This article was originally published on WackoJaco
Growing up, our parents, friends, and other family members teach us how to do certain things and how different everyday items are used. These habits stay with us until someone points out the 'correct' way of doing or using something. A lot of household items that we use every day are often used wrong, which may come as a bit of a surprise. Start scrolling to see what household items you may have been using wrong your whole life, and get ready to finally use them right!
1. How To Floss
You know what they say, "Floss the teeth you want to keep." Flossing is one of those dental hygiene habits that many people do on a regular basis, but how you floss may be a bit different than how dentists intended.
Apparently, floss should be knotted for maximum flossing power. A loop of floss has the ability to directly circle a tooth, which leaves it feeling squeaky clean after chowing down on some tasty food.
2. Flap Forward
Public bathrooms can be pretty disgusting places. Sometimes the floor has water splashed on it, or there are mysterious specks of brown stuff on the walls.
The bottom line is that if you can avoid touching the toilet seat, you should. Paper toilet seat covers always have a flap built into one side, and this flap is not meant to be dipped into the toilet bowl itself. Flip the cover around, and quickly dispose of it by grabbing the flap when you are done doing your business.
3. One Hanger To Rule Them All
Moving is a part of life. Every year millions of people around the world lease or buy new houses and apartments, and that means packing up everything they own.
If a move is in your future, don't pack your clothes that are on hangers in a box. Instead, grab a couple of sturdy hangers, and use these to hang your clothes on. This makes unpacking as easy as saying 1-2-3.
4. Crossing Wires
Every home has some electronics in it, and that means a whole lot of wires. A television set often has at least two or more wires dangling behind it. These can get crossed, which may lead to a bit of a jumbled mess.
The perfect way to keep wires uncrossed, and labeled to make finding the right one easy, is to use a bread tag. These tags can be labeled and they keep cords free.
5. The Mysterious Paper Plate
Ordering take-out after a long day in the office can make an okay night turn into a great one. For those in the know, take-out containers are designed so that people don't have to do dishes.
The take-out box itself folds out into a paper plate, which makes eating easy and cleaning up even easier.
6. Portion Control
Throwing a dinner party can be a bit on the stressful side if you're not sure how much each guest is going to eat. Will they want to eat a huge bowl of pasta or just a small amount?
The rule of thumb here is to look at the pasta stirrer. The hole in the middle is designed to fit one portion of spaghetti, which means if there are eight people coming for dinner, there should be eight measured portions. This is the easiest way to make sure everyone has enough to eat.
7. Keep Hair Lush
Many of us pride ourselves on our luscious locks of hair, but maintaining that mane takes some serious work. A lot of people opt to only wash their hair a couple of times a week, as this keeps it from drying out and getting pesky split ends.
When it comes to shampooing hair, shampoo only needs to be applied to the roots, as that is where oil tends to build up. Rinsing out shampoo strips away some of the oil that got on the ends of hair, but it does not need to be massaged into the entire length. This will only dry it out even more.
8. Goodbye Oily Peanut Butter
Anyone on a healthy kick knows that natural peanut butter is where it's at. It possesses a lot less saturated fats, which is better for health overall. However, it has a tendency to separate, and a layer of oil likes to form on top of the butter.
This oil can look a bit unappetizing, but it is easy to avoid. First, ensure the lid is screwed on nice and tight. Then, gently place the jar on its side. Being on the side will allow the peanut butter to mix naturally, rather than needing to be stirred each time.
9. Fix The Floating Straw
While there has been a move away from plastic straws to paper or compostable materials, plastic straws do still get handed out. As soon as that plastic straw hits the carbonated beverage inside of a can, it likes to float straight out of the small hole in the top.
To avoid having the straw float away, manufacturers included a very smart piece of packaging. The pull tab has a hole in the center to hold the straw in place. Simply slip the straw through the hole, and there will be no more floating incidents.
10. Hold On To The Spatula
Getting creative in the kitchen allows some people to really shine. Maybe it is time to make a three-course dinner for a special someone, or simply enjoy a good stew for one. No matter what, a spatula or other cooking implement will be used.
Pots and pans are designed with a hole at the end of the handle, which a lot of people think is for hanging. While this hole does making hanging the pan or pot from a kitchen rack easy, it is actually meant to hold on to a spatula. The spatula will hang over the pan or pot, and any drippings will land right in the center. No more sticky counter messes here!
11. Taking The Plunge
Have you ever looked in someone's bathroom for a plunger and noticed that the plunger itself is a different shape in each home? We hope this is something you don't need to do too often, but getting acquainted with different plungers can be a real lifesaver.
