I Clicked “Random Article” On WikiHow 40 Times & Learnt Too Many Things

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt victimised by WikiHow, the weird website full of questionable advice on everything from break ups to fixing deep scratches in your car.

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I’ve never bothered to discover exactly who or what produces the information on WikiHow, but for the purposes of doing my actual job here as a writer, I checked out their “About” section. Turns out all the articles are “written by someone who wanted to help someone else”. Which is great, except sometimes people mean well but are, frankly, wrong.

There IS a way to get advice that’s at least a bit more reputable, though – if you look for the green “tick”, it means the advice has been reviewed – an example they give (alarmingly) is the green tick on a medical article means a real doctor reviewed it.

Anyway blah blah who cares, the point is when I’m in a bind I’ll often land in the bowels of WikiHow, reading other people’s advice for getting over a breakup or (yes really) how to make friends.

But there’s so much on that site, and some of it is really fucking strange. Just from looking at the front page today I saw “how to get brain cells back” sitting right next to “how to do a watercolour painting of seashells“. To really observe the mass of WikiHow articles, I decided to click their “Random Article” option 40 times. Let’s learn some goddamn things! Realising stuff 2k19!

1. How To Identify Gold In Quartz

I don’t have any quartz in my house, let alone quartz that may have gold in it. However, if I do perchance become the proud owner of some quartz with maybe-gold in it, I now know that you can hold a magnet up and identify fool’s gold bc it’ll magnetise, whereas gold won’t. Also that I can destroy the whole quartz by soaking it in vinegar, and maybe gold will remain. Ok.

2. How To Get Rid Of Milia

This is useful! Milia are little white bumps that you sometimes get on your skin – I get them under my eyes. The first bit of advice is shit – clean your skin properly. Yeah, no shit. The second is also shit – exfoliate?? I can’t exfoliate under my EYES. The third says to try retinol which is a good point but I already know it and no bueno. TL;DR we end up with the weird flex of a raw egg mask, 3 times a week. Hmmm no thanks I don’t want to stink like egg every day of my life. Anyway, the above pic is from the last tip – seek professional help. IDK about you but I don’t ever want my doctor to look that alarmingly excited to see me.

3. How To Make Italian Ice

I have no interest in learning to make this, but for the sake of journalism (lol) I read the article and I now know it requires less sugar than I expected.

4. How To Create A Commercial Storyboard

I did not know what this was, but WikiHow assisted me: “A storyboard is a visual aid primarily used to plan out or prepare a television commercial, short-film, or movie.” Look maybe I will need this in the future, so I read this really carefully. Except it was insanely fucking boring. Look at this.

Most storyboards follow a format similar to “t6m2s5,” which stands for topic 6, module 2, section 5.

Sorry what? I don’t even know what a topic is in this situation let alone a section. Anyway, I got really bored.

5. How To Ask A Tarot Question

Bob here really wants a wad of cash, and he wants it to be very specifically wrapped with a single paper strap. Bob is going to come into drug money.

6. How To Care For An African Fat-Tailed Gecko




Have you ever seen a Fat-Tailed Gecko at the store smiling back at you? Are you tempted to get a new pet but you don’t know how to care for one?

No I haven’t.

7. How To Lucid Dream

Oh FUCK yes now we’re talking. I do wish the images for this story were mildly less FUCKING ALARMING but you work with what you’ve got.

So as exciting as lucid dreaming sounded as a concept, I’ve decided it’s far too much work to bother with – the main gist is you should wake yourself up at different times of the night (ideally using a special light that is designed FOR lucid dreaming) and sorry but I have zero interest in waking myself up out of a nice sleepy time just to write down my dreams so eventually I can control them.

But if you’re into the concept (basically it’s about being able to control yourself in your dreams / control your dreams) it takes WORK.

8. How To Take A Company Public

Idk, just a thought but if you’re considering taking your company public, maybe ask someone that is not a website with questionable advice from strangers.

9. How To Remove Hair Removal Wax From Carpet

I absolutely do not need this article because I have never tried to self-wax my feet, because they don’t at all look like Hobbit feet c/o Greek genes, and I also have never dropped hot wax on the carpet while trying to do this, and I have also never then tried to chop the wax out and left a hole which I covered with a rug.

