Hidden Uses for Everyday Items That We Had No Idea Existed


| LAST UPDATE 02/07/2023

By Malikah Mcintosh

From the drawer under the oven that you aren't quite sure what its purpose is to the reason why there are loops on your boots, many of our everyday items have hidden double purposes. Let's find out more!

The Pom Poms on Beanies

Beanies are a winter staple. Just about everyone has one in their closet, and the ones with a pom-pom on them are stylish and fun. But, the pom pom's original function was way different than just style.

Pompom Beanie Winter HatPompom Beanie Winter Hat
@naturehoundco via Instagram

An entire Reddit thread is dedicated to the subject! The pom pom beanies can be linked back to Napoleon's army. The word pom pom is actually French, and Napoleon's soldiers would wear different colored pom poms to denote their unit. How's that for a winter hat?

The Drawer Under the Oven

Some designs are too good to be true, and that is exactly the case with this next item. The drawer underneath the oven is used for just about everything besides what it is actually meant for. Raise your hand if you have used it to store the pots and pans that you have no idea where else to put!

Drawer Under Oven PurposeDrawer Under Oven Purpose
@mylittlebohohome via Instagram

Our hands are definitely raised. However, the drawer under the oven is meant to keep your food warm. Talk about a lightbulb moment! It makes total sense to store your food there until you're ready to serve because it is already warm. Now, the question is: where to put all the pots that are currently in there?

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The Margins in Notebooks

You probably used the margins in your notebook to number off the lines, write notes to your friend sitting next to you, or doodle as your teacher lectured on and on. However, the margins in notebooks were not made as extra room to write in. Their original purpose was not something you'd expect.

Notebook Margins Note TakingNotebook Margins Note Taking
@conservationwithzoee via Instagram

It was a lot rattier than a place to doodle. Literally. The margins in notebooks were initially invented because of rats! The pesky rodents used to eat paper, so to prevent any important information from being lost forever, margins were put on the page.

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Fabric Swatches

Buying new clothes is such a thrill. However, learning how to wash them properly can be a total hassle. You have to be careful not to accidentally shrink your new things in the wash or make sure that the colors don't run and ruin your other clothes. There are so many factors to consider.

Fabric Swatches Patterns GuidesFabric Swatches Patterns Guides
@epoca_blue via Instagram

Don't worry. Clothing manufacturers considered that and made a solution that's been hiding under your nose all this time. That little piece of fabric, sometimes with a button sewn on, that comes with your clothes isn't meant for just a backup button. It is intended to test out your detergent on the fabric swatch!

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Brass Doorknobs

Whenever you enter a room, you are most likely using a doorknob to open and close the door. Doorknobs are an everyday item that we barely think about unless they won't open up for some reason. However, there was someone who thought about doorknobs, and it was inventor Osbourn Dorsey.

Brass Doorknob House DesignBrass Doorknob House Design
@ericmorrisandcompany via Instagram

Dorsey patented the doorknob in 1878, and since then, his invention has become part of the framework of every building. Inventors improved upon his creation and used brass for doorknobs because it is durable, resists rusting, and is easy to manufacture. Also, brass destroys bacteria - a bonus!

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The Heinz Ketchup Bottle

From French fries to eggs, people have found a use for ketchup in everything. Its delicious flavor has become a fixture in food over the years. There's one universal problem that everyone seems to run into, though. The ketchup gets stuck in the bottle! The people at Heinz thought of that and came up with a solution.

Heinz Ketchup Bottle 57Heinz Ketchup Bottle 57
@smaskblask via Instagram

A spokesperson from Heinz said, "To release ketchup faster from a glass bottle, here is a little secret from Heinz. The sweet spot to tap on the Heinz bottle is the 57 on the neck. All you need to do is apply a firm tap where the bottle narrows, and the ketchup will come out easier."

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Wooden Coat Hangers

Wooden coat hangers have the reputation of being a fancy alternative to their wire or plastic counterparts. But, there is more than meets the eye with these closet pieces. Wooden coat hangers have a hidden use to them that many people don't know about!

Wooden Coat Hangers Closet HacksWooden Coat Hangers Closet Hacks
@alabamaestatesales via Instagram

There are many types of wooden hangers, but cedarwood ones have a hidden use. The cedarwood in cedarwood hangers repels bugs and moths, which will keep clothes smelling fresh and wool items safe. Additionally, wooden coat hangers are durable, high-quality and can make a closet look tidy and classy.

