Winter’s Coming: The Best Hacks To Know For The Season

There are many things to do to prepare for the winter season. It’s a time when people are gathered together and ready to get into the holiday spirit. Even though the weather varies depending on where you live it can still be one of the harshest seasons of the year.

If the idea of preparing for winter seems too intense you no longer need to worry. These are some of the best winter hacks that deal with staying warm, weatherproofing, and more. Winter will have no idea what hit it.

The More Socks The Better

a person wearing pink watermelon socks and plastic pink sandals
Onnie A. Koski/Getty Images
Onnie A. Koski/Getty Images

There is a decent amount of snow and ice on the ground in certain parts of the world during winter. Those who don’t wear the proper shoes may notice that the water will seep in and eventually soak their socks.

No one wants to walk around with wet socks. Also, a lot of our body heat escapes from our feet, so it’s best to keep them dry during the colder seasons. This is why people should keep an extra pair of socks in their glove compartment in case the pair they’re wearing gets wet.

Make Your Own Space Heater

a flower pot covering tea lights on a wooden holder
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It’s important to stay warm during the winter because loss of body heat can contribute to several issues. According to Healthline, being in cold weather inhibits the ability of mucus and nasal hairs to work disease agents out of your nose. It can also trigger the harsher symptoms of asthma and other upper respiratory problems.

One quick and easy way to bring a little heat to your home is to create a personalized space heater. All you need is a flower pot and some tea candles to put underneath.

It’s Time To Break Out The Bubble Wrap

bubble wrap covering a window
Bob Vila/Pinterest
Bob Vila/Pinterest

One of the main ways people lose heat in their homes is from insufficient window ventilation. If the windows aren’t installed properly and there are gaps between the frames and glass, cold air can seep through. Instead of replacing all your windows you can turn to bubble wrap.

By attaching bubble wrap over all the edges of your windows it can keep the warm, heated air inside your house. Bubble wrap will trap the cold air pockets, while still allowing all the outside light to shine through the glass.

Tube Socks Have Come Back In Style For Winter

tube socks over the windshield wipers of a wet car
InchImaging/Twitter
InchImaging/Twitter

It can be severely dangerous trying to navigate the roads during winter. When roads are icy and snow is coming down it can increase the risk of losing control of a vehicle and road accidents. One way to make it a little easier may be found in your sock drawer.

Putting a pair of tube socks over your windshield wipers will protect them from the ice and snow. It also helps to have a rubber band or clothespins to secure them to the wipers.

Don’t Let Your Car Windows Freeze

a spray bottle next to a green car window
WELKE.nl/Pinterest
WELKE.nl/Pinterest

When a car is parked for an extended period of time in cold weather the water vapor condenses on the glass. This causes the window to cool very quickly and form frost and ice, which can lead to cracking. Luckily, there’s a simple solution that can prevent this from happening.

All you need is to mix some vinegar and water in an empty spray bottle. The mixture can either be sprayed on the already icy window or prevent it from forming ice in the first place.

Your Pipes Won’t Burst After Doing This

a technician working under a kitchen cabinet
myLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
myLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

This one may seem a bit strange, but it can actually save people a lot of time and money in the long run. It’s recommended to leave your cabinet doors ajar, especially the ones with under-the-sink units and pipes inside.

This will allow warm air to circulate and prevent your pipes from freezing. When water freezes it expands, so if the water in your pipes drops below 32 degrees it can cause them to burst.

Change The Direction Of Your Ceiling Fan

a ceiling fan with a bear and forest design
Michael Stuparyk/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Michael Stuparyk/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Fans aren’t just for cooling off from hot weather, but they also have the capability of heating a room. Most ceiling fans can spin both clockwise and counter-clockwise, which can be changed either manually or from a remote.

They should spin counter-clockwise in the warmer months because that creates a cool breeze, whereas they should go clockwise in the colder months because that pushes warm air into the room. It’s probably a good idea to invest in one because they can be used all year round.

