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30 Everyday Objects You’re Using All Wrong

You'll never look at a staple remover the same way again.

Good Housekeeping

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staple puller

Kate Bennis

Most people learn how to use an item and never question it again — but they're missing out. We're here to tell you about all the common household items you've been using wrong, so you can work smarter, not harder.

Under utilizing your vegetable peeler.


When you use a vegetable peeler to shave thin slices of an onion, you can speed through the chopping process ... hopefully before your eyes start to well up.

Forgetting to measure with your spaghetti spoon.


Kate Bennis

Did you ever consider why there's a hole in the middle of spaghetti spoons? You're supposed to use that hole to determine how much spaghetti to cook per person. Genius!

Arranging dishes incorrectly in the dishwasher.



Put the most heavily soiled items in the center of the bottom rack facing the spray arm. And make sure nothing big is blocking the detergent dispenser; it could impact how it opens and keep dishwasher detergent from being dispensed properly.

Not using the attachments on your vacuum.


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These tools are your best friends! They make cleaning much easier, and pick up dust and allergens from areas you might otherwise overlook.

Treating liquids and solids equally.



Place liquid ingredients in the jar first, followed by the rest of the ingredients. The swirl created by blending the liquids will pull the solids down, making sure you get even blending.

Using tissue paper only for gifts.


Kate Bennis

When packing clothes that wrinkle easily, lay the item inside a sheet of tissue paper (dry-cleaning bags work too) and fold as normal. The tissue will prevent creases from setting in.

Using unsanitized sponges to clean.



This cleaning superhero won't, in fact, be that helpful if you don't sanitize it every few days (and replace it every month). To do this, soak your sponge in water, place it in a microwavable dish, then heat it on high for a minute.

Tossing your garlic press in the dishwasher.



Since garlic is so sticky, bits of it might get stuck in the crevices of your garlic press that won't come off without some serious scraping. So you should always hand wash your tool, instead of just throwing it in your dishwasher.

Struggling to open a key ring.


Kate Bennis

No more broken nails: To add to a key to your ring, wedge a staple remover's teeth between the coils, then clamp down to separate them — a new key will slide on easily.

Using bobby pins grooved side down.



If you put in your bobby pin with the grooved side up (like most people), we have bad news: you're doing it wrong. The grooves are intended to help the bobby pin stay in place, so having them face outwards isn't as effective.

Scooping out Greek yogurt toppings.



If you've been scooping your honey or fruit into your yogurt, you're doing it wrong. It turns out, you can fold the container in half so your toppings pour directly on top.

Not pushing in tabs on plastic wrap boxes.


Kate Bennis

We bet you didn't know most brands design their boxes to help alleviate your struggle. Punch in the cardboard flaps on the side of the box where it says "secure roll." These flaps are designed to hold the roll in place as you tug and prevent it from becoming a tangled mess.

Using too much laundry detergent.



No, it won't make your whites whiter. Use too much and it might not rinse out of clothes — and too many suds can cushion fabrics and dirt so stains get trapped and not washed away as they should. Instead, just follow the instructions on your bottle.

Not using the right plunger for your toilet



Did you know there are two kinds of plungers? There's the design shown in the photo, made for your toilet, and the other, that only features the cone on top, made for your sink.

Storing your iron with water in it.



Always empty the iron's water tank before putting the iron away, especially if you store it on its soleplate. This keeps excess water from damaging the internal parts and leaking through and discoloring the soleplate.

Storing natural peanut butter right side up.



You actually need to store it upside down so that when you take it out, you can flip it, open it, and (voila!) the oil is on the bottom. 

Hanging your toilet paper under the roll.



While this much-debated topic might seem like a personal preference, we can tell you "over" is more sanitary, because the paper is further from the wall. Also, the patent for toilet paper from 1891 shows the inventor intended for it to be hung "over." So there's that.

Snapping off pieces of Toblerone.



Confused? Well, if you want to avoid making a crumbly mess while eating this treat, you should push pieces towards the box to break them off instead.

Lifting your slow cooker's lid while cooking.



Even though it's tempting to see how your soup is coming along, slow cookers work by trapping heat and using it to cook food over a long period of time. Every time you lift the lid, your appliance loses heat and the cooking process slows down.

Storing toothbrushes in a dark room.



By stashing a drippy brush in a dark medicine cabinet, you're preventing it from fully drying, resulting in an environment that breeds nasty bacteria — no, thanks! Instead, keep it out (and close the toilet lid before you flush).

Leaving your toaster oven plugged in.



Get into the habit of unplugging when you're not using your toaster oven. Although remote, there's a risk of a spontaneous fire.

Applying conditioner to your scalp first.



According to Evo Scrivo senior colorist and educator Meri Kate O'Connor, you should start at your ends, where your hair is the driest, oldest and most damaged, and then work your way up. If you put it on the top first, you risk "making your scalp and roots oily."

Pumping your mascara brush.



While people say pumping your mascara wand adds more mascara to it and helps keep the right amount of product on the brush, it actually pushes air into the tube, which will make the mascara dry out faster, causing clumping and flaking.

Using metal utensils on nonstick cookware.



To prevent scratching, use wooden spoons to stir food, avoid steel wool, and don't stack these pans. This will also help extend the life span of your cookware.

Forgetting to wash your coffee maker.



Since your coffee maker is a hot bed for bacteria and mold, we beg of you: Wash every removable part after each use — not just the pot. Think how much better your coffee will taste each morning!

Using dish soap for everything.



While this grease-fighting product is powerful, it leaves streaks behind on surfaces that aren't plates and cups. So you should steer clear of using this liquid soap on your car windows and mirrors.

Setting your freezer temperature too high.



Zero degrees (or even lower) is the best temp for long-term frozen food storage, so set your freezer as low as it will go. And if you find that your ice cream gets too hard to scoop, store it on the door where the temperature will be the highest.

Forgetting to chill the bowl and beater.



If you want your stand mixer to work even better, chill the bowl and beater. When they're cold, they'll help you whip up the loftiest, fluffiest dessert possible.

Throwing whole foods in your processor.



Before chopping, cut food into chunks for even processing. This also helps to drop chopped pieces through the feed tube while the food processor's in operation, instead of loading them all in the bowl before you start.

Applying foundation with your fingers.



This method will result in blotchy, streaky results. Plus, touching your skin with your fingers all the time can do more harm than good. Instead, use a damp makeup sponge like the EcoTools Total Perfecting Blender or foundation brush.

Lauren is a senior editor at Hearst. She was previously the senior editor at WomansDay.com and the home editor at GoodHousekeeping.com and HouseBeautiful.com. Her book club, ramen, and jean jackets are a few of her favorite things.

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This post originally appeared on Good Housekeeping and was published December 19, 2017. This article is republished here with permission.

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