17 Life Hacks That Are Harder Than the Non-Hack

Life hacks are supposed to make your life easier, and sometimes they really do. Binder clips really can extend the life of your toothpaste and a lemon with salt can truly clean a wooden cutting board. 

However, the internet is rife with hacks that aren’t actually effective. Sometimes, they even make your life more difficult. 

So, before you spend an hour making toilet paper roll speakers for your phone or attempt to whip up your own chemical-free sunscreen, you might want to read this list. We found many popular hacks are more trouble than they’re worth. 

1: Toaster Grilled Cheese

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If you don’t think too hard about toaster grilled cheese, it seems like a great idea. Why dirty a pan if you can simply stuff bread and cheese together into your countertop toaster? 

This hack has you turn the toaster on its side and add one piece of bread with a slice of cheese to each slot. Unfortunately, when the bread pops, you’re almost sure to get the cheese all over the inside of your toaster, creating a huge mess to clean up. Plus, using your toaster this way is a fire hazard

2: Cheap DIY Speakers

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There are a couple of supposed hacks for creating speakers out of trash. One says you can use toilet paper rolls to amplify your phone’s sound. Another involves using a split plastic cup to create “speakers” for your laptop. 

Neither hack works in real life. Rather than waste time making arts and crafts from household trash, just invest in a real speaker. It will last longer and be much more effective at amplifying sound.  

3: Wooden Spoons on Boiling Pots

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If you’re heating water on a stove, you might have heard a wooden spoon will keep it from boiling over. In theory, this hack is great because you can walk away from a boiling pot and tend to other things. 

However, if your pot is really boiling, it will overtake your spoon and spill onto the stove, leaving you with the mess you aimed to avoid. So, you’re better off just keeping an eye on the pot and turning the heat down when appropriate. 

4: Lemon for Cleaning Your Countertops

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If you have marble countertops, you might have seen a hack that advised you to use lemons to keep them clean. The hack claims lemons will make your countertops sparkle. 

Here’s the problem: marble countertops are made up of calcium carbonate, which wears down in the presence of an acid, including citric acid. If you use a lemon to clean your marble counters, it will start to eat away at the surface, creating dull spots. Instead of using the lemon hack, save yourself time (and the cost of replacing your counters) by using a cleaner made for marble. 

5: Cold Battery Storage

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A lot of people believe storing batteries in the fridge will extend their life or even make them perform better. You can save yourself the fridge space, though, because this life hack is entirely false. 

Storing batteries in the cold could actually lower their lifespan, and the condensation that accumulates can harm them. Both Energizer and Duracell have warned against the practice. 

6: Vicks on Feet 

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If you have a cold, Vicks rub can be helpful and comforting. However, you should stick to rubbing it on your throat or chest.

Many people claim putting Vicks on your feet is also helpful, but this isn’t true. Not only is it messy, but it doesn’t do anything. 

Vicks works because menthol and camphor trick your brain into believing you’re not so congested and help to soothe coughs. Putting it on your feet when you have a cold just moves the medication further away from your nose and throat, making it less effective. 

7: Empty Ketchup Bottles for Pancake Batter

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If you want perfectly round pancakes like they make at diners, you should invest in a restaurant-style dispenser. Alternatively, just use a ladle and deal with a few misshaped pancakes. Both options are cleaner and easier than attempting to use an old ketchup bottle for pancake batter. 

For one thing, getting every last trace of ketchup out of a plastic bottle is difficult. Filling it with batter isn’t that easy either. Worse still, when you try to squirt the batter out, it almost never leaves in a smooth stream, so you’re left with oddly shaped pancakes anyway.   

8: Cutting Cherry Tomatoes with Tupperware Lids

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There’s more than one video online in which someone puts cherry tomatoes between two Tupperware lids. Then, they take a knife and run it horizontally between the lids, cutting a bunch of tiny tomatoes into perfect ellipses. 

