40 Everyday Household Items And Their Hidden Purposes

There are so many things we use on a daily basis, but don’t know why and how they’re designed the way they are. Well, be prepared to get your mind blown. Let’s explore some of the most common household items and their secret purposes. We want you to know that some are so logical that you would want to tear your hair out. Others, well, they’re so stupid and illogical that you shouldn’t blame yourself for not knowing. Some of these secret purposes are also life hacks that could help you overcome some odd situations.

Want to know which ones? Start reading then!

Punt in a wine bottle


Have you ever taken notice of those round indentations on the bottom of wine bottles? They are called punts and were historically added by glassblowers to make bottles stronger. They also help with keeping bottles upright and keeping them from tipping over. In sparkling wines, like champagne, the punt helps distribute the pressure inside more evenly, ensuring a nicer taste and a better pop. And even before the wine is poured into the bottle, a punt helps to sanitize the bottle with steam more easily.


The loop on the back of button-down shirts

If you look at some of the nicer button-down shirts in your collection, chances are you will find a small fabric loop on the back. Located near the place your shoulder blades meet, this little fashion detail has its origin with sailors in the Navy. Not having any closet space aboard ships, they added the loops so that they could easily hang their shirts off any hook in the walls. Later, this detail was also useful to college students from prestigious Ivy League schools, so it came to symbolize the quality and high-status fashion.


Colored rectangle on the bottom of toothpaste tubes

A lot of brands of toothpaste have a strange detail in common. That detail is a colored rectangle or square at the very bottom. The color stands out, most often it is blue, black or sometimes green. The answer to this lies in the manufacturing and packaging process of toothpaste. This little square is called an eye mark. When being assembled by machines on an industrial line, this little square lets the machine know where to divide, cut or fold. Thanks to this, we can buy small, single packages of toothpaste.

Arrow on fuel gauge in cars

Next time you sit in the driver’s seat, take notice of this little detail. On most cars manufactured in the last decade, you can find a small arrow on the gas gauge. Pointing either left or right, its purpose is to indicate on which side of the car the gas cap is located. We’re not too sure if anyone who drives needs to be reminded of that, but it could be useful next time you need to rent a car – so remember this handy fact.

Buttons around jean pockets

If you’re wearing a pair of jeans while reading this list and put your hand in your pockets, chances are you will feel a few cold buttons like objects there. If you think back, most jeans have this, but these little metal pieces called rivets actually serve an important purpose. They reinforce the jeans in strategic places so that they are harder to tear and wear out. Jean rivets were invented by the legendary founder of Levi’s jeans, Levi Strauss. When miners, who often wore jeans because they were cheap and durable, complained about jeans ripping apart, Levi Strauss found the solution in rivets. Thanks to them, as we all know, a good pair of jeans is almost indestructible.

Electrical outlets being used as HDTV antennas

Cable TV is on its way out. With many new options such as streaming services and consuming media online, paying for cable is becoming too expensive. A few crafty and tech-savvy people have begun to circumvent this by rigging up old-school antennas to electrical outlets. These newly made devices are much cheaper than paying hundreds of dollars per month for the usual set of TV channels. If you want to save a good amount of money on a monthly basis, this innovative solution may just be the right choice for you.

Prepackaged extra fabric with clothing

When you buy a piece of clothing, you’ll sometimes find a small Ziploc bag with some of the fabric inside. The logical explanation is that we can use it to patch up a hole or tear – but this is not the purpose of this little item. The little package is meant to be used in a washing machine, to see if it will shrink or bleed colors using your machine or washing settings. A neat way to save your new piece of clothing from being ruined in the first wash.

Holes in pot handles

A lot of pots and pans have a hole or hollow part along the handle. Except for feeling the difference when holding them, most people don’t notice this little element. It has a dual purpose. One, it makes it easier to hang these items up while drying, and two, it can be used to hold in place a spoon or ladle. That way, after mixing or cooking, instead of putting it down on the counter or leaving it in the pot, you can leave any utensil to drip back into the pot.

Extra shoelace holes

Next time you find yourself tying your shoelaces, take notice of the extra holes on the top. These are there to help people get a better fit. If your feet move around in footwear, or if you blister easily, this can help you. Thread the shoelace through these holes in the opposite direction to get what they call a lace lock or heel lock. It will help you get a firm, tighter grip for walking or running. For some people, this can be a more comfortable solution than the usual way of tying shoelaces.

