Same household appliance, new uses: Your oven | America's Preferred Home Warranty Skip to main content

Same household appliance, new uses: Your oven

A red oven with a white towel draped over its handle stands out in a kitchen with teal cabinets and a gold faucet

Welcome to the first article in our New Uses series! We’ve created this collection to help you safely get more life out of the household appliances you use daily. Let’s take a look at some of the tasks that can be tackled with your oven.

Pro Tip: Refer to your owner’s manual for the best understanding of your oven’s capabilities.

­New Use #1: Sterilize your soil

If you like to germinate seeds or grow very young plants, sterilizing your soil can help you hedge your bets against plant damage. Follow this process to prep your soil for your budding plants.

Soil sterilization (Do this shortly before you need to use it.)

  • Step 1: Preheat your oven to 190° F.
  • Step 2: Pour soil 3-4 inches deep into an oven safe container that you won’t use for cooking.
  • Step 3: Cover it with foil and bake for 20-45 minutes.
  • Step 4: Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Step 5: When you’re ready to plant, remove the foil and put the soil in your garden, window box, or planters.

New Use #2: Dry fresh herbs

Looking to turn your fresh herbs into seasoning? Though they’re available at most grocery stores, you can use your oven to dry herbs at home, making for a more elevated dining experience. Use the steps below to boost your dishes’ flavor on a regular weeknight, or your next celebration.

How to dry herbs

  • Step 1: Preheat your oven to 175° F.
  • Step 2: Remove any debris or limp portions from your herbs.
  • Step 3: Lightly rinse them before patting dry.
  • Step 4: Arrange your herbs on a baking sheet lined with a sheet of parchment paper, avoiding crowding.
  • Step 5: Bake for 1-4 hours (depending on your desired consistency), checking every 45-60 minutes.
  • Step 5: Let cool before pulsing in a blender to your desired size.
  • Step 6: Add to your meals, adding slightly more than you would use fresh to account for mild loss of flavor.

Pro Tip: Tougher herbs, like rosemary and thyme, tend to retain flavor better with this method than softer herbs, such as dill, basil, parsley, or cilantro.

New Use #3: ­Make custom potpourri

Do you want all the scents of the season without the big price tag? Follow these steps to make your own custom seasonal potpourri.

How to make potpourri that’s just right for me

Select ingredients that make you think about the season: In the colder months, apple, orange, cinnamon, rosemary, and star anise can give you that holiday feeling. During the summer, lemon, lime, lavender, and vanilla can help you turn your home into a calming getaway. Whatever your delightful concoction, take these steps to get the aromas flowing.

  • Step 1: Preheat your oven to 250° F.
  • Step 2: Slice any fruit very thinly and massage any herbs before arranging flat in one layer.
  • Step 3: Bake until dry, checking once at the ½-hour mark, and then once every 10-20 minutes.
  • Step 4: Remove from the oven and let cool before adding to small jars in open areas or small spaces.
  • Step 5: Cover with a mesh cloth, cheesecloth, or slotted lid to release the aroma while preventing spills.

Pro Tip: This can make for a great holiday gift!

Maintain your multi-function machine

Your oven does its best work when it’s in proper working order. Perform regular maintenance on your oven to keep it safe and clean for all its uses!

Now you’re really getting use out of this major appliance! Which oven tip will you try first? Tell us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram!