8 Things You Can Microwave Besides Food
The average household microwave is used much more frequently throughout the day than people realize. (See also: 5 Best Microwaves)
If you're unaware how often you "nuke" leftovers, warm up a cup of room temperature coffee, or make a bag of popcorn, try living without a microwave for about a week. You'll realize quickly how easy life is with a microwave and how essential the appliance is to your daily routine.
Few people also realize that the box of electromagnetic radiation and wavelengths hanging above your oven is handy for countless other tasks besides warming your day-old burrito. From sponges to crayons, and even dirt, here are eight things you can microwave besides food. (See also: 14 Dishes You Can Make in the Microwave)
After two or three really good marathon dishwashing sessions, it's tempting to toss a soaking wet and stinky sponge into the trash and grab a fresh one from the package, but that's not always the most cost effective idea. Instead of trashing sponges, disinfect and bring them back to life in the microwave. Just soak a used sponge in water spiked with white vinegar or lemon juice. Heat it on high for about a minute. This will disinfect the sponge, increase the sponge's usefulness, and save you money. (See also: Spring Cleaning on a Budget)
It seems rather odd to sterilize dirt (especially since we're usually concerned with sterilizing things that got in the dirt), but soil is sterilized to ensure plants have the best growing environment possible. Sterilization kills weed seeds or any random organisms lingering in the dirt that will eventually be harmful to your plants. Put about a pint of moistened soil in a microwave-safe plastic bag. Leave the bag open, and nuke it on high for about two minutes. Presto! Clean dirt.
3. Heating Pads
Aches and pains are sadly a part of life. Thankfully all those pains often need is a nice, warm compress. While there are several useful microwaveable heating pads on the market, if you're looking to save some cash, you can easily make your own and soothe those recurring ailments on the cheap. (See also: Natural Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles)
4. Beauty Products
The microwave is perfect for warming up hot-oil conditioning packs for your hair or moisturizing facial masks. Just be sure to test the temperature of the products before applying to your scalp or face. If you're the brave soul still self-applying hot wax to remove unwanted hair, nuke the wax for a couple seconds if it starts to harden while you're silently sobbing between each painful rip. To ungunk your mascara applicator, heat up a mug of water for about a minute, remove it from the microwave, and drop your mascara bottle into the hot water for a couple minutes. (See also: Makeup Advice for the Frugal)
5. Custom T-Shirts
You can dye fabric for your next kid's birthday party or a T-shirt for the next Phish reunion concert. Just make sure the fabric is microwave safe and that it doesn't have any buttons, zippers, or other metal that might spark up during the heating process.
Do the kids constantly beg for a new box of crayons after every art project? Grab that box of unwrapped and broken crayons and melt them back to life. Pick up some microwaveable molds from the dollar store and turn the crayons into different shapes and odd colors or just melt similar shades back into new crayons.
There is nothing better than going out to eat and enjoying warm food on a nice toasty plate, yet it never dawns on us to warm up our dishes at home. The next time you prepare an amazing meal, put your serving dishes in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. Just make sure the dishes are microwavable first
8. Candle Wax
There are few things more frustrating than removing candle wax. To get the most out of decorative votives, use the microwave to remove leftover wax from old and unusable candles. Again, be sure to microwave only glass votives. You can also give old and almost dead candles the "crayon treatment" mentioned earlier and make new candles by microwaving and melting them into new shapes. All you need is a pack of wicks from the craft store.
What odd things have you nuked in your microwave? Tell us in comments!