Secret Reasons You Don't Know About Everyday Things
Tune in for some secret reasons behind everyday things!Secrets
In your day-to-day life, you probably use an astounding array of different items without stopping to think much about them. But, turns out, many of them actually have secret uses and crazy reasons for their designs that you’d never have guessed! From your phone to your bank card, get ready to uncover some of the best-kept secrets in everyday things!
Percentage Of Rain
Before going out, checking the weather app on your phone for those all too familiar raincloud icons is always wise. But what do you think the percentage next to those clouds means?
Most people assume that the number refers to the percentage chance that rain will fall in that area, at the given time. If you live in the UK and some other parts of the world, you’d be right to assume that! However, in the US, that is not the case!
Stateside, there’s an equation behind the percentage: the forecaster’s confidence of rain multiplied by the forecasted area. So, if the forecaster is 100% certain that rain will cover 30% of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the percentage shown if you live in Albuquerque will be 30%.
Equally, if the forecaster is only 50% certain that it’ll rain but that if it does it’ll cover 80% of Albuquerque, the percentage on your weather app would read 40%. That is because 50%, or half, of 80%, is 40%. But that percentage doesn’t tell you how heavily it’s gonna rain. This is why, even if you see a nice, small 10%, I wouldn’t rush outside without packing a coat!
Flap On Your Chips Box
When you’re hungry and need a quick bite to eat without going to the effort of making anything, good old Ronald McDonald is always there to help. But the next time you’re tucking into your McDonald’s fries, take note of the bendable flap near the top of the box.
Some people bend it towards the fries, to cover them up and keep them warm. But you can also flip that flap of card backward, and use it as a makeshift plate for your favorite condiment! Only, make sure you bend it down firmly enough that it doesn’t spring back up and launch sauce all over the place!
Mute The Self-Service Till
If you’re heading into the store to buy a few small items, the self-service checkout is a no-brainer. It’s often faster than waiting for people to unload their shopping carts, with the added bonus of keeping awkward human interaction to the bare minimum!
However, that loud, overly self-assured voice commanding you over and over again to “put your items in the bagging area” really grinds my gears. I had no idea you could actually turn it off!
Next time you’re being verbally assaulted by the politest voice possible, take a closer look at the screen. There’s often a volume button at the bottom, which if you touch should mute the insufferable speaking once and for all!
But that button isn’t on all machines, but with any luck, your local stores will have it. And as you check out your shopping in blissful silence, all the other shoppers are guaranteed to be checking you out in jealousy! Although that might undermine the whole avoiding attention thing.
Hand sanitizer has become commonplace in pretty much all our daily routines nowadays. But have you ever tried using it on anything other than your hands?
The multipurpose miracle gel can also be used as a highly effective screen cleaner for your devices, as well as a stain remover for your clothes. You might need several applications, but with enough dutiful dabbing, most stains should come right out!
That is because the alcohol in sanitizer works as a degreaser, breaking up oily, greasy spillages. And next time you’re caught out on a hot day without any deodorant, just wipe a bit of hand sanitizer on your pits! The alcohol content kills bacteria, stopping the wicked whiff right at its source.
While you’re at it, you could even sort out your hair with a quick squeeze of the stuff! A little gel rubbed into lifeless locks acts similarly to dry shampoo, cleaning it while also absorbing any greasiness, all due to that alcohol! There are so many uses for that stuff that the only problem is trying to remember them all!
Microwave ovens are a staple of the modern kitchen. Capable of cooking food far faster than conventional ovens, they were a game-changer when they first hit the scene back in the mid-20th century. But have you ever wondered why every microwave has that annoying black mesh over the door, so you can’t really see your food cooking?
Well, turns out that if it wasn’t there, you’d be in a situation that’s a whole lot worse. That’s because the mesh actually blocks harmful microwave radiation from being blasted straight through the door and onto you! Microwaves emitted by the oven can pass through the glass on the door, but they can’t pass through metal.
Therefore, the mesh, which is usually made from steel, is stuck to the inside of the door, so that any microwaves trying to escape are reflected straight back onto the food. Considering the well-known dangers of putting metal stuff like aluminum foil in the microwave, you may be wondering how microwaves avoid catching fire if they already contain so much metal.
