Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it—sometimes, the dumbest-sounding ideas turn out to be diamonds in the rough, real pearls of wisdom that make our lives a shade better. We’re talking, of course, about life hacks! Specifically, the kinds of hacks that sound like fake nonsense but are real lifesavers for some people.
After redditor Rat-avec-London asked other users of the site to share exactly those kinds of life hacks, they responded with over 26.6k comments. The thread quickly went viral, getting more than 75k upvotes at the time of writing, as well as attracting media attention. Check out some of the most intriguing life hacks that people shared below and upvote the ones that you liked the most. And remember—just because something sounds fake doesn’t mean it is (and vice versa).
Whenever you accidentally set off your smoke alarm, give your pets a treat so they learn to come to you when there actually is a fire and you need to escape.
Image credits: kataklysmiknut
Using your turn signal actually can help other drivers know which direction you plan to go and makes driving safer for everyone
Image credits: Itsallaboutthecones
There is absolutely nothing wrong with showing up to work, doing the absolute minimum to maintain a job, and going home and enjoying your life. massive lifesaver to one’s mental health.
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In an earlier interview, I spoke about life hacks that sound absolutely silly with British comedian Ariane Sherine, from London. She helped me settle the age-old question about whether something that sounds and looks dumb is actually stupid or not.
“It’s actually very smart, and it’s a shame if people don’t use it for fear of looking dumb!» Ariane told Bored Panda, pointing out that we sometimes prioritize our reputations over what actually works. And we’re sometimes scared to test something out because it might make us look like utter fools.
If at a place where you don’t speak the language, learn the words for please and thank you. Those, and a smile, will get you far.
if you are ever attacked by a dog, push your forearm INTO the bite. This pries the jaws apart and prevents them from clamping down. If a dog is attacking you, the best thing you can do is offer your forearm, push as far back as possible, and then grab the dog by the scruff of its neck with your other hand to hold it. The dog is now functionally muzzled and you have control of its head. The sooner and harder you push into the bite, the less damage the bite will do.
Image credits: IAlbatross
From the amazing book ‘The Gift of Fear’ by Gavin DeBecker: “A woman alone who needs assistance is actually far better off choosing someone and asking for help, as opposed to waiting for an unsolicited approach. The person you choose is nowhere near as likely to bring you hazard as is the person who chooses you.”
Image credits: DeeboComin
Ariane explained that people often look down on ideas that sound dumb on a theoretical level because we want others to think we’re way smarter than we might actually be. That’s how much our reputations matter to us (whether we’re aware of this or not).
If you’ve forgotten an acquaintance’s name, just ask them what their name is, and after they tell you, say «no, your last name.» Works like a charm and they never suspect a thing.
Image credits: maleorderbride
It you start to cough while eating or drinking, essentially the “went down the wrong pipe”, immediately lift both your arms up in the air and keep them held up for a few seconds. The act opens your airways and will allow you to catch your breath. Also helps food or drink travel downward.
Image credits: Ecstatic_Consequence
Wear the same colours as the zoo employees, the animals will come right up to you.
Image credits: Comfortable_Figure27
«Everybody wants to think they’re smart (even if they’re actually Donald Trump!) and people hate feeling stupid or being duped. If a piece of advice doesn’t sound helpful, I guess people who see themselves as clever will automatically reject it rather than try it and risk feeling dumb,» the comedian said this is why we may avoid doing silly things.
When you’re freaking out, need to relax, e.g. when a chiro is about to crack your neck or anything along those lines, wiggle your toes. Apparently your brain can’t do both, freaking out and wiggling toes, tensing up and wiggling toes etc
Image credits: cheerylifelover123
Sleep on big decisions.
You think most clearly in the morning, and often after some time passes you realize you were about to make a big mistake.
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If you’ve written on a dry erase board (or any glossy surface) with a permanent marker (like a Sharpie) just draw over it with a dry erase marker and it will wipe right off.
Image credits: TheNoisyNomad
One of the British comedian’s favorite life hacks has to do with avocados and how to check if they’re ripe. Ariane pointed out that avocados have an “inbuilt ripeness sensor” that lets you distinguish if it’s still green, ripe, or overripe.
Use a wet knife to chop onions, it reduces tears if you have sensitive eyes.
It really works!! I could barely make it through chopping half an onion without needing multiple breaks before I tried this. Just keep the faucet running and dip your knife under periodically while chopping. I still get a little reaction, but nowhere near as bad.
Image credits: 1nd1anaCroft
Counting really slowly with the goal of reaching 150 is a decent way to fall asleep. If you have any thoughts during it just let them play out, and if you forget what number you’re on just go from what you last remember. If you make any major movements just start again.
