When the temperatures rise, there are a number of ways to stay comfortable. This guide is about keeping cool in hot weather.
Cool off with these 30 Fun and Easy Tips:
By skibum1910 from Prospect, KY
The dog days of summer are soon upon us and that air conditioner looks mighty tempting, but keep these ideas in mind:
Get a case of half or full liters of water and store a bunch in the freezer until they are frozen solid. While sitting around the house watching TV, reading, etc., place bottles on the the back of your neck, the small of your back, and your lap. You may not even want the fan on since you'll feel so much cooler! And at bedtime or when leaving the house, just pop them back in the freezer for next time.
When you really have to use the A/C, make sure you have a standing fan as well. Fans cost less to use than A/C, but don't quite do the job on the hottest nights. You can run the A/C at a lower cheaper strength and add the fan. It creates an artificial windchill so it FEELS cooler without the higher A/C bill.
By Don from Staten Island, NY
Editor's Note: Do you have any tips for keeping cool during the hot summer? Post them here!
We have had lots of posts about facecloths and we all love them, so here is just one more small benefit. The heat in Europe is fierce these days, and I had been suffering until I remembered a trick I learned in Africa, but is surely well known in the southern USA.
Put a damp face cloth on the back of your neck for a few minutes, then move it around your shoulders, and finally placed it on top of head. I even put it on my chest as I worked on my laptop.
When it became as hot as I was myself, I refreshed with ice cold water and started all over again. I had a comfortable afternoon, and actually forgot it was 100 degrees outside. I have no air conditioning.
Perhaps this would help people to save on energy during these torrid months of summer.
By joanfry from France
I am really enjoying my parasol(s) this summer! Even with a hat and sunglasses, it's much nicer to have one's own shade at an outdoor party or event. And there are a lot of inexpensive options out there.
By pamphyila from L.A., CA
This is a health tip for dangerous hot weather. If you do not have a working air conditioner or only a weak one, put water in empty liter pop bottles or empty Gatorade bottles to about 2/3 of the way, recap and put in freezer over night and freeze.
When weather is too hot, wrap a frozen bottle in a tee shirt or kitchen towel and put it next to your body as you sit, or next to a baby sitting or lying down, or next to an old person. It helps cool the core of the body, so heat stroke is prevented.
Check the feel for comfort level and cover bottle with cloth accordingly. It helps people sleep comfortably and more safely. When mostly thawed, refreeze and swap out with a frozen one.
It acts like a hot water bottle, only in reverse. This is for dangerously hot weather.
Source: Came up with idea one summer when our old air conditioner wasn't working well and we had a heat wave.
By pikka from Westminster, CO
Looking for a way for keeping cool without an air conditioner? Put a large bowl of ice cubes in front of a fan. Turn on the fan. The ice will cool the air from the fan and quickly cool you off. Replace ice cubes as needed.
I am making a neck wrap to keep cool in hot weather. What does it get filled with?
By Sandy from Uncasville, CT
If you are just making one or two, get a disposable diaper and cut it open. That's the stuff you use, but be careful. That stuff really expands and you only need a little.
I keep a sopping-wet micro fiber towel in a sealed Ziploc baggie in my refrigerator. I use the towel to wet myself down when heat gets to be too much. I then rinse the towel, wet it again to level of "soppiness", and cool in the refrigerator.
Since I don't have air conditioning in either my home or car, I keep spray bottles of water around for a quick cool off. When it starts getting hot, I just give myself a quick fine spray. It isn't enough to get really wet.
If you have to go out in this heat and you wear a cloth ball cap. Take some cold water and put it in the hat; wring the hat out so you don't drip on anything and put it on your head. It works. I've done this forever.
One of the best ways of dealing with summer heat as you work outside your home is to wear a clean wet towel around your neck.
Does anyone have any ideas on how to turn my fan into an air cooler? Inexpensively, obviously. I need them to do more than just blow the hot air around, I need them to blow cool air around. I've tried hanging Blue Ice in front of them but it didn't work.
By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC
I found a site that has instructions on turning your fan into a swamp cooler using a large container with a tight fitting lid, and some hand towels.
To keep cool on a very hot day, turn on your fan and arrange a bowl of ice-cubes in front of it. Just like having an air-conditioner without the cost. Enjoy!
I keep a large shoe-box-sized plastic container in the freezer filled with feed corn. It's actually wide enough for both of my bare feet to fit side-by-side. On hot days, or if my feet hurt, I pull it out, stick my feet into plastic bags, then dig my toes deep into the feed corn!