Remember To Keep Your Makeup Warm

a woman applying black eyeliner
Binnur Ege Gurun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Binnur Ege Gurun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

There are many things that get affected by the cold that oftentimes go unnoticed. The way makeup is applied to the skin changes depending on its temperature. When products such as eyeliner are cold it can be difficult to make it look right.

A helpful tip for this is to hold the end of the eyeliner pencil between two fingers for about 20 seconds. This warms it up and makes it go on a lot smoother. Try this hack with other makeup products such as lipstick, eyebrow pencils, or concealer.

Here Comes The Sun

a woman opening blinds in her room
David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The sun may not shine as bright during the winter, but it still should be utilized for the whole year. During the day people should open their blinds, drapes, curtains, and whatever else is covering their windows to let the sunshine in.

The energy from the sun will heat up the house, so people won’t need to waste money or unnecessary power from their heaters. This should be the opposite at night. Close up your windows when the sun goes down to hold the heat in.

Shave The Fuzz Away

a disposable razer getting the fuzz off a sweater
eHow/Pinterest
eHow/Pinterest

Sweaters are a staple of the winter wardrobe, but they can start to deteriorate over time. Instead of buying more than you need or throwing away ones that look a bit worn down, try this quick fix. All you need is a disposable razor.

Running a razor over the areas that have fluff or fuzz will easily scrape it away. This also works well for knitwear including gloves, hats, scarves, and socks. If a kid is doing this try to make sure they have some kind of adult supervision.

Say Goodbye To Cold Drafts

a striped door draft stopper under a door
Etsy/Pinterest
Etsy/Pinterest

Cold air has its way of creeping in through any open cracks in doors and windows. In order for them to close all the way there needs to be a little extra space, but that can also lead to feeling a cold breeze during the winter.

Door draft stoppers or draft snakes are perfect for fixing this problem. They can either be bought or turned into a DIY craft. In order to do it yourself, all you need to do is roll up mats, rugs, socks, or anything else soft that can fit under a door and put it where the air leaks out.

Don’t Waste Energy With Your Thermostat

a woman using a thermostat attached to the wall
Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Running a thermostat in your home can lead to a high energy bill. While some may feel the need to turn their thermostat up high during the colder months, it doesn’t need to be that way throughout the season. People with thermostats should know that there are certain instances when they should be turned on.

If you are away from your home for a long period of time or going to sleep make sure to turn the thermostat down. This will save you money and won’t use up unneeded energy. There are plenty of programmable and green thermostats that can help with this.

A Simple Trick For Gaining Tire Traction

a red car piled under a lot of snow
John Milner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
John Milner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The snow can give people a massive headache because it’s one of the toughest weather conditions for driving. Some cars without the right tire protection can easily get stuck, but there are some inventive ways to gain traction in the snow that won’t damage your tires.

Sprinkling kitty litter or sand in front of the drive tires, or behind if you’re backing out, allows the tires to tread on the road. Some other things that can help the tires gain traction are cardboard, plywood, or vehicle floor mats. It’s crucial that people don’t use antifreeze because it’s toxic.

Walk Like A Penguin

two penguins standing on some pebbles
Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images
Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images

Penguins are commonly associated with winter, so it seems like a good idea to try some of their winter survival techniques. They have a special way of walking to prevent themselves from slipping on the ice, which is something that can happen to humans during the winter as well.

In order to safely walk on the ice, people should walk like penguins by pointing their feet out, holding their arms near their sides, shuffling, and taking short steps. Whenever you have to walk on ice make sure you’re wearing gloves, use a backpack, stay on a designated walkway, wear footwear meant for traction, and be cautious when entering and exiting vehicles.

Keep Your Feet Warm

wool cut out to put inside shoe insoles with a pair of metal scissors
Brit Morin/Pinterest
Brit Morin/Pinterest

Walking through the ice and snow can do some damage on your feet if you’re not careful. It’s usually best to wear protective shoes or boots that are weatherproof, but insoles can also make a big difference. When felt or wool is placed over insoles it can keep your feet warm for hours.

These insoles can make any pair of shoes feel like comfy slippers on the inside. These can either be bought or if you’re thrifty enough you can make your own with some fabric, scissors, and an adhesive.

