Better Ways to Use Everyday Items You Didn't Know You Were Using Wrong
There are thousands of everyday items that we use regularly. We know exactly how to use some of them, and there’s not much we can do to improve them. But others have hidden uses that we’d probably never think of on our own.
Everything from potato peelers to toothpaste can be improved, though, so if you’re not using these items in these clever ways or following these hacks, you’ve totally been missing out.
Potato Peeler for Onions
Yes, the potato peeler is for peeling potatoes and carrots. But this device does so much more. In fact, it can be a real tear-jerker. When you’re ready to cut up some onions and need very fine slices, cut the onion in half and get out the peeler.
Soda Can Tabs
Ever wondered why there’s a hole in the pull-tab of your soda can? Well, that hole is a now straw holder. Crack open the can to get at that sweet, carbonated goodness. Then, turn the tab around to position the hole over the can opening.
Pasta Spoon Measurements
When it comes to making pasta, we generally don’t think that much about how to put it in the pot. We grab a handful and toss it in. But if you’re trying to be health-conscious or keep those serving sizes down, this handy little tip will change everything for you.
The Right Arrangement for Washing Your Dishes
Most of us probably just toss dishes into the dishwasher without thinking how the placement can affect the machine’s cleaning efficiency. But the right arrangement in there can make all the difference in getting those glasses and plates clean.
The Cup Plunger for Sinks
Probably the most common misuse of household items is using the wrong plunger — yes, there are right and wrong plungers for different tasks. When you look at plungers in the store, they’re often sold in the same area, which doesn’t help. However, there are actually two basic styles, and they have separate purposes.
Loads of people think that you need giant gobs of toothpaste to get the job done — and it is important to get the job done. Our dental health is critical for our heart health, digestive tract health, respiratory health and, well, our health overall. But that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with the paste.
This is one you probably didn’t realize about your takeout. That oyster pail — the official name of the classic takeout box — is for more than just bringing home your food. It’s designed specifically to unfold into a plate you can eat off of.
Tying Dental Floss
One of the things folks complain about with flossing is the cut-off circulation they experience as they wrap the floss around their fingers. Everything turns purple and kind of hurts. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, tie your floss in a circle.
Built-in Spoon Rests
Ever wondered what those holes at the ends of the handles on your pots and pans are for? Yes, they’re for hanging up your pots. But they also work as built-in spoon rests to help you avoid countertop messes, especially if you’re using more than one pot and one wooden spoon.
Bobby Pins — Backwards
For some reason, nearly everyone who uses bobby pins in their hair actually puts them in upside-down. They were originally popular in the 1920s for use with bobbed hair, which is where they got their name.
Using Tissue Paper to Prevent Wrinkles
While tissue paper makes for an excellent wrapping material for fragile things we pack away or give as gifts, this stuff also is fantastic for a more common need in the household: wrinkle prevention.
Aluminum Foil Box Tabs
Most folks who’ve used aluminum foil, cling wrap, parchment paper or other kitchen material wrapped on a roll can relate: This is a wrestling match. But you don’t have to wrestle with these wraps to keep them in place if you look a little closer at their boxes.
Sponges are awesome for keeping that kitchen clean. But the highly absorbent material that soaks up spills and soapy water is actually a breeding ground for nasty bacteria that can make and keep your family sick if you don’t treat your sponges right.
Often we think more is better, especially when it comes to using cleaning supplies, getting out stains or scrubbing things clean. But the reality is that using too much laundry detergent can be detrimental to your clothing’s longevity.
Keeping Meals Warm
While it sure can be convenient to keep those muffin tins and cookie sheets under the oven in that little drawer, you’re not getting the full use of your oven when you do that. This drawer is, in fact, a warmer, which equals loads of delicious foods ahead when you use it properly.
A Bottle Opener on Cans?
Bottle openers do what their name suggests: open bottles. They’re convenient to keep by your fridge to open all those frosty sodas and beers. But if you find yourself chipping nails or roughing up your skin trying to crack open a soda can, then here’s some good news for you.
Emptying Your Iron
When you’re in a rush, it’s easier to just put everything away as is — if you have time to put things away at all — including the iron that’s still full of water. But this water can be harmful for your iron and ultimately for your clothing.
Fountain Drink Lids
When you grab that delicious bubbling drink from the fountain at the fast food place and come home with some grub for a casual night in, you might regret it the next day. That cup sweats condensation all over the place and might cause some damage, like water rings, to your favorite coffee table.
Peanut Butter Storage Tactics
With the way peanut butter jars are designed, it’s actually better to store them upside down. This helps with a few of the issues you get with peanut butter. First, it helps prevent the peanut oil from pooling at the top of the butter, making it more pleasant to eat and easier to serve.
Juice Box Handles
If you’ve ever hesitated to give the kids juice boxes because of the spillage they create by squeezing too hard, listen up. Juice boxes actually have built-in handles you’ve probably noticed before — and you weren’t sure what they were.
Toilet Paper Dilemmas
Should the toilet paper hang over the top of the roll or down the back? Put this age-old debate to rest and consider the question from the right angle. First, the inventor of toilet paper intended for the paper to hang down over the top. So, if history and intent hold any sway for you, this alone can solve your quandary.
If you’re concerned about your oral health, here’s another tip to use. Instead of storing your toothbrush in an enclosed medicine cabinet, it’s best to keep it out in the open in a cup. If you keep it in a container, you’re preventing it from fully drying out.
Unplugging Small Appliances
It’s easy and kind of natural to leave small appliances plugged in when we’re not using them. Unless they go up into a cabinet, they tend to stay plugged in all the time. But there’s a couple of issues with this practice.
Many of us apply shampoo and conditioner just about the same way. We lather them up in the palms of our hands and apply them to our scalps. While this is good for shampoo — getting that oil and dirt off the skin — this isn’t the best option for conditioner.
Most of us imitate the things we observed growing up, including our makeup and grooming habits. But many of these habits aren’t so productive in the long run. One habit it’s time to ditch? Pumping the mascara brush in the tube.
Metal Cooking Utensils
That expensive metal spatula was a great gift from Mom, but it wasn’t intended for use on your non-stick cookware. The reason? Metal can scrape off the Teflon coating of your non-stick pots and pans. And while aesthetically this isn’t great, there’s actually a bigger issue.
Washing Your Coffeemaker
Another commonly overlooked item in your home is the coffeemaker. You don’t overlook it in terms of using it regularly or properly, but you might in terms of cleaning it. We’re good about washing the coffee pot and maybe the filter basket. But as for the rest of the machine? Not so much.
Many people worry about freezer burn ruining their food, so they might set their freezer temperatures a bit warmer to avoid wasting ingredients. This isn’t actually the cause of that nasty taste, though. Exposure to air or partial thawing and refreezing is what causes freezer burn.
Super-cool Stand Mixers
You don’t have to do this trick to get great desserts out of your stand mixer. But if you do, you’ll find every bowl of frosting is creamier, every meringue is fluffier and every cake is loftier. The trick? Chilling your bowl and beater(s) before use.
You’ve probably tossed out more than one reusable straw because you just couldn’t get that dried, old smoothie out of it. But, if you don’t have a straw brush and want to keep that gobbed-up stainless steel straw around, use a pipe cleaner instead.