Fifthroom Living


Cold Weather Hacks

There’s an understanding that this time of year is a struggle for many reasons. Other than doing taxes and putting away decorations, the cold weather brings physical obstacles. Snow and ice really add another layer to people’s routines and can often feel like a battle. The question is, is there a better way?

Below are some hacks that can be used in and around your home to make this time of year a little less uncomfortable. Try them out for yourself and see if they really change the way you deal with the cold.


Park your car facing East so that your car will get more sun exposure, thus melting some of the ice and snow that may accumulate.

Use a tarp or a snow car cover to keep any snow or ice from laying directly on your car. You can even use Ziplock bags to cover your mirrors. If the temperature is below freezing, you still may have to scrape off frost, though.

Keep a large container of kitty litter in your trunk. The weight may help to stabilize your car in icy conditions and the kitty litter can be used to create traction if your tires get stuck in a snowdrift.

Get a spray bottle and mix in it a 2:1 ratio of either rubbing alcohol and water or vinegar and water. You can spray either mixture and melt snow and ice off of your windows without damage. Rubbing alcohol will also prevent fogging and is streak-free.

In an emergency, table salt can be used to prevent frost from forming on your car. This method will damage surfaces, though, so only use it as a last resort.

Lukewarm water is another method to melt ice and snow off of surfaces. Don’t use hot water to achieve quicker results, though. It can crack windows and warp metal, and can eventually damage concrete. Be sure to wipe away any left-over water before it freezes.

Warming up your car is a must when it’s below freezing, but what if you can’t unlock your car door? One method is to use a drinking straw to blow warm air into the lock and melt the ice. Another method is to use WD-40.

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Rock salt can be damaging to the environment as well as your family and pets. Look for deicers with alternatives like Magnesium Chloride or Potassium Chloride. They are found at any local hardware store and still do the job without all of the harm.

Snow Melt Mats are great inventions that sit on top of snow to melt it. These mats can be used for steps and walkways and will save you a lot of trouble when it comes to shoveling.

When shoveling snow, make the task easier by coating both sides of your snow shovel blade with non-stick cooking spray. It will make all the difference when the snow and ice don’t stick to your shovel.

Pickle juice can be used like lukewarm water to melt snow and ice off of surfaces. Pickle juice has a lot of salt in it, so if you’re really in a fix, however unlikely, you can use pickle juice.

Getting the right deicer for your deck is extremely important because certain deicers can damage your composite or wood decking. Be sure to shove parallel to the boards. If you can shovel early and more frequently, you’ll achieve better results.

If your tree branches are covered in ice and you’re tempted to knock it down, your tree may be better off if you use a broom rather than a shovel. Shovels can cause damage to your tree. Even if the broom only knocks loose pieces of ice off, it’s likely that your tree will recover when the thicker ice melts.

Icicles can cause ice dams, so it’s a good idea to knock them down when you can. Use a long broom and knock them down from the side to reduce the risk of injury. Be gentle when knocking them down because too much aggression can damage your gutters.

Using drop cloths or tarps and placing them over your walkway and steps can really help with snow removal. When snowfall is predicted, take the time to apply the tarp or cloth so that there will be less trouble later on.

Leaf blowers can be used to remove light snow as well as a good sweep with a broom. For heavier snow, you may want to invest in a snowblower or thrower. Shop-vacs can also be useful in snow removal.

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If you have a draft coming in under your door, use a rolled-up towel or something similar to block it. Door snakes are readily available if you’re not interested in using a towel.

Bubble wrap can be used to cover windows and keep heat in. There are many types of insulation that can be helpful as well. Everything from thermal drapes to weather strips are all useful techniques to block drafts.

If you’re having trouble locating a draft, a neat idea is to turn off all of your lights and wander through your home with a candle. As you reach drafty areas, the candle will flicker and identify the presence of a draft.

Run your fan clockwise to circulate warm air. Counterclockwise circulates cooler air.

Using aluminum foil behind a radiator or space heater can help reflect heat.

Filling a fabric bag of uncooked rice and stitching it closed can make for a great hand-warmer. Just microwave it for 30 seconds and it will provide reusable relief.

Leave cabinet doors ajar to help circulate warm air and reduce the chance of pipes freezing. Using WD-40 on pipes and pipe joints can also help immensely.

If you have any helpful winter tips, comment below with the things you’ve learned when dealing with the brisk challenges of winter. Stay safe out there.


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