Padlock holes

Padlocks are very useful for keeping various things safe. If you take a closer look at one, you will see that it has one or two holes on the bottom side. They actually have a very important purpose. Firstly, they allow any water that gets inside to drip out of the lock, preventing rust, helping the lock to stay durable in outside weather conditions. If this were not the case, the water would freeze and damage the lock. Secondly, these holes can be used to pour lubricant, oil or WD 40 inside if the lock gets jammed up.

Fluffy balls on top of winter hats

Nothing beats a warm, snug hat on a cold winter day. Many designs of winter hats incorporate a fluffy ball or pom-pom on top. This strange fashion choice originates in snowy Scandinavia. The assumption is that the fluffy top was useful back when knitting was more common, as a way to gather the seams. Since that time, many types of hats have incorporated this element. Nowadays, knitting is much less common, but the design element has stayed relevant – it seems people like it.

Holes in airplane windows

If you’ve ever noticed these little holes in airplane windows, you must have felt strange and a bit worried. It seems counterintuitive, but it doesn’t pose any risk to the plane. These are called breather holes, and their purpose is to help manage pressure differences. When planes climb up to higher altitudes, air pressure outside drops, but the cabin is safely pressurized at a constant level. If there were no breather holes, the panes of the airplane wouldn’t be able to deal with the different pressures from either side.

Dark grating in microwaves

A bit easier to notice than the previous item, most microwaves have dark colored grating on the doors. This is known as a Faraday shield – named after a renowned British scientist. Its purpose is to block electromagnetic fields from going through the microwave and into the outside. Without this grating, microwaves would be dangerous to use and much less effective for heating things up. They might make seeing your food more difficult, but at least the guarantee it will be warmed up properly.


Dimples on golf balls

Anyone who has seen a golf ball up close will have noticed that it is dotted with small dimples. This is in fact due to aerodynamics. In the past, golf players noticed that older, worn out balls that were not perfectly round could achieve more distance. These bumps help create turbulence around the ball while in flight, which helps to negate the effect of drag. Eventually, this became the standard for making golf balls, and now players can send the ball flying quite a way further than their predecessors.


Long neck glass bottles

Hardly anything is better than having a nice, ice cold drink on a warm day. Most bottles have the iconic long neck shape, and that is no accident. This shape makes it easier to comfortably hold a bottle for a longer period of time. It makes pouring your drink of choice into a glass much easier and helps distribute the heat from your hands better. Easier to pour, easier to hold, and it stays cold for longer – do we even need more reasons for this simple stroke of genius?


Soda can tab

All soda cans have a small tab on the top that we use to open the can. After the satisfying popping sound it makes, the tab sort of just stays there and does nothing – except occasionally falling into your drink. But the original intent behind the little hole on the tab is for it to be used as a straw holder. Rarely anyone drinks with a straw from soda cans nowadays, but this explains this seemingly purposeless detail.


Flat takeout food boxes

Those of us who eat takeout Chinese food on the regular are well acquainted with the signature boxes that the food arrives in. Most of us just open the top or transfer the food to a plate. But that’s completely unnecessary. The carton boxes are designed the way they are so they can be their own plate. Just carefully pull the sides apart and set it flat out. If you did it the way it’s supposed to be done, the carton would now be in the shape of a regular plate. Once you start doing it this way, there’s no going back.

Keyboard bumps

Take a look at your keyboard. You can notice that the F and J keys each have a small bump on them. These bumps are placed to help you find your way around a keyboard without looking away from the screen while typing. In fact, the most natural hand position for working is with the left index finger on the F key, and your right on the J key. It’s really interesting how this small change subconsciously allows all of us to type better and work more efficiently.

Metal end of measuring tape

If you’ve ever measured something with a regular measuring tape or helped someone do that, you will have noticed the angular metal end. This addition is very useful for a couple of reasons. If you don’t have anyone to help to hold the other end, you can place the metal part behind a nail to keep it fixed. Secondly, the edge of the metal end is slightly serrated – this is useful when you need to mark a wall or any other surface but find yourself without a pen.

The hole in the cap of a ballpoint pen

When you first see a hole in the cap of a pen, the natural reaction is to think that a part has broken or fallen off. You would also think that this would dry out the pen quicker – but you would be wrong. This hole is put here on purpose by manufacturers to help in case the cap is swallowed. If a child or an adult accidentally swallow the cap, this allows air to flow through it and prevents suffocation. Although it may look less than useful, this safety measure has surely saved a lot of lives.

The hole next to the iPhone Camera

Conspiracy theories are becoming increasingly popular in today’s world. One of the most popular theories in recent years revolved around the tiny hole next to the camera in every iPhone. Opinions have spanned from secret cameras allowing the CIA and NSA to spy on you from radiation detectors in case of a nuclear apocalypse. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort is true. The tiny hole is in fact – a powerful microphone! Ever since the iPhone 5, every iPhone has three mics, two in the front and one in the back. It allows for better voice recognition.

