Life is full of tiny details you might never have noticed… and they’re right under your nose. Go to any one of our homes and you’ll find hundreds of items, big and small. Of course, we all know how to use each and every one of them. There’s no question about that. Right? Well, not quite.

As it turns out, you might have been using some of these common items completely wrong or you might not have known about their alternative uses. Meanwhile, even things that you use every single day have some features that might have sparked your curiosity to ask your parents about when you were just a kid, but now you just gloss over and ignore them completely.

Bored Panda invites you to enjoy this list, going from learning how to peel bananas “the right way” and how to get Tic Tacs out of their container to learning all about the hidden functions of the various weird parts of pens, backpacks, pants, and much, much more. Upvote your fave pics and, when you’re done, check out our earlier post about the hidden side of even more common everyday things right here.

Warning: you might accidentally become a Ravenclaw and want to bombard your friends with all of this new knowledge.

#1

Eating An Orange

Eating An Orange

Peeling an orange doesn’t have to be hard and messy. If you cut the top and bottom off and then make a cut on its side, it will unroll in a nice line of orange segments.

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Chich
Community Member
6 months ago

I am one of those people who can bite into the peel to get it going. From the reactions I get, this is not a wide spread ability.

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#2

Heating A Meal In A Microwave

Heating A Meal In A Microwave

When heating up food in the microwave, make sure to create a small hole in the middle. This way the heat will distribute evenly and your meal will all be the same temperature.

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giovanna
Community Member
6 months ago

Yes but WHO cuts the spaghetti in half???

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#3

Codes On Your Makeup

Codes On Your Makeup

On the back of your makeup products, you can often find numbers like: "6M", "12M" or "24M". They represent the life of the product on your shelf after opening. So in the above example, you have about 12 months to use this face cream before you should think about throwing it out and replacing it.

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Vicky Zar
Community Member
6 months ago

Never knew that

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According to Dieter Rams, one of the most influential industrial designers in the world, what sets good design apart from bad design is that the former is innovative, makes the product useful, aesthetic, and understandable. That's why form, not just function is important; while over-design products tend to fail because they might make customers and users confused as to what exactly they're supposed to do.

It’s fascinating how many seemingly simple items have hidden features because they're integrated into the product so seamlessly. The design decisions behind many of these probably took dozens (if not hundreds) of hours to get just right as RnD employees sketched everything out, built prototypes, and then went back to the drawing board.

What you see in front of your eyes is the condensed labor of countless minds polishing, honing, and improving details to their limits.

#4

Cleaning Blenders

Cleaning Blenders

After you’ve made your smoothie you have to wash that blender. It can be difficult and, no matter how hard you try, the smell of the ingredients can stay for a long time. But there is a very simple way to get your blender perfectly clean. After making your smoothie, just pour some water in it, add a splash of dishwashing liquid, blend it, and it will wash itself. All you need to do now is just rinse it off.

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Wubbleyew
Community Member
6 months ago

I thought this was standard practice?

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#5

Little Metal Plate On A Stapler

Little Metal Plate On A Stapler

Nearly every stapler has two functions! The more common setting bends the staple back onto itself, ensuring that your papers will be held together tight. But if you rotate the base plate, the staple will bend outward, which is meant to be used for a looser hold that you can more easily remove later.

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She_woman
Community Member
6 months ago

Thats genius!!!

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#6

Drink Cartons

Drink Cartons

If you pour milk from the other side of the carton there’s less milk sloshing around and it’s easier to hold it steady. It may seem weird, but give it a try and see how it works.

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Wubbleyew
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

Nothing to do with milk sloshing around. You do it this way to allow air in to displace the liquid, resulting in smoother pouring.

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Some of these design decisions are quite literally life-saving. Like the holes in pen caps and popsicle sticks being hollow to prevent choking if swallowed. Other design details are a matter of functionality. Like the lash tabs on backpacks used to attach rope and tools.

Meanwhile, parts of products that look like they were made solely for aesthetic reasons sometimes have actual functions. For instance, the raised ‘57’ mark on Heinz condiment bottles is actually the sweet spot that makes ketchup pour out faster if you tap it.

The holes near the bottoms of some trainers aren’t just for show, either: they’re used for ventilation and give you the ability to tie your laces in a different way to better support your ankles. Do you know of any other things with hidden purposes that we might all have been using wrong all this time? Let us know in the comment section, dear Readers!

#7

Extra Little Piece Of Fabric

Extra Little Piece Of Fabric

Sure, you can use the button to replace a missing one and you can use the piece of fabric to patch up a hole. But they're actually there so you can test how the fabric reacts to different detergents.

