Yesteryear Life Hacks That Can Still Be Applied In Today’s Modern World

By Jhoana C

If you think people from decades or centuries ago have nothing important to share with us modern-day people and have nothing new to learn from them, you are badly mistaken. They have plenty of life hacks that are just as applicable now as they were years ago. These hacks and lessons are simple, straightforward, and quick. These solutions will help make your daily life much easier. Most of us are still facing many of the same issues households from years ago faced. Sometimes, old solutions work best, so don’t knock them down until you try them. Here are a few vintage and old life hacks we’ve compiled in one place that you should keep in mind so that if you run into problems, you know exactly what to do. Let’s not delay anymore and take a look at them.

Disclaimer: All the photos in this article are originally from Gallaher’s Cigarettes but were digitized by The New York Public Library

Easy way to remove rings

Anyone who’s ever become pregnant or bloated understands the agony of having a ring on your finger that is difficult to take off. We have seen so many hacks on the Internet that aim to address this common problem.

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However, the most effective one was invented long before the Internet came to life. Applying a soapy mixture to the ring makes it easier and painless to remove. If that doesn’t do it, you can raise your finger for some time after applying the soapy mixture. Gravity helps lessen blood flow.

Inject some life back to cut flowers

Flowers look and smell amazing, and they add beauty to any space. Add flowers to an otherwise dull room, and you will understand what we mean. However, cut flowers have a limited lifespan. Transportation alone from the flower farm to the flower shop can take a toll on them.

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How do you ensure that you have flowers that look alive? Submerge part of the stems in hot water and keep it there until the water cools down. Don’t forget to cut off the stems that were submerged in hot water before transferring the flowers to a vase with cold water.

Keeping brown shoes stain-free

Take it from us, folks: If you plan on going to the beach, don’t wear dress shoes. Wear flip-flops or waterproof shoes. However, if an instant excursion to the beach has got you unprepared, we can’t do anything other than try and prepare.

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Fortunately, there is a way to remove saltwater stains from brown shoes. Dissolve a small amount of baking soda in hot milk and wipe your shoes clean with it. Leave the show to dry and proceed with the usual polishing. Thank us later.

How to clean oil paintings

A unique thing about oil paintings is that they don’t dry. Instead, they harden in about two weeks because of oxidation. After that process, they are ready to be varnished in about six months. If you have ever owned an oil painting, you’d know that they need to be maintained.

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How do you keep oil paintings clean? Make sure you dust it and get a slice of potato to clean it. Potato? Yes, we know we’re not going to make any stew, but it helps with cleaning. Rub the moist part carefully over the painting in slow motion and wipe off the residue with a clean cloth. 

Get that perfect slice of thin bread

Some old life hacks are anything but old. They can still be applied in today’s time, and they still make perfect sense, such as this one. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and a lot of people have bread for breakfast.

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If you want to get that perfectly think slice of bread, a trick that you should keep in mind is to place the bread knife in hot water. This makes cutting through loaves of bread easy and quick. You are guaranteed thin slices all the time.

Save money on your cooking gas

Preparing or cooking your meals or the family’s meals helps save lots of money. The cost of eating out can quickly add up, and before you know it, you have already spent hundreds every month on restaurants and fast-food chains.

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Nevertheless, you still want to save money on gas when preparing your meals at home. Get an iron sheet large enough to fit the gas stove properly so you can prepare different dishes at the same time. Brilliant idea, right?

Prolong the life of your paintbrushes

Unless you’re a painter, you don’t purchase paint brushes regularly because you seldom use them or you clean them all the time. As much as possible, you want to make your paintbrushes last, and you want to make the most use out of them.

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You can do that easily by ensuring you clean until the smallest traces of paint are removed from the brush. Squeeze the brush dry between a piece of cloth and put it in a container with enough water to cover the hairs.

Treat ankle sprains effectively

Ankle sprains are no fun. Not only will you be sidelined for a few hours or days, but it also means being cooped up in the house. You wouldn’t want your ankle sprain to worsen and swell. Keep this tip in mind in case you have ankle sprains in the future.

