{life hacks} I Tried A Bunch of Those Viral “Life Hacks” So You Don’t Have To

I’m sure by now you have seen countless viral emails and Facebook posts sharing “life hacks” offering ideas on how to use simple, everyday ideas and items to make your life easier. Well, I thought I’d try a few out and let you know how it went.

Don’t miss: 

“Pancake Mix in a Ketchup Bottle”

Here is a riddle: what’s white, viscous, and doesn’t go easily through a funnel? If you answered “pancake mix” you’re right. If you put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle, is it truly a “no-mess experience?” Once the mix is in there, maybe. But you have to get the pancake mix into the ketchup bottle first. Which makes an ungodly mess. And not to be judgy, but if you have time to put your pancake mix in a bottle and all, wouldn’t that time have been better spent making tastier pancake mix from scratch? I’m just sayin’. But yeah, don’t do this.

life hack 2


“Condiments in a Muffin Tin”

I don’t know about you, but the number one thing that keeps me up at night is how to effectively serve condiments at an outdoor BBQ. Sadly this terrible “life hack” does nothing to address that issue. I have not tried this and I don’t need to; the picture says it all. Can we just get past the fact that an actual, smart, reasonable way to “cut down on dishes” is to leave the mayo, mustard, and ketchup in the squeezy bottles they were already in? Because I’d prefer to focus on the fact that the onions and tomatoes are EVERYWHERE on this tin because they don’t actually come close to fitting in their compartments. I mean that mayo/onion situation is an absolute nightmare. Here’s a life hack: leave your condiments in the bottles and put tomatoes and onions on a paper plate. You’re welcome.

life hack 8


“The Right Way to Eat a Cupcake”

You know how when you eat a cupcake the frosting squeezes out and gets on your hands? Well, let me assure you that cutting the cupcake in half and rearranging the frosting in the middle of the cupcake does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to alleviate that problem, and in fact, makes it worse. When you’re awkwardly bisecting the cupcake, you are definitely going to get even MORE frosting and crumbs on yourself. Then when you put the halves together you will, yes, you guessed it, get more frosting and crumbs on yourself. A cupcake is meant to be portable and self-contained–that is its genius and its glory. Once you involve a knife and a plate, you have taken that away. Don’t do this. It is stupid. Just hold the cupcake from its cake bottom and eat it like a normal human being.

life hack 11


“Laundry Basket in the Tub”

This definitely did not work for me. It might work for kids who can sit up but not do anything else, but a curious and active toddler can actually wreak exponentially more havoc with a large, awkward, wet laundry basket in the bathtub with him. The climbing, the flipping, the potential for bodily harm – it’s all bad. Plus then you have a wet laundry basket to deal with, and it’s not really a cute bathroom accessory.

life hack 12


“Make a Circle in Your Leftovers”

While I have not done any A/B testing on this, I have tried it and I believe it does heat the food more evenly. Go for it.

life hack 4


“Clean Out an Old Lotion Bottle For the Beach”

I wanted to like this one SO BADLY because it seemed like a really great idea. First, none of my sunscreen bottles were remotely this shape/configuration. All of mine had a little hole in the top and no way to open them as shown in the picture. So when I finally found the right (ish) type of bottle, I couldn’t actually figure out how to get all of the sunscreen out of it. Even a trip through the dishwasher failed to remove all of the sticky residue. So I have to give this one a fail rating, which is sad, because it held so much promise.

life hack 13


“Ziploc bag for your documents” 

Yeah, because my purse doesn’t already have a bunch of useless garbage in it. NEXT.

life hack 6


“Shower Build Up”

I can really relate to this hack. I too have residue on my shower head! I have a baggy! And I have vinegar! But sadly this also did not work. Damn you, hard water.  

life hack 7


“Corn in the Microwave” 

I know you’ve seen this one, although it’s usually in video form. This actually works, but results are iffy if you try to make more than one ear at a time. Also you need a pretty good knife to cut through the whole end stalk.

life hack 16


“Doritos as Kindling” 

If a bear lights Doritos in the woods and no one is there to see it, did it make a fire? I am not sure why Doritos specifically get called out for this, because there is nothing particularly special about the flammability of Doritos vs. other chips. I think it’s probably because “Doritos” sounds better than “Scoop-sized lime and chili Tostitos are great for kindling.” But this picture is kind of stupid too because there is clearly a twig and a cardboard box in the picture which could both also be “great for kindling.” I think you should read the phrase “if you can’t find any” as “if you are too lazy/drunk/high to look for some.” Also hands off my Doritos unless they are stale in which case feel free to light them on fire.

life hack 14


“Straw to Remove a Strawberry Stem”

Did you know my husband eats strawberries whole, stem and all? We can all agree that is gross, but I would gladly eat a thousand stems if it meant I never had to do this straw thing again. I somewhat grudgingly tried this trick this weekend, because I knew it was going to suck before I even attempted it. SPOILER ALERT:  it does suck. First, aiming the straw and penetrating the berry in such a way as to perfectly hit all of the undesirable parts of the stem is about 14,596 times more time consuming than just cutting off the top, and it works approximately none of the time. Second, if you had one of those old-timey metal straws, maybe, but the structural integrity of the “7,000 for $1” straws I own is not remotely up to the demands of this task.

life hack 3


“Fly Always Down” 

What? Why on earth is your fly always down? Buy new pants. This is stupid. Also that keyring does not look anywhere near large enough to get around that button. C’mon, people, this one is a stretch.

life hack 15

“Old CD Spindle as Bagel Tote”

Are you a massive hoarder? If so, this hack is especially for you. Who else has an old CD spindle that they have saved well into 2014? Who has a perfectly proportioned bagel that will fit into an old CD spindle? Who cares?

life hack 1


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1 NoAdditives { 10.13.14 at 9:10 pm }

I don’t know about the shower head, but I have definitely used vinegar to get hard water residue off the inside of my stainless steel pots. I just poured a little in the bottom and it bubbled immediately. I let it sit for a minute and it wiped right off. Maybe a bag full of it is too much to get the right chemical reaction? I don’t know. But my shower head does need cleaning…

2 Melody { 10.13.14 at 9:25 pm }

Thank you times infinity for saving me so much time and trying out all of these hacks. I want to add a comment about the “fly always down” hack. I did have a pair of jeans that had this problem and when I saw this hack, I was so excited to give it a try. You want to know what happened? The key ring did hold the zipper up, so the zipper busted down low where there was no hiding it. And that’s a really really great look- busted open zipper with a little wedge of fat bulging out. I went ahead and threw out the jeans.

