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Smoothies, sauces, soups and even one-minute lemonade—your trusty blender is one of the most versatile tools in your kitchen arsenal. Which is why it’s so upsetting when those blades turn dull (or um, when every recipe tastes like last month’s margaritas). But here’s a secret: Be good to your blender and it’ll be good to you. Here, six foods to avoid putting in your blender to keep it in top-notch shape.

RELATED: 16 Things You Can Make in a Blender That Aren’t Smoothies

Overhead shot of blended green juice with ice
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Ice Cubes

Unless you have a high-powered blender that’s up to the challenge, putting ice cubes in your blender can dull the blade. Ditto for big chunks of frozen fruit. So what’s a smoothie (or chilled cocktail) loving gal to do? Use slightly thawed fruit (ten minutes out of the freezer should do the trick) or crushed ice instead. Cheers.

Overhaed shot of a bowl of mashed potatoes
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Mashed Potatoes

Sorry, but your blender’s blades are too powerful to create that fluffiness you’re after. Instead, they’ll overwork your spuds, release way too much starch and give your potatoes a weird, gluey consistency. Your best bet for perfectly light and airy mashed potatoes is to work ’em by hand.

RELATED: Potato Recipes That Are Absolutely Irresistible

Bowl of carrot soup with crusty bread
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Super-Hot Liquid

A bowl of velvety homemade soup? Wonderful. Scalding liquid all over your kitchen floor? Not so much. All that steam from hot ingredients can cause the lid to explode, resulting in a potentially dangerous kitchen disaster. Instead, let your liquid cool for a few minutes before putting it into the blender, and don’t fill it more than halfway. Then blend slowly while holding the lid tightly in place.

RELATED: Blender Tomato Soup Is Basically Life Changing

Dried banana chips on kitchen counter
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Dried Fruit

Blitzing dried dates, apricots and prunes can leave a sticky residue on your blender’s blades, which isn’t just tricky to clean up; it could also damage your appliance. The key to pulsing dried fruit (and sundried tomatoes, too) is to add liquid or soak them in warm water first. Or invest in a high-powered blender that can tackle the tougher texture. And remember to always clean your blender properly after use (relax, it’s easy).

Kitchen utensils hanging up on white brick wall
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Utensils

We get it—you want all your green juice ingredients to blend together in perfect harmony, but the spinach is just sitting there. While it’s tempting to quickly use a spoon to push the ingredients down, trust us on this one—don’t do it, unless you want to ruin your spoon, blender and green juice all at once. Instead, turn your blender off (and take the pitcher off the base) and then stir.

Scoops of cookie dough on baking sheet
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Dough

Trying to make bread or cookie dough in the blender will most likely result in a too-tough texture. That, or the ingredients won’t properly incorporate. If you want to rely on an appliance (hey, kneading dough is hard work), use that food processor or mixer sitting in the back of your cabinet instead.

RELATED: 6 Foods You Should Never Cook in a Cast-Iron Skillet

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