Over the years, plungers have been designed with different features in mind. A toilet needs a plunger that gets right into the hole in the toilet bowl, while a sink tends to need a wider base. Like humans, plungers come in all different shapes and sizes, so grab the one at the hardware store that is right for your toilet or sink.
12. The DIY Jewellery Box
Pillboxes are one of those items that can be found in any dollar store, or even in most homes. Many people use them to keep track of when to take their medicines, but a lot of people just have them lying around waiting to be repurposed.
Each box is the perfect size for a necklace, pair of earrings, or bracelet. You can opt to organize your jewelry by day, or simply use the pillbox to make sure you never misplace your favorite pair of earrings again.
13. One Tic Tac At A Time Please
Bad breath can hit at any moment. Maybe you decided to mow down on some fries with garlic aioli, or a burger chock full of onions which led to a stinky situation in your mouth. This moment calls for a Tic Tac.
Tic Tacs, everyone's favorite little breath mints, can clear up a case of halitosis in no time but they don't need to be gobbled down by the handful. The lid of the container itself is designed for only a single Tic Tac to be shaken out. Not only does this ensure you only eat one, but it keeps you from dealing with a handful of the mints.
14. Spilt Milk
Milk and other dairy alternatives like nut-based beverages give the body most of the calcium it needs to function at an optimal level. However, those milk cartons can be a bit on the drippy side, which leads to some wet situations.
Milk cartons make it look like the opening should be at the bottom, but that carton actually needs to be flipped around. Pouring milk with the opening at the top leads to a cleaner pour, which means no more spillage.
15. Invest In Wooden Hangers
In the world of hangers, there is one type that reigns supreme. Wooden hangers are the creme de la creme of the hanger world, and that is because they are designed to do something plastic and wire hangers do not.
The smell of the wood has the ability to dissuade moths from coming near the clothes and laying eggs. On top of that, the wider wooden edges are better for more delicate fabrics like silk, which may be more prone to tearing on a sharp plastic-edged hanger.
16. An Unusal Drain Cleaner
Coca-Cola is one of those beverages that tastes amazing on a hot summer's day. it also has some pretty amazing cleaning abilities that a lot of people don't think about.
Toilets have a tendency to clog once in a while, and if there is no drain cleaner in sight, a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola is the next best thing. Simply pour that 2-liter into the toilet bowl, and let it hang out for a couple of hours. The phosphoric acid will take care of that clog.
17. Pop Those Juice Box Flaps
Juice boxes are designed with kids in mind, although it might not be apparent at first just how crafty the designers behind this basic juice box design are.
Those glued-down flaps are actually designed to be lifted up. The flaps create a natural handle for kids to hold on to while they sip on their juice. This avoids any box squeezing which might lead to a child getting covered in the sticky liquid.
18. Sweaty Shoes
A long gym session can lead to some pretty sweaty feet. That sweat transfers onto socks, and then through the socks into the running shoes themselves. This can be a bit smelly if those shoes are dried and aired out.
Most backpacks come with a diagonal patch meant for shoes. This little patch has a loop, and shoelaces can be threaded through and tied on. That way shoes can dangle off of the loop, and dry out while you go about your errands.
19. Ice Water On The Go
Hot summer days call for cold water, but a plastic bottle full of cool water tends to warm up very quickly unless a useful hack lends a helping hand.
Some people opt to freeze their full water bottle, but that means waiting for the ice to thaw out. By simply filling the water bottle half full, laying it on its side, and letting the water freeze, any additional water added post-freeze will stay colder for longer.
20. Homemade Spoons
Back in the day, it was always exciting to find yogurt or a pudding cup in your packed lunch for elementary school. However, sometimes a parent would forget to pack a spoon which made eating that delicious treat pretty difficult.
Luckily, the lids of these treats are usually made of tin foil. Tin foil is very malleable, and it can easily be molded into a DIY spoon for easy pudding eating.
21. Where's The Gas Tank?
Buying or renting a new car can be pretty exciting. You get to test drive the one you want or rent something totally outrageous like a convertible sports car.
When it comes time to fill up at the gas station, it can be a bit of a dance to figure out what side the gas tank is on. Naturally, manufacturers thought of this, and the gas symbol on the dash has an arrow pointing to the side of the vehicle with the tank.
22. The Curious Slow Cooker
Slow cookers were designed with the busy family or worker in mind. Ingredients can be thrown into the cooker and left to simmer for hours, which results in a delicious meal.
