12 Household Tools You're Using Wrong

a dishwasher rack with plates and silverware

Some of the home items you've been using your entire life might have been intended for a slightly different application, or have additional uses you never knew about. Get ready to have your mind blown and start using your tools to their full capacity! It may not seem like much, but the little things can make life much easier.

Kitchen Devices

1. Dishwasher

You’re probably loading in a way that maximizes space. While that makes sense from a time/effort standpoint, it also means you’re not maximizing the cleaning power of this kitchen workhorse.

The best way to load your dishwasher is to load the dirtiest items in the center of the bottom rack to receive the full impact of the jet sprays.

Also remember to keep large dishes and pans from blocking the detergent dispenser. This could keep detergent from being dispensed properly.

plastic pasta spoon with pointed edges and circular hole

2. Pasta Spoon

This wondrous tool has another purpose than just stirring the pot. Use the center opening to measure out an exact single serving for your solo dinners.

3. Blender

The way you fill the jar affects the performance of this kitchen appliance. Pour liquids in first, then add the solid ingredients. The spinning action of the liquids will pull the rest of the ingredients into the mix so you don’t have to start, stop, scrape, then start again to get things pulverized, liquified, or pureed.

4. Oven Drawer

For years we’ve been guilty of this one, using the drawer at the bottom to store excess pans and bakeware instead of using it for what it was intended. From now on, keep that drawer clear and use it to keep food warm, e.g. delivery pizza while waiting for the rest of the family to get downstairs, holding sides while the main is finishing in the oven, you get the picture.

potato peeler cutting skin off a potato

5. Potato Peeler

This versatile tool is not just for potatoes, and it’s not just for peeling. Use it to shave parmesan into long strips, make long strips of carrot for salads, or shave onion into slices before the tears start flowing.

6. Slow Cooker

These kitchen miracles make meals a snap—as long as you keep the lid closed. Sometimes it’s hard trying not to peek, but each time you do, it lowers the temp (which is already pretty low), adding more time needed to finish the job. Relax. Be patient. Dinner’s almost ready.

Bathroom Accessories

7. Plunger

Ever noticed there are two different plunger shapes—cup and flange? Ever given much thought to their purposes and whether or not you’re using the right one for the job? Good thing you’re reading this. If you’re using the cup shaped plunger for a clogged toilet, you guessed it—you’re using it wrong.

The cup plunger is designed for sink clogs, while the flange plunger is made for your toilet. The narrow flange fits into the curved opening in the toilet creating a tight seal for more power to clear the messy clog in your toilet.

8. Toothbrush Storage

We know, you probably like to keep your brushes stored in a cup in the medicine cabinet to keep it sanitary when you flush. From now on, close the toilet lid when you flush and store your toothbrush on a counter where it can dry out properly.

The dark cabinet that protects it from airborne flush germs is a perfect environment to breed all sorts of nasties. So much for keeping your mouth clean.

Workshop Tools

9. Screwdriver

Yes, we’re serious. It’s as simple as taking an extra moment to find the right bit to fit the screw. Sometimes it’s tempting to use one that almost fits, but when you end up stripping the screw, you’ll kick yourself for being in too much of a rush that now you’re taking even more time to finish a quick job.

legs with black shoes and blue pants using a ladder

10. Ladders

Climbing can be dangerous, so focus on ladder safety any time your project requires it. A good rule of thumb is the one-to-four ratio: one foot away from the wall per four feet of height. And unless you’re a mountain goat (which you’re not since you’re reading this and not out scrambling around sure-footed on a mountain top), you have no reason to be balancing at the very top step of the ladder—you’ve seen the warnings posted near the top.

And please, wear shoes when climbing up those rungs. Bare feet, sandals, and flip-flops are just begging to get snagged on something sharp, leading to serious injury.

11. Circular Saw

Does the type of blade on the circular saw really matter? Ripping versus cross-cutting? Yes. Just like it matters which blade you use when cutting tile or another hard material. For safety’s sake, read the manual.

Laundry Ingredients

12. Detergent

If you’re ignoring the package instructions and adding more detergent thinking it will get your laundry cleaner, this is for you. Manufacturers are telling you specifically how much detergent to use because using too much can actually keep your clothes from getting clean.

The additional suds can actually act as padding to hold in the dirt, keeping it from rinsing well and getting a proper cleaning.