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,” says Hunter.
Price: About $7 a pint at supermarkets.
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.