The Perfect WD-40 Hack

wd-40 being sprayed on pipes
Sarah Whitten/Pinterest
Sarah Whitten/Pinterest

WD-40 is one of the most popular brands of oil and water-based lubricant. There are numerous uses for WD-40 and many are extremely helpful during the winter. The cold weather can lead to household pipes freezing and possibly bursting open.

By applying a generous coat of WD-40 to the outside and joints of the pipes and taps it can prevent them from erupting. It also has the capability of defrosting the stuck taps to become loose.

Cover Up With An Electric Blanket

a woman under an electric blanket in bed
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Heating a home can sometimes cost a lot of money and use up energy, but there are various cheap fixes that will keep you feeling warm all winter long. Investing in an electric blanket may be the perfect solution to either save money or be used as a replacement if you don’t have a central heating system.

The price varies on them, but people should consider getting ones that have timers. In some cases, the electric blankets will overheat and could start a fire or harm the person using it. With an automatic timer, the blanket will cool down after a certain period of time.

An Unusual Place To Store Food

three chili peppers halfway buried under the snow
Simon Gakhar/Getty Images
Simon Gakhar/Getty Images

A strong winter storm can knock the power out of many areas, so it’s best to know how to utilize your resources when that happens. One of the most important things to have when the power goes out is extra food, but if it’s stored in the refrigerator or freezer it can go bad quickly.

Those who live in places where it snows can use that as a hack for storing food. If you place the refrigerated or frozen food in a cooler or container and bury it under the snow it can prevent the food from perishing.

Dry Your Shoes The Right Way

wet shoes filled with newspaper on a wood floor
Lifehacker/Pinterest
Lifehacker/Pinterest

The harsh weather conditions during the winter can leave your shoes completely soaked. Since it’s colder this also means that they will take a lot longer to dry. Some suggest throwing them in the dryer, but that doesn’t always work. The dryer can shrink or damage the shoes and it also uses up a lot of energy.

A quick tip that practically costs nothing is to soak up all the water with newspaper. You can crinkle it up and place it inside or wrap it around the top of the shoes.

The Best Direction To Park

car parked on the grass with kayaks on top
Lewis Mulatero/Getty Images
Lewis Mulatero/Getty Images

If the sun sets in the west that means it rises in the east. When you park your car for the night during winter it’s better to do it facing east. This way the sun will hit it as it’s rising in the morning and will melt any ice or snow that may have formed during the night.

This will also help to heat up your car for your morning commute. If it’s hard to tell which way is east most smartphones have built in compasses that can show you which way to park.

Detect The Draft

Three tea light candles line up against a blue background.
Digital Camera Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Digital Camera Magazine/Future via Getty Images

If your home feels cold, and you don’t know why, you’ll want to locate a draft. There’s no easier way to do that than by using a candle. Although it may sound medieval, a candle flame flickering is the most surefire way to locate a draft.

If your windows are open by just a crack, they’ll let in a draft that will drop the temperature in your home. Wherever the candle leans, look the opposite direction. Then prevent the wind from chilling your home.

Rice Isn’t Just For Eating

Small pillows are made and sold to support breast cancer patients.
Twitter/@AnayeliNews
Twitter/@AnayeliNews

How good does a bowl of warm rice sound on a cold day? Even if you don’t like the taste, you can use rice to warm up your body. But filling a pouch or pillow with rice, you can heat up the pouch and use them as hand or feet warmers.

Rice absorbs and retains heat better than other food. You can either sew a tiny pillow and fill it with rice, or you could microwave a bag of rice and wrap it in a towel. Either way, you’ll have a speedy remedy for your cold fingers or toes.

Prevent Your Shovel From Sticking

A woman shovels snow into a pile.
Jean Pieri / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images
JUDY GRIESEDIECK/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Have you ever shoveled snow and had the ice stick to the shovel? To prevent this, spray some non-stick cooking oil on your shovel. Although it sounds odd, it works. It keeps the shovel warm enough to melt the snow slightly.

The same can go for a brush or window-wiper. Just make sure that your tool can handle the cooking spray! Once you’re done shoveling, wash off the shovel. You don’t want it to remain oily when you keep it in your winter tool closet.

