40 Winter Hacks To Help Conquer The ColdBy Kimiko I
For many, winter is, hands down, the most uncomfortable time of the year. Whether it involves shoveling snow, packing on layers of clothes, or dealing with the kids at home on snow days, most people would rather just hibernate after holiday vacation until the spring comes to save us all. Some people even purchase entire second homes in tropical countries just to escape from winter’s wrath!
Alas, for those of us that do not have that vacation house, and even for those who enjoy winter, we have to be prepared for the long, hard, dark winter months. And wouldn’t you know it, we’ve got a list of helpful hacks for you right here! The time has come to show the cold who’s boss.
Badass Bubble Wrap
Save that bubble wrap that came with your latest package. It may come in handy during the winter. By simply spraying some water on the window and sticking plastic bubble wrap on it, we prevent ourselves from losing heat in our home.
This heat can be lost through our windows. Parents beware; popping bubble wrap is a noisy and annoying game for you and a fun game for the kids. Proceed with caution. Also, realize this isn’t a replacement for a heater!
Tire Tracks to the Rescue
Getting stuck in the snow is no fun. In this busy world, people are always in a hurry and need to be somewhere fast. It is always a good idea to leave a set of tire tracks in the car if we might find ourselves in a sticky situation.
If at any time someone should find themselves in a position where the tires cannot grip onto anything while driving in the snow, put tire tracks behind or in front of the wheels and start driving. This should troubleshoot getting stuck in the snow.
Credit Cards: More than just for money
It is recommended that everyone have a credit card to use for emergencies. That is a pretty basic life tip we all know by now. But we did not think the emergency would be to scrape ice off our windows.
If someone forgets to buy an ice scraper from the store before the snowfall starts or has misplaced it or forgot it, it’s possible to pull out that ol’ plastic and use it to scrape the windows in the meantime.
Cover up for safety
Nowadays, newer cars are built with rear-view mirror warmers to defrost the mirrors after starting up the car. Sometimes these defrosters are too slow, and you need to scrape ice and snow from the mirror anyway. This is time-consuming, and if not done right, it could be dangerous.
By taking a large sandwich bag or plastic bag and covering up the rear-view mirror, we can prevent the ice from getting onto the mirror and save ourselves time by taking off one more thing from our morning to-do list.
Windshield Wiper Warmers
In some places, if there is enough warning that the snow will be coming in, people will leave their windshield wipers up so they do not stick to the windshield. But another trick is to put socks around the windshield wipers.
This way, ice, and snow will not stick to your windshield wipers in the first place. If anyone has any old socks lying around, and it’s likely we all do, this is a time to put them to good use.
The Sun Rises in the East
If one does not have to be at work too early, one may be able to take advantage of the natural thawing effects of the sun. Since the sun rises in the east, by parking the vehicle facing east, the sun can thaw out the frost that is on the windshield.
This can prevent someone from having to take time out of their morning to scrape the frost off themselves before going to work or taking the kids to school. This free life hack can save a lot of time and energy.
Vicks bath bombs
Dealing with the cold and flu season during the winter months is no fun. The sinuses are backed up, it’s hard to breathe, and the congestion can cause terrible headaches. There is a way to create a bath or shower bomb that will help open the airways when washing up.
Take 3 tablespoons of Vicks VapoRub and add it to a mixture of cornstarch and water. Once it has the right texture, roll everything up into a ball and let it cool down. After it has hardened, put it in the shower or bath and let the mixture of steam and bath bomb open the airways.
When bringing the car to the garage after getting it all wet outside from the rain or snow, that water tends to drip onto the garage floor and create a dangerous and slippery surface. You can create a tray that will collect the water dripping from the car.
Take pool noodles and cut them in a way that creates a border on the floor that surrounds the car. Lay a tarp down flat within that border. The tarp will collect all the dripped water so it does not get on the garage floor.
Wait, Duct Tape is Flammable?
Duct tape has many uses, but one of them is probably a lifesaver. We know the old joke that all you need to fix things around the house is duct tape and WD-40. It is super useful. Also, duct tape is highly flammable.
