7 Clever (Unauthorized) Uses for Common Appliances

If you think of your dishwasher, microwave, and coffeemaker as one-trick ponies, you might be surprised that they're each capable of doing a lot more than cleaning your plates, warming your food, and delivering a daily jolt of java. In fact, most appliances in your home can do double—if not triple—duty. Click through the next few slides, and we'll show you exactly how.

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  1. Defrost in Your Washing Machine


    It may sound counterintuitive, but placing frozen items in your washing machine and running it on the cold delicate cycle with a low water level may actually use less water and work faster than defrosting them in the sink. Seal food items in a zip-lock bag and leave the lid open to prevent engaging the spin cycle.


  2. Roast Coffee in Your Popcorn Popper


    Simply place raw beans (available online) to the max fill line of you popcorn maker, and turn on the machine. Place a bowl under the spout to catch the chaff. The beans will pop just like popcorn, and when they stop you know that your coffee's been roasted! Experiment with different cook times to find the roast level that's best for you.


  3. Iron Floor Problems Away


    When vinyl flooring tiles curl and warp, the solution could be as close as your laundry room. Grab the iron, put it on a high setting, cover the warped area with aluminum foil, then place the iron on the foil. The heat will soften the tile so that you can pull it up, lay down new adhesive, and reaffix it. Afterward, weigh the spot down with heavy books so the new glue sticks.


  4. Cook Salmon in your Dishwasher


    Sure, your dishwasher washes your dinner plates, but why not use it to cook your meal? Just place salmon on a piece of foil, squeeze some lemon over it, add a dash of salt and pepper, seal it up, and place the packet on the upper rack of your dishwasher. The slow, steamy heat of a wash cycle will poach it perfectly. Leave the detergent out though, or you'll have soapy salmon!


  5. Disinfect in Your Microwave


    Sponge starting to smell funky? Simply soak it in vinegar and water, then nuke it for one minute. It'll be hot when you take it out, so use caution. You can use the same technique to disinfect a plastic cutting board that's touched raw meat. Rub a lemon slice over the surface, then microwave on high for a minute to blast bacteria away.


  6. Cook in Your Coffeepot


    You've probably never thought about it before, but your coffeemaker actually has three cooking modules: the burner, which can be used as a grill; the basket, which can be used as a steamer; and the pot, which can cook anything from rice to salmon. Check out how to make an entire meal with this tiny appliance in this video from Chow.com, or find more recipes on CookingWithYourCoffeeMaker.com.


  7. Clean with Your Hair Dryer


    If you've spilled wax on furniture, scrape away what you can without damaging the finish. Then put a paper towel over the residue and beam with high heat from the dryer. The towel will absorb the wax, leaving you with a clean surface. The same trick will work with crayon marks on walls.


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