3 AVHJ { 10.13.14 at 9:27 pm }

Thanks!! I hate those hacks. They always make me feel inefficient, glad to know some of them suck.

4 Amanda { 10.13.14 at 10:19 pm }

Thank you so much for doing these! While I find most “hacks” completely useless and annoying, I’m always a little tempted to do them. Now I don’t have to! You’re awesome

5 Karen { 10.13.14 at 10:22 pm }

@NoAdditives let me know if it worked! Good luck… ;)

6 Karen { 10.13.14 at 10:23 pm }

@Melody haha, love it. Thanks for sharing!

7 Karen { 10.13.14 at 10:23 pm }

@AVHJ My pleasure!

8 Karen { 10.13.14 at 10:23 pm }

@Amanda I am always so tempted! Had to just find out once and for all… thanks for the comment! :)

9 Melissa { 10.13.14 at 10:51 pm }

The pancake mix in a ketchup bottle works better if you funnel the dry ingredients into the bottom first, then mix in the wet ingredients and then shake to combine like those bisquick shake and pour thingiemadoos

10 Tamar { 10.14.14 at 1:13 am }

can’t sleep but at least I am laughing now :) well done – entertaining and well written!

11 Dwarf { 10.14.14 at 4:45 am }

Maybe the vinegar needs to be hot to make it work for the shower head? I’d try using bleach, might work a bit better?

12 Kim T { 10.14.14 at 5:06 am }

I actually have used the key ring on the zipper hack. It works like a charm and I didn’t have to spend the money (I didn’t have) on new pants.

13 Le O { 10.14.14 at 5:50 am }

the vinegar in the bag to clean the shower head works. get a better twist tie

14 Christina { 10.14.14 at 7:42 am }

Instead of using a lotion bottle at the beach try wrapping up your valuables in a clean diaper I promise no one will touch it.

15 Kelley { 10.14.14 at 10:38 am }

Looks like the “TanSafe” is actually something you can buy (for $18, no less). They didn’t empty out a real bottle to make the one in the picture. Doomed to failure from the very beginning of that hack! :) Thanks for saving me time on the others, too! :)

16 Karen { 10.14.14 at 11:53 am }

@Kelley aahhh that explains it!! False hack advertising.

17 Karen { 10.14.14 at 11:53 am }

@Christina love it! Great idea!

18 Karen { 10.14.14 at 11:54 am }

@Le O OK – I will try it again! I have a really big showerhead and really hard well water so I am probably not the best test case for it. :)

19 Karen { 10.14.14 at 11:54 am }

@Kim T good to know – I always buy button fly anyway… :)

20 Karen { 10.14.14 at 11:55 am }

@Melissa – OK, clearly you are a lot smarter than I am… sounds like you have it figured out, love it!

21 Jen { 10.14.14 at 7:41 pm }

Disagree with the very first one! I did the pancake squeeze bottle and its awesome!!! Poured batter thru funnel just fine. Apparently this person just isn’t coordinated enough.

22 Stacy Hurt { 10.14.14 at 11:40 pm }

The zipper thong works but I only did it till I could take my pants to the tailor and have a nrw zip installed for 20$. Way cheaper than a new pair of pants. most dry cleaners have tailorsthay do mending.

23 Katrina { 10.15.14 at 11:42 am }

Hey, I have hard water and I cleaned my shower head with the Baggie/vinegar trick an it actually worked awesomely. Maybe something else is in your water that isn’t in mine? I only left it for like 5 hours and it cleared right out.

24 Jackson Reynolds { 10.15.14 at 12:48 pm }

I’ve actually used Doritos to start a campfire when I couldn’t find enough dry kindling. It worked great.

25 Karen { 10.16.14 at 1:35 pm }

@Jackson awesome!

26 Karen { 10.16.14 at 1:36 pm }

@Katrina yes, I have well water – could definitely be some other funky stuff in there… thanks!

27 Karen { 10.16.14 at 1:36 pm }

@Stacy great idea!

28 Matt { 11.18.14 at 6:06 am }

What does it say about Doritos that they are that flammable? Are they made from fossil fuels? If you make them into a fine powder and aerosolize them, will they explode?

29 Martin { 11.18.14 at 7:56 am }

The shower head stuff sort of works. I could not get a bag tightly enough around the shower head for the vinegar to not leak out, or keep the shower head stable in an upside-down position. However, when I used a jar to put the shower head in and filled that with the cheapest vinegar I could find, it did work to remove most of the scale that hat built up on it. You are going to use more vinegar but hey, cheap vinegar costs next to nothing.
Martin recently posted..Okay, and now what … ?

30 Snooj { 11.18.14 at 8:55 am }

The only reason the beach bottle hack in the picture works is because it’s an actual photo of an actual product designed to be used as a “beach safe”, hence the name Tan Safe. You can buy it on Amazon. Or you can use a shoe like everyone else!

31 Charles Herold { 11.18.14 at 9:02 am }

I have a great pair of pants in perfect shape except the zipper is cheap and doesn’t stay up and I’m just supposed to trash them and waste money on a new pair. I *love* the keyring-zipper thing, which has saved a couple of pairs of pants I am really fond of. And that key-ring will certainly go over that button no problem. How’s your spatial judgement?

32 Cindy Lynn Speer { 11.18.14 at 9:37 am }

This is awesome, and rather well well written.

