34 Amazing Facts About Boring Objects in Your Home

Updated: Sep. 29, 2023

Yes, Barbie does have a last name.

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Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

The Color of the Tag on your Store-Bought Bread …

… tells grocers what day of the week the bread was shipped. Bread is usually delivered fresh to stores five days a week—Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday—and each day has its own colored tag or twist tie. Though some companies use their own system, this common code is easy to remember: Just as the days of the week proceed in order from Monday to Saturday, their corresponding colors proceed in alphabetical order—blue, green, red, white, yellow. Also, check out these 50 extraordinary uses for ordinary things.

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That Tiny Pocket on your Blue Jeans …

… is for your pocket watch. Well, maybe not yours, but the cowboys who made blue jeans famous in the 1800s were plumb grateful for it. Typically, watches were carried on chains and worn in waistcoats, but hard field labor made that a lot less practical. Outdoors, the “watch pocket” on any pair of jeans did just the trick—even after watches moved to the wrist. “This extra pouch has served many functions, evident in its many titles,” the Levi Strauss website reminds us: “frontier pocket, coin pocket, match pocket, and ticket pocket, to name a few.”

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The Hole in Your Pen Cap …

… is there to prevent choking. BIC first added the tiny punctures in the top of their pen caps in 1991 both to equalize pressure inside the pen, and to give cap swallowers a last-ditch lifeline; if a cap gets lodged in someone’s throat, they will still be able to breath through the hole. This may sound like an irrational fear, but according to Business Insider, more than 10,000 people have swallowed parts of pens and pencils. Lego mini-figures have holes in their heads for the same reason. Plus: These are the secret hiding places in your home thieves will never suspect.

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Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

That Little Strawberry Attached to your Pincushion …

… is an emery board for your needles. Filled with tough emery sand—a combination of aluminum and iron oxides—the strawberry is historically a tool for polishing, sharpening, and removing rust from your pins and needles.

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The Perforations on the Sides of your Aluminum Wrap Container …

… are called end locks and, when pushed in, are meant to keep your roll secure inside the box. Many similar kitchen products, such as plastic wrap, come equipped with the same feature so you’ll never rip the whole roll out of the box when you want just a single piece. Here are 15 more random trivia facts you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Kleenex Tissues Were Invented for …

… for gas masks. During World War I, there was a cotton shortage and the thin tissue was created to place inside gas mask as a filter. Plus: These are the 50 remote castles you need to see in your lifetime.

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The Dot On the Back of your iPhone Next to the Camera …

… is actually the microphone for your back camera. When you’re on a phone call with someone and your voice sounds muffled, you should check to make sure that rear microphone isn’t covered or dirty. Check out more interesting facts about pretty much everything.

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The Indent on the Bottom of Wine Bottles …

… is called a punt. The punt makes the wine bottles stronger when the pressure is put in by the cork. That way, your after-hours drink doesn’t explode all over the place. It’s also a handy way for servers to hold onto the bottle while they pour the liquid courage into your glass.

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The Ridges on the F and J Letters of the Keyboard …

… help people remember where to align their index fingers while typing on “QWERTY” keyboards. Knowing where to place your index fingers will give you a natural place for your other fingers and help you type faster. And the ridges make it easier for you to feel your way around the keyboard without constantly looking down. Next, learn the truth about these fun facts you’ve always believed that are actually false. Plus: Ever wonder what the most expensive home in your state looks like? Find out here.

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The inventors of Bubble Wrap®, Al Fielding and Marc Chavannes, originally tried to create a textured wallpaper in 1957 and though they originally failed, it has shown an effective protector of walls. Bubble Wrap® can serve as a sweet door stopper and help prevent any holes in the wall from the handle flying through. See what a rubber band can do for an oft-used door and learn how to fix a rattling door.

