Here are 7 Useful Life Hacks From 100 Years Ago

100 years ago, in 1917, Houdini was performing his famous buried alive trick and Woodrow Wilson was giving his Second Inaugural address. That time might seem far off to us (because, well, it is) but that doesn’t mean that everything that happened back in 1917 is irrelevant! In fact, there are plenty of tips we can take from that long-ago time, including some pretty effective life hacks.

Household Hacker discovered some cards, written about 100 years ago, each one containing a clever hack for cleaning your home. Think of them like the original “Cleaning” Pinterest board.

The archaic cards gave tricks to problems that we most certainly run into today; i.e. removing stains from clothes, dingy shoes, and flowers that easily die. And while it’s weirdly reassuring that people had the same struggles 100 years ago, the real question is this: do these tips work?

Well, Household Hacker went ahead and tested out these ancient hacks and now we have the results for you all.

1. Removing a Nail

Trying to pull a nail out of wood.Household Hacker

Ever have a nail that’s really stuck into a wall or a plank of wood? No matter how hard you tug on that nail, it just won’t budge. Apparently, nails were just as stubborn 100 years ago! The card reads:

“It’s often difficult to pull out a long nail from wood which it has been driven, for when drawn out a short distance as in A, there is no purchase from which to pull it further. If, however, a small block of wood is placed under the pincers, as in B, the nail can be pulled out without difficulty.”

This trick for removing stuck-in nails seemed to make sense in theory; you use a small plank of wood as a base for your hammer. This should give your hammer enough leverage and balance to pull out any nail.

However, the hackers found that the small block of wood didn’t do the trick. In the end, they upgrade to something SUPER sturdy — a brick. Using the idea of the card and this firm base, they did remove the nail eventually.

Results: The idea worked, but it needed some tweaking.

 2. Getting Out Stains

Dunking fabric in milk.Household Hacker

This card was referencing a handkerchief that had been stained with ink, but handkerchiefs aren’t necessarily something we all carry around nowadays. However, a stained t-shirt is very much a modern day equivalent of that same material.

The card instructs that any handkerchief stained with ink should be plunged into milk to immediately get the stain out. Weird, but definitely worth a try.

After covering a t-shirt with a spot of ink, they put the stained section into a bowl of milk as instructed and let it sit for a few minutes. When they removed it, it was already quite clear that the stain was coming out. It took some dabbing with a wet cloth, and even after that the stain was still faintly visible, but it was definitely less noticeable.

Results: It will reduce the appearance of a stain, but it won’t disappear entirely. And, yeah, you’ll waste some milk.

3. Keeping Flowers Alive

Making an indent in a potato with a marker.Household Hacker

Nothing is more depressing than watching beautiful flowers die. And 100 years ago, when they didn’t have those packets of flower food we have today, the process probably happened much quicker.

This hack suggests sticking the ends of your flowers into small holes made in potatoes, which actually makes sense! The potatoes would preserve the flower, providing nourishment and water, and the card claims that it would help the flowers last for over a week.

Results: This one really worked! The flowers were well kept for days and had a nice, natural stand which kept them perfectly upright.

Curious to see the rest of these 100-year-old hacks? Make sure to watch the video below. Then share your thoughts on these ancient tricks in the comments section below.