The answer is that they’re designed in a way that avoids any sharp tips or thin internal edges, as these are the things that cause the metal to emit electrical arcs and other electrical phenomena likely to cause a fire. The mesh in your oven is just the right shape and position that it doesn’t arc at all.
And the holes in the mesh are small enough that most of the microwaves can’t get through, while still allowing you to impatiently peek at your food. Although the view’s not great, it’s still best not to push your face against the glass for a better look, because some radiation could still get past.
We’ve all been there, the hasty post-shower rush from bathroom to bedroom, haphazardly holding a towel around your nether regions that’s barely keeping everything covered. The last thing you want is everything falling down and leaving you embarrassingly exposed! But with a special folding technique, there’ll be no risk of that ever happening again!
Once you’re out of the shower, simply wrap the towel around your waist, as shown in the footage below. Then, grab hold of the top and fold it down all the way around. That will hold the towel in place around you and stop it immediately dropping down. Repeat the folding action one more time to secure it, and voila! You’ve got a tightly wrapped towel that’s probably not going to betray you.
Plastic Wrap Hack To Keep Bananas Fresh For Longer
If you’re anything like me, every time you buy bananas at least one of them ends up getting overripe and going all brown and squidgy. And nobody likes a soggy banana. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
A simple solution to the problem is to wrap the stems in clingfilm. You only need to wrap the stems up because ethylene gas is the main culprit that turns bananas brown, and it’s released from the stems!
When the gas from the decaying stems travels through the air down to the rest of the fruit, it causes it to ripen slightly faster, but by blocking it off that process is slowed. You’ll need to separate the bananas from the bunch before wrapping them up, so it’s a little bit of an effort. But that’s a small price to pay to enjoy your fruit fresher, for longer!
You’ve probably noticed that strange V-shaped stitching pattern just below the neck on some of your sweaters, without ever wondering what it’s for. It doesn’t seem to do anything, but originally it served two very practical functions.
The stitching is in the shape of a V because back in the 1930s and ‘40s it used to hold a piece of triangular cotton behind the main material of the sweatshirt. That cotton was elasticated so that when the wearer pulled their head through the sweater, the elasticated patch absorbed some of the stress, reinforcing and helping to maintain the shape of the neck.
What’s more, it also served as a sweat absorber, because for some insane reason sweatshirts used to be worn while playing sports. So, why don’t modern sweaters have it anymore? Our heads are the same size, and our chests are just as sweaty as they always were, right?
As well as cutting production costs, its removal is a result of sports sweaters being replaced with lighter clothing. Plus, companies started elasticating the whole neck, so the need for a patch was made void. Today, the patch might be gone but the V-stitch lives on, more of a vintage fashion statement than anything else.
Pool Noodle To Keep You Cool
Driving long journeys on a hot summer’s day can be a sticky, stuffy experience if you don’t use air conditioning. But even air con has its drawbacks, often whoever’s in the front will get a brisk blast of cold air, but those in the back barely a breeze. If you’re always the person in the back, consider buying yourself a pool noodle!
Yes, you read that right, one of the foamy floating tubes you used as a sword as a kid. They’re made from polyethylene foam, which is bendy, durable, and lightweight and if you buy the right kind, they’re also hollow.
Therefore, by sticking one end to the vent inside a car, the air gets channeled through the hollow center of the tube. And, due to the flexibility of the foam, with the other end, you can direct all that remarkably refreshing air wherever you want! You could even tuck it in to shoot a stream of cool air beneath your clothes!
Antenna Lines On Your Phone
One item you probably use more than anything else in your day-to-day life is your smartphone. The average American loves their smartphone so much they’ve been found to spend upwards of 5 hours a day looking at their portable pocket screen.
Despite that, you might never have noticed one of the most important features of the whole device! There are small line-like shapes, which can be found on any nonplastic smartphone and are called “antenna lines”.
Radio waves that come from your phone’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 5G antennas can’t travel through materials that conduct electricity. For that reason, a fully metal phone would be little more than a fancy calculator!
But, by fitting small plastic strips onto the side of the phone, the radio waves can be emitted and received through them. If you’ve ever suddenly lost signal and not known why, it could be because you accidentally covered the antenna lines with your fingers. That is because, as conductors of electricity, our bodies block radio waves too!
