Kitchen Cleanout: Uses for Canola Oil (Hint: Eating is Not One of Them!)

Non Food Uses for Canola Oil

Health can be an overwhelming concept. There’s so much information to digest, and so many rules of things to do and not to do that it sometimes becomes cumbersome.

And if you’re like me, the first thing you realize when you discover anything about health is just how UNhealthy so many of your household products are! And what do many people recommend you do with those things?

Throw them away!

I understand how expensive things can be, and I understand living on a very tight budget (I’m a college student, believe me, I know a thing or two about that!).  So I know that the idea of throwing away $5-$15 dollars of toxic cooking oil in the trash can sometimes hurt your wallet, and it may sometimes hurt your heart to see some things go.

However, we hopefully now know that things like vegetable oil can hurt much more than just your heart, and are better to be out of your system entirely. (There are some healthy oils to cook with, Canola Oil ain’t one of them.)

But here’s the thing:

How do we keep toxins out of our bodies without throwing away everything in our house we spent well-earned money on?

Luckily, for the franken-oil that is Canola Oil, there are plenty of other ways to get rid of it without putting in in your body. And, if you haven’t already been convinced, some of these alternative uses just may show you how incompatible this oil is with our bodies.

Non-Food Uses for Canola Oil (No Waste!)

Hopefully we all know that Canola Oil should never be put in our bodies, so the majority of these uses will be outdoor uses in order to rid the home of this toxin. However, there are also a small handful of indoor uses for this inedible oil if you need to dispose of it.

Small Uses for Canola Oil

Unstick Stuck Zippers. If you have a pair of jeans or a dress (or anything with a zipper) that has a stuck zipper, just dip a cotton swab in Canola Oil and rub it around the zipper and it should pull back.

Clean Pearls. There are plenty of good recipes for homemade jewelry cleaners, often including abrasives like vinegar or baking soda. But for soft jewelry like pearls, these are far too harsh. Canola Oil can pick up dirt and grime while making the pearl shiny. Wipe the pearls down with a paper towel or cloth with the oil on it and let it sit for awhile. Rinse it off with water and then wipe it down with paper towel or cloth again. You may also want wash with a mild dish soap before using again.

Loosen Sticky Keyholes. If there is a lock in or out of your house that has a hard time unlocking, just dip the key in Canola Oil before putting the key in the lock and it should be easier to manipulate.

Sticky Labels or Stickers. If you have a hard time removing adhesive from something that you peeled a label off of, just rub some Canola Oil on it and clean it off. (If you’ve already removed the vegetable oil from your house, Lemon Essential Oil works well for this too!)

Remove Stains from Oil-Based Paint. Rub the oil into the stain for a minute, and then cover in baking soda. Then soak in white vinegar before washing.

Separating Dishes that Have Stuck Together. Because I’m fairly young and have received many various dishes from family and friends as gifts, I don’t have this problem very often. But if you have one matching set of dishes, you may sometimes have some glasses stacked inside of each other. And sometimes, they may be rather hard to separate. If this happens, pour some Canola Oil around the rim of the glass and slowly twist the glasses apart. Thoroughly clean the glasses before using.

Ant Bait and Poison. This one is rather interesting. One part Canola Oil, two parts Borax, and one part honey (or white sugar if you still need to get rid of that as well!) will make a good insect bait and poison. The oil and sugar will attract the insects and the Borax will dehydrate and kill the insects. If they carry it back to their nest, it will poison the rest of them as well. Keep in mind, though, that Borax will not be effective on insects that have piercing mouthparts such as ticks, bed bugs, lice, or aphids.


Bigger Uses for Canola Oil

Emergency Lamp Oil. If you keep oil lamps for emergencies (which you definitely should!), Canola Oil will work well as a lamp oil. It shouldn’t smell terrible, but sometimes it might not be a bad idea to use Thieves, Purification, or Lemon Essential Oil with the Canola to clean the air a bit. Here’s a way to make your own emergency oil lamp.

Non Food Uses for Canola Oil

Stress Shaker. My personal favorite. 🙂 What you do: 1) Add in one part Canola Oil to an empty clear plastic bottle. 2) Add in a whole ton of sparkles and some food coloring if you need to get rid of that, too. 3) Add in one part water, allowing about 1/8 or so of the bottle empty. 4) Super glue the lid on, and shake whenever you get super stressed out. Set it down and watch the water and oil separate. What it does: Calms you down and makes your head and your wallet happy. (Mine to the right doesn’t have any food coloring)

Coat Snow Shovels to Keep Snow from Sticking. Rub some Canola Oil on your shovel this Christmas instead of using it in the feast. It should make for a quick and easy shoveling experience.

Keep Mosquitoes Away from Birdbaths, Sheds, and What-Have-You. Rub the rim of your birdbath, bird feeder, birdhouse,  or other outdoor objects with Canola Oil to repel mosquitoes.

Keep Grass from Clumping Up in Your Lawn Mower. To keep wet and sticky cut grass from getting caught in the bottom of your lawn mower next summer, wipe the blades and the inside of the blade covering with Canola Oil.

Bear and Raccoon Bait. If you know any hunters, take old (strained, if necessary) Canola Oil and pour it in an old coffee tin with pieces of meat, vegetables, and/or other compost. Allow it to sit in a hot shed for a few weeks, then, you can use it as is or strain the oil and put it in a spray bottle.

Dust Control on Gravel Roads. If you have a gravel driveway that becomes to dusty to bear, although it may not smell fantastic, pouring or spraying Canola Oil over the gravel should clump it together and keep it from getting too dusty again.

Get Rid of Mites in Chicken Roosts. Rub or spray Canola Oil all over the chicken roost to help deter mites. If you want, rub the oil on the legs of the chickens. However, for healthy chickens, I would not recommend this practice.

Car Cleaner. Put some Canola Oil on a paper towel and use it to wipe down any area that needs to remove dust, dirt, bugs, pollen, or anything else. It will work fine as a cleaner and polish.

Wood Finish. I would recommend using this only for outdoor objects and not indoor furniture you come on contact with all the time. Mix a bottle of Canola Oil with 1/2 cup of vinegar or lemon juice and rub down unfinished wood with it. Beautiful and shiny in no time.

Biodiesel. Last but not least! There’s a lot of controversy on the efficacy of vegetable oil as a fuel source, but with some tampering, it is possible. However, it does involve some dangerous chemical interaction. If you have a large amount of this oil and know someone with an old diesel vehicle, consider giving it to them to make their own biodiesel. Make sure you read up on this before diving into it, though. It’s a dangerous practice and not one to play around with lightly. I would only recommend it with serious caution and with a professional nearby.


And if you can’t or don’t want to repurpose this inedible oil, you can always find a nearby restaurant. Many restaurants have oil waste areas and may take up your oil if you ask nicely. 🙂


Non Food Uses for Canola Oil




If you still have them, how do you use Vegetable Oils?





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