ZigZag sides on bobby pins

Ladies, you probably know this one already. Guys, when you’re looking at bobby pins, doesn’t it seem odd that one side of the pin is normal and the other one is wavy? This isn’t without reason, believe it or not. The side with the wavy pattern is meant to catch a bigger chunk of hair and to hold it in place in the wavy indents. When ladies wear their bobby pins, we only see the way side. Some have speculated that this detail exists because it looks cooler. It does look cool, but the zigzag part also makes it easier to pick the pin up once it falls on the floor.

Cylinder part at the end of cable cords

When you’re plugging in your laptop’s cable, do you ever notice that cylindric part at the end of the cord? If so, have you ever wondered what purpose does it serve? This thing is called a choker, or more technically – a ferrite cole. It’s made out of magnetic iron oxide and is there to prevent any electromagnetic interference. Remember when you used to bring an old phone close to your speakers and there is that weird noise? The choker prevents any waves from interfering with the cable and the laptop. Not a bad idea.

Wings on the MacBook power cord

If you possess a MacBook, you’ve probably seen those strange wins that you can put on or take off of your power cord. Most MacBook users are confused by the existence of these wings, but there is a perfectly logical explanation that can justify the presence of these strange thingies. The wings are there so that you can flip them up and wrap the entire cord around the power block. It turns out that they can be a lifesaver, especially if there is a risk of damage to the cord. If you have a lot of items in the bag, the wings can be very helpful.

The blue part of the eraser

Everyone has a strange experience with this other side of the eraser. In middle school, we all knew a friend who swore on his mother’s life that the blue part is to erase pen ink. Unfortunately, that part is entirely not true. The blue part of the pen is meant for thick and strong types of paper mostly used by architects, painters and other specialized artists. Papers they use are generally more sensitive to friction and need a special eraser to remove a mistake. If they use a regular eraser, the paper can easily rip. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

The square patch found on backpacks

Every modern backpack has these square patches with two holes within them. But what purpose they serve? They may look cool, but they’re put on backpacks for two separate reasons. The first one is an extra hanging space for gear when you go camping. It’s difficult to put on two backpacks at the same time. The patch gives you an option of putting a string through the hole and hanging a backpack on your existing one. What about the second purpose? It’s funnily simple – if you can’t carry your phone in your pockets, you can just put it in the backpack and put headphones through the whole to listen to music.

Different-colored ice cream scoops

If you ever went to an ice cream shop, you probably noticed that all the scoops used to pick up ice cream are in different colors. Most parents tell their kids that this is to make the color scheme cheerful because kids like ice cream. However, this is not the case. The real reason why ice cream scoops are made in different colors is that they’re all in different sizes! That’s right. Ice cream shop employees have to use different size scoops to fill your container, depending on the amount of ice cream you want. It’s too hard to remember dozens of different sizes!

Brass doorknobs

While nobody pays attention to handles, you might have realized that a majority of old doorknobs are made of brass. Even some newer models are made out of brass alloys. What is the reasoning behind this exactly? The answer lies in chemistry, of all places! Brass as a material is much less prone to bacteria building up. Ever since the old days, doorknobs were built to be germ-free. Since they’re the thing we touch the most during the day, it’s no wonder that people want to be protected from germs as much as possible. Chemistry can help prevent diseases, it seems.

Discs under bottle caps

Were you ever so bored that you looked at what’s under a bottle cap? If you did, one thing catches your eye first – the little plastic disc right in the center. The role of this small disc is to help with carbonization. Basically, it prevents carbon dioxide from escaping the bottle. When a fizzy drink evaporates, it tastes much sweeter and it isn’t that pleasant to drink it anymore. The science behind carbonation is complicated, but what you need to know is that without these discs – there would be flat soda everywhere. Imagine living in a world like that? Scary!

Tab on the rear view mirror

Driving is a big responsibility and most of us can do it without even knowing what the majority of things in the car even do. Surely, some people are experts but even some of them don’t have an idea about the mysterious tab on the bottom of the rearview mirror. What is it for exactly? The answer is surprisingly simple. This small tab is used to adjust the mirror so that you won’t be blinded by the headlights of the cars behind you. Adjusting it properly may cause you to avoid any accidents or drunk drivers behind you. Most drivers overlook this safety feature.

