No Air Conditioner Needed! 11 Life Hacks for Staying Cool This Summer
Don’t get down as the temperatures go up this summer. Whether you’re trying to beat the heat in your home or outside, these 11 tips will help you keep things as chill as possible.
1. Close the curtains and shut the blinds.
It's tempting to let some of the summer sunshine in, but doing so will also make the numbers on your thermostat climb. By some estimates, as much as 30 percent of unwanted heat comes in through windows, so it pays to keep them covered.
2. Create a wind tunnel.
Got windows on opposite sides of your house or apartment? Take advantage of cooler temps in the mornings and evenings by creating a wind tunnel. Face one fan inward in front of the window where the air is coming in, and place one fan facing outward in front of the opposing window. Voila—DIY wind tunnel!
3. Check your fans.
If you have ceiling fans, make sure they’re spinning counter-clockwise, which helps create a downward breeze and keeps things feeling cool. In the winter, fans should rotate clockwise to push the air upward and circulate warm air.
4. Use a hot water bottle.
When it’s too sweltering to sleep comfortably, grab a hot water bottle and fill it with ice water. Place it under your ankles or knees to help cool your entire body.
5. Chill certain beauty products.
Store your lotion, face toner, aloe gels, perfume, moisturizer, and eye creams in the fridge. Keeping them chilled will not only cool you down when you apply them, it may also help extend the shelf life of some products, especially if you live in a particularly hot or humid climate.
6. Find your pulse points.
Pulse points are areas of your body where you can feel your pulse through the skin because blood vessels are positioned close to the surface. Applying ice or a cold cloth to these points can help cool you down from the inside out. Find them in your neck, wrists, the insides of elbows and knees, the tops of your feet, the insides of your ankles, your inner thighs, and just in front of your ears.
7. Work up a sweat by a lake.
If you’re determined to get a run or a long walk in despite the heat, look for a lake, river, or ocean. Bodies of water tend to cool the surrounding area down at least a little—and every degree helps.
8. Hang a damp sheet in front of a window.
Get a sheet damp, then hang it over an open window. The hot air that passes through evaporates the water contained in the sheet, which creates a cooling air stream.
9. Wrap yourself in a cold blanket.
If you prefer to sleep on your sheets instead of using them as curtains, put them in a plastic bag and toss them in your fridge for an hour before bedtime (or even just a few minutes). Your body heat will warm them up eventually, of course, but having a cool base can at least help you get to sleep faster.
10. Keep some products freshly minted.
The menthol in peppermint tricks us into feeling cool, which you can use to your advantage on warm days. Reader’s Digest suggests brewing some peppermint tea and pop it into the fridge; when it’s cool, you can put it in a bottle and spray yourself as temperatures soar.
11. Plant strategically.
One long-term solution to a house that holds heat: Plant trees, tall bushes, or plants that can climb up a trellis in front of east- and west-facing windows. Direct sunlight streaming in from windows and skylights is responsible for about half of the unwanted heat in homes, so blocking it can be a huge help.
This story was updated in 2019.