Smart New Uses for Vegetable Oil

Soften heels, remove splinters, and more -- with vegetable oil.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Help remove a splinter
That stubborn splinter just won’t come out. Take a break from poking at your finger for a few minutes and soak it in vegetable oil. The oil will soften up your skin, perhaps just enough to ease that splinter out with your tweezers.

Remove labels and stickers
Used jars — both plastic and glass — are always handy to have around. But removing the old labels always leaves a stubborn sticky residue. Soak the label with vegetable oil and the label will slide right off. Works great for sticky price tags too.

Separate stuck glasses
When stacked drinking glasses get stuck together, it seems like nothing you can do will separate them. But the solution is simple: Just pour a little vegetable oil around the rim of the bottom glass and the glasses will pull apart with ease.

Smooth your feet
Rub your feet with vegetable oil before you go to bed and put on a pair of socks. When you awaken, your tootsies will be silky-smooth and soft.

Prevent clippings from sticking to your mower
The next time you turn over your lawn mower to remove the stuck-on grass clippings, rub some vegetable oil under the housing and on the blade. It will take a lot longer for the clippings to build up next time.

Control mosquitoes in the birdbath
It’s so satisfying to watch birds enjoying the garden bath you provide. But unfortunately, that still water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Floating a few tablespoons of vegetable oil on the surface of the water will help keep mosquitoes from using the water, and it won’t bother the birds. But it’s still important to change the water twice a week so any larvae don’t have time to hatch.

Season cast-iron cookware
After washing and thoroughly drying a cast-iron skillet or wok, use a paper towel to wipe it down with vegetable oil. Just leave a very thin layer of oil. It will prevent the pan from rusting and season it for the next time you use it.