diminish scratches and imperfections, and "hydrate wood that has aged or dried out from exposure to the sun.
Use Them to Clean Your…
Cast-iron pans: Make a scrubbing paste with vegetable oil and a teaspoon of coarse salt to combat cooked-on debris, then rinse with hot water.
Hands: To get paint off your skin, rub with vegetable oil, then wash thoroughly with soap.
Leather shoes: Wipe away dirt with a damp sponge, then apply a drop of vegetable oil to a soft cloth and rub the surface to remove scuff marks. Buff the shoes with a chamois to a shine.
Rattan and wicker furniture: To prevent rattan and wicker from drying or cracking, lightly brush them with vegetable or sunflower oil and gently rub in with a cloth. Warm the oil on the stove first to thin it and make it easier to apply.
Stainless-steel surfaces: For extra sparkle, pour olive oil onto a cloth and buff.
Wood furniture: Make your own polish by mixing 2 cups olive or vegetable oil with the juice of 1 lemon; work it in with a soft cloth. To smooth out scratches in light-colored wood, rub them with a solution of equal parts olive or vegetable oil and lemon juice.