We all have our quirks when it comes to our homes. Whether it’s folding towels or loading the dishwasher, you probably consider your way the “right” way. But as it turns out, there are a few items around the house that we’re all probably using wrong.
Check out the list below to find out if you’re guilty of misusing any of these common household items.
If your kitchen came with a pull-out slab of wood built into the countertop, you probably assumed it was a cutting board for slicing and dicing ingredients as you cook.
But according to Country Living, those pull-out cutting boards were actually once known as “breadboards.” The original purpose was to extend the countertop so there was room to knead bread. You could also use it to slice bread. But chop veggies? Nope.
Though you may not be doing a whole lot of bread kneading (unless that happened to become your pandemic hobby), it’s not a great idea to use the original boards for cutting. They weren’t designed to hold up to much wear and tear, and moisture can cause warping and mold. Instead, consider replacing yours with a modern maple version, which is naturally antimicrobial and holds up to knife scarring.
2. Oven drawer
The drawer located beneath your oven is a great place for storing awkwardly shaped kitchen items, like baking sheets and pans. Except that drawer has a specific use, and it may not be storage at all.
You’ll have to look for a couple of clues to find out its purpose. If your oven has a setting for a “warming drawer,” then that’s exactly what you have. You can use this area to keep food warm or heat up plates while you finish preparing your meal.
If this feature looks more like a big pan than a drawer, it’s likely your oven’s broiler. You can use this to toast or brown food before serving. Typically, broiler drawers are found on gas ovens.
Finally, if the drawer really is just a big empty space, it likely is meant for storage. In fact, it’s a great spot to store cast iron, where the warmth of the oven will help keep rust at bay. However, avoid storing any plastic items here, which can warp or melt.
That plunger sitting next to your toilet in case of, ahem, an emergency is probably not the right one for the job. The typical household plunger with a red, bell-shaped cup is actually designed for unclogging sinks and bathtubs.
Using this type of plunger won’t be too effective on toilets. For that job, you need a specific toilet plunger, which has a flange on the end that fits snugly into the opening, as Popular Mechanics reports. You can also use a bellows plunger, which has an accordion-like design that allows for better water displacement while plunging.
4. Ceiling fan
Even though a large portion of the country is still experiencing cold temperatures, ceiling fans have their place. Ceiling fans are actually designed for year-round use, helping you save on energy costs. All you need to do is adjust the direction it spins.
In the winter, you should set your fan to turn clockwise. This pulls air up toward the ceiling, displacing the warmer air that has risen and pushing it back down toward the walls and floor. Keep it on the lowest speed to prevent any wind chill.
In the summer, your fan should spin counterclockwise to improve air flow and create a breeze. You can usually find the switch to change your fan’s direction on the motor casing.
5. Cellphone charger
Cellphone batteries seem to die at the most inconvenient times. To ensure you have a solid charge all day, you probably leave your phone hooked up to the charger overnight. However, doing this could actually make your phone’s battery less effective.
It’s not possible to overcharge a cellphone battery. But leaving it plugged in once it has reached 100% causes something known as a “trickle charge.” As your phone naturally loses a bit of charge, the charger continually tops it off to maintain a full battery. This stresses the battery, leads to higher ambient temperatures for your phone and can reduce capacity over time.
6. Stainless steel pans
If you’re like me, you probably prefer the ease of a nonstick pan over its stainless steel counterpart. Stainless steel may be long-lasting and non-toxic, but it can also be a pain to clean.
It turns out that stainless steel pans can be seasoned just like cast iron. Doing so will make them much easier to cook with and clean, as well as allow you to avoid the questionable chemicals that coat non-stick cookware.
Simply coat your pan with an oil that has a high smoke point. Heat it over medium to medium-high heat for a few minutes, allow it to cool and then dispose of the excess oil. To prevent washing away the seasoning, try to wipe it clean after each use rather than scrubbing it with soap and water.
7. Toilet paper rolls
The heated over/under debate can finally be settled. According to illustrations from an 1891 patent, the inventor of perforated toilet paper rolls intended the flap to fall over the roll.
The advantages of hanging the roll this way are clear (sorry, Team Under). First, it’s much easier to find the end and unspool. Plus, it’s a bit more sanitary since the end is kept away from the bathroom wall.