Everyday Household Items With Genius Hidden Functions

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Modern society is always advancing and finding ways to improve traditional tools while adding new ideas to the market. Many old-school items have been around for decades because there's never been a reason to replace them completely. Instead, manufacturers have addressed repeated concerns and improved their items with new features. Many of these features are less popular than you'd think; your seemingly unimpressive items have hidden perks.

Clothing, electronics, hardware tools, office supplies, and kitchen gadgets all have versatile features that more people should know about. These components prevent accidental damage, reduce the need for other single-function products, extend item lifespan, and help protect your well-being. Check out the list below to learn more about twelve common multifaceted household items you may have been sleeping on.

Tiny loops on the back of dress shirts are for hanging in compact spaces

If you have a collection of button-up shirts in your closet, you may have noticed some of them have a tiny loop of fabric below the nape of the neck. This strip of material isn't just for fashion; it serves a functional purpose. The small loop is perfectly sized for hanging over hooks in lockers commonly found in gyms and on military ships.

"Locker Loops" became a popularized way to keep men's shirts from wrinkling in the 1960s (via Today). These tiny strips were added to formal button-downs so men could hang them from lockers without causing unsightly creases in the fabric. There's no hard evidence of their true origin, but USA Today hypothesizes that sailors in the U.S. Navy were the first to make use of this design. Since ship and gym lockers don't have the space for traditional closets with hangers, this was deemed the best method to reduce creasing in compact storage. Locker loops aren't as popular as they were in the past but are still present on some brand garments, like Gant and Lands' End.

Macbook chargers have wings to wrap the cord around

From the early 2010s to the early 2020s, Apple sold their Macbook Pros and Macbook Airs with MagSafe power adaptors. These laptop chargers appeared as white boxes, and several models have "wings" that lift up on the sides. Many people don't realize these wings raise to give you a perch to wrap the power cord around.

Rolling up your cord while not in use prevents the plastic ends from fraying over time. It also stops laptop cables from tangling with other cords, ensuring better household organization. More modern adaptors from late 2022 onward were redesigned with separate power adaptors and charging cables, so Apple has discontinued this design for the foreseeable future. However, anyone with a laptop older than a year or two may have a former model worth implementing this advice.

Ball pen caps have a tiny hole to prevent ink leaks and choking risk

Traditional ballpoint pens are simple in design, with a barrel, tip, and cap. While most of the pen parts have obvious functions, the caps have a mysterious hole. They seem counterintuitive to keeping pen ink from drying out, but they actually do just that. The pen cap's opening preserves the writing utensil and provides a precautionary safety measure.

The small hole keeps air pressure from drying out the pen ink when you close the cap. It is also just wide enough to keep the loose piece from becoming a choking hazard. Many children and adults have a habit of chewing on pens while they work. If these habitual chewers accidentally swallowed the cap, it could become a dangerous choking hazard. The small hole on the top creates an airway so said individuals can still breathe and seek help.

The measuring tape end tab can mark locations and hook on objects

Measuring tape is a godsend, especially for individuals who embark on solo household projects. It has multiple hidden features that make it more practical for determining measurements without fault. The curved tape makes it easier to read numbers, while the end piece can hook onto faraway items and leave a small mark in its place.

Home projects become much more difficult when you live alone or don't have another pair of hands. Many tape measure manufacturers take this into account, innovating their devices to make these issues obsolete. They realized that many people don't have anyone to hold the other end of the tape, so they built a metal appendage explicitly for hooking onto objects and keeping the tape in place as you move away from it. Many of these "grabbers" also have serrated edges, so you can mark spots for later reference.

The tape itself is concave, causing the numbers to be raised to the side, which makes it easier to read them from other angles. All these features make amateur home measurements more accurate. They also make more projects doable on your own, so you don't have to seek outside help.

Gas stovetops can be lifted for easy cleaning underneath

Those familiar with gas stovetops have probably noticed they have more outer parts than modern electric stoves. Gas stoves have cast iron grates, burners, drip bowls, and surface glass, all of which need to be cleaned regularly. Cleaning these various pieces is tedious work, especially when trying to work around the gaps in the top grate. Many homeowners don't realize they can lift and fully remove the grate to make everyday cleanup much easier.

Gas stoves are favored by many since they enable more precise cooking. You have direct control over the flame and its temperature, but this perk is made possible with the gas stovetop's many rustic parts. Since oil and food spills are inevitable, many gas stove companies design appliances with removable grates. You should check out your official product manual to find the manufacturer's instructions for removing each piece. However, you can simply lift most gas stove grates from their notched placeholders and gently move them to the side. Be careful where you set them down since heavy cast iron can damage fragile countertops.

Straps on new clothes help hang them properly

Stylish tops and dresses often come with plastic or cloth ribbons attached to the neckline. These curved strings serve a similar purpose to the aforementioned locker loops. You tuck them out of sight while wearing the garment but later use them to hang it when not in use.

Many people cut these loops off outfits, thinking they're unnecessary once they take home purchased clothing. On the contrary, these ribbons hold up clothes in a personal closet just as they did while on a store display. Hanger loops prevent stretching and strain on clothing material, so the neckline and sleeves aren't disfigured while suspended. They also keep clothes from sliding off the hangers, which is a common issue with unnotched hangers and off-shoulder and wide necklined tops. Hang the loops on your hangers' shoulder notches if they have them, or rope them around the hanger neck.