You Have This In The Bag

A ziplock bag covers a car's rear-view mirror.
Tumblr/@bobvilaonyahoo
Tumblr/@bobvilaonyahoo

You can defrost your windshield, but you can’t defrost your rear-view mirrors. If you’re parking outside, cover your rear-view mirrors in ziplock bags. It will prevent snow and sleet from sticking to these mirrors.

To secure the bag, use rubber bands or clothespins. Just slip it off when you need to drive and enjoy your commute! Expect the mirrors to still have some condensation, though. You want your drive to be as smooth as possible, right?

Foil Your Plans

A person lifts the tin foil roll out of its box.
Twitter/@DUNKZILLADavis
Twitter/@DUNKZILLADavis

If your space heaters threaten to foil your budget, foil it back. Tin foil reflects both light and heat. In a microwave, this could become too hot, but you can use this property in a different way. Place it behind your space heater or radiator.

If you hang tin foil on the wall behind your heater, it will both absorb and reflect the heat back into your home. That way, none of your hard-earned heat will leak into the outside. Don’t be surprised if the room feels warmer after you do this.

Turn Any Shoe Into Snow Boots

A woman wears pink shoes in the snow.
Twitter/@picjumbo
Twitter/@picjumbo

If you need snow shoes in a pinch, you can make some. With a zinc T profile plate and screws, you can add some traction to your shoes. Place the plate on the soles of your shoes, and bolt them in.

Make sure your shoes have thick enough soles to handle the bolt. You don’t want anything to poke you. But once the plate is screwed in, you can walk across the snow and not worry about slipping. It’s a DIY snow shoe!

Get Salty

Local authority council workers spread grit and salt by hand on icy footpath to a school.
Photofusion/keith morris/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photofusion/keith morris/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Salt and water create some incredible chemical reactions. Have you heard that adding salt to a pot of water helps it heat up faster? The same rule applies to snow. Salt lowers the melting point of water, which makes it easier to heat up.

If you want to clear up your walkway, sprinkle some salt over the path. Just be careful around plants; salt can suck the moisture out of grass and harm the soil. Only salt concrete or stone pathways.

Want A Nice Smelling Fire?

A person lays out orange peels to dry.
Reddit/u/WaldenRoo
Reddit/u/WaldenRoo

You can only get so much newspaper for kindling. If you run out of paper, don’t throw away your books just yet. You can use orange peels as kindling. Bonus: it’ll smell amazing and make your room feel festive!

Before tossing the peels into the fire, dry them first. Placed them in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 200°F. You’ll know they’re done when they curl and harden. If you don’t dry them beforehand, they won’t catch fire.

Warm Your Bed And Lay In It

A line of water bottles are in a bed.
Twitter/@ufobri
Twitter/@ufobri

When we crawl into bed, we don’t warm up right away. But you can make your bed warmer with a water bottle and a microwave. Heat up your water bottle, and then place it under your sheets. It’ll make your bed toasty when you hit the hay.

If you want warmer results, heat up two water bottles: one for your pillow and one for your bed. You’ll fall asleep instantly when your bed feels toasty. Keep these water bottles to use for the next night, too.

Put Candle Wax On Your Headlights

A jeep has wax on its headlights in the snow.
Instagram/@arkansasandy
Instagram/@arkansasandy

Keeping your headlights clear when the weather outside is bad is important for your safety and helps other drivers on the road see you as well. The last thing you need is to be unable to light your way through the fog and snow.

You can prevent fog and cloudiness on your headlights by doing a bi-weekly wax treatment. The wax will help prevent buildup in the first place making cleaning easier and gives you less to clean up to begin with.

Foggy Headlights? Use Toothpaste!

Headlights are cloudy on the right but clear on the left.
Instagram/@marvie_marv460
Instagram/@marvie_marv460

With colder temperatures come shorter days and longer nights so having clear headlights is a must. While your headlights can become dull and cloudy over time, toothpaste can clean them right up again.

