If you think of your appliances as one-trick ponies, you’re selling them short! Many of them have secondary talents that, sadly, go untapped. It’s kind of like only seeing Beyoncé sing while standing still, which prevents you from experiencing her other-worldly dance skills (can you say tragedy?).

microwaveIf you’re open to a little outside-the-box domestic thinking, it’s easy to unlock your appliances’ hidden potential! Here are five ways you can move beyond their user manuals.

1. Make potpourri in the coffee grinder. Your coffee grinder can, in fact, grind more than coffee. Create your own potpourri by mincing up pieces of dried flowers, lavender and orange or lemon peels (or cinnamon sticks). You don’t have to stick with these ingredients – we encourage experimenting with other spices and scents to create your own signature potpourri blend.

2. Remove crayon marks with a blow dryer. Should your toddler (or artistically rebellious teenager) create a crayon mural on the wall, take a deep breath and just reach for the blow dryer. On the hottest setting, the air will be warm enough to melt the crayon. Then, wash the crayon away using a sponge and mild dish soap. Crayola crisis averted!

3. Disinfect sponges in the microwave. This alternate use rivals 90-second popcorn and Pop-Tarts on the awesomeness scale. Along with cooking delicious treats, your microwave is also a master germ-killer. Use it to sterilize and deodorize your sponge by wetting it and microwaving on the highest setting for two minutes to kill bacteria. Carefully remove the sponge and then let it cool before using it again. 

4. Cook salmon in the dishwasher. Before you wrinkle your nose at this idea, remember: the dish water will not touch your food! Be a dinner party magician by preparing a seafood feast in the same device that will clean it up later. Salmon is an especially foolproof option because it’s a “forgiving” fish (i.e. hard to really mess up). Just make sure you wrap the salmon securely in foil and use the dishwasher’s “normal” cycle. The water’s high temperature will poach the fish. Tip: Keep your fish on the top rack for best results. For detailed instructions, visit Wine X Magazine.

5. Warm plates in the toaster oven. Serving a home-cooked meal on a toasty plate is a small touch that can make a big difference at a dinner party. Conventional ovens usually don’t go below 200 degrees (too hot!), but you can rely on Mr. Toaster Oven to achieve this masterful party trick. Place two plates inside the oven for five minutes at 170 degrees for culinary cachet. 

Information provided by BrightNest.com.

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