Unfortunately, this hack isn’t as easy as it looks. If you press too hard on the Tupperware lid, you get smashed tomatoes, and if you’re knife isn’t perfectly sharp, you going to have a tough time. If you want nicely cut tomatoes, it’s best to cut them individually. 

9: Nails in a Stuck Cork 

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Unless the only thing you have is a toolbox full of nails, there are better ways to open a bottle of wine. This hack suggests sticking a nail into a wine bottle’s cork, then using a hammer to pull the nail and cork out together. 

However, in most cases a single nail won’t pull a cork out. You’d need several nails and, honestly, it’s easier to go find a bottle opener. They sell them at most stores.

10: Christmas Ornaments in Egg Cartons

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At the end of every holiday season people start sharing seemingly creative and “easy” ways to store your decorations. One of these hacks suggests storing Christmas tree ornaments in egg cartons to keep them safe. 

If your ornaments happen to be the exact size of large eggs, this hack could work for you. For most of us though, trying to fit our ornaments into egg cartons is unnecessarily tiresome. They sell ornament storage boxes for a reason.  

11: Plastic Bag Cardio 

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Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of athletes or Tom Holland, running in a trash bag to lose weight fast. While we wish this was effective, it really just makes working out more uncomfortable. 

Wearing a plastic bag could make you sweat more. That’s why wrestlers run in them right before a weigh in. However, the only weight you’re losing is water weight, which can be dangerous, and your body will replace it the second you grab a drink. 

12: Jeans Around the Neck Fit Test

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Some people claim you can tell if a pair of jeans will fit by wrapping them around your neck. Supposedly if the waist band of your jeans fits around your throat, they will fit your waist.  

This hack comes from the fact that in non-obese people, one’s waist is about double the circumference of their neck. However, the hack can’t tell you the stretch of the jeans or if they’ll fit your thighs. So, unless you want to waste time returning them later, you’re better off just trying the pants on. 

13: Rubber Band Paint Can 

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No one likes dealing with drips and spills while they’re painting, which is why the rubber band paint can hack is so enticing. The idea is that you can place a large rubber band around a paint can to wipe your brush on while painting. 

Unfortunately, if your rubber band isn’t perfectly sized, pressure from your brush could send it flying, throwing specks of paint across the room. Plus, when you’re done, you’ll have to carefully remove the rubber band which is sure to create a mess. 

14: Charcoal Teeth Whitening 

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Lots of foods and drinks cause staining on our teeth and many of us are constantly looking for ways to counteract that. Charcoal is often touted as a great way to remove dental stains, while also providing supposed health benefits. 

In truth, the only thing activated charcoal is sure to do is bind to poisons. So, if you accidentally ingest a poisonous substance, consuming activated charcoal could help. 

However, when it comes to whitening teeth, there’s nothing that suggests charcoal is a good idea. Instead, you’re probably just paying for less-effective, ultra-expensive toothpaste. 

15: Hang Wet Laundry to Fix Dry Air

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Many people experience dry skin in the winter months and are open to just about any hack that will remedy it. One supposed life hack says you should hang your wet laundry in your house to increase the humidity. 

In truth, hanging your wet laundry inside will have a non-measurable effect on the humidity in your home. It will also take a lot longer for your clothes to dry. If you struggle with dry skin, there are better ways to combat it. 

16: Anti-Aging Facial Exercises

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The internet is full of anti-aging and fitness hacks, and in this particular piece of advice, the two combine. Many people online claim you can stop the signs of aging by exercising the muscles of your face. 

While there’s nothing wrong with doing this, there are faster and more effective ways to keep your skin looking younger. Things like retinol have been shown to work and are likely more potent than any sort of exercise you could implement.  

17: DIY Sunscreen 

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Many people want to protect their skin from the sun but worry about potentially harmful ingredients in sunscreen. Life hackers often suggest a DIY approach for this particular problem. They claim you can use readily available ingredients, like avocado oil, to protect your skin from the sun. 

Unfortunately, DIY sunscreens typically don’t have any ingredients that actually work. Instead of falling for this life hack, you might want to invest in a hat. 

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