So I don’t sound like a spambot, I will also add that I always wanted to do the lifehack with the tube of Chapstick, you know, to hide emergency money in? I am fairly handy and yet I’ve never been able to get the thingy that holds the chapstick out of the tube…
Cindy Lynn Speer recently posted..The end of the golden months, here come the months of silver and fog.

33 Karen { 11.18.14 at 9:56 am }

@Cindy Lynn YES, I have always been intrigued by that one too but how much could you actually fit in the chapstick tube!?

34 Karen { 11.18.14 at 9:57 am }

@Snooj That is why this “hack” is annoying, it acts like you should be able to do it yourself! Someone else suggested putting your stuff in a diaper… hmm… ;)

35 Michelle { 11.18.14 at 11:15 am }

That laundry basket “hint” is also considered incredibly unsafe and a great way to drown your child.

36 Richard Stanford { 11.18.14 at 11:26 am }

Also, on the bagel, how annoying would it be to also punch a spindle-sized hole in the lettuce etc shown in the picture?
Richard Stanford recently posted..APIs are everywhere

37 B { 11.18.14 at 12:08 pm }

I think the Tan Safe is not a real sunscreen bottle. It’s a … wait for it … wait … a Tan SAFE! Get it? A safe for your crap. Like those not-gonna-fool-anybody rocks you hide your key in. If you’re casing houses to rob, check out the one with the rock on the porch, by the door. There’s a key under the rock. And if you see a Tan Safe bottle or a Soda Safe Can at the beach, you might just score a few bucks and a new-to-you car.

38 Bonnie { 11.18.14 at 12:27 pm }

My bank never has turned down a check folded in half, even the ones that get damp from riding my bike across town in the summer. I can’t think of any documents a person would normally carry or encounter unexpectedly that would need such special care.

39 Jenna { 11.18.14 at 1:05 pm }

I got the chapstick hack to work.. left the tub upside down in the sun on a paper plate, then ran hot hot water into it till all the little bits were gone. And as for how much can it hold? I rolled up a 100 dollar bill to put in mine, and there was still room for another few bills.. So I guess it depends on how large your bills are?

40 Megan { 11.18.14 at 3:13 pm }

One of those poly hair ties works much better than a letting.

41 Lovestofly { 11.18.14 at 4:25 pm }

I love this! That said, I have used the key ring on the zipper trick, and it works very well. I did eventually get around to getting the zipper fixed… But with two kids and a full-time job, sometimes errands like that take me a while to get to! In the meantime, a favorite pair of pants were still wearable.
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42 Karen { 11.18.14 at 4:52 pm }

@lovestofly I feel like the zipper thing must work for a lot of people, I stand corrected ;)

43 Karen { 11.18.14 at 4:54 pm }

@Jenna awesome, thanks for the tips!

44 Karen { 11.18.14 at 4:55 pm }

@B yes I’m gonna be on the lookout for those “Tan Safes” next time I’m at the beach! ;)

45 Karen { 11.18.14 at 4:55 pm }

@Richard OMG I didn’t even think about that. You are SO RIGHT. Now it’s even worse.

46 LW { 11.18.14 at 4:59 pm }

“What does it say about Doritos that they are that flammable? Are they made from fossil fuels?”

Well, yes, @Matt, they are! Kinda. They’re made from dried compressed grasses soaked in oil. That’s pretty much the kind of stuff you might use to make firelighters.

47 Jenn { 11.18.14 at 6:30 pm }

I cried. Thank you!

48 KS { 11.18.14 at 6:34 pm }

Actually, @Matt, what do you think calories are? A food calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise a liter of water by 1 degree C. So Doritos, being highly caloric, produce a lot of heat. One way to determine caloric content is to actually burn the food and heat water with it… some foods need to be dried first, but Doritos are pretty dry already. It’s not often done that way, as other methods are more efficient, but it COULD be done that way… So you don’t need to sue Frito-Lay for producing flammable food, ‘kay?

49 Doop { 11.18.14 at 6:43 pm }

You could buy a dry bag at any camping store..

50 Doop { 11.18.14 at 6:44 pm }

Or use a ziploc bag…

51 Jamie { 11.18.14 at 6:46 pm }

the corn thing is awesome. I’ve done it with four ears in the microwave. You need a larger kitchen knife that of course needs to be sharp. Wrap the corn in a towel and squeeze. Works fantastic.

52 B { 11.18.14 at 7:29 pm }

I think it wouldn’t be that much of a problem getting pancake batter into the ketchup bottle. You really shouldn’t need a funnel. But with the openings in the newer ketchup bottles, the X slits, I’d be concerned about trying to squeeze it out. But, truthfully, just use a damn ladle! LOL

53 Amanda { 11.18.14 at 9:02 pm }

I’ve used the vinegar on my shower head with hard water, and it worked beautifully.

54 Sue James { 11.18.14 at 11:04 pm }

Thanks for these!! And if you are wondering (since it’s so damn cold everywhere) the 2 flower pots over the candle in the loaf pan DOES NOT WORK. Totally useless!!

55 Karen { 11.19.14 at 1:12 am }

@sue I have no idea what you’re talking about but I believe you 100%.

56 David { 11.19.14 at 1:39 am }

Better than Doritos for kindling: take stale tortilla chips from a restaurant that are in a paper bag (think Moe’s, Q’doba, Chipotle types), and light the bag. Because fried chips are good kindling. They have a nice slow burn, and the grease wicks through the chips. But you don’t waste them, you actually use the stale chips instead of throwing them out. (I used to work at Moe’s, my roommates and I used chips as kindling in our fireplace all the time. Bag of chips, log on top, nothing else. Worked.)

57 Cindy { 11.19.14 at 3:16 am }

A pair of jeans wth a broken zipper makes a good fire starter – better if first soaked in lighter fluid. Seal your valuables in a quart size zip top freezer bag and bury the bag under your chair at the beach – just don’t be gone too long if the tide is coming in.

