/ Home & Energy

Unusual ways to use the usual home appliances

Home appliances usually have just one core function, leaving other appliances to do their own specific jobs. But sometimes, just sometimes, you find an appliance that can do so much more…

When you buy a waffle maker for your home, you’re probably expecting one thing: waffles! So when Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman used his wife’s waffle iron in 1971 to experiment with rubber soles for footwear, he probably wasn’t expecting to start one of the biggest sporting brands on the planet. But that’s exactly what happened.

While most of our humble household appliances are not going to help us earn millions of pounds, I’m sure we’ve all had our moments of glory when our appliances have become legends in their own right. So, we’d love to hear how you’ve found creative (and safe) uses for your home appliances.

Unusual uses

A quick email sent around the Which? office asking ‘which appliances do you use unusually?’ led to quite an astounding response. There were some brilliant ideas, some strange ideas, and some ideas that come with a warning: don’t try this at home!

So, for some ideas that you may not have considered (and probably don’t want to), here’s how we’ve broken the mold by using:

  • a steamer to make a Victoria sponge cake
  • a George Foreman grill for toasting raised focaccias
  • an ice cream maker to make a frozen cocktail
  • a hand blender for scrambling eggs
  • a slow cooker for making rice pudding
  • a freezer as a cocktail cabinet
  • a breadmaker to make jam, pasta and pizza dough
  • a kettle to cook frankfurters (in water)

Dust off your appliances

Now, if you’re used to packing an appliance away in the cupboard for months at a time, I hope I’ve inspired you to bring it out a little sooner to solve some wider domestic issues.

And now it’s time to share your own ‘out of the box’ moments. Have you found any unusual uses for your common household appliances? And if you’ve found an unusual use be sure to only share safe and practical examples here.

Comments
Member

About 10 years ago one of my customers plumbed his dishwasher in-to the Gas mains supply with thous DIY self boring taps? He’s first attempt was to connect the dishwasher to the flow of the gas central heating system and then on his second attempt he successfully connected it to the gas pipe?

Member

Thankfully, metal conduit is not used for domestic electricity wiring.

Member

This has to be the most amusing Conversation on this site at the moment. So many crack-me-up laughs. Beats turbines to a frazzle.

Member

Nice to have a break, aye?

Member
Carol Bunn says:
12 June 2012

Cardmaking – heat embossing. Until I was able to buy a craft heat gun to melt the embossing powder, I used to hold the card with the embossing powder image over the toaster and it melted the powder perfectly. (Of course you can’t turn the card over, which you can to get a less smooth image by using a craft heat gun or the powder would fall into the toaster and you would have a right mess.)

You can also use an iron (with the steam turned off) to heat an image stamp once you have placed a craft product made for the job over the stamp, it doesn’t take long and the image of the stamp is transferred to the craft material, and with rubber stamps and some specialized clear stamps, there is no damage to the stamp.

I’ve also started using washing tablets etc. boxes as ‘altered art’ (which just means you are doing up something that would normally be put in the bin. I’ve painted them and laid squared/oblong pieces of paper (smaller than the area painted so both will show). I added a tassel to the front of the lid of the box and then decorated the top with paper flowers. It looks stunning and I’ve got orders for more.

Member

I need to laminate A3 sheets and now I’m retired I don’t have easy access to a large laminator. I do not want to buy one to use only once or twice a year. Could I do a decent job with an iron, sandwiching the lamination pouch between a couple of tea towels, or would aluminium sheet be better?

Member

Our early Parnall washing machine [c1954] had a massive and very powerful wringer. It worked directly off a shaft connected to the agitator motor with a mechanical gearing [forward – stop – reverse]. I reckon that if you did a really hot wash and wrung out about twenty double sheets the rollers would be hot enough to seal the laminating pouch perfectly, especialy if you kept the boiling water in the tub beneath the wringer. If only we could travel in time and use our modern accessories in yesterday’s appliances.

Member

Unfortunately my washing machine is one of these new-fangled automatic machines, even though it is 30 years old. You have given me the idea of using a heated roller to seal lamination pouches, but unfortunately my rolling pin has plastic handles, which might not survive being put in the oven.

Member
financial cell says:
28 June 2012

just gone through this article

How to make safe use of household appliances