Some cooks like to lift the lid off of the slow cooker, take a whiff of whatever they are making, or a taste. Each time that lid is lifted off, all of the heat is released, which makes the whole cooking process even slower. Just leave the lid on!
23. The Onion Hack
Cutting onions can be a pretty tough kitchen activity. Each cut causes eyes to tear up and leads to a very sad cooking experience. At least that is how it looks, as this is just a biological response.
Vegetable peelers can aid in this teary process, by slicing onions away from the face and cutting them into perfectly sized slices. Handy!
24. No Ice Pack No Problem
Not everyone has ready-made ice packs stored in their freezers. Sometimes the lack of an ice pack calls for some creativity. Most of us have some kitchen sponges in our drawers, and if you need an ice pack it is time to grab those and some resealable plastic bags.
Run the sponges under some water, and store them in individual plastic bags. Then, stick them in the freezer. The water in the sponges will freeze, and form a DIY ice pack.
25. Slurpee Heaven
As soon as summer rolls around, it is time to hit your favorite convenience store and grab a giant Slurpee. These sugary drinks embody summer, and there is a way to get more bang for your buck.
Instead of placing the Slurpee lid right side up, flip it upside down and fill it to the brim with your favorite flavor. This adds about a third more to the cup.
26. The Orange Accordion
Everyone needs to get their vitamins and minerals each day. A lot of these come from fruits, and for those who need a good dose of Vitamin C, eating an orange can take care of that right away.
Gone are the days of peeling individual slices. Just remove the top and bottom of the orange, and it will unfurl into this beautiful accordion shape.
27. Stop, Lock, And Roll
Aluminum foil is one of those kitchen items that everyone needs to use once in a while. Unrolling the foil itself can be a bit of pain. Sometimes it comes straight out of the box.
The innovators behind the packaging thought of this though and included finger holes on either side of the box. By placing thumbs inside these holes, it holds the roll of foil in place, which makes for easy unfurling.
28. Filling Up
Some bathrooms don't have bathtubs or showers that allow for a filling station for buckets. That means cleaners need to get creative if they are going to fill up their mop buckets with water.
One genius realized that a dustpan is the perfect design to funnel water into a well-placed bucket. All you need to do is position it under the faucet and voila. your bucket will be filled to the brim in no time.
29. Keep Phones Dry
Nowadays, phone companies are all about the waterproof phone, but there are still a number of phones on the market that will not survive a plunge in the pool.
To keep phones dry, and other important items like keys and money, simply grab an empty plastic jar. The one very important thing here is to ensure that the seal works. If it does, it will keep all the items inside in pristine condition.
30. Goodbye Wrinkles
Traveling for business has its perks. You get to enjoy fancy dinners, stay in nice hotels, and possibly spend a whole lot of time ironing dress shirts.
One of the reasons dress shirts have a little tag on the back of them, is so that they can be hung on a hook in a room that doesn't have hangers. This helps to keep them wrinkle-free.
31. Testing 1-2-3
Manufacturers truly think of everything, and when it comes to clothing it is particularly ingenious. While a button or two is always included, a swatch of fabric is as well.
That swatch is meant to be washed with your detergent, softener, and any other chemicals you use to determine how the material will react without damaging the entire garment.
32. A Quick Coaster
Coasters are one of those items everyone forgets about until the moment they need them. Fountain pops tend to have a lot of condensation, which can drip down and leave rings on surfaces.
Naturally, a fountain pop lid can be popped off and used as a quick coaster for those who need one on the go. Just remember to wipe off the underside of the lid first.
33. A Need For Speed
Running shoes are designed to lace up and provide both comfort and support to the wearer. But when shoes are brought home from the store, they are often not laced all the way up.
That extra hole is for the speed demons or sprinters as they are usually called. Lacing up shoes more tightly makes sprinting more comfortable, so the next time you need to be in sport mode, remember that.
34. Sky High Lashes
Mascara is one of those cosmetic products that make eyes pop. They make lashes look longer and thicker, which gives the wearer that wide-eyed model look.
Most people like to swish the brush in and out of the tube, but this is a major no-no. Only place the mascara in the tube once before applying. Apparently, a lot of movements may make the mascara in the tube dry more quickly.
35. Keep Food Toasty
Ovens are built with all sorts of different functions in mind. The first is to bake food evenly, but the second might not be as obvious.
The drawer underneath the oven is not meant for storing baking trays but is meant for trays of food. The heat from the oven keeps prepared food hot and ready for serving.
36. Every Last Drop
A bottle of ketchup has to be one of the most difficult items to use. Not only is it hard to squeeze or tap out the delicious red condiment, but it can also be a bit watery if it's not shaken which is gross.