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Keep Spiders Away
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Keep Spiders Away

So what does wd 40 do? Well, WD stands for "water displacing" and it's mainly used is as a solvent. WD-40 has lubricant-like properties, that do not come from the substance itself, but rather from dissolving components. Have a fear of spiders? Just spray some WD-40 on places where spiders and other insects can get in, such as windowsills and door frames. It will keep the spiders and other bugs out. Plus: These are the 10 most disgusting house bugs and how to get rid of them.
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Last-Ditch Patching Fix
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Last-Ditch Patching Fix

You've made two trips to the home center store already but you're eyeing a tiny hole in your wall that you've got to patch up and you've run out of material. Head to to the bathroom and grab that tube of toothpaste for a quick fix. Check out other solutions to drywall problems and how to patch drywall.
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Pest Control
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Pest Control

Toothpaste's makeup can contain tiny calcium spikes that can deter insects from crawling around gardens and vegetable gardens. Discover other natural pest control devices and learn how to do your own pest control.
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Loosen Rusty Bolts
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Loosen Rusty Bolts

The little amount of phosphoric acid a can of Coca-Cola contains can produce big results with rust. Let some Coca-Cola soak on a rusted bolt for a while and then try to remove it. If that can of cola doesn’t provide the answer then check out sure-fire ways to loosen bolts. And if that fails, too, just cut the sucker off.
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Weber Grills: Born from a Buoy
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Weber Grills: Born from a Buoy

The classic round Weber grill sort of looks like the bottom of a marine buoy. That's because the first Weber grill DIY inventions were made from the bottom of a marine buoy! George Stephen Sr. worked at Weber Brothers Metal Works in Chicago, which made buoys for the coast guard. In 1952, George had a brilliant idea: He cut the bottom off one of the buoys and added a vent and handle to the top and three legs to the bottom. His neighbors laughed at his contraption at first, but soon wanted one of their own. And so did the rest of the world! Weber grills, made in Illinois, are sold in more than 72 countries.
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Kohler: A Tub Built for Hogs...and Humans
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Kohler: A Tub Built for Hogs...and Humans

In 1883, John Michael Kohler coated a large rectangular basin with an enamel powder he'd developed and heated it to 1,700 degrees F. He marketed his DIY inventions to farmers as a water trough and hog scalder and to the regular consumer as a bathtub. The bathtub was a hit and became the first of thousands of bath products the Kohler Company would go on to manufacture. Today the Kohler Company headquarters is in Kohler, WI, and it has more than 50 manufacturing locations, employing more than 30,000 people worldwide. It's one of America's oldest and largest privately held companies. The original ad copy for Kohler's first enamel tub read: 'Cast-Iron Enameled Water Trough and Hog Scalders. (Five Sizes) When furnished with Legs can be used as a bathing tub.' In the market for a bathroom upgrade? Check out these 12 Things to Consider when Buying a Bathtub.
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Duct tape can eliminate eyesores from your home but it’s also really good at getting rid of eyesores on your body like warts. According to a study published in "Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine," duct tape proved more effective at treating warts than having them frozen off. Photo: Courtesy of Very Well
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A Waffle Iron Inspired One of the First Pairs of Nikes

Bill Bowerman was a track and field coach in the 1950s who didn’t like how running shoes were made. He first created the Cortez shoe, but still wanted to make a shoe even lighter that could be worn on various surfaces. During a waffle breakfast with his wife in 1970, the idea came to him of using the waffle texture on the sole of running shoes. The waffle sole shoe made their appearance in the 1972 U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene.

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The First Stroller was Pulled by a Goat

This is one of the many interesting facts that had us scratching our head. Or a dog or a miniature horse, but not by parents. William Kent, a landscape architect, invented the first stroller for the third Duke of Devonshire in 1733. By the mid 18th century, strollers were still pretty unstable, but they had handles so parents, not animals, could pull the baby behind them.

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Jonathan Rees in his book Refrigerator says that GE only got into the refrigerator business to help boost its electrical utilities division. Many electric companies were offering discounts to customers who got fridges because the fridges need a constant source of electricity. Seeking a refrigerator isn’t a drain on your electric bill, then check out the 10 best reviewed refrigerators on Amazon.

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An Avocado Is Not What You Think It Is

An avocado is considered a berry because it falls into the fleshy category of fruits, is produced from one flower with one ovary, and contains seeds on the inside. A strawberry is not considered a berry because of that. A strawberry is considered an aggregate fruit because it can develop from multiple ovaries of a single fruit. Find out what else is wrong in your thinking of avocados, too.