It can be used to start a fire outside when a person thinks they may be out in the wilderness too long and need a good heat source to stay warm. Maybe they should add this little feature to the advertisements.
Pool noodles are a great way to prevent a draft from coming up from underneath a door. This dollar store product can be cut so that it will fit perfectly around the door so that it keeps the cold air outside and leaves the warm air inside.
It also glides nicely so that it does not get stuck while opening and closing the door. This is helpful if you have a space heater in a bedroom or other small area and want that room to stay as toasty as possible.
Who can only sleep with the ceiling fan on?
It may seem strange, but it actually makes a lot of sense. In the wintertime, the biggest complaint is that a person’s feet are cold from walking on a floor where most of the cold air is trapped. Where are our slippers?!
That is because the warm air is often trapped on the ceiling. Turning on a ceiling fan in reverse will direct the warm air from above down below. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you remember a fan only helps circulate the air, it makes sense.
Fun in the cold
Kids will love this. Take some soap and water and mix it, or search in your summer boxes and find the old bottles of bubbles from your last barbecue. Then go outside and spread some bubbles around in the air.
As the bubbles touch the ground, they will freeze and become a nice, natural, beautiful winter ornament. We imagine it depends on the temperature outside, but there is no harm in making this a winter-long experiment. It will keep everyone occupied.
Penguins are the Best Winter Spirit Animals
We’ve heard of someone being pigeon-toed, but in the winter, it is time to channel your inner penguin! When in a slippery situation, try walking like a penguin. Penguins walk with their toes forward, taking teeny tiny steps and their arms outward.
This technique is helpful to make sure that a person does not slip and fall when their feet meet an icy road or sidewalk. We think we have the arm part down to a science since we cannot keep our arms too close together when wearing those puffer jackets.
Spray Pam on the shovel
Cooking spray is great to put on pots and pans before cooking what can be a rather sticky meal and on measuring cups when using sticky ingredients like honey. It helps the food glide off the pan or measuring spoon like butter.
But it can also be used to keep the snow from sticking onto a person’s shovel. Not a shovel used to dig a hole in the dirt, but the large, wide shovel used to shovel snow from a driveway. Not only will this shovel stay relatively clean, but the snow will glide off the driveway like butter, also.
Let there be light!
A natural way to heat your home that is also very cost-effective is to let in the light. Open the curtains, and let the sun blaze into the home. That way, you’re letting the natural light and heat take over.
Once the day is done and the night has come, close the curtains, and try to trap as much of that natural heat as possible. If you pair this with our bubble wrap hack, you should be feeling a bit warmer.
A recent trend circling Facebook has shown people how to create their very own space heater. The best part about it? Everything needed can be purchased at the dollar store. Take a glass bowl and put several tea-light candles inside of it.
Light the candles and put a flowerpot on top of the glass bowl. The flowerpot should have a hole on the bottom. The heat will begin to radiate from the flowerpot and warm up the entire room. Make sure to blow them out when you leave.
Go Outside – the sun is fine.
Just because it is cold outside does not mean the sun is not out. It is nice to take 5 minutes a day to go outside and soak up the sun’s rays. This is especially important in the winter months, actually, when we’re low on vitamin D.
That is sure to leave a person feeling warm outside and inside. It may be nice to thaw out after a harsh cold night also. If you happen to have a greenhouse or a friend with one, that would be ideal.
Don’t forget the garage door
Adding proper insulation to the home and attic can save people hundreds of dollars on their energy bill every year. But if a person has a garage attached to the home, it is also a good idea to insulate the garage door.
Come to think about it, this concept is overlooked and should be common sense. If the insulation in the walls is used to prevent the outside cold and the heat from entering the home to regulate the home’s temperature, why not insulate the garage, which is attached to the home?
A Little Chemistry Project
A cup of coffee or tea can warm the hands very nicely. But here is another trick that we can try at home to warm ourselves up nicely. Take some calcium chloride and put it into a small sandwich bag.
Then, take some water and put it in a larger sandwich bag. Once both bags are filled, put the smaller bag inside the larger bag, and we have a homemade hand warmer. It should work for quite a while too.
