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Unusual ways you can use household appliances

From whipping cream in a French press to making recycled paper in a blender, here's how to get creative.

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Last updated: 17 September 2019

You've probably already heard that you can microwave your socks and undies to dry them off on a damp day. And we've proven that you can use your dishwasher to cook dinner. But which other appliances have bizarre uses beyond what they're intended for? 

Here, we reveal five surprising ways you can use household appliances.

french press

Anyone for Irish coffee? A French press can make the coffee and the whipped cream topping.

1. Use your French press to whip cream

Normally used for crafting the perfect cup of plunger coffee, you can also use these handy glass canisters to whip cream. 

Simply load the French press half-full with whipping cream, then plunge away. 

OK, it's not really that much easier than using a whisk and bowl, and arguably a lot more work to clean up after. But it's useful to know if you ever find yourself without a whisk or a hand mixer – but you do have a French press and a pressing (ahem!) need for some whipped cream. 

You can also use the same technique to froth hot milk for a homemade cappuccino.  

2. Use your slow cooker to make infused oil

Ever wondered how to make your own infused oils? It's easy. Just add rosemary and garlic to a bottle of olive oil… and then leave it for about a month to infuse. 

If you want it before then, you could of course just heat it on the stove. But then you run the risk of burning your ingredients and ending up with ash-infused olive oil instead. 

A better option is to use your slow cooker on a 'keep warm' setting and leave the oil to infuse in there overnight. That way, you can 'set and forget', but still have it ready the next day. 

sandwich-press

Don't underestimate this office kitchen staple – it can do more than just toast sandwiches.

3. Use the office sandwich press to make an omelette

Technically, yes, you're still using your sandwich press to cook food, which is what it's for, but they can do so much more than toast sandwiches. 

You can easily whip up an omelette by pouring whisked eggs, milk and cheese into the sandwich press, spreading the mix to the edges, and adding your filling of choice. As it starts to cook, lift one side of the omelette and fold it over to enclose the filling, then lower the sandwich press lid and cook until it's done.  

You can also use these handy gadgets to cook fried eggs, haloumi, wilted spinach, salmon and a lot more besides.

blender

Use an old blender for this hack – although you won't want to eat anything from it again once you've used it to make paper.

4. Use a blender to make paper 

Tired of your letterbox being overloaded with junk mail? Then rip it up into small squares, sprinkle it into your kitchen blender with some water, and blitz away! 

You'll be left with something that resembles a thick soup, which you can then pour into a mould and 'deckle' to make a sheet of paper. 

OK, it's actually a little more complicated than that – the Paperslurry website has a more thorough guide on how to make recycled paper – but it's pretty rewarding to make something special from all that rubbish. 

Note: You might want to use an old blender that's been gathering dust, or a cheap one you bought from a buy sell swap site – because you probably wouldn't want to eat anything from it again after you've made your 'paper soup', and the paper is likely to blunt the blades.

5. Remove stickers and labels with a hair dryer

If you want to get the brand label off your new pair of sunglasses or Pyrex dishes without leaving behind the sticky residue, you have two basic choices.

You can sit there for half an hour peeling the corners off, then rub the resulting mess with eucalyptus oil to finish the job.

Or you can just use a hairdryer. 

The heat of the hairdryer melts the adhesive on the back of the stickers – et voilà! They're then oh-so-simple to slide off without worrying about all that ripping and picking label bits out from under your fingernails for another ten minutes. Huzzah! 

Note: This works for items that are relatively heat resistant, such as glass, but don't try it on plastics. 

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