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Soak a piece of cloth in cold water and wrap your ankle with it. This will reduce the swelling considerably. Make sure that you always have an extra piece of cloth soaked in cold water so you can replace the other wrap when it gets warm.

How to kill a tree stump permanently

You may not be an arborist or a gardener, but knowing how to kill a tree stump permanently is something that you should keep in mind. You never know when it will come in handy. Cutting a tree down doesn’t guarantee that it won’t grow back.

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That is why you have to go for the stump. Make some holes on the top as well as the sides of the tree stump. Pour a mixture of salt and solignum into the holes. What the combination will do is kill the tree eventually.

Say goodbye to foggy glasses

Who knew that knowing how to prevent eyeglasses from fogging up is so helpful in today’s time, especially since we are required to wear masks every time we are outside our homes? This is an easy trick to follow.

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This hack from the 1900s may be an oldie, but it’s a goodie. Clean your eyeglasses using soap and wipe your eyeglasses clean. Regularly using soap to clean your glasses will leave an invisible layer on top of the glass that will prevent it from steaming.

Protect your hands from broken glass

No matter how careful we are, accidents happen at times. We sometimes hit tables or decors. If you happen to break a vase or any glass, you can be sure there will be broken pieces on the floor or table, and they can easily cause injury.

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Picking up pieces of shattered glass is not recommended, even if the pieces are big. This life hack will ensure that you don’t cut yourself. Get a damp rag and use it to clean the floor instead of picking up broken glass.

Keeping everyone at home safe from gas leaks

Gas was the precursor of electricity. Nowadays, people still use gas for preparing and cooking food. It is very useful, but it can also be dangerous at the same time, especially when gas leaks happen. It is an urgent emergency that needs to be addressed at the same time.

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How do you know if a gas leak is happening in your home? Mix a thick solution of soap and paint it over the pipe where you suspect the leak to be. A telltale sign of a gas leak is when the soap starts to foam. Call the authorities if you confirm a gas leakage.

Have plenty of eggs, preserve them

Did you end up buying more eggs than you need, or did anyone give you a lot of eggs? Don’t worry because you can prevent them from going bad by preserving them. This is something that can be done, especially by people who don’t have a fridge at home.

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This life hack from the 1900s is still as good today as it was over a hundred years ago. It is straightforward and quick. Fill a tin with salt, bury the eggs, and cover the tin to prevent air from getting in. This will prolong the life of the eggs.

Prevent your colored clothes from being ruined

We might not love to do laundry, but it is a reality we have to face. If we want to wear clean clothes, we need to do laundry, and one of the most common problems of washing clothes is color-stained clothes.

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How do you ensure that this doesn’t happen? Of course, the first step is to separate whites from colored clothes, and when washing colored clothes, you should immerse them in a mixture of two handfuls of salts dissolved in a liter of water.

Tanning white shoes the right way

As much as possible, we wouldn’t recommend white shoes. However, we can’t prevent anyone from buying them. You should know that it’s easy for white shoes to get stained or dirty. After a while, you might just want to change the color altogether.

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Thoroughly clean the shoes before tanning them. Mix approximately ten drops of saffron and three teaspoons of salad oil. Apply the solution with a clean piece of cloth, and don’t forget to give your shoes a good polishing right after.

How to clean bottles thoroughly

It is very important to clean and wash utensils thoroughly, but it’s a given that some utensils can be more of a challenge to thoroughly clean compared to others, and one of them is bottles. How do you get the sponge through the small hole?

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Thankfully, there are plenty of hacks coming to our rescue. A vintage life hack that is still applicable today is to pour water in the bottle, add some sand, shake and mix well. This will help clean the bottle in a fast and easy way.

Getting rid of ink stains on cloth

Ink stains are some of the hardest to remove from fabric. We know plenty of students and people who work in the office can relate to this, as well as mothers and wives who are in charge of the laundry.

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Well, life doesn’t have to be so hard. All you need is to soak the stained cloth in a bowl of milk for a little while. Not only will this help remove the ink easily, but it will also give the cloth a pleasant smell. You’re hitting two birds with one stone.

