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10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Microwave Could Do

10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Microwave Could Do

Microwaves are great for cooking food quickly, but there are quite a few other tricks you can pull off with this handy kitchen appliance. Ever want to deodorize a pair of socks? Done. Want your microwave to clean itself? No problem. In this article, we’ll cover some of the handiest tricks and tips you can pull off with your microwave.

1. Get Your Microwave to Clean Itself

Okay, your microwave can’t scrub itself down, but it can do half the job for you. Getting a helping hand from your microwave is a piece of cake.

Option 1 Slice a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into a half cup of water, then throw it in the microwave. Turn on high for 3 minutes, then wait 5 minutes more until you open the microwave. When you open the door, your microwave will smell like fresh lemon and any junk trapped on the inside of your microwave will come loose easily. Wipe your microwave clean with a paper towel in seconds, and you’re done!

Option 2 Kick your odor-killing power into gear with some baking soda. Instead of lemon water, microwave two tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of water. Follow the same procedure as above, and your microwave will smell fresh and be half clean by the time it’s done. A quick wipe down and you’re finished.

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Option 3 If you’re really in a crunch for time, forego the lemons and the baking soda. Simply soak a sponge with water and soap, microwave for a couple minutes, then wait a few minutes longer. Not only will many of the germs in the sponge be killed, it will have pre-steamed the microwave for you. Just a few short wipes and you’ll be done.

2. Pasteurize Potting Soil

If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably experienced the frustrations caused by fungi killing off your plants. The damping-off disease that kills your plants doesn’t have to be tackled with pesticides, though. To clear out the disease-ridden fungi from your soil, throw it in a paper bag, then toss it in the microwave. Experiment to find the right cooking time for your microwave, then use this method to kill off fungi before they kill off your plants.

3. How to Get a Quick Pair of Clean Socks

Have you ever found yourself without a pair of clean socks? Yes, it may sound unsanitary to put dirty clothes inside your microwave. But if it’s one thing microwaves are good at, it’s killing germs. To deodorize, disinfect, and clean a dirty pair of socks, simply dunk them in a bowl of soapy water and microwave on high for ten minutes. When they’re done, hang them up to try, and you’ve got a clean pair of socks!

4. Dry Herbs In Minutes

Want dry parsley, oregano, basil, or another herb? If they’re starting to wilt and grow old, don’t let them go to waste. Dry them and preserve them for later use. There’s no need to involve the oven or any other complicated drying procedures. Simply throw a cup of your fresh herbs on a paper towel and microwave for a few minutes. Crumble them, let them dry for a few more minutes, then store in a spice jar.

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5. Don’t Cry Over Split Onions

Onions are a great ingredient for countless dishes, but they’re no fun to cut. To make them  easier to cut and avoid crying when you slice them, break out your microwave. Cut the ends off, then microwave on high for around 30 seconds. After this, you can chop away all you want and you won’t shed a tear.

Onions aren’t the only vegetable that your microwave can help you cut, however. Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds to make it easier to remove the skin. The same goes for other vegetables, such as peaches and tomatoes – just add a bit more time for the larger vegetables.

6. Poached Eggs Made Easy

If you want to poach eggs, normally you’ve got to spend some time behind the cooktop. But if you’re a microwave-friendly person and don’t want to hassle with your stovetop, just microwave your way to some poached eggs. Use your electric kettle to boil water, pour it into a microwavable bowl, then add eggs and a dash of white vinegar. The vinegar will help keep the yokes from splitting apart.

Microwave at full power for half a minute, turn the eggs gently, then microwave for another 20 seconds. Pull the eggs out quickly so they don’t keep cooking, then you’re all set!

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7. Soak Beans, Lentils, or Legumes

Dried beans are cheap and tasty. The only problem is that they take hours to soak. If you want your beans fast, simply toss them in some water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda, and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to use them in a recipe of your choice.

For lentils, simply cut the microwaving time from 10 minutes to 2 minutes, then use as directed.

8. Un-Stale Chips and Bread

Chips gone stale? Bread gone rubbery? No problem. To bring back the crunch to your chips, simply throw them on a paper towel and put them in the microwave. Turn on high for 10-15 seconds, then they’ll be crispy once more. To resurrect stale bread, wrap the slices in a damp kitchen towel or paper towel, then microwave on high for 10 seconds at a time. Keep going until the bread is good as new.

9. No-Bake Chocolate Cake

If you’ve got a sudden craving for moist, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, don’t wait to bake. A few ingredients and a microwave will get you fixed up in no time.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A quarter cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • A quarter teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • A dash of salt
  • A quarter cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Your favorite spread

Mix the dry ingredients together, followed by the milk and vegetable oil, then microwave on high for 60-90 seconds. That’s it!

10. Make Your Own Play-doh

Parents and kids can rejoice with this recipe. A few simple ingredients and a microwave is all it takes to whisk up some play-doh that will keep your kids entertained for hours.

  1. First, mix a cup of water, food coloring, and a tablespoon of vegetable oil together in a microwavable bowl.
  2. Whisk together with two teaspoons cream of tartar, a third a cup of salt, and a cup of flour.
  3. Cover the bowl with a paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Mix again.
  5. Microwave again for 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat this 2 more times.
  7. If your mixture is still a little water, repeat once more.

If not, let it cool and have fun!

Featured photo credit: 10 things you didn’t know your microwave could do via google.com

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Last Updated on June 17, 2019

40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

For Getting Things Done

1. OmniFocus

This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

Download it here.

    2. Forest

    Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

    Download it here.

      3. Things

      Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

      Download it here.

        4. 30/30

        Recently covered here at Lifehack

        , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

        Download it here.

          5. Any.Do

          A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

          Download it here.

            6. PocketLife Calendar

            This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

            Download it here.

              7. Asana

              We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

              , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

              Download it here.

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                8. ToDoist

                This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                Download it here.

                  9. FlowTasks

                  From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                  Download it here.

                    10. Calendars 5

                    This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                    Download it here.

                      11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                      A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                      Download it here.

                        12. Due

                        A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                        Download it here.

                          13. Checkmark 2

                          I use this app

                          for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                          Download it here.

                            14. TeuxDeux

                            Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                            Download it here.

                              15. Wunderlist 

                              Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                              Download it here.

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                                16. Nirvana

                                For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                Download it here.

                                  17. Priorities

                                  An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                  Download it here.

                                    For Building Habits

                                    18. Productive

                                    With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                    Download it here.

                                      19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                      You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                      Download it here.

                                        20. Streaks

                                        This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                        Download it here.

                                          21. Remember The Milk

                                          Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                          Download it here.

                                            22. Day One Journal

                                            When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                            Download it here.

                                              For Files Organization

                                              23. Evernote

                                              Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                              Download it here.

                                                24. Pocket

                                                You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                Download it here.

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                                                  25. Sync.Me

                                                  This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    26. Droplr

                                                    One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      27. Dropbox

                                                      Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        28. iDolly 

                                                        In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                        Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          29. Soulver

                                                          It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            For Working Smarter

                                                            30. Captio

                                                            A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              31. Drafts

                                                              A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                Download it here.

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                                                                  33. Doodle

                                                                  This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                    I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                      A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        36. GoodReader

                                                                        This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          37. LogMeIn

                                                                          Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            For Improving Security

                                                                            38. 1Password

                                                                            There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                              You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                              All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                40. Truecallers

                                                                                Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                  More Great Apps Recommendations

                                                                                  Reference

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