Coin ridges

Those interesting coin ridges you can find on dimes and quarters have a purpose. Back in the middle ages, people had a smart, but an illegal way of getting money. Coins were stamped in different weights so that it was easier to determine the weight. People used to get special cutting tools and shave off the edges of coins. They collected the metal until they would melt it down to make even more coins. In Britain, they started putting ridges on coins so that people wouldn’t shave off the sides. This is an old tradition that withstood the test of time.

Loops on grocery carts

Isn’t the whole point of grocery carts to be as big as possible to carry all the groceries you need? Yes. Okay, why the retractable loop when it takes up space? The whole purpose of the grocery cart loop is to store your “vulnerable” groceries such as bread or eggs. Putting them with the other groceries might end up causing a disaster with squished bread and broken eggs. The next time you go to your local convenience store, try putting eggs in the loop. You will be able to throw in other groceries without worrying about breaking something. Amazing!

Margins on lined paper

Have you ever wondered about the purpose of margins? Their story goes back to the old times. When people used to store books in libraries and storage units, rats used to eat the edges of the pages. This ruined many ancient and valuable books. Someone was smart enough to insert margins to the mix, especially in notebooks and other sources of valuable written information. There is also a second purpose – it’s so that the teachers could correct your writing without scribbling all over your own sentences.

Paper condiment cups

When you order something at KFC or McDonald’s, the most annoying thing ever is having to dip in large french fries or chicken wings into these small cups. Why are restaurants purposely selling these small cups that we can’t use properly? Well, it’s simple – we don’t use them properly. Condiment cups are supposed to be unfolded to resemble a plate. It doesn’t only give you more room for dipping, but you’ll also reach all the ketchup in the corners much more easily.


Pockets in women’s underwear

Some, not all, models of women’s underwear have pockets sewn into the front side. This particular addition has confused both men and women, as they’ve never been able to realize what’s the deal with these pockets. The answer is simple. When women get their period, they need to have a tampon or a sanitary towel. Although it’s uncomfortable, this pocket allows any woman to have a tampon to quickly use when they feel their period beginning.

Plastic lids on cups

Drinking coffee through the cup can get a little annoying, so we always throw them out. In rare moments, we stop to think – why are they even there when we always through them into the trash? This one will blow your mind. Those lids are supposed to be used as coasters when you’re putting the cup on a surface of any kind. Plastic is good in absorbing heat, plus you won’t leave coffee stains on a table or on clothes. The top of the lid hugs the bottom of the cup and they fit together perfectly. The next time you order takeout coffee, try this – it works!


Detachable headrest

During those long road trips as kids, we’ve all played with our headrests in the car. It seemed funny at that time, but the question still remains – why do we need detachable headrests in cars? Is it for situations when really short people sit in the seat and they don’t need it? The answer will surprise you – detachable headrests exist for safety purposes. Ever notice the long metal bars coming out of them? They are used to break glass in case of an emergency. If you’re trapped with no way to get out, just smash the glass with these metal bars. This common item can save your life one day!


Lines on red cups

If you never had a party with red solo cups, did you even live? Just kidding, you never know. What we want to talk about is the presence of those horizontal lines on each cup. These ridges have puzzled partygoers for decades. We finally have the answer – they are for measuring how much alcohol you’re pouring in. There are three lines. The first one is for one ounce, which one shot of spirit. If you reach the second line, it’s about five ounces. The top is 12 ounces, which is enough for one cup of beer. It’s a safety measure, so that you don’t get smashed.

Three handles on Jerry cans

Camping and Jerry cans are two inseparable things. If you ever went camping with your dad and your friends, someone surely brought these five-gallon beauties. Did you ever notice they had three handles? Most canisters need only one or two handles, so what’s the deal here? The answer lies in the fact that Jerry cans are created for carrying in hands. With the three handles, two people can hold each of the further handles without risking spillage. Also, if you want to hold two at the same time, grab the adjacent handles at the sides. Magic!


Wooden hangers

Why are hangers made of wood? It’s a strong material, don’t get us wrong, but why kill innocent trees just so we can make hangers? They can also be made out of plastic, metal or any other material that doesn’t involve damaging nature. Wooden hangers are made out of cedar wood in particular because this special type of wood repels moths and other bugs that eat fabric. They are practically allergic to this type of because it has special enzymes within it. If you have coats that you love, buy cedar hangers and be safe from bugs.

Juice box flaps

Kids aren’t too good with holding stuff. To help you prevent juice spills all over the house, companies have started designing boxes with flaps a long time ago. It’s to help little kids hold the box without risking spillage. The boxes aren’t heavy so the kid can hold the faps with two hands and not have difficulties with it. Having small hands is hard, believe us. There is another trick involved, as well. Each flap can be opened so that you can drink juice like you would from a glass. It’s only for impatient people, though! Be careful.