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under-cabinet banana hook

Bananas are Pretty Similar to Humans

You can make some pretty goofy comparisons with DNA but according to researchers humans share around 50 percent of their DNA with bananas. Now it makes sense how banana peels are always outsmarting people.

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Shellac is a Bug Secretion

Shellac is a resin secreted by female lac bugs on trees in India and Thailand. It’s sold in dry flakes and then dissolved in alcohol to make liquid shellac. Go ahead and bug out on these 20 totally surprising tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets.

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Barbie Has a Last Name

Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts, which was recently revealed on Twitter. She’s had a full name since her invention in 1959. Ken’s last name, however, is Carson.

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Most Buttermilk Contains No Butter

Buttermilk is actually just the leftover liquid after butter is churned. Though some buttermilk contains butter flakes to simulate traditional buttermilk. Buttermilk might just be able to help get rid of pests, see how buttermilk can keep pests out.

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Chain Saw

Two Scottish doctors developed the prototype of the chainsaw to assist in cutting out diseased bone, as well as dividing cartilage in the pelvis to assist with childbirth.

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T-Shirts were originally marketed to bachelors because they required no sewing.

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deck of cards

Deck of Cards

The king of hearts is the only one without a mustache. Upgrade your game room with these tips so that fact about the king of hearts isn’t as exciting.

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Ball on the top of a Stocking Cap

Turns out that goofy ball on the top of a stocking cap served a purpose at one time and probably continues to bail people out today. French marines once wore sailor hats with a bobble on top so they wouldn’t bang their heads on low cabin ceilings on ships. The history of the pom-pom is said to date as far back as the Viking period. Make sure you’ve always got a hat and these things in a winter emergency kit in your car.

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Spaghetti Strainer

The hole in a spaghetti strainer actually serves two purposes. Besides allowing water to fall out the bottom when you go into scoop out some noodles, the little hole is a measuring tool you can use prior to cooking the noodles. The hole measures out one full serving of noodles.

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“57” on Heinz Ketchup Bottle

Suppose you thought the 57 on a Heinz ketchup bottle just meant how many previous attempts were made at the formula. Well, it means a couple of things. The Heinz Company used to advertise 57 varieties of pickles it sold but it sold greater than 60 products before adopting the slogan. It seems Henry Heinz picked the numbers 5 and 7 for 57 independently of each other. Heinz said 5 was his lucky number and 7 was his wife’s lucky number. The other secret behind the 57 is that is where the company suggests people tap on a glass bottle of ketchup to make it come out of the bottle.

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Padlock Hole

Some padlocks will have an opening near the key hole and there’s a purpose to that. That little hole can be used to put oil in to loosen a rusted or stuck lock. These tips will stop thieves in their tracks and keep your valuables safe.

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Secrets of the Tape Measure Hook

Millions of people use tape measures every day, but very few of them are aware of all the different ways that they can be utilized. If you look at a quality tape measure, you’ll see that the hook at the end has a few unique qualities. One is that it should be slightly loose on its rivets. This allows it to slide in or out to allow for accuracy whether taking an inner or outer measure. This also means that the first inch on a tape measure is inaccurate by the amount of that movement (usually 1/16 inch). So if you need to take the measure of a small item, use a section further up the tape.

Another feature is the hole in the tape measure hook. Not all tape measures have this feature, but if yours does, you’ll notice that it’s exactly the right size to latch onto the head of a screw or nail. This allows DIYers to latch onto a fastener head and get on with measuring without worrying about the tape popping free. For more great tape measure tips, check out this video from Family Handyman editor Travis Larson.

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Scribing Tool

Let’s return to that amazing hook at the end of your tape measure. Look closely and you’ll notice that the hook is strong metal, and many models have a hook with a serrated edge. This is no accident! It’s an intentional feature, allowing the hook to be used as a scribing tool.

The next time you can’t find your carpenter’s pencil, measure backwards from the edge of your work material. Pull the tape hook taut against its rivets, then push it into the wood or other material. The serrated edge will leave a mark in the wood fibers, allowing you to scribe for the perfect cut. No pencil required!