But *if* you *did* do the above, you could have frozen the wax with ice in a bag, and then scraped it off with a butter knife. Also don’t get it wet – apparently water on wax will make it sink further into the carpet. Not that I need to know at all.

10. How To Bet On Baseball Games

This man looks like he should not have been betting on baseball games. He’s really not selling this to me at all.

11. How To Get A Mouse Out Of The House

I’ve never had to do this but maybe one day I will, so firstly GROSS:

A mouse’s nest is usually composed of scraps of cloth, paper, hair, and other odds and ends.

From here the article gives some good advice for humane traps, including this really complex home-made one involving an oiled bucket and a peanut butter-covered spinning can. It also discusses DEATH TRAPS for mice which upset me too much.

In short, I feel 50% more informed about what to do if there’s a mouse in my house.

12. How To Change Your Name In Nebraska

This was an odd article because at first I only looked at pics, and the first one is that couple ^^^ getting married with a marriage certificate, then BAM! We’re getting divorced! But basically the first bit of advice is for people who are getting divorced, then there’s another section for if you’re changing your name for other reasons.

Some of the advice is like “attend the hearing” which seems bloody obvious.

13. How To Smoke A Brisket

YOOOOOSSSSS information I really, truly want! This story had little gifs in it and actual photo/video content of meat, which I really enjoyed. Stepped things up a bit, you know? Some interesting facts: you want to ensure the brisket hasn’t been frozen, as it’ll be less tender. You want it to be pretty marbled – the fat running through is what’ll make it fall apart (yummmm) when cooked.

14. How To Identify Cedar Trees

The beginning of this article is wild – “If you’re looking for true cedars in the United States, you’re not likely to find them, as they are mainly found in the Mediterranean.” I just assume this bulk of WikiHow users are American, so this amuses me to no end – it’s like saying “there’s no point in reading this because you don’t have any”.

Anyway their best advice is to go to the Mediterranean and spot them in the wild. Which I won’t be doing. Ever.

15. How To Enjoy A Houseboating Trip

At first I thought this was strangely specific, but I’ve since realised that actually, if you ended up on a houseboat trip and weren’t prepared you’d be in for a world of pain. The advice here – check the inventory list ON the houseboat so you know what to bring/not bring, pack extra medications… all good tips.

16. How To Crush Garlic

This is the shit I want to see from my Random Article clicking – useful stuff I have always wondered about but never bothered to learn. Except… it taught me nothing. It only shows you how to get the garlic out of the casing, which like OK squashing it under a flat knife DOES seem a bit easier than my usual method of peeling it with my nails until I want to cry, but what I really wanted to know was how to make crushed garlic.

There was this rogue shit though:

Yes that’s someone bashing it with a rock. Why? Why do you require a rock? Where did you get a rock? Who has available rocks at their disposal for garlic-crushing?

17. How To Stay Safe At Night

Extremely my bullshit!!!! Love learning new ways to avoid being murdered, since I co-host a murder podcast and all that.

This started out pretty obvious (tell someone where you’re going, plan a travel route so you’re not loitering in unfamiliar/dark areas) but had some great tips if you’re confronted, like staying calm and confident, giving them valuables if they ask for them. They also gave the same tips as I was taught in school – if you have to fight, aim for the eyes, groin, bridge of nose and knees.

18. How To Make A Case For Vegetarianism

No I will not be reading this I love meat and that graph seems both confusing and also factually incorrect.

19. How To Study For A Spelling Bee

You’d think the answer to this would be simple – learn the words, fuckface. But goddamn, this was a bit genius. First you isolate the words you don’t know so you can focus on them. They also tell you to pretend to write the words on your hand, for a wild reason:

This technique will create a muscle memory for words that are more difficult to memorize. Just as you write words on paper, writing them in your hand can be a useful trigger to recall spelling when you are confronted them with during a competition.

Seems like cheating but ok.

20. How To Start A Fishing Club

This was VERY much written for old people who can’t use the internet properly, but still enjoyable since #3 was “choose a cool name”.