Prevent your vases from falling and breaking

We all want a home that is decorated well and one of the most common decors we can look at every day is the vase. However, glass vases are fragile. They can easily fall and break. If you invested good money on a vase, it’s only fitting that you want to protect it.

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Fill the vase with sand. This will help prevent breakage by making the vase heavier and more stable, so even if anyone were to collide with the table, the vase wouldn’t easily fall and break. That’s good news for everyone.

How to test if you have pure butter

Nowadays, most of the products sold in groceries and supermarkets are adulterated. It’s challenging to ensure that what you have is indeed the real thing. What about honey? Many brands are not pure and are commonly mixed with fructose.

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How can you tell if the butter you bought is pure and has not been mixed with margarine? Rub a small amount of butter on paper and set the paper on fire. An agreeable smell means it’s pure butter, but a tallowy odor means it’s likely mixed with margarine.

Silence those squeaky boots

Have you just bought yourself a new pair of boots? Have you noticed that it makes a squeaky sound? You may not notice it, but it can be irritating to some. How do you prevent the squeaking sound from happening?

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Something that you can do is to drive a few brads in the middle of the sole. Another option is to put the sole in a bowl that has oil and immerse the sole in it thoroughly. Once you do this, the squeaking should’ve come to a stop.

Keep brush handles clean

People paint either for livelihood or recreational pursuits. It’s fun, therapeutic, and it helps you de-stress. However, few mistakes can make painting difficult. As we said before, and one of those mistakes is not keeping the paintbrushes clean.

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How do you that? You don’t want the brush to come into contact with sand, and you don’t want it to stain other things in the house. Get a card, cut a hole in the middle, and insert the brush through it. This will prevent stains, and you will be able to paint with peace of mind.

Painful splinters

Splinters are painful, and it’s the last thing you want to happen to you, so it’s a must to be careful when picking up small pieces of wood shavings or glass. Because of their small size, splinters are a pain in the you know where to remove.

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This life hack may be old, but it’s still useful in today’s time. This will help remove small fragments effectively. Get a wide-mouthed bottle and fill it with hot water. Press the area with the splinter tightly on the bottle. This will create a suction effect on the skin that will draw out the splinter slowly.

How do you pack flowers and keep them fresh at the same time

Flowers are beautiful, but they are also delicate. Transporting them is something that must be done correctly, or else you will end up with wilted flowers. Just think of how Holland ships their prized flowers to other areas all over the world.

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If you wish to send flowers to loved ones, you can preserve them during the entire journey and beyond by inserting the stalks in freshly cut raw potatoes. We assure you that you will be able to prolong the flower’s life for more than a week.

Clean your vintage clock

We love anything vintage because they have so much personality and history. Some people collect vintage decor such as clocks, and they are more than willing to pay a substantial amount of money to get their hands on one-of-a-kind clocks than brand new ones.

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How do you keep your prized timepiece clean? How do you maintain it? Get a piece of cotton wool and soak it in coal oil. Put the cotton wool below the works of the clock and let the fumes of the oil rise. This helps loosen dust particles in the clock so they will fall off, making the clock easier to clean.

You can still mend broken china?

Why are china plates called as such? Because the delicate porcelains were first made in China. They are white, smooth, and lustrous in their glazed form. Most of these high-quality dishes are only used for special occasions or only for display.

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Broken China is like getting a broken heart, especially if they cost you a lot of money. Fortunately, there’s still a way to mend it, and that’s by heating alum until it melts. Apply the melted alum to the open edge of the broken china and hold both prices together until they stick back. Keep the plate firm and stable until the alum cools down.

Trim a lamp wick safely

Contrary to what people think, trimming a lamp wick isn’t as simple as getting a pair of scissors and cutting off the charred edges. If you want to make the wick last longer, there’s a better way to do it.

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No need to grab a pair of scissors or any cutting instrument. All you need to do is pinch or rub the charred edge of the wick, and you’re good to go. Not that complicated, right? But if this doesn’t work, that’s the time you use the scissors to cut off the wick.