58 Kai { 11.19.14 at 6:43 am }

Not sure on most of these, but I did actually find the “keyring and zipper” one extremely helpful. Works great for me.

59 Cindy { 11.19.14 at 6:47 am }

As a teen, my friends and I stashed our cash at the beach into an individually wrapped “maxi-thin”. (For those not in the diaper phase).

60 Andrew { 11.19.14 at 6:57 am }

The safe: http://www.amazon.com/TanSafe-Portable-Beach-Safe/dp/B004BFVIQU

Also, with regard to corn, get a large, sharp knife, and pretend you’re a samurai. Just keep your fingers clear. Nothing quite puts a finger back on the same way. I’m not joking, this works. You’ll eventually get good enough to cut precisely where you want.

61 Beth { 11.19.14 at 8:20 am }

The cupcake hack isn’t so that you keep from making a crumbly mess. It’s so you’re guaranteed frosting in every bite. And it does work.

62 Adelie { 11.19.14 at 8:41 am }

The reason Doritos work as kindling is that they are saturated with grease. All you really need to start a fire is something greasy and something to hold the grease in place. The dry ingreds in Doritos are the “hold in place” part. Any greasy food – if there’s one greasier than Doritos – would work. I use cotton balls smeared with Vaseline, which is a petroleum product. They burn for about 15 minutes, long enough for the wood to catch, and are easy to carry around and cheaper than the compressed wood-wax fire starters.

63 Linda Unwin { 11.19.14 at 10:11 am }

Well, I thought the article was funny! Which, I believe, was the author’s intention, lol.

64 Brittany { 11.19.14 at 10:43 am }

The keyring thing works. And it’s probably directed for fatties like me whose zipper can’t stay up.

65 Karen { 11.19.14 at 11:07 am }

@Linda thank you- yes, did not mean for anyone to take this seriously but it seems people have some strong opinions nonetheless! ;)

66 Ariel { 11.19.14 at 12:18 pm }

I didn’t have time to read all the comments to see if this had been addressed but I use a large liquid measuring cup (anywhere from 2 cup -4 cup measure) with a spout on it for pancakes. You can mix everything in it and then just pour it perfectly out.

67 TychaBrahe { 11.19.14 at 1:17 pm }

Actually, KS, a food calorie is really a kilocalorie, the amount of energy required to raise 1000 cc, or 1 L of water by 1º C. This is why the famous “scotch and soda” diet doesn’t work.

68 Kimberly Winkelmann { 11.19.14 at 1:23 pm }

For the sunscreen lotion bottle hack, I used an old deodorant stick container. Worked pretty good.

69 Tvh { 11.19.14 at 1:48 pm }

I criedithought this article was so funny, then I read the comments and cried again about how seriously people took it:)

70 Amalia { 11.19.14 at 2:45 pm }

The Zipper thing works….I used to use a nappy pin instead…does the same job and is slightly longer so reaches better. Not everybody can just go and buy new pants. …however, later on I discovered that all I had to do is get some pliers and squeeze the zipper a bit tighter so it wouldn’t slide quite as easily…duh, I should have thought about that in the first place

71 Shari { 11.19.14 at 4:56 pm }

2 that work; put a small dish of water in the microwave when reheating foods to keep them moist and shake a popped bag of microwave popcorn over the trash to shake out all the duds.
1 that does not work; baking soda and vinegar to clear a clog. It didn’t work for me at least.

72 Karen { 11.19.14 at 5:04 pm }

@Tvh yes it’s funny how seriously some people take it, was meant to be a joke… ;)

73 Grace { 11.19.14 at 7:29 pm }

The muffin tin/condiment thing also makes you come up with knives for all the condiments, and gives you more dishes to do. If you kept the condiments in their bottles, gravity and the bottle helps deliver the product to the right place without any knives or muffin tin to clean.
Also, if I had to choose between having a campfire and having a bag of Doritos, I would chose the Doritos. You are not going to cook something over the fire that tastes better than Doritos.

74 Grumpy Old Man { 11.19.14 at 8:01 pm }

Why not just unscrew the shower head? That would save a baggie.

75 stephanie { 11.19.14 at 9:55 pm }

How you get the pancake batter in the ketchup bottle is you pour the dry ingredients in first, then add wet. Then shakeshakeshake. Duh.

76 TS { 11.19.14 at 10:05 pm }

I’ve done the keyring on the fly thing when I had a pair of paint pants I got from a thrift store for like $8. The fly kept falling down and I didn’t feel like spending another $8 on pants that would just get disgusting. It actually does work. A rubber band works too, though, if you’re worried about button circumference. It’s still kinda dumb though. Don’t do it in real life with real pants that aren’t for getting gross.

77 Steven { 11.19.14 at 10:17 pm }

Laundry basket in the tub so toys are always within reach? Because, as a parent, you leave your baby/toddler in the bath unattended and you need to be sure they can reach their toys while you’re gone, right?

78 Alex { 11.19.14 at 10:18 pm }

Re: the bagel hack, there is food grade plastic and non food grade plastic. I would never store food in plastic that was not intended for it.

79 Alex { 11.19.14 at 10:20 pm }

Brilliant article, btw, laughed out loud…

80 NoTimeForThis { 11.19.14 at 10:50 pm }

This was hilarious, and I see everyone wants to give suggestions that work for them, glad we are all different, here is MINE: If you use one of those calcium deposit removal products (like CRL) take the shower head off, like Grumpy said, put it in a bowl (glass not plastic) with the CRL full strength, soak it for the day,(6 to8 hours) rinse it out upside down, put it back on, run the shower hot for a few minutes, you will have a fuller shower spray without buying a new one.

81 Karen { 11.19.14 at 11:12 pm }

@Alex thank you so much!

82 ann { 11.20.14 at 2:57 am }

For pancakes you can pour the batter into a ziploc bag then snip off a corner. Then you can pipe away and make fancy shaped pancakes.

83 JeffL { 11.20.14 at 6:52 am }

I tried the keyring on a zipper trick, and it worked frickin sweet. been using it on my one pair of jeans for over a year now, no issues.