Bouncing off the walls
Light can bounce off tinfoil like it bounces off a mirror. But so can heat. If a person has a furnace or a wall heater, but the vents face the wall, The wall will get all the heat, thus preventing the rest of the area from getting any.
Putting tin foil right behind the vents can help the heat bounce off the foil from the wall and be directed into the room. Just make sure you have a radiator that allows for this in a safe way.
Men can do it too
Women are painfully familiar with the hot towel or hot blanket trick to ease those pains during that time of the month. Some women even use a hot water bottle and place it over their stomach area to ease the pain.
But both men and women can use this trick. Take that same pouch and fill it up with hot water and hug it. This can help warm the entire body. And it is portable, too. This hack is actually as old as the hills.
Garlic boosts Immunity. Who knew?
Garlic has always been known as the food of choice to help lower cholesterol, but it also has another health benefit. It can boost immunity. Adding more garlic to one’s diet in the wintertime can serve as a natural antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral.
It may also help with fighting cold and flu infections. It may not have the best smell, but who does not love a little garlic bread with their pasta or pizza? Just toss more of it in your winter soups, and there you go.
Clean up that fireplace
For those chosen few who have a fireplace at home, the best way to keep it clean is to line the bottom of it with tinfoil. After burning some wood in the fireplace, the ashes will fall on the foil.
Once done, wait for the ashes to cool to pick up the tin foil, wrap the ashes in a ball, and throw them away. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. You can also get a tray if you are of that persuasion.
Getting shoes wet in the wintertime is inevitable. Americans like to use an indoor dryer to dry out their shoes. But some people either do not have a dryer or do not like to put certain pairs of shoes in the dryer.
A good tip is to wrap your shoes in newspaper as soon as you walk in the door. This trick will dry the shoes out without leaving water everywhere for people to step in and drag all over the house, leaving a muddy mess.
Grapefruit seed extract
It seems like the winter is when everyone gets sick. That may be the reason we refer to not feeling well as “feeling a little under the weather.” Another age-old hack that can help with that is a little grapefruit seed extract.
It can boost immunity and prevent bacteria from spreading. The grapefruit is also nice to eat with a little sugar sprinkled on top of it. You can also, of course, use the ready-to-mix Emergen-C packets if you are really not a fan of grapefruit.
Heater? No. Oven
One of the most popular ways to heat a house is to use the oven. Not only is the oven the best way to cook food, but the heat generated from the oven can warm up a large portion of your home.
This is especially the case for people who live in places with an open concept. After the meal is done, leave the door open and enjoy the food, as well as warm air. This hack is most useful for those who don’t have central heating.
Face coverings required
Ever since the world quarantine began, it has been necessary to our on a face covering before entering an establishment. A person used to look suspicious if they wore a ski mask walking around, and now we regularly can’t see a lot of people’s faces.
Now, it is seen as more of an expected gesture. These face coverings may also protect us from the cold weather and help keep our faces nice and warm, even when we are not skiing. For those who got hot wearing them in the summer, there will be relief!
Fashion or functionality?
There is no denying that winter fashion is the best. But some of the warmest winter clothes are made from wool and other fabrics that form fuzzy beads on the clothes after every wash. These are not at all cute.
So how does one choose between looking great and feeling great? Well, with the help of a simple razor, we can shave those ugly beads from the fabric and restore them to their original appearance. This is, of course, a hack you can use all year.
Dry heat or moisture?
Taking a long hot shower in the wintertime is tempting. Sometimes that hot shower is the only way a person can get warm when it seems like the house is not warming up fast enough. But a nice hot shower can dry out the natural oils in one’s skin and cause dryness.
This can be not very pleasant, and lotion does not always help. To stay warm and maintain the skin moisture, it is better to take a short, lukewarm shower instead. In the long run, it is way better for you and your ability to stay warm!
Close the door – duh.
Weather control inside the home is difficult. Trying to keep the home warm inside can create a stuffy environment that feels like it sucks all the oxygen away. But if we open a window or door, we may be guilty of letting all the warm air out.