Whether you’re a sailor or not, everybody can understand that rats are one of the last things you want on a boat. They nibble their way through food stocks, carry disease, and can even chew through electrical cables. The solution? These big, round discs in the footage below.
And no, they’re not for throwing at the rodents like deadly frisbees. The main way rats get onto boats is by scurrying across the mooring lines when a boat is docked. Therefore, by sliding “rat guards” onto the lines, the potential pests are stopped dead in their tracks!
Even if they try and clamber over the guards, their circular design causes them to spin wildly on the spot and throw the rats off! Time is of the essence though, because if you don’t install the guards straight after docking, those speedy scampers will be on your boat in no time.
French's Mustard Bottle Lid Tip
What hot dog is complete without a generous squeeze of classic French’s mustard? But have you ever noticed the secret function on every French’s lid that’s hidden in plain sight?
If you take a look at the back of the lid, you’ll see there’s actually a little nob attached to the hinge. If you pull the lid back far enough, it’ll click onto that nob, stopping it from getting in the way and causing a mess when you’re squeezing out your sauce!
But mustard itself has more uses than just as a hotdog topping! Get yourself a bottle of English mustard, and you’ve got a cheap muscle relaxant! Supposedly, by mixing a couple of tablespoons of English mustard into a hot Epsom salt bath, the relaxing effects of the Epsom salts are amplified!
The iPhone Apple Logo As A Secret Button
Apple’s flagship phone is undoubtedly one of the most popular smartphones in the world. But with such a myriad of features, it’s no surprise that some of the less advertised ones go unnoticed.
If you own an iPhone 8 or later, there’s actually a secret touch button hidden on the back of your device! It’s located on the Apple logo, but to activate it you’ll need to head to the Accessibility settings. Once there, navigate to the “Physical and Motor” section, tap “Touch”, and then tap on “Back Tap”.
You can assign the button two different functions, based on whether you double or triple-tap it! Those functions can range from taking a super quick screenshot to opening an app of your choice!
And if you have smart lights in your home, you can even turn them on and off with the feature! Not only does it save a bit of time, but it has the added benefit of making you feel like some kind of all-powerful god of technology.
Using Eraser To Clean Suede
The humble eraser is a timeless school essential. You might’ve only used erasers after being told by the teacher to get rid of all those rude drawings in your textbooks, but there are far better ways to utilize erasers than for merely rubbing out pencil.
Suede, for example, can be a notoriously tough material to clean. But those dirty dress shoes of yours are no problem for a basic household eraser. As long as you’re gentle, by rubbing the eraser against the soiled patch, the friction generated will lift off the muck!
What’s more, it’ll even fluff up the suede a little and make it look better than it did before! And you know those annoying gluey marks left by price tags and stickers? Rubbing an eraser over them should have them gone in no time, the rubber grips and pulls the adhesive away from the surface!
Shopping Trolley Key Hack
If you live somewhere like the UK, you’ll know that at most grocery stores you have to insert a coin into a parked shopping cart to pull it out and use it. But what if you haven’t got any change on you to unlock one? Obviously, the crippling social anxiety caused by our modern, mostly, online existence means there’s no way you’re going to just ask some stranger for a coin.
But wait! You might be in luck, provided you remember this tidbit of key information. Some housekeys actually fit perfectly into the coin slot on shopping carts, releasing the lock and saving you a discontented trip back home!
Although it doesn’t work for every type of key, it’s worth knowing in case you own one of the lucky lock openers! If it’s round, and roughly the same size as a £1 piece, there’s a chance it’ll work.
The traditional pub glass, or nonic pint glass, is a sight many of us are familiar with. But, chances are, you’ve probably been too busy drinking to ever think too hard about its shape. It turns out that the bulbous bulge at the top of the glass is there for a couple of excellent reasons.
It was first developed as an improvement to the original, bulge-less, conical glass. When that old style of glass became wet with condensation, it often slipped out of people’s hands, crashing dangerously to the floor. Adding a bump to the design reduced the chance of that happening, due to the drinker’s hand catching on it!
Plus, if someone accidentally knocks their drink over on the table, there’s less chance of damage to the actual rim of the glass, because it’ll land bulge first. Hence the name nonic, there’s literally no nicks, meaning no cracks or scratches!
It’s not just the drinker that benefits from the nonic pint glass though! Before the addition of the bump, bartenders had to deal with conical glasses, which form a seal and stick together when stacked behind the bar.
