5 Awesome Life Hacks for Home Appliances

Appliances are built for convenience and simplicity, but you're not using them to their full potential.

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You’re a full-grown person, an adult. You can eat ice cream for breakfast if you darn well please. You can also choose to run up your utility bill like a deranged nobleman, engaging the Heavy Duty Steam Refresh Sanitize Cycle for a pair of lambskin riding gloves.

But chances are you'd rather save on said energy bill. Chances are you'd rather not worry about your home appliances. Chances are you'd find the following life hacks helpful and practical.

Dryer

T Ball

Lifehacker explains how you can use tennis balls to expedite the drying process in any clothes dryer. The balls help knock your clothes around and expose more of the fabric to hot air, preventing wrinkles from forming and removing any leftover moisture. However, the jury is still out on whether the green dye will leave an undesired color imprint on your fabric.

You can also make equal-sized balls from wool yarn or a bunch of rubber bands. The blog One Good Thing explains how the yarn functions as a fabric softener. The process of making these yarn balls is a bit more time-consuming than simply tossing a few tennis balls into the dryer, but it seems to be the safer and more versatile option.

Washing Machine

Make your own detergent! It's a topic we’ve covered at length. We even tested four popular DIY detergent recipes against a name-brand detergent. While they were all inferior to the stuff you can get at the supermarket, the money you’ll save—not to mention, the ego boost it’ll give you—makes DIY detergents a decent life hack.

Dishwasher

A dishwasher needn’t be a dish- only -washer. You can use any domestic dishwasher to clean everything from baseball caps and vacuum hoses to cabinet handles and fan grilles. Oh, and you can use it for cooking too! On many dishwashers, the dry cycle gets hot enough to cook potatoes, lasagna, and even salmon. While we’ve never tried this, there seems to be an entire subculture of dishwasher chefs on the internet. They’re worth checking out.

dishwasher cutlery basket

Refrigerator

Spills happen. Why not preempt them by covering your fridge shelves with a layer of cellophane? Then, when a spill happens, you can just remove the sticky cling wrap, thereby preserving the medical-grade shine of your fridge's interior.

But what about those items at the back of the fridge? They're oh-so hard to reach! No problem. Just fit a small plastic turntable or lazy susan to the top shelf, and voila! That carton of expired, curdled milk is suddenly within reach.

Fridge goods

Oven

Stoves get crusted with nasty, burnt-on food over time, and the longer you leave it there, the harder it is to remove. The good news is that you can effectively clean your stovetop—without chemicals—by dousing it in a layer of boiling water. Apartment Therapy recommends letting the hot water sit for about five minutes, then using some steel wool to extract those really tough stains. Brilliant!

Oven

Life hacks are a dime a dozen, and these are just a few of the best appliance hacks we’ve come across. For further reading, we recommend checking out this list of awesome food and cooking hacks, as well as this list of more general life hacks.

[Hero image: Wikipedia Commons, "Peter Crossman of the Mary Rose Trust"]

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