84 Kelley { 11.20.14 at 6:57 am }

Actually, the pancake batter in the ketchup bottle works great – you just use a funnel to pour in the mix. :)

85 Colleen { 11.20.14 at 7:30 am }

Love this! But I did use the strawberry hack, and it worked with a hard plasic straw that came with a cup and lid. Biggest problem was that the strawberry centers would get stuck in the straw, but a quick blow on the other end took care of that. I agree, it can be annoying to get the straw straight through the center. But I still preferred it over using a knife.

86 Alan { 11.20.14 at 7:45 am }

Get a wrench, take off the shower head and put it in a bucket or bowl of C.L.R. It WILL work! (Be sure to use rubber gloves.)

87 Jcl { 11.20.14 at 9:42 am }

so I use the laundry basket in a tub or my son who is 10m. We shower doors, and when the toys floated out of reach it is annoying. So he sits in the basket with his toys. Yes he tries to climb slide and even drops the toys out side the basket. When we’re done, drain the tub, tip the basket over for it to drain and dry. He face planted once attempting to lean over, hasn’t done it since. :)

88 linda { 11.20.14 at 10:21 am }

I do the corn in the microwave all the time. I use the guideline of 2 minutes per ear (medium sized)…and I cook 4 at at time for 8 minutes. Danged hot to handle, let me tell you, but so much easier than shucking corn and spending 20 minutes waiting for it to be completely ready. Takes a total of 10 minutes (including cutting ends and removing husk/silk). Traditional method takes way too long.
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89 Anna { 11.20.14 at 11:32 am }

I’ve tried the shower head thingie and it actually worked for me. I dunno if it had to do with the quality of the water and the kind of vinegar I used, but it cleaned it pretty well and cheaply, but I’ve had my issues with the other lifehacks. Just looking at some of them, I already knew it was bulls****. The cardboard in your purse thing was the worse.
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90 Lynn { 11.20.14 at 2:29 pm }


91 If This Is A Blog Then What's Christmas? - We’re all someone’s daughter, we’re all someone’s son. How long can we look at each other down the barrel of the weekend? { 11.20.14 at 5:02 pm }

[…] Do viral life hacks actually work? […]

92 Gemfyre { 11.20.14 at 6:56 pm }

Don’t diss the keyring on jeans trick. I have one pair of jeans where the fly is broken and always comes down – I’ve put a ring in it and it works a damn charm!

93 Cindy { 11.20.14 at 7:30 pm }

Thanks for the morning belly laugh! Hysterical!!

94 Samantha { 11.20.14 at 7:53 pm }

Regarding the pancake post… People you have to add the pancake mix and water in the ketchup bottle before you mix it together. Duh

95 MIchelle { 11.20.14 at 9:08 pm }

I have to agree with other posters about the jeans/keyring trick! Works like a charm! I’ve had multiple pair of jeans where the zipper just won’t lock at the top and it’s so frustrating when they are otherwise fine!

96 Larry { 11.21.14 at 6:56 am }

Instead of pouring pancake batter into a ketchup bottle why not pour it onto a griddle and save a step or two in this process?

97 ABQMom { 11.21.14 at 1:37 pm }

Don’t laugh, but 10 years ago my son did a science fair experiment on which junk food worked the best as a campfire starter. Fritos won hands down.

98 Lucha { 11.21.14 at 3:38 pm }

Why not take the shower head OFF and put it in a bowl of vinegar? Shower heads unscrew. They come OFF! WTF!

99 Andie Mack { 11.21.14 at 4:03 pm }

I never knew so many people had trouble with their zippers! Knowing my luck, I wouldn’t be able to finagle the ring off the button when I was drunk and Pee my pants.

100 urska { 11.21.14 at 4:18 pm }

“Fly Always Down” – Since I don’t want to buy new things everytime something small happen, this actually works for me. Instead of the keyring I just use a rope.

101 Lyn { 11.21.14 at 4:23 pm }

The laundry basket in the rub totally works if you child is about 9months to 18 months. You should stay there with them!!! But, it is helpful if you’ve got a slippery kid who will sit down. This totally cracked me up though!

102 Karen { 11.21.14 at 8:53 pm }

@Andie Mack seriously! I had no idea people struggled so much with their zippers! Has never happened to me… And totally agree on the drunk thing ;)

103 Sam { 11.21.14 at 9:06 pm }

Cleaning your shower head will REDUCE flow pressure.

104 Gigi6005 { 11.21.14 at 10:56 pm }

I’m wondering why folks are so concerned with perfectly round pancakes (?) LOL
Brilliant post! Thanks for the laugh

105 Cassandra { 11.21.14 at 11:52 pm }

I thought this was great, and funny :) However I get the feeling you haven’t had to start many camp fires because you missed the rationale of the Doritos (or whatever corn chip you choose) as kindling. Cardboard and a branch are NOT good kindling, they would be fuel once you got the fire going. The chips work because of the oil and the corn. They ignite easily and burn hot.

So I’m grateful for your tips (or advisement against other people’s dumb tips lol) but I doubt your longevity in case on zombie apocalypse :)

106 Cassandra { 11.21.14 at 11:53 pm }


107 Cool One { 11.22.14 at 12:49 pm }

Wouldn’t it more sense simply to unscrew the shower head and soak it in a container of whatever? Or put it in the dishwasher? Or spend a couple of bucks and buy a NEW shower head?

108 Karen { 11.22.14 at 2:44 pm }

@Cassandra you are right in saying that I would not do well in the zombie apocalypse.

109 stretch { 11.22.14 at 4:52 pm }

The fly trick with the key ring works. I’m almost 7 ft tall and skinny as a pole. My fly is in constant flux. For the sake of others I use this frequently. I, however, really don’t care of my parts are on display.

