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Originally published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 5:30 AM

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5 alternative uses for olive oil

Five eco-friendly uses for olive oil beyond the kitchen.

McClatchy Newspapers

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We all know that olive oil is good for you, but it isn’t just good for cooking — it’s an eco-friendly ingredient that can be used to do all sorts of things around your home. Here are my favorite ways to “Do Your Part” with a bottle of olive oil.

1. Olive oil as furniture polish: Mix two parts olive oil with one part vinegar for a powerful cleaner for finished wood pieces. Mix only what you need in a small bowl and use a soft rag to get wood glowing again. You can also substitute lemon juice instead of the vinegar to work as a furniture polish. In that case, apply the olive oil and lemon mixture and rub the area briskly with a soft rag or towel.

2. Olive oil on stainless steel: There’s no need for commercial chemical cleaners on stainless steel pieces in the kitchen when straight olive oil can get the shine you want without polluting the air inside your home. Use a rag to polish the appliances all over with olive oil and then wipe away any extra. Your stainless steel will look just as shiny as if you had used a commercial cleaner.

3. Olive oil for kitty: This is one technique I use on my own cat to help prevent hairballs. Simply add a teaspoon of olive oil to kitty’s food once a week. It is not only effective when it comes to preventing those hairballs, it’ll keep your cat’s coat super shiny. A few drops of olive oil rubbed between palms can be rubbed on human hair, too, for a healthy shine.

4. Olive oil as a moisturizer: Olive oil is an effective and nontoxic skin moisturizer — especially on our hands in colder months. Apply some directly on your hands and make sure to rub it into the cuticle area for optimum results. You can also use a small amount of olive oil directly on your body after a shower to keep your skin from drying out. Olive oil is effective on skin because it contains vitamins A and E, which are known to have significant healthy-skin benefits.

5. Olive oil as a makeup remover: And, finally, use a little olive oil on a cotton ball as a safe eye-makeup remover. It’s incredibly gentle and works instantly. You’ll also be keeping chemical-based makeup removers away from the most sensitive area of your face.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of “Do Your Part: A Practical Guide for Everyday Green Living” available at DoYourPart.com. Send questions to terri@doyourpart.com.

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