The sharp gap in kitchen scissors is for stripping herb leaves

Does your fancy pair of kitchen shears have an oval-shaped gap between the handles and the blades? The manufacturer added this as a functional feature, not a stylistic design choice. The center space is a leaf stripping hole to remove tiny leaves from wood-stemmed herbs. 

This convenient addition makes it easier and faster to trim necessary spices from plants. Herbs like basil and mint have larger leaves that can be plucked or sliced off with little effort. In contrast, removing the tiny leaves from wood-stemmed herbs like oregano, rosemary, and thyme, is far more tedious and time-consuming. Kitchen scissors with leaf-stripping holes phase out this cumbersome task, making their design useful beyond cutting packaging and large ingredients. Instead of buying separate herb strippers and scissors, buy Amazon's two-in-one pair of shears for half the price. This also reduces household clutter since it's one less kitchen utensil to keep track of. 

Metal padlocks have holes to prevent rust

Heavy-duty metal padlocks reinforce gates, sheds, trailers, and other outdoor spaces or items. Aluminum, brass, steel, and zinc are common materials in padlocks since they are resilient and difficult to tamper with. Being made of metal, they are naturally prone to moisture damage and rust, especially if left outdoors in the humidity, rain, and snow. Many companies drill tiny holes at the bottom of these items to combat the eventual corrosion.

These tiny holes create a narrow tunnel for moisture to drip through. This creates a riverway for water to flow out of the lock, preventing corrosion for as long as possible. Water is more likely to freeze or rust the internal mechanisms on padlocks where this hole doesn't exist, rendering the apparatus useless. Without the hole, there is also no way to lubricate the internal mechanisms, making future repairs improbable.

Caulk guns have cutters on the handles

Caulking guns are useful for any homeowner determined to seal up the cracks and gaps around their home. These tools carry tubes of caulk and make it easier to apply the sealant evenly and steadily to windows, doors, walls, and other areas around your home. Some manufacturers have even designed guns with additional spout cutters and seal punchers for opening new tubes of caulk during a project.

The handles of certain caulk guns have squeezable triggers that reveal hidden blades. When you squeeze the trigger with the caulk tube angled into the blade, you can slice off the spout tip. On the other end of the gun is a metal appendage to pierce the caulk tube's seal so it's ready for use. Not all guns include these features, but they are convenient additions to watch for if you're in the market for new caulking materials.

Some garments come with extra fabric to test cleaning solutions on

You may have wondered about the purpose of those small fabric squares that come with some brand garments. This tiny swatch seems meaningless but is a useful asset from manufacturers, so you don't accidentally ruin your new purchase. These are "test" swatches for trying out cleaning products so you can see if they cause stains or deterioration to the fabric blend.

Companies include these swatches solely for the consumer's benefit. They allow you to spot-test cleaners, detergents, and other cleaning chemicals on an identical piece of fabric to ensure you don't ruin your actual garment. This item was especially useful before the internet was widely popular, and online information wasn't as easy to come by. Before you waste your pocket square, check out Standard Textile's useful fabric cleaning chart. This online chart lists different fabric types and explains what cleaning solutions are generally safe to use on clothing, upholstery, and carpeting.

Cooking pan handles hold spoons to keep countertops clean

Spoon rests are unnecessary but popular household items that add to kitchen clutter. While they seem practical at first glance, they're just more dishes that need cleaning at the end of a meal. Instead of purchasing an entirely separate product, why not use the spoon rest already included on your pot or pan? Many cookware items have an elongated handle with a hole on the end that can hold your spoon between stirring and mixing ingredients.

Cooking can be messy, especially if you don't have a proper place to store your tools while you work. Amazon has many cookware items, like their ceramic stockpot, Ninja PossiblePot, and non-stick saucepan, that are designed with a spot to rest spoons, spatulas, or other narrow utensils. The manufacturers include this feature, so individuals don't have to waste counter space with single-function spoon rests. Instead, you can rely on the lid or side of a pot that's already being used.

You don't necessarily have to buy a new pot made for this purpose. Many of your already-owned pots and pans likely have handles for mobility. Try balancing your spoon on these appendages the next time you're cooking. Keep in mind this advice isn't recommended when using plastic spatulas, serving spoons, or whisks. Plastic melts and deforms in high heat, and also leaches toxic materials into your meal. 

Screwdriver handles can be used to dislodge bolts

It's no secret screwdrivers are for installing and moving screws by rotating on their sharp metal points. As useful as these endpieces are, you should know that the hard plastic handles are also designed to make maintenance jobs easier. The hex-shaped handle ridges slide directly into the socket of a wrench. Combined, they create more torque, helping unscrew stubborn items that are too strong to be moved by a lonesome screwdriver.

Not all manufacturers design their tools this way, and not all screwdriver brands will fit into any wrench brand. If they do match up just right, you're in luck. Otherwise, expand your tool collection with Amazon's screwdriver set and wrench set to ensure you can put this trick to use.