Tips GB

A look back on the best home hacks of 2018

By Luke Sillett

Published: December 22nd, 2018

Because there's always a better way.

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As the year draws to a close, we’ve been thinking about all the things we’ve learned in 2018. Specifically-for-this-article-though, all the cool life and home hacks we’ve come across throughout the year.

And there are a lot.

From innovative ways to get rid of stains to making the most of storage in of your space-challenged city pad, we’ve whittled down our new found knowledge to give you our 10 favourite hacks this year.

Happy hacking!

Improve your Wi-Fi with a Coke can

(…or any can really). We know the story well: your Wi-Fi drops in and out regularly, you’ve spoken to your service provider roughly 1,354 times about the problem, but there are ‘no reported issues in your area’ – and yet SOMEHOW your Wi-Fi signal is still terrible. Been there my friend. Luckily though, we found this WikiHow article showing how to cut open a can, then strategically place it behind a router to amplify and redirect the signal in the right place. This sounds a bit far-fetched – but it actually works! Just be careful of those sharp edges.

Image: WikiHow

Remove water stains with… mayonnaise

NO SERIOUSLY. Yes it’s a superior condiment that perfectly complements my outstanding potato salad recipe, but it also happens to be one hell of a cleaning agent too. Yep; next time you see a water stain on your nice wooden table, put down any chemical-based product and make your way to the fridge instead. Just apply a thin layer over the stain with a cloth, then wait till morning, and remove with a damp cloth – the water stain will have disappeared.

DIY Garden Storage Boxes

The best part of these easy-to-make garden storage boxes is you can decorate them any way you like. Find a large garden planter with its own saucer; the regular terracotta ones are easy to find in pretty much any garden centre. Put the saucer on top of the plant pot – it should be a snug fit. You can then super glue two handles (any you like, regular drawer handles would work well) to the top – to make the saucer into a liftable lid. These little storage boxes are great to store your bits or gardening tools, or they make great tables, or handy ice buckets for the summer too!

Image: Buzzfeed

Get rid of creases in your clothes without an iron

Ironing is effective, but boring. Next time you need a quick turnaround and your shirts are all of a crinkle, instead of ironing, put your clothes in the tumble dryer with three cubes of ice. Switch on the dryer and leave for 4-5 minutes at a high heat. The ice cubes will melt and create their own steam – which is absorbed into your clothes to get rid of the creases.

Make DIY Ice Packs

Sure, you’re not thinking about it now because it’s ABSOLUTELY FREEZING, but remember that glorious summer we just had? The one where-of-course-we-loved-it-and-wouldn’t-complain-about-good-weather-but-it-also-maybe-definitely-got-a-bit-much? That one? Great. You’ll also remember the need for ice packs for those park-based picnics and BBQs. But don’t worry if the humble ice pack isn’t a staple in your freezer, we found an easy, non-leaky way to make one at home – made with just a sandwich bag and sponge. Just wet the sponge, put it in the bag and slot in the freezer the night before, and there you have it – a DIY ice pack that won’t take up valuable freezer space on the other 11 months of standard UK weather.

Image: Family Handyman

Remove paint stains on your clothes with a razor

Paint (the nail or wall kind) can often mean the end of some items of clothing if you have an accident – but it’s actually easier than people think to remove. Don’t even think about white spirit, and instead head to your bathroom and grab your razor. Slowly – and carefully – scrape away any dry paint splodges, then throw said item of clothing in the wash once you’re done – and voilà, the paint is gone.

Clean your sofa with baking powder

Yep; baking powder is pretty handy. It can mask the smell of vomit (shout out to any parents reading this), it can brighten clothes, and a less-known benefit, is that it can also clean your sofa. Next time you’re doing the Spring clean, sprinkle some baking powder over your couch, leave for 20 minutes, then use your hoover attachment to suck up the debris. This little trick ensures a super clean finish, whilst giving the material a freshen up too.

Descale your kettle with lemons

When life gives you lemons, descale your kettle! This eco-friendly hack is a must. Thanks to our relatively out of control tea obsession in this country, limescale isn’t hard to find – however doing this trick ever 3-4 months will keep any unwanted build-up at bay. Just quarter a lemon, fill the kettle up, then boil the water with the lemons inside (twice if you feel like it needs it) – once done, rinse, then re-boil and that’s it! Watch the video here.

Use socks to wrap glasses when moving house

Next up in this series of ‘ugh why didn’t I think of that before‘ is a helpful moving hack. Next time you’re upping sticks and packing away the kitchen, instead of desperately searching for newspapers (the print industry is dying, Brenda – newspapers aren’t as easy to find) – head to your sock drawer instead – wrapping each glass in one or two socks to ensure they don’t smash in transit. Absolute game changer.

Make your own DIY teacup candles

DIY candles are a lot easier than other places on the internet might lead you to think. You can make them with old candles, a piece of string, and if you wanted them scented – with whatever essential oil takes your fancy. First up, grab all and any old or half used candles you want to throw in the mix – melt the wax together in a bain-marie. While that’s melting get some string, measure to 15cm, then fold in half and twist together until you have your DIY wick (at around 7.5cm). Dip the wick in the wax and let cool. Once the wax has melted and you’ve mixed in whatever oils you might want in there, pour it straight into your teacup (or whatever vessel you want), then centre the wick in the middle. Once set, you’ve got your own cute-as-a-button candles.

You can use a peg to hold the wick still (just rest it on the side of the teacup) if it’s moving around too much.

Image: Boho Weddings

And there you have it, our favourites of the year. Let us know in the comments below any you think we’re missing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Luke Sillett

I like long walks on the beach, penguins and fried chicken.

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Comments

  1. Mary

    Really helpful hacks

  2. Tony

    Hi
    Great tips

    Can you tell me where I can find the one on cleaning dirty shirt collars, (stains just refuse to go) 😖