How do you tighten the cap of a fountain pen?

Using a fountain pen means that no pressure is required as the ink flows directly and freely out of the pen’s nibs. The pen offers a smoother writing experience compared to other types of pens, but what do you do if the cap is not tight enough?

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You can fix this problem by holding the cap over a flame for a few seconds. Squeeze the cap into a smaller oval pipe, then put the lid on the pen. This will make it fit perfectly, and you don’t have to worry about it falling off.

Reduce spillage when cooking

Spillage is something common when cooking and also when you don’t know this useful life hack. You may not be there every second to ensure that the lid on the pot is raised, but you can use a clothes peg to keep the lid raised.

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How do you do that? Just fix the peg on the edge of the saucepan like you would normally do on a clothesline. Don’t forget to drive a tack into the peg’s top part. The saucepan’s lid will rest on the tack driven into the peg, keeping it open.

Can you cool wine without ice?

Are you impressed after reading all these life hacks from people who have come decades before us? We certainly are because they know a thing or two about life. One of the things they can do is cool wine even without ice.

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How do you do it? Get a soft woolen cloth and wrap the wine bottle with it. Place the wrapped bottle over running water for at least 10 minutes and serve immediately. Everyone will have cold wine to drink in no time.

How to separate glasses that are stuck together

If you have been washing the dishes for some time now, you’ll notice that some dishes or glasses get stuck together. Because they’re slippery, it can be difficult to separate them without risking breaking them. How do you separate them safely?

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Try this old life hack and thank us later. Place both glasses or cups over a bowl of hot water. Fill the upper cup or glass with cold water, and this will make them easier to separate without risk of breakage or injury.

Stopping a runaway horse

You may not be into equestrianism, but stopping a runaway horse is a skill you need to learn because you never know when you might need it. Yes, we are serious. Who knows when runaway horses might go galloping through your streets.

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Horses are huge creatures, so how do you get a hold of one? We’ll let the picture do the talking on this one, but as you can see, one of the most important things you need to do is not run right in front of the horse.

Immortalizing autumn leaves

Autumn is our favorite time of the year because it’s when trees shed their multi-colored leaves. It just makes the surroundings colorful and unforgettable. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by colorful and lush foliage? It’s also the best weather out of the year.

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How can you preserve beautiful autumn leaves? Just dip the leaves in melted spermaceti when it’s warm. Coat the entire leaves lightly, then let them dry thoroughly on a smooth surface. You now have beautiful autumn leaves to last you the entire year.

Making corks fit properly

Don’t you just hate corks that don’t fit bottles perfectly? Corks that are either too big or too small are useless. Although you can remedy this by cutting the larger corks to size, there is a more straightforward solution to this problem.

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Get the cork and put it on a hard surface, apply pressure to it, and roll the cork steadily under the sole of a shoe. This will easily reduce the size without damaging it. However, we have one question, can we use something else instead of a shoe?

How to copy fretwork patterns

Sometimes, we come across beautiful patterns that we want to copy. Copying is much easier than making an entirely new pattern. How do we replicate such things? This old life hack is coming to your rescue, and it doesn’t involve much, just a few sheets of paper.

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Get the pattern and evenly put printer’s ink on it. Put a sheet of paper on the inked fret. Get something to carefully roll the sheet of paper over the inked pattern thoroughly, and before you know it, you have copied the pattern.

Stop lamp glasses from breaking or cracking

Although we use electricity nowadays, some people might still use old-fashioned gas lamps. You want to prevent these vintage lamps from getting damaged. After all, they might be valuable, and you might want to pass them on to your children.

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Put the glass into a pot of cold water and let the water boil. Let the water cool down but don’t remove the glass from the pot. Get a dry rag and polish the glass when you’re ready to use it. This will help your glass lamp survive longer.

You can still boil cracked eggs

Don’t throw cracked eggs away because you are badly mistaken if you think you can no longer boil them. People born centuries ago have found a clever way to salvage them and boil them as if they were undamaged.