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Vicky Zar
Community Member
6 months ago

What a practical idea

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#8

You're Probably Using Too Much Toothpaste

You're Probably Using Too Much Toothpaste

Toothpaste ads usually show a gorgeous dollop of toothpaste that runs along the entire length of the brush, but the truth is that you only need a pea-sized amount to get your teeth clean. The ads feature larger amounts for the sake of aesthetics and to encourage you to use up more product.

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Joyce Melton
Community Member
6 months ago

There's a technical name for the right amount of toothpaste: it's called a nerdle. Same root as nerd, meaning a small piece.

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#9

Non Wire Hangers

Non Wire Hangers

Wooden hangers were created with a specific purpose in mind. The specific type of wood used in most hangers is hand-selected to repel moths and other unwanted insects and pests that can harm clothing. The wood in the hanger helps make sure that clothes are not only unwrinkled, but that they stay undamaged while they are hanging out in closets.

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JessG
Community Member
6 months ago

“NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!”

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#10

A Little Arrow Next To The Gas Icon On A Car's Dashboard

A Little Arrow Next To The Gas Icon On A Car's Dashboard

The arrow points to the side of the car your gas cap can be found on. If your car is older, or doesn't have an arrow, the direction of the fuel hose sometimes indicates where the gas cap can be found.

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Zophra
Community Member
6 months ago

I was thrilled I knew this and my car-fixit husband didn't.

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#11

Shopping Cart Loops

Shopping Cart Loops

There are loops on shopping carts that can be used to hold your grocery bags, keep them upright if they have fragile items, or store extra if you’ve got a lot of groceries.

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Chich
Community Member
6 months ago

I hang my crushables off the ones at the back.

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#12

Using A Microwave More Efficiently

Using A Microwave More Efficiently

The limited space inside a microwave has always been inconvenient when you want to have a meal together with your friend or partner. It would be easier and more convenient if you could prepare both meals at the same time. Most of us don’t realize that the whole space in the microwave is good for heating, even above the spinning plate. To heat 2 plates at once, simply put the first plate on the microwave platter pushed to one side, then place an upside-down coffee mug next to it and place the second plate on top of the mug.

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Full Name
Community Member
6 months ago

This one is quite clever. Never thought of it before

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#13

To Chill A Drink Bottle Faster

To Chill A Drink Bottle Faster

Wet a paper towel, wrap it around any warm drink, and put it in the freezer. It’ll be cold in literally 5-10 minutes!

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Melissa Nunya
Community Member
6 months ago

Set a timer. It's a messy cleanup when one explodes in there

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#14

Getting Tic Tacs Out Of The Container

Getting Tic Tacs Out Of The Container

There is a thing inside the lid that's designed to get just one piece out. Flip the box, then turn it on its side, and open, there should be one Tik Tac sitting in its place.

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Zophra
Community Member
6 months ago

But does anyone eat these one at a time?

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#15

Prevent A Locked-Down Work PC From Sleeping

Prevent A Locked-Down Work PC From Sleeping

If you need to step away from your computer, place your laser mouse over the top of your analog watch. The mouse will read the ticking of the second or minute hand and will keep your computer active, so you don’t have to retype your password.

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Full Name
Community Member
6 months ago

Why is that mouse coughing up sand?

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#16

Key Rings

Key Rings

Use a staple remover to remove keys from key rings instead of abusing your nails.

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rgr8
Community Member
6 months ago

The problem is that I do not carry around a staple remover nor own one

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#17

Using Foil

Using Foil

Isn't it annoying when you need to use foil, often the whole roll comes out. There’s a simple solution right there on the box, it even says: “Press Ends To Lock Roll” and that’s exactly what it does. If you look on the sides of the box, you will see the little grips, you just push them in and they hold the roll in place.

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MrsPossum
Community Member
6 months ago

So I had an adulting fail the other day... Picked up a box of tin foil. Box was broken and I didn't notice. Foil slipped out and unspooled all over the floor. There was much unspooling 😟 *curls up with embarrassment*

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#18

Peeling Bananas

Peeling Bananas

Most people peel their banana from the top part, which is wrong. The best way to peel a banana is from the bottom, so you don’t squeeze the fruit. In fact, monkeys apparently figured this out a long time ago.

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Wubbleyew
Community Member
6 months ago

But then your left digging that little black nub out of the banana. Fingernails help open from the top with no squishing

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#19

Slotted Patches On Backpacks

Slotted Patches On Backpacks

It's called a lash tab, and it's there for you to attach whatever you'd like to your bag. For instance, a hiker could lash a sleeping roll to their bag using the lash tab. Originally, it was added to bags to carry tools like axes.