Years ago when I worked in a nursing home, the halls were air conditioned, but not the individual rooms. We would take a hand towel, soak it in cold water, ring it out and wrap around our necks, repeating as necessary. I have done this frequently at home, too.
Keep a few cans of tuna or chicken in the fridge, for in those times when you need a quick meal. They'll be great to either drain and toss on top of a green salad or a quickie dish of tuna or chicken salad.
Water is an ideal drink to cool your body. If choosing other drinks, when perspiring, consider the caffeine and sugar content. The sugar draws fluids away from the muscles where it's needed, plus adds calories.
I want to make some neck coolers to keep us cool from the heat. I plan to make them from material. I keep reading that most of them you can purchase online have some kind of gel beads that help to keep you cool. I'm not sure where to locate these gel beads to make them. If you have any ideas they would sure be appreciated.
April from Henderson, NV
This is what you are looking for:
I make hot/cool packs that are filled with regular rice (not Minute rice). They're very easy to make and you can warm them in the microwave to make a hot pad or put in the freezer for a cool pack. They last forever too!
I was told once that the material on the inside is the same stuff as inside disposable diapers. It sounds gross, but you can see how that would work. (08/15/2005)
I made them for my elderly parents who have no air conditioning. The polymer gel material can be found in the garden section of Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowes. One of the brand names is "Watersorb". It's about $7 a bottle, but you need very little. It's original use is to help houseplants retain water so you don't have to water so often.
I took bandannas I bought at the Dollar store, sewed them into neckerchiefs, leaving one small opening where I poured in about 2 tsp of the polymer gel, then hand sewed the opening shut.
Soak the completed neckerchief in cold water; it will puff up with the retained moisture. Store in the frig between uses. Easy and cheap way to keep cool. (08/16/2005)
You can buy the gel beads in craft stores (Michael's, A J Moore, etc.) and in the plant dept. of Home Depot, etc. They are also used in plants to hold moisture when you can't water. The directions for making the neck coolers are available on the internet. (08/18/2005)
I made a few of these to use at an outdoor exhibit we attended this past summer:
Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water. Pour carefully into the long skinny balloons that clowns make animals, hats, etc. out of, and tie it shut. Encase the filled balloon with a long terrycloth towel, carefully sewing the ends. Pop it into the freezer. It won't freeze hard, it will only gel. This alcohol and water mixture works great in gallon sized zipper bags for sprains as it stays cold and conforms to the injury site better than hard ice packs. (09/08/2005)
The chemical in the gel that everyone is talking about is potassium polyacrylate. That is a powder. The crystals I have are polyacrylamide. The potassium polyacrylate is the same or very similar to the powder in diapers. This substance can hold up to 500x its size in water. One brand is Aquagel and it also goes by the name Slush Powder. Magicians use it make water "dissapear".
One can buy the crystals designed for usewith plants or you can harvest it from cheap diapers.
You may choose to simply cut out the absorbent bottom of a diaper and use it whole, or you can carefully cut off the "fabric" liner of the inside to reveal the powder. You will definitely need to wrap the chemical in a water type bag.
I purchase my gel beads at watersorb.com they work great and also very fast shipping. Hope this helps. (07/04/2006)
There is a difference between the gels. The gel in diapers breaks down a lot faster than the other meant for plants. The stuff for plants will cost more, but will last for 7-10 years. Polyacrylamide is what you want. (07/10/2007)
It's called silica gel. Craft stores carry it. When you purchase new purses, etc. there is a small white packet to keep it smelling fresh. Thats silica gel. You don't need much to make a neck cooler. Good luck. (07/04/2008)
This tip is about keeping cool while being outside in triple digit temps. I wet my cotton sleeveless shirt in refrigerator cooled water and do the same with a kingsize cotton pillow case. I wrap it around my neck, then tuck inside (looks cool if you match them together). Wet your hair in cool water, I do a ponytail and a white material head visor from the .99 cent store. I have a small spray bottle with cool water at the ready. I also site outside in the shade and soak my feet in cool water. I like being outside and this makes a huge difference.
By Pamela from Sun Lakes, AZ
I get those windshield sun screens from the $ store. It looks like a large piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and place them in every window of the house. i keep dark curtains also on the windows. The house is 10 degrees lower than the outside temp. (08/18/2009)
I would like to read about other peoples ideas for getting cool during hot weather.
By Eliza Maria from Chevy Chase, MD
Wear loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibers -
Drink lots of fluids - like ice tea
Shield your windows from the sun -
Use a fan in your car or truck if it lacks A/C
Take advantage of natural ventilation to move air around.