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Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water, which will prevent the contents of the cracked egg from boiling out. It will help boil and cook the egg as if it’s in pristine condition. Try it if you have a cracked egg, and let us know how it went.

Make the candle fit the candlestick

We don’t always buy candles of the correct size. Sometimes, they are smaller than the candlestick, and at times they are larger. Such is life. But the next time you buy a candle that’s too big, don’t despair, because you can make it fit the candlestick.

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This simple solution is fast, easy, and doesn’t take so much effort. Get a bowl of hot water and place the end of the thick candlestick in it for a few minutes until the wax softens. After which, you will be able to press it into the candlestick without breaking.

Light a match even if it’s windy

Trying to light a match if it’s incredibly windy is like swimming against the current. It’s not an easy thing to do, and it can get frustrating, especially if you have been trying to do it for so long. Who knew all you needed was a little creativity to solve this problem?

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So, what do you do? Make small and thin shavings on the matchstick but don’t completely cut them out. When you light the match, the shavings will also light up, and this gives you a better chance of succeeding even with the wind and all.

Do this if you don’t want mushy and floury potatoes

Potatoes are full of nutrition, and they can be prepared in many ways. That’s why they are very popular and are a staple in most households. However, if you have always been led to believe that the only way for them to go when boiled is mushy and soft, we have news for you.

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Potatoes can also come out dry and floury, even after boiling. The secret is in adding a pinch of sugar and water to the boiling water. Make sure to discard the water after boiling. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and shake them regularly to dry them.

Properly recycling coal dust

This life hack is old and may not apply to most people today. But it’s still good to know. You might just need it when you find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere. Ash or coal dust makes a good substitute for fuel.

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You can recycle coal dust by turning it into bricks. Get a shovel full of coal dust and mix it with water and a handful of salt. Stir the mixture until it forms a stiff paste. Quickly mold into brick shapes by putting them in old boxes and leave them out to dry thoroughly.

Ensure your white straw hat is sparkling clean

Anything white is easy to get dirty or stain, and you have to take particularly good care of any white pieces of clothing or accessories, such as straw hats. You wouldn’t want them to turn brown or yellowish because it doesn’t look good.

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This hack has been used for a hundred years, and it’s still as effective now as it was then. Brush the hat gently but properly with the use of a soft-bristled brush. Get a lemon and cut it into two and rub the inner part of the hat with it.

Make your boots ready for walking

You don’t have to buy new footwear every time there’s a special occasion. Most of the time, your old footwear will still do. All you need to do is just make sure you clean them well, and they will be presentable.

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All you need is a lemon to clean your boots thoroughly. Cut a lemon in half and rub the boots with half of the lemon. Allow it to dry thoroughly and polish once it dries. Your boots will be transformed as if it’s new.

Always have airtight cork

Corks help preserve the contents of a bottle and help keep them fresh. However, if they are not watertight or airtight, corks won’t help at all. How do you ensure that corks are always airtight? Put some paraffin wax in a hot pot and let it boil.

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Drop the cork in the pot of boiling paraffin wax. This will help the cork retain its watertight and airtight capabilities when in a bottle, and you need not worry about whatever product you have in the bottle losing its freshness.

Get rid of chilblains

Chilblains or painful inflammation of tiny blood vessels in the skin is something that many people suffer from. They are often the result of repeated exposure to cold air. If you can’t avoid being exposed to cold air and you suffer from chilblains, this remedy is for you.

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All you need are some apples and salt. Cut a slice of apple and dip it into salt. Rub the slice gently on the affected area, and you will feel relief from chilblains. However, as they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure so minimize your exposure to cold air.

Keeping your Mackintosh clean

For those who are not in the know, the British Mackintosh is a waterproof raincoat or outercoat. It was named after a Scottish chemist named Charles Macintosh. If you have a Mackintosh in your closet and you need help cleaning it, you have come to the right place.

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All you need is a knife and a potato. Take dirt and stain away by rubbing the dirty areas with a raw, peeled potato. Aside from working on your Mackintosh, this hack also works perfectly well on mud stains in other pieces of clothing.