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wandile dludlu
Community Member
6 months ago

I like how everything is designed with carrying axes and knives in mind...

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#20

Loading Your Blender

Loading Your Blender

You might be loading your blender incorrectly. Start with liquids and go from there. Add the solid components last. The motion created by the swirling liquids will suck the solid items down and keep the blades from simply tunneling through the middle of the solids.

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Wubbleyew
Community Member
6 months ago

But the liquids will just pour through the berries etc if you put it in last. So it really makes no difference

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#21

Rearview Mirror

Rearview Mirror

Use the rearview mirror tab to stave off those bright lights. Next time some guy has his high beams on and blinds you through your rearview mirror, remember to press down on the tab of your rearview mirror, so it angles down. That way, the light reflects downwards without impacting your field of vision.
On manual tilt versions, a tab is used to adjust the mirror between “day” and “night” positions. In the day view position, the front surface is tilted, and the reflective back side gives a strong reflection.

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Misterscooter
Community Member
6 months ago

I have always used this and it is something everyone should know.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#22

Storing Peanut Butter

Storing Peanut Butter

Store your peanut butter upside down. That way, rather than pooling on top, the oil is easier to mix back in and you can enjoy your peanut butter with much less hassle.

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Zophra
Community Member
6 months ago

Until a child doesn't screw it on all the way... there will be much hassle.

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#23

Using Plungers

Using Plungers

Spending a bit of time understanding your plungers can be useful, though, because different plungers are used for different problems. A flat plunger is fine for a sink, but if you need to use one on your toilet you’ll need one with a tapered end.

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Bored Little Panda
Community Member
6 months ago

I didn't realized you could use plungers for sinks, it just never occurred to me *face palm*

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#24

Padlock Hole For Smoother Use

Padlock Hole For Smoother Use

If the key isn’t turning because it’s rusty, just pour a few drops of oil in the hole, and it will get everything moving again.

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Melissa Nunya
Community Member
6 months ago

Better to just keep a tube of graphite around and use that as the oil can attract more dust and gunk

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#25

Using Kitchen Sponges

Using Kitchen Sponges

Your sponges might be making your dishes dirtier. If you’re not regularly sanitizing your sponges, you could just be wiping your dishes and counters with bacteria.

Keep your sponges away from raw meat. If you're dealing with leftovers of meat juice, use a paper towel instead. To properly sanitize your sponges, immerse them in boiling water for five minutes. Alternatively, soak a sponge in water and heat it on high in a microwave for one minute, or pop it into the dishwasher with a heated dry cycle.

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Full Name
Community Member
6 months ago

Just how many paper towels do you want someone going through a year? If nobody in your family has gotten sick from using the regular sponge, I don't see a need to stop using them.

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#26

Cutting Soft Cheese

Cutting Soft Cheese

Use dental floss to cut soft cheeses.

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Zophra
Community Member
6 months ago

What if I only have the mint-flavored type? Ugh.

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#27

A Potato Peeler

A Potato Peeler

A potato peeler is a versatile tool. Use it to grate cheese as well. Put your peeler to work shaving long, thin strips of parmesan cheese from the block, creating paper-thin carrots for salads, or even slicing an onion in record time.

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Zophra
Community Member
6 months ago

I don't think it works very well on onions. It tends to crush them.

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#28

The Bottom Drawer

The Bottom Drawer

That drawer at the bottom of your oven will keep your food warm.

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Wubbleyew
Community Member
6 months ago

But where else am I meant to store all my baking trays etc?

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#29

One Side Of A Bobby Pin Is Bumpier

One Side Of A Bobby Pin Is Bumpier

Many hairpins have a grooved and a smooth side. The grooved side is meant to face in towards to scalp to provide a little extra grip.

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Full Name
Community Member
6 months ago

So you're supposed to put the end with the sharp metal pointy side against your scalp? I'm calling shenanigans.

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#30

A Strip Of Black Dots That Runs Along The Outside Edge Of Your Windshield

A Strip Of Black Dots That Runs Along The Outside Edge Of Your Windshield

That black strip is called a "frit" and it essentially has two purposes. It provides an etched surface for the adhesive to adhere to, which bonds the glass to the frame. And on the outside of the glass, it protects the adhesive from ultraviolet light and covers any unsightly adhesive. The dots are there just to make it look nice.

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Thenatural
Community Member
6 months ago

How is this info useful? How are we "using" this wrong?

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Note: this post originally had 41 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.