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The Ridges on Your Keyboard

If you are reading this right now, the odds are that you typed into your computer and used all the letters to get where you wanted. Maybe you noticed once that there was a slightly raised ridge on the letters F and J. Why were these two letters different than the rest?

Keyboard Design Typing ComputerKeyboard Design Typing Computer
@miaukeeb via Instagram

It is all in the design. The ridges were designed into the keyboard to help the user locate the keys without looking. This meant they could continue focusing on whatever was on the screen and simply find their position on the keyboard using the ridges. Impressive!

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The Stripes in Toothpaste

Nothing is more satisfying than squeezing a glob of toothpaste onto your toothbrush. The white mixed with the blue and the red creates a picture-perfect moment that any dentist would be proud of. The true meaning behind these stripes has nothing to do with looking pretty, although it does accomplish that.

Aquafresh Toothpaste Stripes Throwback ContainerAquafresh Toothpaste Stripes Throwback Container
@winkelaarts via Instagram

The first striped toothpaste dates back to the 1970s when Aquafresh introduced its striped blue and white toothpaste to the market. The colors represented fresh breath and the ability to fight tooth decay. People flocked to the shelves! Over the years, a third stripe, the red one, was added to toothpaste.

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The Soda Can Tab

There is nothing quite like that pop when you flick open a soda can tab and then press the bottle open. It's like euphoria hearing and smelling the carbonation release. Most people forget the tab is even there, or some will take it off with a bit of effort. However, there's another hidden use for the tabs.

soda can tab purpose hacksoda can tab purpose hack
u/pistonian via Reddit

Once you open up your soda can, turn the tab around so that the hole from the tab aligns with the bigger hole in the can. Then, the tab becomes a straw holder! It is as easy as pie and a neat trick to keep the straw in place. Next time you're at the family BBQ, show off this cool feature that no one else probably even knows of.

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The Holes on the Sides of Your Shoes

Ever pay attention to the little holes on the sides of your shoes? There's a good reason for them, and it isn't to scratch the bottom of your foot with your pen. Although, we think that is a pretty good reason, too. There are two hidden uses to those holes, and neither is decoration.

Converse Side Holes Shoes PurposeConverse Side Holes Shoes Purpose
@marymargaretboud via Instagram

One of their uses is for ventilation. Yup, the holes on the sides are to help keep away the sweat and the stank. Another hidden use for them is for lacing. If used in a method called "bar lacing," they can make the shoes tighter. Talk about a slam-dunk find.

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The Tic Tac Lid

Everyone's been there. You offer to share your Tic Tacs with the people around you, but when you open the lid, either zero comes out, or the entire bottle falls out. Lo and behold, the people at the company thought of that and already came up with a solution. It's just been hiding in plain sight.

Tic Tac Orange Lid DispenserTic Tac Orange Lid Dispenser
@skeletondioxide via Instagram

When opened at the right angle, the Tic Tac lid turns into its own dispenser so that each Tic Tac can be taken out slowly and without stress. It is extremely useful and handy. No wonder why they added this design to the lid. This is a definite game-changer.

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The Small Buttons on Jeans

Jeans are part of the everyday wardrobe for most people. Whether black, ripped, skinny, or wide-leg, every pair of jeans has a similar element that has a hidden meaning behind 'em. You may have thought it was for design. We know we certainly did, but it's way more useful than that.

Rivets Buttons Denim DesignRivets Buttons Denim Design
@willow_1willow via Instagram

Those small buttons usually found on the pockets and other parts of the jeans are called rivets. Their purpose is to protect jeans from wear and tear, so they are strategically placed on parts of the pants that are susceptible to strain. They hold the pants together and make them last longer. How jean-ius! 

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Golf Balls

If you've ever swung a wedge or played a game of mini-golf, you most likely noticed grooves all over the golf ball. Those grooves are called dimples and have become a standard feature on golf balls, but that wasn't always the case. The hidden use of the dimples isn't purely aesthetic, although it does look cool.

Golf Ball Dimples Hidden PurposeGolf Ball Dimples Hidden Purpose
@golfroughs via Instagram

Golf balls used to be smooth all over, but players began to realize that their shots were better when they used the worn-down balls covered in dents. So, manufacturers caught on and eventually designed balls that had marks already on them. How's that for a hole-in-one?

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The Holes in Airplane Windows

One of the biggest debates in airplanes is if you're an aisle or a window seat person. Both parties feel very strongly about their position. If you happen to find yourself in the window seat of a plane, you may have noticed tiny holes in the windows. The actual reason behind them makes a lot of sense.

