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Winter is coming … which means cold weather, snow, and rain. This year, be smart about staying warm and dry. Use these life-changing cold weather hacks to help you survive the winter chill.
Let’s face it, winter (in the areas of the country that get snow) is a fickle beast that can wreak havoc on your car, shoes, clothes, hair, and home. Our goal is to help you minimize stress, not spend a lot, and make it through the winter season.
Most of our tips include everyday household items like dryer sheets, nonstick cooking spray, and socks (yes, socks), so you don’t have to worry about paying a lot while solving some winter-related problems.
Cold Weather Hacks for Your Car
1. Plastic bags secured with clothespins will stop ice from forming on your car’s side mirrors.
The night before a storm, cover your side mirrors with plastic bags so that snow and ice won’t form. If you don’t have clothespins, use rubber bands. You can also try a gallon-size Ziploc bag.
2. Knee-high socks — slipped over windshield wipers before a storm — will save you from deicing.
Knee-high socks aren’t only for keeping your feet warm. They will also keep your windshield wipers from freezing to the windshield. Just cover the wipers before a storm to make your morning commute easier.
3. A few drops of hand sanitizer on your key can open a frozen door lock.
If you find yourself without a traditional deicer, use hand sanitizer to fix a frozen lock. The alcohol in hand sanitizer melts the ice. Most sanitizers have a high alcohol content that won’t freeze unless it’s far below freezing (like -50 degrees F).
4. You can also spray WD-40 on car windows to prevent snow buildup.
Think of WD-40 as a protective layer between the glass and the elements. Spray liberally and it will prevent snow buildup. It also helps the ice and snow buildup on license plates.
5. Stop ice from forming on your windshield overnight with a blanket.
This is an oldie-but-goodie cold weather hack when you’re in a pinch … and if you have to park outside. If you combine this idea with the knee-high socks tip, you’re bound to have less of a headache when it’s time to drive.
Another tip is to use a combination of water and isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol). Fill a spray bottle with two-thirds alcohol and one-third water.
6. Keep a pair of wool socks in your glove box in case your car gets stuck in the snow.
Socks over shoes? Yes, it works. If your car gets stuck, slip the wool socks over your shoes to create better traction in the snow. We know this isn’t a traditional cold weather tip, but think of the wool socks as cleats that increase the grip as you navigate the snow and ice.
7. Fog-proof your windshield with shaving cream.
Apply shaving cream to the inside of your car’s windows and wipe it off. The ingredients in shaving cream stop water from creating condensation on the glass. Apply a bit on your windshield and wipe it off. The cream leaves a protective layer that will prevent fogging and that condensation. Shaving cream and anti-fog solution have similar ingredients, but shaving cream is way cheaper.
8. Or pour cat litter in an old sock and place it near your windshield to prevent windows from fogging up.
You always hear about keeping kitty litter in your trunk to increase traction if you get stuck in the snow, but cat litter will also absorb any moisture in your car. Fill a sock with litter and place it near your windshield to stop fog.
Cold Weather Hacks for Your Home
9. Put a heated rice pack in bed with you at night.
Add rice to a rice bag, homemade from a sock or purchased. Warm it in the microwave for 15 – 20 seconds. Put it in your bed five minutes before you get into it to avoid icy cold sheets. Rice bags are also great for sore muscles.
10. Cooking spray will keep snow from sticking on a shovel.
It works for your food, so why not use it for your most common winter supplies? Spray a healthy coat of nonstick cooking spray to stop snow and ice from sticking to your shovel. The oil acts like a lubricant and keeps the snow and ice from staying on.
Try these Pam coupons for indoor and outdoor needs.
11. Dryer lint stuffed into an empty toilet paper roll will make starting a fire easier.
Sure, you can buy fire starters, but there’s no need to pay the money when you can use what you have around the house. Stuff dryer lint (which is highly flammable) into an empty toilet paper roll and nestle it in your wood logs. Light the roll and watch the fire begin.
Use toilet paper coupons next time you’re running low.
12. Changing the direction of your ceiling fan will keep your home warm for less.
Find the switch on the motor house of your ceiling fan (make sure you turn the fan off before doing this), and flip the switch. Or use your fan’s remote to change directions. All the warm air hanging out near your ceiling will be circulated back down.
13. Blow-dry your sheets before getting in bed if you don’t have an electric blanket.
Cold sheets during the winter pretty much suck. Instead of an electric blanket, break out the blow-dryer to warm them up. Turn the dryer’s setting on high and distribute the heat to the fitted and flat sheet and the pillowcase. Jump in and stay warm.
14. Line the bottom of your fireplace with foil for easy cleanup.
Cleaning up soot isn’t a fun job. Lay a few sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil at the bottom of your fireplace. After your fire, fold in the edges of the foil with the ashes inside and toss.
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15. Thaw a frozen lock by heating a metal key with a lighter.