Trying to take an individual glass off was tricky and you’d be prone to knocking the whole teetering tower over! When nonics were introduced though, that bump meant that no such seal could form, and glasses became much easier to remove from a stack.
Lip Balm Hacks
Everybody loves a brand-new pair of shoes, but everybody hates getting blisters while breaking them in. But, with the help of a little bit of lip balm, your sore, hurt heels will be a thing of the past! Due to the waxy, oily nature of many lip balms, they make great lubricants.
So, if you rub some of the slippery stuff on the inside of the heel before you put your shoe on, there’ll be less friction to irritate your skin. Useful for sneakers, and even more useful for formal shoes, like high heels. And the lubricative uses for lip balm don’t stop there!
The next time your zipper gets stuck, instead of stressing out, reach for the lip balm. Rubbing it across the teeth of the zip, above and below the slider, should do the trick and loosen that zipper right up!
Although, lubrication isn’t the only alternative use for the adaptable ointment. Particularly in the summer months, bug bites can be the bane of any relaxing day out. For a quick solution, look for a balm that contains menthol and camphor, when rubbed on a bite, those ingredients will soothe the irritating itch considerably!
Credit Card Cheese Grater
Picture the scene: you’re hosting a fancy dinner party, hoping to impress your guests with your culinary genius. But, the next dish to serve is Chicken Parmesan, and your grater’s gone missing! Stop panicking! All you need is your bank card.
Believe it or not, the embossed numerals and lettering on a debit or credit card actually work as a makeshift cheese grater if you need one in a pinch! Sure, it’s going to take you a little while longer than using an actual grater, but it’s a lot better than using your nails or something else.
Just make sure you clean the card really well beforehand and afterwards too, unless you enjoy the smell of Italian cheese in your wallet of course. If you’ve somehow managed to simultaneously lose all the knives in your house too, you may as well use your bank card again to slice the cake up.
Bottle Deco Lug
Do you know those firm plastic water bottles that are a mainstay of every school changing room? Well, they usually have a small, oddly shaped notch in the bottom, that you might recognize if you’ve ever owned one. I bet you don’t know what that notch is for though.
It’s called a “deco lug”, and without it, your bottle would be a lot less pretty to look at! That’s because those bottles are mass-produced in factories using machinery, and each one has to look exactly the same. Because many plastic bottles need artwork printed on them, manufacturers needed a way to ensure that the artwork is always printed in the same position for every bottle.
So, the deco lug was born. It’s short for “decorating lug” and works by holding every bottle at the same orientation in the machine while artwork is applied. Without the small, unimportant-looking indent, some poor factory workers would have to stand and watch the whole process, adjusting the bottle by hand if necessary.
Whether you own a Windows PC or a Macintosh, you probably at least recognize the Command key on Mac keyboards. Why though, does it have that strange, pretzel-like symbol on it?
Back in the 1980s, the key was originally called the Apple key, and that symbol was nowhere to be seen. Instead, it just had the Apple logo on it. The key was implemented so it could be pressed in combination with other keys to allow full control of the computer, even without a mouse.
Believe it or not, the mouse was a relatively new concept back then and many people didn’t own one, so the Apple key was very important! In 1984 though, Apple’s owner Steve Jobs suddenly became disillusioned with the design of the key. He believed the Apple logo was being overused, it was all over the keyboard, on every menu on the computer screen, and on the Apple key itself.
It was diluting the brand. So, he assigned Apple’s bitmap artist at the time, Susan Kare, the daunting duty of coming up with a new symbol. The only instruction he gave her was that it should represent the pretty abstract notion of “command”.
Kare searched high and low for inspiration relating to the concept of command, looking at everything from the 10 commandments to commanding figures such as the police. Then one day she opened up a symbol dictionary and found exactly what she was looking for.
The symbol she settled on is actually a Nordic one used in signs to denote campgrounds and is based on the outline of a castle’s roof, though Kare picked it because she thought it looked like a four-leaf clover.
Steve Jobs liked her idea and now, decades later, the iconic symbol still features on every Mac keyboard’s Command key! If you're fascinated by symbology, you might want to read our article about the meanings and origins of symbols.
If you were amazed at these secret reasons behind everyday things, you might also want to read our secrets hidden in everyday things series. Thanks for reading!