Winter is here, and with it comes all the challenges brought on by cold weather. But whether you struggle to keep your vehicle running, heat your house, or figure out your winter wardrobe, we’re here to help. Here are 15 genius winter hacks for your car, home, and day-to-day life.
Winter Hacks for Your Car
From snow and ice building up on the windshield to road salt eating away at the paint, winter weather is particularly harsh on cars. It’s important to take care of your vehicle and keep it stocked with the right tools during this time of year so it can keep you safe in return. Here are a few ways to keep your car running, no matter how cold it gets in your area.
Keep your car gassed up.
Try to keep plenty of fuel in your car throughout winter. When there’s excess room in your gas tank, condensation can build up.1 And unlike gas, water will freeze easily. You definitely don’t want your fuel line to freeze! Also, if you end up on the side of the road waiting for roadside assistance, you can keep your car running and warm in the cold.
Have an ice scraper handy.
Even if you live in the South and don’t encounter much snow or ice, you’ll probably still need an ice scraper on some cold mornings. If you don’t have a dedicated ice scraper, you can use a plastic spatula, an old CD, or an expired credit card as a stand-in.
Stand up your windshield wipers.
When you’re trying to get going on a cold morning, it’s always a pain if your windshield wipers are frozen in place on the windshield. Before snow or ice arrives, stand them up straight to keep them from getting stuck.
Plus, add socks.
Socks can do more than just keep your feet warm–they can keep your windshield wipers from icing over, too. Just lift them up and slide a sock over each one at night to keep them from freezing to the car.
Check your tires.
Use the penny tire test to check tread depth. If your tires have poor tread, you should consider replacing them soon, especially before driving on roads covered in snow or ice. Also, make sure to check each tire’s pressure because that number can drop during cold weather.
Cover your side mirrors with plastic bags.
You can help save your side mirrors from collecting an icy layer by covering them with plastic bags. It’s simple, easy, and free if you have some spare bags lying around the house.
Park pointing east.
The sun is powerful, and it can help your vehicle out in the early morning hours, says Lifehacker. Park facing east, and your car’s windshield should absorb some of the sun’s warmth, helping melt off any ice.
Defrost with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
If the locks are frozen, dab some alcohol-based hand sanitizer on the key and try turning it. The alcohol content will help melt the ice inside the lock, according to Today. But remember to be gentle. Forcing a key to turn can cause damage to the lock or even break the key.
Prevent frozen doors with cooking spray.
You can use cooking spray to prevent your doors from freezing shut, says Motor Biscuit. Spray the cooking spray on the edges of the doors and then use a paper towel to rub them down.
Fog-proof your windows with shaving cream.
Many swear by the method of using classic shaving cream to de-fog windows and glass, and Family Handyman backs this claim up. All you need to do to fog-proof your windows is wipe the inside of them with shaving cream. (You can also use this trick on your bathroom mirror so it won’t fog up after a steamy shower!)
Winter Hacks for Your Home
Winter isn’t just harsh on your car; it can cause chaos in and around your home. Here are some of the best ways you can combat the cold around the house.
Use the sun to help heat your house.
Not only can the sun help warm your car’s windshield, but it can also warm your home. Open up your blinds during the day and let the natural light help heat up your house.
Open your cabinets & let water drip on cold nights.
When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, pipes can freeze and burst. To help prevent this from happening, open cabinets to allow for better air flow. Also, make sure to leave faucets dripping to keep water moving through the pipes.
Keep some salt or sand around just in case.
If you ever end up with an icy sidewalk or driveway, sprinkling salt around can help it melt more rapidly.2 If salt seems a little unnecessary, you can sprinkle sand over any ice steps or walkways for a little more traction. Even cat litter could do in a pinch.
Check for any cracks or gaps and seal them up.
You want to make sure you’re not letting any warm air escape through poor seals, causing your utility costs to skyrocket. Doing this will also help keep little critters from sneaking into your home or garage to find warmth.
Keep non-perishable food items on hand.
We hope you can avoid power outages, but sometimes winter storms have other ideas. Make sure you have food on hand to eat in case in the power does go out.
Winter Life Hacks
Want some personal tips for thriving during winter? We’ve got you covered with these suggestions!
Crisp, cold air leads to dry, cracked skin. Carry lotion with you to make sure your skin stays hydrated during the coldest time of the year.
Don’t take excessively long & hot showers.
While it might seem counterintuitive during winter weather, avoid taking long, hot showers. Hot water can dry out your skin, so try to clean up as quickly as possible.
Learn how to walk on ice.
When the ground is slick, you might not want to walk the way you normally would. Big steps can lead to a big fall on an icy surface. Instead, get footwear built for the weather (like boots) and practice taking short steps or shuffling to remain upright.3
Use a razor to de-pill your sweaters.
You’re excited to wear your favorite sweater or cardigan, but then you see it is covered in annoying, ugly pills. Fear not! As unusual as it sounds, grab a razor blade and shave your sweater. The pills should come right off.4