21. How To Use Fertility Charting


22. How To Account For Goodwill Impairment

“Goodwill is an accounting concept that is used when dealing with acquisitions.”


23. How To Get A Pet (For Kids)

This is advice for kids planning to manipulate their parents into letting them have a pet. Yep, really. The language is far too adult for actual children, I can only assume they are aiming at teenagers. But basically, the hot tip is to show you’re responsible.

24. How To Make A Shrimp Aquarium

What the shit is going on here? Who is making shrimp aquariums? There’s even a bit about “choosing the right shrimp”. There’s more than one type??

25. How To Get Rid Of Roaches In An Apartment

ACTUALLY USEFUL – there were recipes in here for homemade baits, the best areas to put baits (under the oven – good spot) and advice like changing bait stations often bc roaches will eat the stuff inside, so you need to refill them. Gross but v. handy to know.

26. How To Crystallize Honey

Here’s how I crystallise honey – I leave it in the pantry for 40 years and then it does it itself.

27. How To Divide Ferns

Who knew that if your fern starts growing smaller leaves or stops producing them entirely, it was because you needed to divide it? It’s really annoying and complicated to do, and this sentence just completely lost me “Examine the roots to determine if they are rhizomatous, clumping, or spreading.”

28. How To Play Battleship

OMG THIS GAME SOUNDS SO GOOD how have I ignored this fact my whole life? You secretly set up ships and then try and kablammy your opponents out of the water? Sounds fucking fun.

29. How To Recognise An Overtired Toddler

I can tell you this for free, as someone who nannied all through Uni – they will cry, throw their shit on the floor (either their real shit or the nice ice-cream you gave them), and then scream when you try to pick them up so everyone around thinks you’re abducting them.

30. How To Get Rid Of Bunions

Bunions are gross, but they’re nothing compared to corns – disgusting foot-related things you don’t want to google, trust me. Don’t do it. Oh, you’re doing it? Don’t come crying to me, mate.

31. How To Write Dark Poems

Hmmm I’m just going to put this out there, when the advice is “write down keywords that relate to darkness”, you maybe are just not going to be a poet, let alone a (good) dark poet.

32. How To Sew Organza

Organza is a tricky fabric, and this how-to does a good job with the tips – like holding the material down while cutting so you don’t get dodgy edges, and avoiding backstitching because it can damage the delicate stuff.

33. How To Be A Good DJ At A Dance

Oh my GOD guys, this was so good. One tip involved mentioning NAPSTER (!!!) and another says to read the room, instead of just focusing on your DJ tools. They also say no repeats for crowd requests, to which I say STFU and play me Juice by Lizzo 40 times.

34. How To File For Child Support In Georgia

Tip #1, don’t look like a serial killer sketch (see above).

35. How To Spot Fake NMD Shoes

I did not understand what NMD shoes were but it turns out they’re running shoes by Adidas. Apparently very sought-after ones, because there’s an entire article dedicated to spotting fakes. Look out, fake-wearers – I’m onto you now.

36. How To Prevent Electrical Shock

OK. SO. Wood, as we all knew, is a bad conductor so it’s good to stand on/touch it if you’re scared of being electrocuted. But did you know so is glass!? And seawater is a VERY GOOD CONDUCTOR so all those times Mum told us to GTFO of the salt/chlorine pool during an electrical storm as kids, she knew her shit.

37. How To Make Fruit Custard

This is insane, you literally just make custard and put chopped fruit in it. Why did this require a whole WikiHow.

38. How To Install & Update Drivers On Your PC

I’ll tell you one thing not to do – just click “install” when you get a weird pop-up. Turns out those are viruses.

39. How To Crochet A Scarf For Beginners

Look I’ve just accepted I’ll never knit or sew or crochet, it is far too confusing for me. What the fuck does this mean:

At the top of your finger/loop, you should tuck the center section of the yarn in a 2nd loop through the first.


40. How To Drop A Gas Tank

This is an article about dropping your car’s fuel tank. Apparently this is very rarely necessary, so I doubt I will ever do this since I barely know how to open the front bonnet. But I did learn they’re very heavy and you probably need a helping hand, which will save me from being crushed to death should I decide to drop a gas tank in future.