110 Kirsten { 11.23.14 at 9:04 am }

As far as the shower head goes, the reason that the vinegar works for some people and not for others is the type of minerals found in their hot water. Some minerals (calcium) can easily be dissolved by vinegar and other acids, while other minerals (magnesium) have a very weak acid test reaction and are not easily dissolved.

111 Karen { 11.23.14 at 9:05 am }

@Kirsten bringing the science! Love it, thanks!

112 dave { 11.23.14 at 12:23 pm }

The key ring on the zippers doesn’t look good on guys.

113 Marisa Johnson { 11.23.14 at 6:07 pm }

I had success with the shower head hack, but I used CLR. I think I also left it on there for at least a day. The amount of crud in the bag after was impressive.

114 Ashely { 11.23.14 at 7:46 pm }

The vinegar on the shower head worked for me, but I had to leave it on the shower head for about 24 hours.

115 Haylie { 11.23.14 at 8:39 pm }

I think the cardboard and ziploc is a great idea, especially if you need to carry a headshot and resume somewhere and it’s raining! I’d much rather be safe than sorry :D

116 Roger { 11.23.14 at 10:39 pm }

Here’s how I solve the pancake problem: take an empty ketchup bottle (unwashed) and set it on the counter. Mix up the batter. Pour the batter into a frying pan and cook the pancake. Eat the pancake. Throw the ketchup bottle away. Works like a charm. If my kids ask for pancakes shaped like animals, I pour a slightly misformed circle and tell them it’s an amoeba. By the time they figure out what that means I’m already at work.

117 Kelli { 11.24.14 at 3:50 am }

Very funny, and thanks for testing some of those out — but I do love the keyring zipper thing and have used it for more than one pair of jeans. (Maybe because “just buy new jeans” doesn’t fit my budget or my total laziness about shopping.)

118 LM Falaschetti { 11.24.14 at 8:52 am }

I’m really poor and had a pair of jeans I could wear, but they kept unzipping themselves….the key ring thing actually worked

119 Karen { 11.24.14 at 9:36 am }

@Roger love it! Thanks! :)

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121 Brad { 11.24.14 at 10:58 am }

Hey Karen, I just stumbled on your blog from a friend’s facebook post. There has been lots of actual laughing out loud at my desk. You’re a great writer! Just thought I’d let you know. Boom.

122 Karen { 11.24.14 at 11:04 am }

@Brad thanks so much for saying so! Really appreciate it.

123 B { 11.24.14 at 2:53 pm }

Roger wins the internet! Best answer yet! Seriously, why go through the hassle of the whole ketchup bottle thing? Then you have to wait til you go through another whole bottle of ketchup before you can have pancakes again. Because who wants to try and wash the batter out of the bottle?

124 Mapes { 11.24.14 at 3:26 pm }

The vinegar and hard water does work. I think the problem with just bagging the shower head is that the vinegar collects at the bottom of the bag. You need to have the show head submerged in vinegar to work. Incidentally this is not some new hack but, how people cleaned out espresso makers and tea pots since…well forever

125 Courtney { 11.24.14 at 8:25 pm }

I’ve definitely tried the keychain over the button thing for my zipper that occasionally is open and it’s been pretty effective. Can’t say I’ve tried the others, though I’ve always wanted to try the sunscreen bottle one. Never thought about the fact that sunscreen bottles with that kind of opening are rare to find, so that’s good to know.

126 Liz { 11.25.14 at 1:10 am }

If you want to do the laundry basket/bathtub thing you might as well use a completely closed basket (no holes) and save water!!! When my kids were little we had a very small apartment with a tiny balcony. In summer I would set up two little laundry tubs there for them to use as a “pool”.

127 csrster { 11.25.14 at 7:31 am }

Lucha @98 is exactly right. Take the shower head off and leave it to soak overnight in a nice bug bowl of vinegar, or even better conc. ascetic acid.

128 LisaK { 11.25.14 at 11:32 am }

Hey, guys- for the shower head, simply REMOVE THE SHOWER HEAD and THEN place it in a baggie full of vinegar. Actually, you may be able to skip that all together by simply rinsing and dumping it, thus removing all the sediment that builds up and clogs the holes. To remove, take out the little, tiny screw on the side and pull. Fill shower head w/ water, shake vigerously, and dump. Repeat. To replace, simply reverse removal process!
LisaK recently posted..On This Day In The World, November 24, 2014: A prayer for our nation- updated

129 KimberlyL { 11.25.14 at 7:44 pm }

Oh my goodness please write more of these. I have never laughed so much. I love your writing style and sense of humour.

130 Karen { 11.25.14 at 8:20 pm }

@kimberly thank you so much for saying so!! So nice of you.

131 Tony { 11.27.14 at 5:09 am }

Store pancake batter in 1ltr flask,and decant as needed…………SIMPLES!!

132 dietrich { 11.28.14 at 9:48 am }

That all sound like having nice time when trying to make your life easier ;)

133 Joris Driepinter { 11.28.14 at 8:38 pm }

@stretch: Damn, you just might be the woman I’ve been looking for all my life.

134 Conz { 12.01.14 at 2:19 am }

The jeans one actually works, but then again I am a tramp. The rest are definitely stupid.

135 Lori Lathrom { 12.03.14 at 9:26 pm }

I came up with the laundry basket hack for myself back in the 80’s when my kids were babies. It works great to lay a hand towel in the basket first so baby doesn’t slip. You can use this from the time they first learn to sit until the start to stand. They hang on to the basket and feel more secure. Your hands are free to wash their little body. You only fill the tub with about 3 inches of water; and unless your a great eff-ing moron who thinks it’s OK to leave a baby alone in the bathtub, you should have no problems.

136 Ibid { 12.04.14 at 9:30 pm }

I have hard water that makes lime build up over time. I take off the shower head, put it in a glass of vinegar, and let it soak. Usually I have to change the vinegar once or twice to dissolve all the lime. The bag just lets the vinegar all drip out.
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137 Nana { 12.06.14 at 6:05 pm }

My grandkids were delighted and intrigued by the strawberry / straw hack. Used ‘sturdy’ plastic straws and pulled each berry center after each use. Worked well, and they hulled a basket of berries for me!