Just like brushing your teeth, scrub using a toothbrush and move in a circular motion to get the best results. You don’t want to miss ice or large piles of snow on the street because you can’t see. Also, you want other cars to see you as well!

Another Use For Hand Sanitizer

A rust-covered lock is frozen over.
Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If your locks freeze over, no one would blame you for panicking. How else would you get in your house? But if you carry hand sanitizer around, you won’t have to fear. Hand sanitizer can melt the ice within seconds.

The main ingredient in hand sanitizer, isopropyl alcohol, lowers the freezing point of water. In other words, it makes water melt. And it kills germs, so it’s handy to carry hand sanitizer with you anyway. Keep some in your car for an emergency freeze situation.

Break Ice From The Inside Of Your Car

Ice covers a window.
Instagram/@ferg104
Instagram/@ferg104

If you can get into your car and all of your windows have a thick sheet of ice on top of them, try this trick. Let your car heat up enough to allow the windows to roll up and down and then using your hand, knock any ice that you see.

Be careful not to punch so hard that you hurt your hand – and watch for the ice to fall back into your car, making a mess.

Use Old Boxes For Traction

Snow covers tires.
Instagram/@jvktr1
Instagram/@jvktr1

If your car gets stuck in the snow, grab some old boxes that are lying around to add some traction under your tires.

Tires stuck in the ice need all the help that they can get so if you have already tried pushing your car and that didn’t work then try adding some traction. If you don’t have enough boxes for all 4 tires then try putting them at either the back two tires or front tires depending on your car.

Use A Straw To Melt Ice In Your Keyhole

Blue straws sit in a cup.
Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Your keyhole is a very small cavity but is really inconvenient to have frozen over. If you have a straw, by blowing into the cavity you can slowly melt the ice away until you can get your key in to unlock the door.

This hack won’t get your door open in 30 seconds but is faster than waiting for the sun to come up. The bigger straw you have the better so that you can cover more space.

Warm Your Car Keys With A Lighter

Person holds a car key in front of a red 2005 Citroen C3.
National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images
National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

If you find that your keyhole is frozen over and you are short on time, try warming up your keys by using a match or lighter if you have one on hand.

Your morning commute will take a lot longer if you aren’t able to get into your car to start heating it up. Make sure to be careful when using this method so that you don’t burn yourself since your key will get hot fast.

Remove Any Drinks You Left In Your Car

A car is filled with trash and cups.
Instagram/@marthakinard
Instagram/@marthakinard

This tip is more to prevent buildup in your car than it is to remove it but is something that most people may not think about. While it can be convenient to leave a cup in your car for work or the gym leaving bottles with even a little bit of water can add more moisture.

This moisture turns into even more fog that you have to clean up and deal with in the morning so make sure to take bottles in the house with you.

Use A Chalkboard Eraser On Your Windows

A person holds chalkboard erasers.
Instagram/@wonderfield_cm
Instagram/@wonderfield_cm

Have you ever used your hand to clean the inside of your windows and it left a horrible smear that haunted you for weeks or months until you cleaned your car again?

While it might be tempting to draw smiley faces or use your sleeve to wipe the fog on your windows, using a chalkboard eraser will keep the smears at bay. If you have kids in the car, allow them to help out to make it fun.

If You Get Stuck, Pull Out Your Floormats

A floormat of a car is seen.
Instagram/@trapoindonesia
Instagram/@trapoindonesia

Getting traction when your car is stuck in the snow is going to be a top priority to make sure that you are not stuck for long.

If you don’t have the strength or ability to get out of your car and physically push it, then use your car mats if you have some. The fabric on your mats will be something that the tires can grip onto so that they move forward and hopefully unstick.

Pull Socks Over Your Shoes For Better Traction

A person wears socks over shoes that are covered in snow.
Instagram/@arsurdilla
Instagram/@arsurdilla

As much prep as we try to give ourselves, sometimes we just have to get out of our car and push it. Just like the tires on our car, we need as much traction on our feet as we can get.

Certain shoe types may not have any kind of traction on them and if you find yourself slipping, throw some socks over your shoes. This might require you getting a pair of socks a few sizes up but it will come in handy.