The goal is to force your brain in to slowing down and not having any jerky motions or thoughts, and eventually reaching such a level of carelessness that you eventually fall asleep without realising. Helped me quite a few times, especially with rain sounds, hope it helps some of you too!
Image credits: Solacekia
More life advice than a life hack, but: “A dropped knife doesn’t have a handle.” If you ever drop a kitchen knife or other bladed instrument, just let it fall. Trying to catch it will almost certainly give you a nasty slice on the hand.
“You know how hard it is to tell whether an avocado’s ripe before cutting into it? Simply twist the stem. If it doesn’t come off, it’s underripe; if it comes off and is green underneath, it’s ripe; if it’s brown underneath, it’s overripe. Voila—no more rock hard or mushy grey avocados!» she shared. The comedian added that it’s ironic how avocados marketed as ‘ripe’ in supermarkets are usually anything but.
If your car is overheating, turn your heat on full blast.
When you turn the heat on in a car, it pulls heat from the engine into the cab, thus cooling the engine.
Image credits: Bryarx
Drinking a cup of water with your alcoholic drink, waking up Alive not dead.
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Makeup remover on deodorant stains.
My husband has a lot of T-shirts with white/stained armpits, so I gave it a shot.
It worked. 😮
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Like with plenty of new ideas and inventions, chance plays an important element when it comes to discovering new and useful life hacks. Whether through experimentation or lucky coincidence, we might end up finding a pearl of wisdom among the weeds.
If you’re watching YouTube on your phone just scroll to the end and restart the vid to skip all ads.
Getting 8 hours of time on bed, not necessarily sleep, is mental magic
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If you’ve got a splinter below your skin surface, wrap a banana peel around it. Wet side against your skin. It will draw the splinter out most of the time. I don’t know how but it fricken works. Banana voodoo. Banavoodoo. Banadoo?
Image credits: Rusty_is_a_good_boy
And despite how funny it might sound, life hacks are an expression of how wonderful the scientific method is, riding on the wave that is human ingenuity. We might lose hope in humanity from time to time, but just the fact that there are hundreds of people sharing useful life hacks is enough to restore our faith in our intelligence as a species a tiny bit,
During pollen season… rinse your hair before bed. Otherwise you’re just depositing pollen on your pillowcase every night and then rolling your face in it all night. And then multiply that by how many nights you use the same pillowcase.
Image credits: blanketsmellslikeham
Vinegar in a plastic bag with rubber band tied around any faucet will make the faucet like-new. I’m talking decade old rust and stuff gone…and water flows like the first day.
Image credits: Aakwanderer
The cheapest, most effective, and safest insecticide against roaches (especially those huge “water bug” roaches that we have in the South) is a spray bottle of mostly water with just a little liquid dish soap in it.
Shake the bottle & get the water a little foamy, then spray the roaches. They will run, scrabble, and attempt escape, of course, but they will die. The soap film suffocates them faster than any chemicals will.
Image credits: SnooPickles3213
Which of these life hacks did you find to be the most useful? Which ones were a complete surprise to you, dear Pandas? Do you have any fake-sounding-but-real hacks to share with all the other Readers here? Drop us a comment below!
If your ring gets stuck on your finger windex will slide it right off. Worked at a jewelry store for five plus years.
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Every male should know this. If you want to get rid of an awkward boner flex any muscle in your body maybe an arm. For a minute. The blood will rush to that muscle and away from your D. Crisis averted.
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Eating candied ginger helps with nausea. Any ginger really, but candied ginger is much better tasting.
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25% of 18 is the same as 18% of 25. Percentages are reversible and one is easier to figure out than the other one.
Run your wrists under cold water or rub an ice cube on your pulse points to cool down all over quickly when you get overheated. It seems obvious but I didn’t realize it until last summer working in a warehouse with no ac.
If your coffee tastes too bitter, stir in a small pinch of salt.
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Rubbing vegetable oil (or any cooking oil) on your hands after you cut up jalapeños or other hot peppers. It gets rid of the awfulness that would normally be left on your hands from the peppers. I rub my hands with oil and then wash it off with dish soap. I can totally remove my contacts after doing this. It’s crazy how well this works.
Image credits: PaulRuddsButthole
Gently rocking back and forth while pooping. I’ve never had any problems in the bathroom, but I happened to be sitting on the toilet when I read the comment so I decided to give it a test drive. I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and effortless the whole experience was and I haven’t gone back to my old stationary technique since.
Dawn dish soap is better for cleaning tubs than any bathroom cleaner. Consider that when you bathe you’re mostly washing of body oils/dirt/skin. Dawn is so effective at cleaning oil it’s used to clean up after oil spills. You can use a small amount and it cleans pretty effortlessly with circles on a sponge.
