Life Style

Common Household Items You’ve Been Using Wrong This Whole Time

Marissa LaLiberte

These everyday tasks just became quicker, safer, and more effective.

Blender

There’s a reason your blender keeps stalling after every few seconds—the order of your ingredients makes a huge difference. Start with your liquid base or yogurt, then layer ingredients from smallest to largest, keeping the toughest pieces, such as ice, at the top. The liquids will let the blades run smoothly without catching on to the hard ingredients. 

Toaster

The type of bread you’re toasting affects how hot you should set your toaster. While white and sweet breads heat quickly, heavier ones like rye take more time. Even slices from the same loaf might need a different setting after a few days. Once bread starts to dry out, you might need lower heat for the less fresh slices, which don’t take as long to toast. 

Broiler

Leaving the door of your oven closed when broiling can make heat and steam build up. Venting the steam lets your food develop the crustiness you’re going for, and letting the hot air out ensures the heat stays concentrated on the top instead of effectively baking the entire dish.

Microwaved food

Microwave energy is drawn to salt, so a seasoned top will send too much heat to the outer layer of your food, leaving it dry. Add salt after heating or mix it into your dish beforehand to avoid dryness

Food processor

Blenders have dull blades but powerful motors, while food processors have sharper blades and weaker motors. Use a blender for anything that needs to be super smooth with an even consistency, like smoothies, drinks, and creamy soups. But when working with hard foods like nuts and garlic, pull out a food processor, which is ideal for recipes with a chunkier texture, such as pesto

Dishwasher

A University of Birmingham study found that the best spot in your dishwasher depends on the type of mess your plate has. The middle of the machine gets the strongest spray of water, which makes it best for carb-based stains like potatoes or tomatoes. On the other hand, the detergent is at its highest concentration at the edges, where it flows back down like a waterfall, making it the most effective spot for protein-based messes like eggs, which need more time to soak.

Garbage disposal

Garbage disposals aren’t as tough as you might think. The hot water in your sink can get up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Water that warm can cause the food being put down the garbage disposal to melt and turn into a thick paste. This will cause the garbage disposal to clog up. When rinsing the food off of your plates and into the garbage disposal, use cold water. Then, when it’s time to wash your dishes, switch the water to hot. 

Knives

Big kitchen knives are scary enough without having to focus on how you hold them. Many people just wrap their hand around the handle. However, you’re supposed to hold your thumb and pointer finger on the sides of the blade. This grip will help you get more precise cuts. 

Toilet plungers

Or should we say, sink plungers? When you picture a plunger, you’re probably thinking of a red one with a flat bottom. Here’s the twist: Those are good for sinks and bathtubs, which have a flat bottom, but they won’t seal the drain on your toilet because it has a round bottom. Toilets need a flange plunger, which has a smaller opening that bells out so you can seal the drain. 

Toothpaste

That image on the toothpaste package of a smear big enough to cover the bristles isn’t what the doctor recommended. Dentists say the ideal amount is about the size of a pea.

Bananas

If you watch monkeys in the wild, they peel bananas by the “bottom” instead of by the stem. Before you use that as proof that humans are smarter, try peeling it from the bottom yourself. Easier, right? No more mushy tops.

Toilet paper

We don’t doubt your ability to wipe correctly, but you might be putting the roll in the wrong way. The end should hang over the top of the roll, not behind it. 

Crisper drawer

You probably had a vague idea that produce should go in your fridge’s bottom drawers, but a few tiny tweaks can help them do their job of keeping your fruits and veggies fresh. Most fridges let you adjust the humidity for a reason. In general, the fruits and vegetables that rot quickest will fare better with low humidity, which lets out the gases they give off as they ripen. Use high humidity for foods that are more likely to wilt, like herbs and leafy greens

Sticky notes

Post-It notes are great for setting little reminders around your computer screen, but have you ever been frustrated by the way they always seem to curl upwards? That’s because you’re peeling them from the bottom to the top, which bends the paper when you reach the sticky part. Peeling it off from the side will make it lie flat.

Brushes and combs

It seems natural to start brushing at the top of your head, but that just drags your top tangles into the other knots farther down the shaft, making tangles even worse. Start brushing or combing at the bottom of your hair, then slowly work your way up as you get rid of the knots. 

Ceiling fans

Fans are self-explanatory enough in the summer, when pushing cool air down can help you save on AC costs. But ceiling fans can also keep your home cozy in the winter. Just use the pulley or a switch on the side of your unit to reverse the fan’s direction to clockwise. Now your fan will push the air up and spread the warm air around the room, making the space feel warmer.

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