Home & Garden

Everyday items you’ve been using wrong this whole time

Everyday items you’ve been using wrong this whole time

It’s time to properly learn how to use everything in and around the home. From the right way to tear plastic wrap to having wrinkle-free button-down shirts, we’re here to help you on this journey of discovery.

Food storage containers

Glass vs. plastic aside, not all food containers are ideal for the microwave. The corners of rectangular containers usually attract more energy than other areas, leaving the food in those spots overcooked. A round container will allow food to reheat more uniformly.


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 yoghurt, 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 the hard ingredients.


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.


Leaving the door of your oven closed when grilling 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.

Slow cooker

Opening the lid of your slow cooker lets heat out and messes up the cooking time, so resist the temptation to take a quick look or give it a stir until there’s less than an hour left of cook time. As long as your pot is between half and three-quarters of the way full, your dish should cook up just fine.


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.


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.

Plastic wrap

Isn’t it annoying when cling wrap folds on itself and you need to rip out a new sheet? Keeping the tube still will help. Turn that box to the side and you should see a tab that you can press inwards, holding the tube in place. Aluminium foil has the same feature on its box.


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.

Written by Marissa Laliberte. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.

Image: Getty Images

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