Heinz decided to make it easy for ketchup lovers, though, but placing the iconic 64 on the bottle. Tap the pressure point underneath this number, and the condiment should slide right out.
37. Quality Not Quantity
There is an art to brushing teeth, and while it does include toothpaste it does not mean a gob of the minty stuff. Dentists say that a small amount, about the size of a pea, should be used.
How long you brush for, and the circular motion is what truly cleans teeth, not toothpaste.
38. The Windshield Smasher
Every driver hopes that they will never be in a situation where they are in an accident or need to escape their vehicle. However, the safety team at every car designer has to plan for this.
Headrests aren't just for enjoying the road, the metal prongs at the base of them can be used for smashing out a car window or windshield should the need arise. We hope it doesn't.
39. No More Broken Nails
Everyone needs a keychain or keyring, otherwise, loose keys have a tendency to go missing, even in the most obvious of places. Slipping a key on a ring can be tricky though.
More often than not, nails get broken in the process which nobody with a nice manicure wants to experience. Avoid broken nails by using a staple remover to widen the rings on a key chain.
40. Beautiful Bobby Pins
Bobby pins are one of those hair accessories that are slightly hard to put in, and sometimes even harder to remove. They do perform an important function though, which is keeping wayward hair in place.
The creators of bobby pins claim that their open edge should always be facing the scalp, as this keeps them in place longer.
41. Smooth Smoothies
We know, smooth smoothies sound a bit strange. Aren't they already smooth? There is an art to creating the perfect smoothie though, and it all starts with how the ingredients are used.
Contrary to popular belief, the liquids should be placed in the blender first, and then the solids. This allows the solids to be pulled downwards, which leads to a smoother blend overall.
42. Visual Cues
Measuring tapes are just for positioning artwork, or checking how tall you are. They possess a very important function designed to help people with trusses.
The little diamonds that can be seen on the measuring tape, are there to help people who are installing flooring trusses. They make the job more efficient by offering correct measurements.
43. Expandable Ketchup Cups
One of the highlights of ordering french fries at a fast-food joint is getting to pump all of the ketchup you want into the little paper cups provided.
Some people like to amass a collection of these cups, but they really don't need to. Each paper cup is expandable, you just need to pull on the sides. Save some paper and try this hack.
44. Understanding Signs
Smartphones have made driving without high signs easy, but sometimes even a smartphone can't make up for the real thing. Highway signs perform a function that a GPS cannot.
Their placement lets drivers know which lane they should be in for their turn-off. If you see the location you are heading to placed on the far left, switch to the far-off lane, and so forth.
45. Start At The Bottom
Eating a banana seems fairly easy. You peel down the sides and eat the ripe yellow fruit until you get to the tip of the peel. In reality, this process is backward.
Instead of starting at the stem, try being the banana from the base. Banana peels come apart more easily at the base, which makes eating them like a monkey does more efficient. Sometimes monkeys do know best.
46. Canceling Each Other Out
A lot of household products used for cleaning do not mix well together. Some create toxic gases, while others simply cancel one another out. Baking soda and vinegar are two of the latter.
Mixing vinegar and baking soda together does cause a nice fizzling reaction, but what is leftover is just some table salt and plain old water. If you need to clean, choose one or the other but never together.
47. Always Online
Working from home can lead to some unique challenges, one of which is appearing active on your laptop even if you aren't. Nobody wants their boss to see them logged off.
To avoid being shown as inactive, grab an analog watch and place your mouse on top. The motion of the little hand will make it look like the mouse is moving, and no one will be the wiser.
48. Follow Instructions
There is actually such a thing as too much laundry detergent. While muddy clothing might look like it needs double the amount of detergent to get clean, this is not the case.
Detergent is carefully calibrated to offer just enough cleaning power for the recommended load. Too much detergent may actually cause damage to clothing, rather than making it appear pristine.
49. Unsealable No More
All bags for bulk goods like chocolate chips should be resealable, but many companies have yet to institute this much-needed innovation. Instead, we are left trying to find zip ties, jars, and anything else that might keep food fresh.
Luckily, recycled plastic bottles can be reused in a very important way. Cutting the top off of the bottle, and feeding through the top of a plastic bag creates a great seal.
50. The Bag Hook
Shopping carts look like they are meant for wheeling out bags of groceries, but they can do a whole lot more than that. Some items like eggs and bottles of juice are breakable, and you don't want them rattling around.
Those curved metal bits on the side of shopping carts are there for decoration. Instead, they are meant to have bags hung off of them to keep fragile items from breaking.