- Spray the windows of your vehicle each evening with a 3:1 mixture of vinegar to water. This helps prevent ice from building up and if any does form, it’s much easier to remove in the morning. Just a warning – vinegar is an acid so it’s not great for your car’s paint finish. Use carefully.
- Spray your snow shovel with non-stick cooking spray before using to help keep the snow from sticking.
- If you get just a light dusting of snow, a broom is often more helpful and easier to use than a shovel to clear it away.
- Carry kitty litter in the trunk of your car. It helps add a bit of weight which can add to your traction on slippery roads and if you get stuck, pouring some under your tires can help give you the traction you need to get moving again. Warning – some people suggest using other items such as rubber backed throw rugs or your car’s floor mats. We tried that once and all that happened was that the mats went flying right across the road and I think could have hurt someone!
- If possible, when you park your car, try to place it so that your windshield is facing east. As the sun comes up in the morning, it can speed up the defrosting process.
- Put plastic bags over your feet before putting on your boots. This will help keep your feet dry.
- Place a few layers of newspaper or cardboard in your boots or use thick insoles to help keep your feet warm. This is especially helpful for those times when you have to stand on cold snow or ice for a long period of time. Alternatively, you can simply stand on some cardboard (or sit on it if you’re sitting at an outdoor vent).
- The best ice scraper I’ve ever had was designed to resemble a credit card. If you can’t find one like that, use an old used up gift card.
- Close the vents in rooms you’re not using and keep the door closed. This helps you save on heating bills.
- Warm your bed with a hot water bottle before getting in. (kind of like the old fashioned bed warmers!). Stick your pajamas in there while it’s getting warmed up so they’ll be warm too.
- Make full use of any heat produced in your house. For example, if you don’t have any kids or pets around, you can open the oven door after using the oven and let the residual heat help to heat up the house. Keep the bathroom door open after a hot bath or shower for the same reasons.
- If you’re still cold at night, an electric blanket actually uses very little energy and again, can help save on your heating bills.
- Use old magazines rolled up and placed in plastic bags or pieces of pool noodles in your tall boots to help them keep their shape. They dry out faster that way too!
- Stuff wet boots and shoes with those really really absorbent mechanics’ shop towels to help them dry faster.
- Spray mittens and gloves with Scotchguard. This helps keep them dryer and therefore, warmer.
- Open the curtains on sunny days and let the heat of the sun in. Be sure to close them before the sun goes down so you can retain that heat!
- Lock frozen and you don’t have any de-icer handy? Use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol as a substitute.
- Have a drafty window? Cover it with bubble wrap. This will provide insulation but still allow some light in.
- Mix up the following: 1 tsp. Dawn dishwashing liquid, 1 T. rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon hot/warm water. Pour this over frozen walkways and steps. It will help the ice to thaw and help prevent it from refreezing. Note: there is such a small amount of the rubbing alcohol in this and being alcohol, it dissipates quite quickly but I don’t use in the back where my dog goes out just in case. I just keep a good supply of the pet friendly “salt” on hand.
- First off, let me just say I haven’t tried this yet so I can’t personally attest to it. Lift your windshield wipers so that they are away from your windshield and cover the blades with old socks each evening. This will not only prevent them from sticking to the windshield but also keep the blades free of ice (because they’re covered.). Now, here’s why I haven’t tried it yet: I worry that there will be freezing rain and it will actually freeze the socks right to the wipers. Am I crazy to worry about that? I’ve heard (on the internet) about this as being a method people swear by but I have yet to meet an actual person who can tell me they’ve tried it. So, I throw this in here in case you want to give it a go. And if you do, will you let me know how it worked please?
What are your favourite winter life hacks? I’m sure there must be more missing from this list – especially from those of you who actually venture out into the winter weather and don’t hibernate away like I try to do.
If you’re looking for a little giggle, check out this video of Californians trying to figure out some winter life hacks!
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