Sure, the breeze of the nice fresh air seems refreshing at first but forgetting to close the door can have consequences later. By remembering to close the door, we can stop ourselves from reversing all that hard work we did to keep the house warm.
Some people cannot function when their feet are cold. But our shoes do not allow us the layer our socks before we put them on. A nice alternative to keeping the seat warm without taking up too much space inside the shoe is adding a thin wool sock insert.
This allows a person to keep one pair of socks on and stay warm, while the insert stops the cold coming from the bottom of the shoe from getting to the feet. This way you don’t need a lot of special winter shoes.
No matter what the temperature is outside, there are still those who want to keep their bodies in shape. These are usually the people we see who wake up, grab their morning cup of joe, put on their sweats, and head out for a jog.
As if finding a good pair of running shoes was not hard enough, it is even harder to find the kind that can withstand the snow. Rather than running in snowshoes or purchasing a pair of cleats, an easy way to create a better grip under the shoe is to add screws to the bottom.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean our fitness goals are halted. This is true for cyclists, too! But bicycle tires do not have the same tread as the tires put on automobiles. So how does a cyclist deal with riding in the snow?
Adding several zip-ties along the rim and the tire will allow the cyclist better traction to stay upright and balanced while riding in the snow. This is a cheap and easy way to add some traction to your bike tires.
Cat litter over salt
The weatherman is not always accurate when reporting that it is going to snow. And some people have to get to work before the city sends out the shoveling trucks to clear the streets and pour salt on the icy road.
Luckily, there is an inexpensive trick for those early birds that have to beat the city trucks and leave before the birds awaken. Pour a little bit of cat litter under the tires to give them more grip when they meet a slippery surface.
The oven is good, but have you tried the bathtub?
Another life hack that may upset the clean freaks is very effective. The most common way for people without central heating to keep the home warm is to turn on the oven and leave the door open. But leaving hot water in the bathtub after the bath fills the house with warm air and moisture.
It creates humidity in the environment that helps with dry skin and chapped lips. This may upset the people who cannot wait to drain the water and clean the bathtub after each use, but this is when one must pick their battles. Will it be the cleanliness or the dry skin that prevails?
Before care vs. Aftercare
Rather than shoveling snow, there is a way to prevent a specific area, like your front step, from getting icy when it snows. Take a bucket and mix it with hot water, a tablespoon of alcohol, and some dish soap.
Pour it over the area that everyone hates to shovel, including stairs, sidewalk, and the driveway. This will prevent that particular area from getting covered in ice and protect those who have to go about their daily lives (i.e., everyone) from future slips and falls.
Care to float?
Who knew pool noodles could be so versatile? Another money-saving tip to prevent us from purchasing a new set of winter boots each year only costs $1. Buy a pool noodle and cut it the same length as the leg of the boot.
This will keep the boot standing as nice and tall as the display model in the store and also keep the boot lasting longer and prevent them from cracking. This can save you a chunk of change on buying a new pair of boots each year.
We all have creative ways to warm up our hands. We try to breathe hot air onto them, rub them together to create friction and heat, or put a warm cup of coffee or tea in between them. This is probably our favorite of the classics.
Another trick is to take an old pair of long socks and use them as mittens. Just cut the socks off above the ankle. Take the tube of cloth and cut a hole for your thumb, and voila – a new, free pair of gloves.
Protect the feet, not the shoe
One of the most uncomfortable parts of winter is walking in the rain or snow. It is cold, and it is wet. Rather than layering your socks to keep your feet warm, you can put a plastic sandwich bag over your feet before you put on your rain or snow boots.
We all know how toasty we get when we wear a rain slicker in the summer. Apply that logic to this! Your plastic booties will not only keep your feet warm, but they will keep them dry and protected from moisture as well.
Remember, it takes a lot to freeze alcohol.
Alcohol is tough to freeze. That is why most people keep their vodka in the freezer; they want it cold but know it won’t freeze. But when we are not trying to have a good time, a different type of alcohol can be found in one’s hand sanitizer.
A good hand sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol. That is why it can be used to thaw the ice that can get trapped in the car’s keyholes when one is trying to open a locked car door.