Home Hacks: 9 Unexpected Uses for Your Appliances

Leave a Comment - 29


Roger Souder

Subject: Stamps

#2 will ONLY work with stamps you had to lick to apply!
If they were on a roll or in a self adhesive book, You need to apply heat to soften the glue to remove them.


Subject: Here's a GREAT trick for saving boxes & envelopes

If you want to reuse boxes, envelopes and many bottles and other containers - Use a hair dryer to soften the glue. The labels and tape will pull right off. Don't get in too big of hurry or you will tear the label or start to pull up the paper underneath.
This will also work on the self-adhesive envelopes - it may take a little longer to penetrate some of the thicker paper.
To keep envelopes from sticking to EVERYTHING or resealing, I put a piece of waxed paper over the exposed glue. Just need to hit briefly with the dryer to pull off the waxed paper when you are ready to reuse the envelope.

Karen Landreth

Subject: Cynical Much?

You people are just down right mean. It's OK to disagree, but the level of sarcasm and derisive remarks speaks volumes about you as a human being.

Not sure I would try the salad thing, but if your washing machine is that dirty, I don't want to see the rest of your home.

Most household vacuum cleaner hoses aren't small enough for cleaning keyboards, even with the crevice tool.

Crayons in cupcake tins...so CUT them to size! Or use finger sized ice cube trays . Great for small hands.

Amy Dawe

Subject: thanks for the laughs

Thank you so much to everyone who responded to these ideas because I got a great belly laugh from your responses-and you all are not only funny, but pretty smart too!!

Nelson Ingersoll

Subject: Search and verify

Some of these are simply urban myths. The one about freezing a hard drive is an example. And I guarantee you that putting NiMh or NiCd batteries in the freezer will not "recharge" them unless they are in a charger also in the freezer. And then it won't charge as well.

Before buying any of these "ideas" do yourself a favor and verify them with another site or twelve and make sure the articles you read are recent.


Subject: Freezing hard drive

For traditional spinning hard drives this can work (but not always), and it is a one-time fix. If it dos work you need to get the data off the hard drive as quickly as possible because the next time it fails the hard drive is worthless.


Subject: Freezing hard drive

This is not an urban myth. If your hard drive has died because the bearing has worn out and seized up, by placeing it in the freezer it will shrink the metal enough sometimes to allow the drive to spin up one last time so you can try and transfer some of your important files. I have done this and it does work. Not on every instance but on several.


Subject: Verified!

The recovery of data from a hard drive by putting it in the freezer is not an urban myth and I have done this successfully twice with hard drives that couldn't initialize properly. (And failed a few times as well). The point about reviving rechargeable batteries by freezing is supposed to be because this breaks down short circuits that progressively form in the battery, reducing its capacity. This also works but only to a limited degree, sometimes not at all, and won't return a battery to "as new" condition. Revive not recharge.

John Hopkins

Subject: Appliance hacks supplement

Why stop there? Let's use the lawn mower for a meat and cheese slicer, the hot tub for a punchbowl, and and blender for a nail trimmer. that sounds reasonable. Kudos for giving a laugh on the subject.

R Muller

Subject: Posted Early

Oh! I get it now. You meant to post this story on April Fools Day, but it ran early by mistake! Please say I'm right.

G M Wheatley

Subject: Lighten Up

Wow. Some of you guys really let this article get your hackles up! Why? No clue except you musta had a hard day at work. Relax. Ignore the tips if you'd like. Or pick one or two to follow. But just remember one thing: not everybody has the same size toaster oven. Geez!

Veronica Mabray

Subject: Bizarre Tips!

There are so may great tips out there and these ridiculous tips are picked to post - put lettuce in a pillow case in the washing machine - REALLY!


Subject: Appliance hacks

I'm still laughing hysterically. Some of these are just plain insane. A keyboard in the dishwasher, are you really serious. Afraid of fading your favorite jeans so you don't wash them???? Then don't wear them. Seriously the only way to clean them is wash them. The salad spinner really takes the cake though. I definitely wouldn't eat from your table. That is flat out, plain disgusting. You put everything in there from workout clothes, dirty socks to your dirty underwear. That would give gut flora a whole new meaning. Just say no. Your unsuspecting family and friends would profusely thank you.

Terry Thorne

Subject: Article

This article was way out of the box for me! I wouldn't try any of these suggestions!


Subject: well, but

Most of these do work.

My grandmother ran turnip greens thru the washer every time. She would do a load of bleached water beforehand.

I wouldn't do the keyboard in the dishwasher. And my freezer doesn't have room for my clothes...