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Crayons are flammable and will provide about an hour of light as a candle if you lit the top.
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Nail polish remover gets permanent marker off skin. You know, in case someone draws a D on your face.
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Lighting spaghetti on fire to light candles (the big ones) instead of using paper
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When putting a paint can lid back on the can, first put down a layer of cling film (saran wrap). This will stop the lid sticking to the can once the paint on the lid has dried.
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If you’re going to climb a ladder or work on your roof, wear a bike helmet.
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«Pay yourself first». No matter how much or how little you make. Take 10% of your paycheck and put it in an emergency fund before you buy or pay for anything else. That strategy has saved me on numerous occasions.
Got fridge hard butter and you want to bake? Cheese grate it.
It will still be work if you’re hand mixing, but it’s better than trying to chop it.
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You can do the Heimlich maneuver on yourself. Use a chair or countertop, press yourself against it(right under your rib cage), and press down hard. Should force air up and dislodge a blockage.
Image credits: Djason_Unchaind
Microwave tip: Put a cup of water on the tray with whatever you are microwaving, it always makes it taste better and «fresher».
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That rubbing alcohol removes chewing gum.
I’d go through a 20 layer deep marketing funnel to get to that tip because it really does work.
If you feel suicidal or depressed….don’t focus on hope. It is enough to just stay curious. Curiosity has the power to keep you alive far longer than hope ever will. Curiosity leads to engaging work and this leads to opportunity.
Put your onion in the freezer for 10 minutes before chopping it. It freezes the juices just enough to slow down the process of it turning in to a gas, giving you a few minutes to chop the onion without tears.
Image credits: Lost_in_the_Library
If you’re having trouble staying awake in class/at a meeting, see how long you can keep one of your feet lifted slightly off the ground.
Image credits: maleorderbride
Yell at your vacuum cleaner to get your dogs to stop barking at it.
Image credits: IAmNotScottBakula
I hesitantly submit squeegeeing yourself off before getting out of the shower. It’s so simple I was dubious, but just use your hands to quickly wipe off excess water and bingo, you’re not cold getting out.
If you ever take a pill and get that stuck-in-throat feeling after, just hold a sip of water in your mouth then lay down flat on your back and swallow it. Goes away instantly every time.
The most successful time you can schedule any given meeting/appointment/interview is 11am. Remember this well.
Ladies who love sundresses but hate tights? Use some underarm deodorant on your thighs to avoid the thigh rub.
Image credits: clarketl29
To get rid of fried oil smells in the kitchen/house, take 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and add rosemary, vanilla extract, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and boil. Grease smell goes away and house smells great. Works great after Buffalo wing night.
Use vinegar to wash anything stinky. Gym shoes, clothes left in a plastic bag, etc. Regular detergent and what not usually still leaves a bit of smell. Add half a cup of white vinegar to the wash, smell gone!
If you’re in college, don’t buy your textbooks until you actually need to use them. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by not buying “required” textbooks that we never used
Image credits: JustSeanAgain
If you have stains somewhere hard to bleach (like the top of a toilet bowl or a shower floor), put down paper towels first. It soaks up the bleach and keeps it in place while it does its job. This works like magic, seriously.
Teach kids to ride 2 wheelers using a small balance bike without pedals between the ages of 2 and 3, and they’ll do most of the work themselves. Then, when they’re ready for speed, they can graduate to a bike with pedals. Skip the training wheels.
Trouble swallowing pills? Squeeze your left thumb in your fist while you swallow. No idea why but it suppresses the gag reflex.
When you’re moving and have to disassemble furniture, wrap up all the screws and stuff in some tape and then stick it to the furniture.
When it is icy or going through somewhere wet, always have both hands free to break any fall.
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Ever have a split butt-knuckle? Some of us cold-climate people know about it.
Dry air+ tight clothing+ clothing layers=a split in the skin at the tailbone. A split butt-knuckle. The cure?
Warm water bath with baking soda. Rinse. Pat dry (no rubbing) dry with a hair dryer. THEN apply a layer of Carmex.
If you have a dishwasher, I’m sure you’re familiar with the vague annoyance of pools of water being left on your dishes.
After the cycle is done, grab a clean towel, and hang it flat on the inside of the door and close gently (don’t slam it, it’s ok to be open a crack still) and wait about 30 minutes. Your dishes will be completely dry.
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Mayonnaise to remove water stains in wood from cups and glasses.
Mosquitos Bites be gone!
This hack is the most valuable thing I’ve learned in my whole life.