138 Jess { 01.03.15 at 12:05 pm }

I, too, have started a campfire with snack chips. It worked great, even though we were in a hotel parking lot (but that’s a story for another time). We even did a highly scientific study to see which chips from the lobby vending machine would burn best. Sadly, Jalapeno Fire Doritos were a poor performer. You want flames? Salt & Vinegar chips, baby!

139 Crystal { 01.04.15 at 8:53 am }

I used a hard plastic straw from a reusable plastic cup to hull strawberries. It worked great! Tried first with a regular flimsy straw and ended up throwing it across the room (I may have some anger issues). Tried with the hard plastic straw, and BAM! Hulled a container of strawberries in no time flat! It’s the one and only life hack I’ve seen on the internet that’s worked for me (except the wooden spoon over boiling pasta, but I’ve been doing that for YEARS!).

140 sarah { 01.04.15 at 11:33 pm }

I’ve done the keyring on the pants zipper and I love it. I’m sorry but not everyone has cash to throw at new jeans when the only thing wrong with their current pair is that the zipper is a piece of crap soas your move throughout the day your fly comes open. I can’t even begin to count the number of brand new jeans that have zipper issues anyway.

141 Sarah { 01.04.15 at 11:49 pm }

I have done the cupcake trick for years and have always made “cupcake sandwiches” for my kids. We never had a problem. Sorry you had a crumbly frosting mess.

142 Raz { 01.11.15 at 9:16 am }

I think you’d have better luck putting the pancake mix in the old ketchup bottle THEN adding water and mixing. We’ve done this on camping trips for years.

143 Jill @ The Rozy Home { 01.11.15 at 7:38 pm }

You are amazing! I see this stuff all over the web (because, you know, us bloggers have nothing to do but find hacks, right) and think to myself “seriously? How bored/desperate/stoned were you to come up with this.” Having said that… the cupcake one would be good for my little one. He eats the icing and moves on. Maybe if I did it that way he’d eat the whole thing (instead of asking for another one to eat the icing off of). :-)
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144 Karen { 01.13.15 at 10:09 pm }

@Jill thanks – I eat just the frosting too, maybe that’s why I don’t like the sandwich method ;)

145 Maree { 01.14.15 at 7:37 am }

I use a large plastic ziplock bag -without the piece of cardboard – flat against the inside of my cross-body travel tote, to keep all travel-related documents (copies of itinerary, hotels list, emergency numbers, passport, extra note paper, pen) together, handy, and safe while travelling. Just as handy as a specialized passport carrier hanging around my neck – and a lot safer, for the passport, because it and the documents are out of sight, not advertising their location and identity to casual observers.

146 Maree { 01.14.15 at 7:41 am }

pretty much agree with your comments – and love microwaved corn (about one minute for a single ear) but I cut off both ends, and simply pull off the husks afterward. – it’s very easy to do.

147 whitewhisker { 01.15.15 at 7:43 am }

I respectfully disagree about the corn. Microwaving corn is absolutely the best way to cook it. It is fast, easy, clean, and steams the corn right in its husk. The trick to doing corn in the microwave is to be sure to not cook it for too long and to flip it over after a few minutes.

As for jeans, I have a pair of jeans with a zipper that doesn’t stay up. You know what I use? A tiny clear hair elastic, easily found at the drug store. Stick the elastic through the zipper pull, then feed one side through the other and loop around the button.Why not buy new jeans? Well, because getting rid of clothing items that have a simple, easily fixable problem is wasteful and because most people are not made of money. Besides, my pair with the problem are no longer sold.

148 Crystal Blur { 01.15.15 at 8:56 am }

It has been said- keep your condiments in the damned bottles. Who wants to shoo bees away from the uffin tin the whole time? But one great hack for muffin tins- Flip it upside down and put it under your laptop or netbook or whatever device while sitting on a bed or couch. It will allow air to circulate beneath the device and help keep it cool.

149 Susie { 01.16.15 at 8:14 am }

The jeans one works great. I have two pair of my favorite jeans that the zipper does not stay up. I called a local steamstress to fix the jeans and she told me that she would have to charge me so much to change the zipper that it was not worth it to do it. It works GREAT! Love your article!!!

150 Susie { 01.17.15 at 3:39 pm }

The baggie to hold your valuables in your handbag amused me. That way, if you should get pulled over, it will definitely look like a baggie full of – something- when you go to pull your licnse out, which will be buried somewhere in the Hozone of your bag.so that you have to empty everything to find it. But go ahead, we all like to explain ourselves to Officer Friendly

151 Danika { 01.19.15 at 11:08 pm }

I actually used the zipper hack thing way back when I was a teenager and only had 1 pair of jeans. Although I made a loop from a sturdy thread instead of a clunky keyring, and put the loop around the jeans’ button. Tada. No more open zipper issues. A thin hair elastic would work too.

@Crystal Blur – or you could buy a laptop cooling plate. More efficient and actually meant for this ^^

152 Rebecca { 01.21.15 at 5:31 am }

Thank you for saving me hours of testing – I always want to try these “life hacks” but just never do! You’re awesome :)

153 Sandy { 01.21.15 at 1:58 pm }

Pancake batter in a ketchup bottle? I would be having to refill that thing way too many times. I always make at least a triple batch when I do pancakes. A ladle works just fine, and if they taste the same no matter what the shape!

Oh, and for those using a mix and water – these are nearly as easy, but OMG so much better. If you don’t have buttermilk, just use regular milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in it. http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1134563

154 Asura { 01.22.15 at 2:24 am }

Ahaha! This cracks me up because I find all the posts claiming “These 15 simpley hacks will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.” To be in my list of the top ten most annoying fads to hit the internet beat only by, “These 26 pictures of slightly wrong things will make you rip out all of your hair.” Because everyone on the internet is so complusive that even seeing pictures of poorly buttered toast brings them to the point of self-induced baldness.
@Karen THANK YOU for making me laugh so hard.
@Roger Your pancake hack is by far the best I’ve ever read and defintiely the best comment thus far! :)

155 cwolfpack3 { 01.24.15 at 10:15 am }

For hulling strawberries, I was taught in food service to use a tomato shark. It’s so much easier, especially when a dining hall worker has thousands of berries to prepare for 4000 hungry college students. You can buy them online or elsewhere for about $2-4. Also called a “tomato corer”.

