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13 Ways You’re Using Your Kitchen Appliances Wrong

Get the best results by avoiding these common errors with your dishwasher, microwave, and other frequently used kitchen appliances.

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Taking out soup from microwavePhoto: Shutterstock

1. You Put Square Containers in the Microwave

The corners of rectangular containers usually attract more energy than other areas, leaving the food in those spots overcooked. A round container will allow food to reheat more uniformly.

Here are 12 other things you should never microwave.

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Fruits and nuts in blenderPhoto: Shutterstock

2. You Toss Your Ingredients Into a Blender in Any Order

There’s a reason your blender keeps stalling after every few seconds—the order of your ingredients makes a huge difference. Start with your liquid base or yogurt, then layer ingredients from smallest to largest, keeping the toughest pieces, such as ice, at the top. The liquids will let the blades run smoothly without catching on the hard ingredients.

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Toasted breadPhoto: Shutterstock

3. You Never Change Your Toaster’s Setting

The type of bread you’re toasting affects how hot you should set your toaster. While white and sweet breads heat quickly, heavier ones like rye take more time. Even slices from the same loaf might need a different setting after a few days. Once bread starts to dry out, you might need lower heat for the less fresh slices, which don’t take as long to toast.

Watch out for these ways that you’re storing your food wrong.

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Oven door openPhoto: Shutterstock

4. You Close the Oven Door When Broiling

Leaving the door of your oven closed when broiling can make heat and steam build up. Venting the steam lets your food develop the crustiness you’re going for, and letting the hot air out ensures the heat stays concentrated on the top instead of effectively baking the entire dish.

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Salt on wooden spoonPhoto: Shutterstock

5. You Sprinkle Salt Before Microwaving Food

Microwave energy is drawn to salt, so a seasoned top will send too much heat to the outer layer of your food, leaving it dry. Add salt after heating or mix it into your dish beforehand to avoid dryness.

Find out which other reheated foods don’t belong in the microwave.

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Beef dish in slow cookerPhoto: Shutterstock

6. You Check On Your Food As It Slow Cooks

Opening the lid of your slow cooker lets heat out and messes up the cooking time, so resist the temptation to take a quick look or give it a stir until there’s less than an hour left of cook time. As long as your pot is between half and three-quarters of the way full, your dish should cook up just fine.

Watch out for these surprisingly dirty kitchen items you never clean.

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Food processorPhoto: Shutterstock

7. You Use Your Blender and Food Processor Interchangeably

Blenders have dull blades but powerful motors, while food processors have sharper blades and weaker motors. Use a blender for anything that needs to be super smooth with an even consistency, like smoothies, drinks, and creamy soups. But when working with hard foods like nuts and garlic, pull out a food processor, which is ideal for recipes with a chunkier texture, such as pesto.

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Plates and cups in dishwasherPhoto: Shutterstock

8. You Don’t Organize Your Plates in the Dishwasher Correctly

A University of Birmingham study found that the best spot in your dishwasher depends on the type of mess your plate has. The middle of the machine gets the strongest spray of water, which makes it best for carb-based stains like potatoes or tomatoes. On the other hand, the detergent is at its highest concentration at the edges, where it flows back down like a waterfall, making it the most effective spot for protein-based messes like eggs, which need more time to soak.

Here are 10 easy tips for cleaning your microwave, stovetop and oven.

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Stand mixerPhoto: Shutterstock

9. You Never Adjust Your Stand Mixer

Stand mixers are built at the right height, but during delivery or after normal use, their beaters might end up out of place. There should be a space the thickness of two sheets of paper between the beater and the bottom of the bowl. If yours is misaligned, lift the head and turn the screw on the neck to the left to raise the beater, or to the right to lower it.

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Garbage disposalPhoto: Shutterstock

10. You Run the Disposal with Hot Water

Garbage disposals aren’t as tough as you might think. The hot water in your sink can get up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Water that warm can cause the food being put down the garbage disposal to melt and turn into a thick paste. This will cause the garbage disposal to clog up. When rinsing the food off of your plates and into the garbage disposal, use cold water. Then, when it’s time to wash your dishes, switch the water to hot.

Still cooking with aluminum foil? You’ll want to read this.

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Dicing onionsPhoto: Shutterstock

11. You Hold Your Knives Wrong

Big kitchen knives are scary enough without having to focus on how you hold them. Many people just wrap their hand around the handle. However, you’re supposed to hold your thumb and pointer finger on the sides of the blade. This grip will help you get more precise cuts.

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Raw spaghetti noodlesPhoto: Shutterstock

12. You Measure Out the Wrong Amount of Spaghetti

There’s a very important reason for the hole in the middle of your spaghetti serving spoon and it’s not to drain water. It’s actually meant to measure out the correct amount of pasta. It works with fettuccine and linguine noodles too.

Make sure to avoid these other ways you might be cooking pasta wrong.

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Opening oven doorPhoto: Shutterstock

13. You Use Your Oven Drawer for Storage

No, the purpose of the drawer at the bottom of your oven isn’t to store your pots and pans. Put those in the cabinet instead. It’s supposed to be used as a broiler.

Next, read about these other cooking mistakes everybody makes.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest