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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Unexpected uses for everyday items

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  • If you’ve ever received a waffle iron for a gift and thought, “How many times am I going to make Belgian waffles?,” this story is for you.
    Many household appliances and items seem to be single-use, but if you think outside the box you’ll find your gadgets are actually good at performing multiple tasks.
    Donna Montaldo, an expert on coupons and bargains at About.com, has plenty of good ideas, such as:
    n Tighten your eyeglasses with a hair dryer; just make sure to protect the lenses. Heat the sides and gently adjust them while they are hot.
    n Store onions, garlic and potatoes in pantyhose.
    n Pantyhose is also good for storing light bulbs.
    n Use a clothing steamer to remove old paint. Place the end onto the surface for about a minute and the paint will scrape right off. It also works well for removing popcorn ceilings.
    n Use DVD cases as picture frames. You can use one or connect them with hinges for an accordion look.
    n Dryer lint is great to use to start a fire in the fireplace.
    n If lighting is limited in the attic, string Christmas lights there so you can see the corners.
    n Clean ceiling vents, tools, caps, plastic toys, hairbrushes and even potatoes (without the soap) in the dishwasher.
    n Use dental floss to cut cakes, butter and cream cheese. Just twist it around your fingers as you normally would and press down.
    Searching the Internet procures a variety of other uses for household appliances, such as cooking salmon in your dishwasher if you’re really up for something different. Instead, Homesessive.com suggests using the dishwasher to clean things that may lose their shape in the washing machine, such as baseball caps. Also gym shoes, heating vents, plastic toys, kitchen brushes and sponges, car parts, window screens, switch plates, oven knobs, refrigerator shelves and shin guards.
    If that’s a little too out there, how about using a hair dryer to remove crayon marks from walls? Just blow dry until wax melts, then wipe up the stain with a sponge.
    CakeCentral.com recommends using a hair dryer to perfect the look of baked goods. On the cool setting, air will help icing harden. Hot air will add shine to a flat glaze.
    Virginia Farms Wool Works gives instructions on how to dye fabric in a microwave, reducing the process from hours to minutes.
    The website Apartment Therapy gives instructions on how to clean your jeans in the dryer to avoid fading when washed. Put jeans in a sealable bag and stick them in the freezer for a week to kill any bacteria and remove smell.
    Page 2 of 2 - Back to that waffle iron. Waffles for dinner are yummy, but you can cook almost anything on that tabletop grill, including hamburgers, cookies, cinnamon rolls, hash browns, bacon, paninis and quesadillas.

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