156 cwolfpack3 { 01.24.15 at 10:18 am }
157 Yvonne { 01.24.15 at 10:45 pm }

I actually did the strawberry one, we bought 6 5 lb containers through a local co-op, and I wanted to get them frozen without my kids eating all of them. Using a knife with 2 grabby handed boys can get scary. I had a couple of McDonald’s straws and I was able to do 4 containers before needing a new straw. They are a stiffer plastic and worked really well.

158 chandra { 01.27.15 at 3:56 pm }

So the pancake mix one works just fine. And the idea is that its great for camping. Ur right that itd be a waste of time at home unless u seriously eat pancakes every day and need to keep some in the fridge at all times but id say thats pretty weird lol.. as for the condiments in the muffin tin I agree with u what they did was messy. Yes put the tomatoes and onions on a plate thats just silly but if its really hot out id rather not waste a whole bottle of mayo and ketchup sitting outside in the heat so a few portions in a muffin tin with some spoons or knives for serving isnt such a bad idea. And then the fly always down one bugged me cause first off I can afford new pants constantly and I actually have a problem with this and honestly cant tell u why it keeps happening but the right sized keyring helps. Though if u get too large a ring itll hold up ur zipper but only about halfway which isnt really helpful..

159 Debra Dausy { 01.28.15 at 6:30 pm }

Vinegar ALWAYS works on lime. If it doesn’t help your shower head, it might be you have sand or other gunk in the holes. Don’t be lazy, remove the head, soak it in a cup of vinegar and use an old tooth brush to clean out other gunk. Then rinse it well. Vinegar cleans the entire house, cheap!

160 Jacksonstreet { 01.31.15 at 7:45 am }

Fire starters…
Good: Doritos
Better: dryer lint
Best: belly-button lint (find the time, dammit!)

161 Miss Irene { 02.07.15 at 2:10 am }

I have not read all these comment and I don’t know about doing the baggie thing but I have cleaned the hard water off a shower head by taking the shower head off and immersing it in vinegar. Heck I once got the pipes and drain apart on a 30+ old sink by rigging a mini scaffold under the sink that would hold a bowl of vinegar up to where they were supposed to separate but wouldn’t because of all the hard water deposit

162 Karen { 02.09.15 at 11:59 am }

@Miss Irene wow I will have to try this one again! Thanks!

163 Holly { 02.11.15 at 6:50 pm }

This was hilarious, please review more supposed “life hacks”!

164 Mike { 02.11.15 at 8:17 pm }

To be fair there are a couple on the circulating lists that aren’t on this page I have used before. The bread-clip over the end of the power cord thing does work, and they are also good for tape ends. I also use the empty bathroom tissue rolls to wrap up electric cords.

So some of these hacks DO work. It’s just a matter of picking the good ones.

165 Anna { 03.21.15 at 10:40 pm }

I’ve tried the pants keyring one and I assure you it’s magically. The fact that you assume it was terrible before trying it makes me doubt the credibility of the rest of your article.

166 Becky C { 03.25.15 at 12:39 pm }

The strawberry one – I use the hard plastic straw from one of those Tervis-type cups, and it works beautifully without wasting half the strawberry (which is what cutting the tops off does).

The pants/keyring one also works great…and why waste money if the pants are good otherwise?

I haven’t tried the pancake one, but you might consider funneling the dry ingredients in, then the wet, then shaking it to mix it up. That might make more sense. Still more time consuming than just ladling it onto the griddle, though.

John Green did the cupcake hack and it worked beautifully. He just tore the cupcake top off, no knife required. :)
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167 ER { 03.25.15 at 1:32 pm }

Thanks for these! This is kind of how I thought most of these would go. Although, I have to say that the vinegar on the shower head did work for me, but be prepared to use a lot of vinegar and you need something really tight to keep that bag from slipping off and sloshing everywhere.
Also, Doritos gets the call out the same way everyone thinks fast food is the same as McDonalds. Somehow McDonalds makes people fat, but note Burger King or Wendy’s.

168 Carol A. { 03.27.15 at 2:26 pm }

We had a party on a rainy cool summer’s day. No one ate much of anything and we had a variety of s0ggy salty chips left. They all burned equally well when we threw them into the fire. The wet soggy chips worked like a little gas would, just an explosion of flames.

169 Karen { 04.06.15 at 7:45 am }

@Carol A so cool! Thanks for sharing.

170 James Berg { 06.02.15 at 8:10 am }

Actually all you really need to do is cut the bottom off the ketchup bottle so it’s now the funnel with the snap on cap at the pouring end.

171 D. Jones { 06.05.15 at 1:08 pm }

I recently tried removing stems from strawberries with a straw. Worked like a charm for me.

172 Allison { 06.08.15 at 8:32 am }

The only one I was ever tempted to try is one you don’t have on here. It involved a pretty snazzy way to peel a mango using a drinking glass. It is now the only way I will peel a mango!

173 LadyAnn { 06.12.15 at 10:13 pm }

The only way I cook corn anymore is in the microwave. I generally cook 3 ears at a time. 6 minutes on high, turn them over and then 6 more minutes. I don’t cut off the ends. I use an oven mitt and just peel away the stalk.

174 Crystal { 01.02.16 at 2:55 pm }

The straw to remove the stem of a strawberry is super simple and works like a charm. I use the flimsy straws that come in a big pack for like 99 cents and I hit the stem 19 out of 20 times. It’s less waste than cutting off the top. Did you actually try these hacks?

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