Heat of the back of a spoon with hot water. Then apply the back of the spoon to the bite. I usually do it twice for good measure. The spoon needs to be hot enough to keep on the skin without burning yourself. So test the heat before you press it down. Keep it on until the heat dissipates. Bite will stop itching almost immediately…usually the bite ha completely disappeared within an hour.
This only works with mosquitoes from my experience.
Image credits: Needaslurpee
When you have hiccups. Tilt your head to the side. Keep it that way. Hold your breath and take 8 small gulps of water. Hiccups will be gone.
Use shaving cream as anti-fog. I used it on the inside of my motorcycle visor. Smear it on, let it dry, then rinse off and dry. It also works for bathroom mirrors. You can use it on a small spot so you can still see when you get out of the shower.
Permanent marker on a countertop? Use hair spray, lifts it right up!
Clean jewelry with dish soap, since other cleaning supplies might scratch it (like hand soap or anything that exfoliates) or chemically react with the metals (usually that’s harsh cleaning supplies) and dish soap is intended to clean glass and ceramic without scratching it and silverware without reacting with the metal, etc.
Lock your car door with one hand while you’re touching your keys with the other. Once you get in the habit, no more lockouts.
Image credits: RealisticDelusions77
If your hands smell like garlic, just rub them against metal like your sink. The smell will disappear.
If you have funky armpits and need to fix them fast, use hand sanitiser. I figured this out years ago when I remembered that the smell comes from bacteria reactions – which antibacterial hand gel kills stone dead. Instant results and the medical smell lasts only a minute. Don’t do this routinely though as it’s delicate skin.
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Being extra nice to strangers when you need help will get you REALLY far, often times further than you expect. Customer service especially.
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Keep a small squeegee in the shower if you have glass walls or door. Squeegee before you get out after showering. No soap or water stains.
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If you are painting using painters tape (doing corners or stripes etc) first paint along the edges with the colour that’s under the tape, let it dry a little so it won’t mix, then put your to colour in. It stops the ‘bleed’ effect because that won’t be visible and now the tape is sealed.
Blank PowerPoint presentation in reading mode will prevent the computer from locking automatically
Always carrying a $20 with you no matter where you go. So many times I’ve gone to get gas and find out my debit or credit card gets declined. Truly a lifesaver!
Write a list and cross things off when you accomplish the teensiest thing. It builds momentum.
If you have the right of way, take it. It makes driving more predictable and therefore caused fewer accidents.
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All your kindling for a fire is wet and all you have is matches and snacks, any corn chip will light into a ball of flames.
Learn how to fall. Where to hit, how to disperse energy. It can really save you in uncertain situation.
When you are on your phone and you messed up in the middle of the word instead of tapping in the middle of the word just hold your space bar and drag it
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There is such a thing called car body language when driving. If you watch you’ll notice people will move slightly in their lanes about 5 to 10 seconds before they switch lanes. They will move in the direction they intend to go and as far as I can this is not a conscious decision.
If you have trouble keeping your things organized, create designated spaces for them that are close to where they end up when you’re at your laziest.
Smell is closely associated with memory. If you’re studying for an exam, buy an odd scented eraser (like pickle scent). Everytime you try to memorize something, take a sniff. Take that eraser to the test and sniff it when you’re having trouble remembering an answer
Splash some water your face. As a mammal, you have a diving instinct, so water on your face triggers a response: you wake up, there’s more oxygen to your brain, you feel better, plus your face is wet.
If you get food/grease stains on your clothes, cover the stain with dishwashing liquid. The stain will come off when you wash your clothes.
Keep the instructions for any Ikea furniture you get. (They are also online) Then if you have to move, you can disassemble them and save a lot of moving expenses due to the reduced space requirement.
Use Noxzema cream to treat sunburns.
As soon as you realized you are burt, rinse the area with cool water, pat mostly dry, and slather a thick layer of Noxzema on. Don’t wash it off, just leave it. Once the cream has dried, you can rise off and reapply if you want.
if you stand up too fast and your head starts to spin/rush/blackout tighten your abs as hard as you can and it’ll help drastically reduce the head rush. you can also do it preemptively to help stop it before it even happens
Use a pop socket to hang jewelry on a flat wall/bed frame. I use it to hang my necklace up every night. Sounds stupid, but it’s right next to where I sleep so if I forget to take it off I don’t have to get up, and it hasn’t tangled once since I started using it. Saves the hassle of untangling a tiny chain.
Don’t buy a new plastic shower curtain – throw the dirty one in the washing machine by itself with somw detergent and it will be like new.
Image credits: Ralphmove
Burned chili taste can be fixed with peanut butter. Shut up. Just do it.