Don't scoff til you try

Bob Johnson

Subject: found this article very interesting

Don't know about batteries in freezer as battery manufacturers recommend against this due to battery leakage and possibly creating a frozen water path between negative to positive posts further discharging or ruining it.

However, I loved this article because of its out of the box thinking. Most suggestions are plausible and go beyond the everyday thinking as the article commenters suggest.

D Sewell

Subject: A number of questionable notions

The most patently incorrect is that freezing kills bacteria. It does not.
It will cause the bacteria to go dormant, but on rewarming, the bacteria will be no less viable than before freezing.
As to recharging batteries, I am skeptical, and reviving a crashed hard drive is going to depend a lot on how the drive crashed.
Respectfully, if dubiously, submitted,

Roger S.

Subject: Bacteria and other bugs

"The most patently incorrect is that freezing kills bacteria. It does not.
It will cause the bacteria to go dormant, but on rewarming, the bacteria will be no less viable than before freezing."

You are both correct and incorrect. Many bacteria will succumb to the rigors of freezing because the ice crystals rupture the cell wall killing the organism. BUT not ALL bacteria. Some strains will survive freezing while there are others that ACTUALLY live and grow in frozen foods. Psychrophilic bacteria can actually spoil meat and fish in a freezer over an extended period of time. Particularly in a Frost Free freezer! (Frost Free means that there is a small amount of heat applied to the walls and door of the freezer compartment to remove ice build-up. Not enough to thaw the food, but definitely enough to soften up the edges near the walls and door.)
On the other hand, insects for the most part will not survive freezing - including the eggs and larvae. I regularly put cereal and flour products in the freezer for 2-3 days to eliminate the problems of eggs hatching and ruining my dog's treats, my cereal, or various flours and mixes.


Subject: yeah, loved that one

I work in a lab. We routinely freeze not only bacteria, but mammalian cells for storage; thaw them out, they grow just fine. Yes, some die, but a freezer is not an autoclave!


Subject: Really?

I'll have to think about the salad spinner..,

Robert Toegel

Subject: Number 5

I find it hard to believe that you can recharge a battery by putting in the freezer. First, you have to put energy back in to recharge it. Second, I'm not sure if the low temperature of a freezer might cause freezing which can damage the internal structure of the battery. Any battery will appear to get some life back if left alone so the chemicals can migrate to regions where they were depleted by their use. As far as hard drives, depending on what caused the failure, I don't think the freezing-thawing cycle will have much effect unless the heads got stuck to the platter or there was an overheating problem. Most problems are a loss of data due to the magnetic fields on the platter weakening so they can't be picked up by the heads. My advise is to defragment the drive once a year. That rewrites the data and renews the magnetic fields on the platter for all of the programs and data (unfortunately not the operating system). Best is to clone the drive to another, then format and clone it back.

Julie Merring

Subject: Dumbest article ever

Really? If I'm desperate to have a clean keyboard I can put it in the dishwasher, and yet have to wait 2 days for it to dry? And putting lettuce in my washing machine? Lord help me.

Rebecca bembry

Subject: Washing the keyboard

Yes! You can wash the keyboard! In the dishwasher or under the faucet. Wash at at night and place it upside down over an air vent overnight. You can use it in the morning!
Some people eat at the computer and get the keyboard really nasty...


Subject: You have got to be kidding me

Plates won't fit in my toaster oven, and even if one did it would cool off before I warmed even a couple

Have you ever tried option #2 with a self adhesive stamp? I doubt it would come close to working (the face is nearly waterproof and the adhesive isn't water activated).

A paper towel will protect the microwave from dye damage? Really?

Coloring with cupcake-sized/shaped multicolor "crayons"? Come on.

Freezers don't recharge batteries. They may make them last longer in storage but that's not what you said.

They also don't sanitize things. Most of those bacteria will just slow down growing until they are warm again.

A ketchup bottle isn't an appliance. The vacuum was already doing those things while you were busy eating the ketchup.

Washing a keyboard with water? Not a smart idea. At all. Canned air or replace it (which you'll be doing after the wash cycle anyway).

Salad. In a washing machine. Wtf. This is a joke right?

Save this garbage for the beginning of April... wow.

Jeff Smoley

Subject: Hard drive freezing

This suggestion is decades old and probably won't work with newer drives. Anyway, letting the drive warm up cancels the way this works. Years ago, the head of a hard drive could, under rare circumstances stick to the platter and the drive would fail. You would freeze the drive; the cold would allow the metal parts to contract, and as soon as you took the drive out of the freezer, you would attach it to a computer and attempt to read as much data as could be found to another drive. For me, it worked once on a 10 meg. drive.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.