Use a lighter or match to warm the key. Then insert the hot key to thaw the lock. Be sure to use bare hands so as not to light your gloves on fire.
16. Prevent frozen pipes by opening cabinet doors under your bathroom and kitchen sinks.
By opening your cabinets, you’ll let warm air circulate around the pipes. You can also trickle water to prevent pipes from freezing. Of course, if the temperature is extreme enough, any water flowing will freeze.
Cold Weather Hacks for Your Clothes and Shoes
17. Newspaper stuffed into wet boots will help absorb moisture quickly.
After a day of sledding or shoveling, the last thing you want is to deal with wet boots, especially if you need to use them again the next day. To speed up the drying process, stuff newspaper into wet boots to absorb moisture quickly. Crumble the paper into balls as much as you can all the way to the top.
Another option is to fill a sock with uncooked grains (i.e. rice, quinoa), close it with a rubber band, and insert it into your wet shoe. Depending on how wet your boot or shoe is, it may take overnight to dry. Shoot for at least four hours.
18. A pool noodle cut in half will keep tall boots from losing their shape when not in use.
Pool noodles will help your boots stand up and keep their shape. As a general rule, get your pool noodles while they’re in season. However, some stores do keep them in stock year-round.
19. Or use a pants hanger to maintain your boots’ shape.
If you can’t get your hands on pool noodles, use pants hangers with clips to help your tall boots keep their shape. Clip both boots and hang them up after each use. It’s as simple as that.
20. Wool felt or fabric (an old sweater works, too) can help keep feet warm.
21. A disposable razor can remove the fuzz and pilling from a sweater.
22. Waterproof shoes with WD-40.
Not only does WD-40 create a waterproof barrier on shoes, it also helps remove any salt stains on boots during the winter months. Just spray onto the stains and wipe with a clean rag.
23. Wear pantyhose under your skinny jeans to stay warm.
Pantyhose aren’t as bulky as long underwear or leggings but will still keep you warm. Now you can stay stylish and toasty. Plus, you can find super cheap pantyhose at Walmart for about $3.
24. Stop a run in your stockings or tights with clear nail polish.
I’ve seen this beauty hack for many years, and it actually works. Keep a bottle in your car or purse for emergency pantyhose runs or tears. Clear nail polish is best so no one can see the rip. Paint it over the top and bottom of the rip until you can throw them away at home.
25. And keep hosiery and tights from snagging by storing them individually in zip bags.
If you’re a frequent stocking or pantyhose wearer, keep them organized by storing them in labeled zip-top bags in your dresser. Mark the bags with their color or design so there’s no more guessing. Plus, putting them in bags will prevent snagging on other intimates.
26. Sand the bottoms of shoes that have slippery soles.
27. Remove road salt from shoes with diluted white vinegar.
Road salt can ruin boots and shoes by staining them and drying out leather. Treat your fabric and leather footwear with diluted vinegar. Soak a cloth or cotton ball in one cup of water and one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. Then blot the areas with the salt. Allow the spots to dry thoroughly.
28. Slip shower caps over shoes to protect them from moisture and mud.
Even on those days when it’s not snowing or icy, shower caps can come to the rescue to protect your sneakers or nice shoes. Wrap them around by tucking the extra plastic or secure with a rubber band or hair tie.
29. You can also keep a bike seat dry with a shower cap.
Despite the cold weather, you still have to travel. For bicyclists, keep your seat dry with a shower cap. Wrap it around your seat when bad weather strikes.
30. Hang sweaters like this so they don’t fall off or stretch out.
First, take your sweater and fold it in half lengthwise. Place the hook of the hanger near the armpit of your sweater.
Then fold the sleeves and the bottom half over the hanger.
31. Hang scarves with shower rings.
Plastic shower rings can work double duty as a cold weather hack for organizing your scarves. Attach a scarf to the ring, then clip onto a sturdy wooden hanger. Hang in your coat closet so you don’t lose your scarf again.
Cold Weather Beauty Hacks
32. Dryer sheets can remove winter static and frizz from hair.
It isn’t always easy to have a good hair day in the winter with the rain, snow, and wind. Look no further than your laundry room to solve this problem. Remove winter hair static and frizz with dryer sheets. The softening agents in the dryer sheets remove static, which keeps those strands from sticking up. Keep one in your purse!
Use our Gain coupons next time you’re running low for your laundry … or hair.
33. Moisturize dry, cracked, and cut fingers with lip balm.
34. A clean mascara wand can exfoliate chapped lips.
Use a clean mascara wand and slowly brush your chapped lips. Put a little lip balm on first for extra smoothness. Another DIY option for chapped lips is making a paste from sugar and petroleum jelly. You’re on your way to smooth lips again.
35. Or apply honey on chapped lips and skin for a natural moisturizer.
Honey is a natural moisturizer and beauty hack for everything from a sore throat to a DIY lip scrub. Try this edible solution to soothe dry, cracked lips. If you’re vegan, use coconut oil.