Airplane Window Tiny HolesAirplane Window Tiny Holes
@annx.au via Instagram

The "bleed hole" acts as an air pressure regulator between the inner and outer windows. It helps the plane adjust to the changing air pressure as it climbs or descends through the air. It also helps keep the windows crystal clear from passengers fogging them up with their breath.

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The Ridges on Coins

When you're holding a bunch of coins, trying to get the exact amount of change, it is easy to notice the size difference between quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. However, there is another difference between these coins that used to serve another purpose.

Quarters Pennies Design RidgesQuarters Pennies Design Ridges
@santanscorpionpto via Instagram

There are ridges around quarters and dimes, whereas, with pennies and nickels, there are none. This is because, back in the day, the value of coins was determined by their weight. So to keep people from shaving off the edges or melting them down, they put ridges along the sides.

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Car Headrest

Spending long road trips in the car, you've probably been thankful that there's a headrest behind you. While the car headrest's primary use is to provide a resting place for your head, obviously, it also has another hidden benefit- one that could potentially save your life.

Car Interior Headrest Safety DesignCar Interior Headrest Safety Design
@carsplain via Instagram

If there is an emergency situation where you are trapped inside your car, the headrest can be used as a way to get out. You can detach the headrest from the seat and then use the ends to break the window open. Hopefully, you'll never be in a situation where you need this.

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Pen Cap Hole

Raise your hand if you're guilty of chewing on your pen cap. We know that we definitely have our hands raised! It's a bad habit that was thought of in the design of pens. Ever notice how there is a hole at the top of the pen cap? Although it makes for a great whistle, that was not the intended use.

Bic Pen Cap HoleBic Pen Cap Hole
Dfass via Wikimedia Commons

The hole at the top of the pen cap was invented in case of an emergency. If someone accidentally swallowed the pen cap, the hole would ensure that air would still be able to flow through and wouldn't block the person's throat off completely. Who knew that such a small addition could make such a huge impact?

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The Hole in Your Spaghetti Spoon

Cooking a perfect bowl of spaghetti is one of the first things a new chef will learn how to do. Whether it is your first time dumping out spaghetti from the box or you're an Italian nonna who has been doing this for years, there are still new tips and tricks to learn. One has to do with a hidden use of an everyday pasta tool.

Spaghetti Spoon Hole HackSpaghetti Spoon Hole Hack
@decor_ate_with_sharon via Instagram

The spaghetti spoon is part of every kitchen's arsenal of tools. It is an excellent way to mix your noodles in boiling water or take one out to taste test if it is ready. There is another use that many don't know about. The hole in the center of the spoon can be used to measure how many spaghetti noodles you want for dinner.

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The Loops on Your Boots

When you slide on your boots, do you ever notice how there's a loop on the front or back side of them? While they are wonderful decorative additions, these loops have a real purpose. First, they can be used to help pull the shoe up if you are having difficulty getting the boots on.

Boot Loops Doc MartensBoot Loops Doc Martens
@metronomymerch via Instagram

Second, they can also tie the laces to make them tighter against your foot. Last but not least, they can be used to hang your boots! So if you need extra storage or an easy way to let them rest during the summer months, the boots can be hung by the loops. There are so many uses for such a small addition.

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The Tiny Pocket in Your Jeans

There's that teeny tiny pocket within the pocket of your jeans that most people don't really know what to do with. Sometimes you stick a finger in there just because, but it seems unlikely that this pocket could serve an actual purpose. That's where you're wrong. This pocket has a hidden use that no one really knows about.

Tiny Pocket Levi Jeans PurposeTiny Pocket Levi Jeans Purpose
@madisonscuderi via Instagram

The little pocket was incorporated into the original Levi's jeans, which debuted in 1879. The pocket is called a "watch pocket" and did as you'd expect. It was meant to hold pocket watches. While cowboys aren't walking around with watch pockets anymore, the watch pocket can store coins, matches, tickets, or any other small item.

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The Bristles on Escalators

Going up and down an escalator is much better than walking up stairs, although stairs are an excellent way to get your steps in. Although escalators are everywhere, they can be pretty dangerous. That's why many safety features are built into the design, including those bristles on the side!

escalator bristle safety featureescalator bristle safety feature
@papy__razzi via Instagram

So, even though they do offer a massage, that is not their intended use. They are put in place to trick your mind and ensure that you stay away from the edges of the moving staircase. Most escalator accidents involve people getting their clothes and bags stuck on the sides, so the bristles help prevent this.

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The Hole in Your Pots and Pans

Pots and pans are pretty straightforward tools. Most people know what to do with a pot or a pan when they see one. However, there is a hidden use in pots and pans that most people don't know about. There are holes on the end of the handles that have a secret purpose.

