The First Thing You Should Do with a New Bottle of Vegetable Oil

updated Sep 29, 2021
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Someone holding a bottle of vegetable oil.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

When I think of vegetable oil, I think of the bottle of Crisco or Wesson that my mom used to keep in her pantry, mostly for boxed cookie and brownie recipes that called for oil instead of butter. What is vegetable oil? It’s usually a mix of canola, corn, soybean, safflower, palm, and sunflower oils. Most importantly, it has a higher smoke point than olive oil so it’s worth keeping a bottle around for higher-temperature cooking.

If you are out — or if you have a bottle that’s been sitting around for a year or longer — you should pick up a new bottle right away. And when you bring it home, you should do at least one thing with it. (I actually have two fun options for you; pick one or, heck, do both before you stash that bottle in your pantry!)

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Grease your hinges with vegetable oil.

If you have a squeaky door or doors, or really if you have doors with hinges that could potentially become annoyingly squeaky in the future, you should grease the hinges with vegetable oil.

Add a dab or two of oil to a clean cloth and rub the oiled cloth along the hinge. Be especially sure to get some at the top where the pin goes into the hinge. Then, open and close the door a few times. If it’s still squeaking, remove the pin and apply more oil. Replace the pin, swing the door a few more times, and presto: No more squeaking!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Season your cast iron pan.

If you have a cast iron pan, you should also consider re-seasoning it. A seasoned skillet is smooth, shiny, and nonstick. You’ll know it’s time to re-season if food sticks to the surface or if the skillet appears dull or rusted.

Read more: How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

You’ll want to clean and dry the skillet, then add some vegetable oil and use a cloth or paper towel to completely coat the skillet — and don’t forget the outside! Once it’s coated in oil, bake the skillet at 350 degrees F for an hour. Let the pan cool and you’re ready to go.