Pots Pans Utensils Storage HacksPots Pans Utensils Storage Hacks
@katwhen via Twitter

The holes are meant to insert a utensil. So, if you need a fast and easy way to store your cooking utensils away without them all over your counter, you can place them in the hole of the pots and pans. Now that is efficiency at its best and creates less mess—a win-win scenario.

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Women's Blouse Buttons

Buttons are used to button up shirts. While that is the same for women and men, the way they are placed onto shirts is different than each other. The buttons on women's shirts are placed on the left side, while men's shirts have buttons on the right side. It's bizarre because most women and men are right-handed - but there is a reason for it.

Women Button Down StyleWomen Button Down Style
@thetincactus via Instagram

The hidden meaning behind why the buttons for women are on a different side goes back a few centuries. Women would have their clothes done up for them. So, to make it easier for the chambermaid, the buttons were placed on the left side, which was her right side. The tradition has carried over through time.

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Reading the Gas Gauge

The dashboard of a car is filled with many different symbols that blink or flash or remain there forever. While most lessons are covered in Driver's Ed, a few car bits and bops get overlooked, including the little triangle next to the gas machine. The hidden meaning behind it is instrumental.

Gas Gauge Mini Triangle MeaningGas Gauge Mini Triangle Meaning
@colin7761official via Instagram

The little triangle on the gas gauge right next to the gas station symbol tells you on what side your gas tank is on. This little tidbit will come in handy when you are driving a rental car and need to fill it up with gas. Now, you can look at the triangle and know where to park.

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The Screwdriver

Every home is complete with a tool kit. Although sometimes it takes a bit to remember what drawer you put it in since the last time you hung something up. While tools have many uses, there is one use that most people don't know about: a screwdriver and a wrench can be used together.

Screwdriver Wrench Tool Kit GuideScrewdriver Wrench Tool Kit Guide
@professional_american67 via Instagram

Most wrenches are designed so that they can be used with a screwdriver to create more torque. This will help with hard-to-reach places or difficult angles to get nails in place. The screwdriver and wrench combination makes the ultimate tool to help you with any of your handy needs.

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Juice Box Flaps

Juice boxes are a delicious way to elevate any meal from boring to extraordinary. Whether the last time you had one was yesterday or twenty years ago, the juice box never fails to please. Especially if you take your imagination to the next level and open the flaps on the sides to pretend the drink is a rocket ship.

Boy Drinking Juice BoxBoy Drinking Juice Box
Inside Edition via YouTube

Believe it or not, the flaps have a reason why they are built into the design, and it isn't just for fun and games. They were made to make it easier for children to hold onto the juice boxes. While they can help take the imagination to unknown places, the flaps on juice boxes have a practical element to them.

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Plastic Lids

The most obvious use for a plastic lid is to cover your drink. That is the most typical and popular way to use a plastic cap. It helps to keep the liquid from sloshing all over the place. However, there is another hidden use for plastic lids, which blew our minds when we found out about it...

Plastic Lid Coaster HackPlastic Lid Coaster Hack
u/tiesforpenguins via Reddit

Plastic lids can also be used as coasters. Who would have thought?! Take the lid off of the cup and place it on the table. Then, you'll notice three ridges alongside an inner circle on the lid. Place your cup on top of the ridges, and they will help keep your drink in place. Now that is a helpful life hack.

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The Tab on Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil and cling wrap can be such pains in the behind to deal with. They can take a lot of effort and time to actually rip off, and when you are finally left with a piece of wrap or foil, it is either too short or too long from what you wanted in the first place.

Aluminum Foil Container Tab HackAluminum Foil Container Tab Hack
Reynolds Brands via YouTube

The tabs on the side of the boxes are there to help keep everything in place. So, simply push them through, and the tabs will grip the roll, making slicing off your next piece of aluminum foil or cling wrap easy peasy lemon squeezy. This hidden use will be a lifesaver in the kitchen on busy days.

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The Hole in Padlocks

A padlock has one primary purpose - to keep your items safe and locked away. They can be placed on doors, boxes, lockers, and way more. If you've ever held one and wondered to yourself, what is the reason behind that hole? You are not alone. There's a good explanation for it, too.

Padlock Bridge Locks Hole Padlock Bridge Locks Hole
@grace.bracke via Instagram

The tiny hole is meant for things to get out, not to get in. If water somehow found its way inside the lock, the small hole is intended to remove any liquid from its insides. That way, the interiors won't rust and will leave the lock working in tip-top shape.

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