Attic insulation or fans help keep a house cool.
If you have an AC unit, you can direct its flow with fans -
Close down some rooms of the house/apt. and use the cool rooms. (In NYC we used to have one AC in the bedroom and virtually live there all summer!)
You can put bowls of water and/or water with ice cubes in front of fans to make a mini-swamp cooler.
Use your microwave as opposed to the oven!
If you are very hot put on wet clothing and let it dry on you, as they do in the tropics.
If you like hot food, indulge, as chilies make you sweat, and cool you naturally.
Use a sun shield on your windshield when you park your car to reduce heat build up.
Stay in the shade - and make some with a parasol or awning.
And think cool! (04/27/2009)
When I am going to go for a walk or be out in the sun working I wet a wash cloth and then leave it in a wringed up shape and freeze it then take it with me as as it starts to thaw it is wonderful to lay around my neck to stay cool, I do this also with crushed ice in baggies if at concerts etc to stay cool. Or wet bandannas and do the same but put on your head as head wear to stay cool works for kids to in the hot sun. (04/27/2009)
Inside or outside, a wet bathing suit helps to stay cool. Get in the shower, or get wet with a hose or even a play pool. (04/27/2009)
This brings to mind a story; my younger brother was about 8 years old. We had no air conditioning at the time. He would always go put on his heavy winter coat in the middle of July! My mother asked him why he was wearing a heavy coat when it was so hot. His reply was, "It's so cool when I take it off!" (04/27/2009)
They sell a product that you put in the fridge overnight and then wrap around your neck when it's hot. It looks like a bandanna. I've seen my "horsey" friends wear them. If I'm out gardening I sometimes take a spray bottle with me and spray my face from time to time. We live way out in the country. (04/27/2009)
I make my own ice bags for around my neck. I use a dish towel or hand towel, one that is long enough to go around my neck with enough left to over-lap a few inches. If the towel is narrow, I fold it in thirds lengthwise. If it is wide, I fold it in half, then in thirds. The center 8" is for ice, so I sew a line of stitching across the strip on each side of the 8" mark. You can sew by hand or by machine. I sew a small strip of velcro where it overlaps when around my neck to keep it in place. The tri-fold makes a pocket so the ice won't fall out. I made several and after using they are machine washable and dryable and can be used from year to year. (04/27/2009)
Drink lots of water, splash your face and arms with cool water, and don't eat a lot of greasy food. (04/28/2009)
That bandana thing that Glenn's Mom said she has seen? I bought one for myself a couple of years ago. What a waste of money! When it's wet the thing weighs a ton! Sure it kept me cold, but in the meantime I got an ache in my neck and shoulders to beat all!
I keep a spray bottle with me that sprays a mist. When I get hot I spray my face, arms and legs. Even lift my shirt up and spray my belly and back. I also do the same for my dogs. I spray their bellies and faces too. (05/04/2009)
My house is situated on the lot so that the front of the house gets the full force of the sun in the afternoon. Needless to say it gets so hot it wilts any plants I put in front of those windows. So I put up room darkening film on my windows----the darkest they make. I used to use dark curtains but then I feel like I'm in a dungeon all summer. The film works just as good without the dungeon feeling. I also put up room darkening screening. That way on days when I can open the windows, it's not so bad. (05/04/2009)
I mow my lawn daily (we have almost 2 acres and I do it in sections, one section a day) using a power push mower. I do this for the exercise. But when the weather gets too hot, I make a slight change. I put my bathing suit on with shorts (at my age the neighbors don't need to see me just in my bathing suit). I wet myself down all over wiith either a shower or the hose and mow while I'm wet.
By the way, I found the best sunscreen I've ever used. And I'm sensitive to sunburn. It's a sport performance SPF 50. I haven't had the slightest burn since I started using it! (05/04/2009)
I lived without airconditioning for years - didn't like it, but my house didn't have it. Some of the things I did was use a window fan - not the kind you buy at Wal-Mart (they're too little). If you can find one of the older ones (the old green kind - made of metal - about 40 years old), those are the best. If you do use one of those types of fans, don't open the windows all the way, one or two in every room open about 5 or 6 inches creates a nice air flow. An attic fan would be even better. Do most of your housework or yard work in the early morning or evening when it's cool. You might have to shower a couple of times a day on very, very hot days. Be sure to use lots of baby powder afterwards. Do not wear polyester or polyester blends as they tend to be hot. Wear natural cotton as much as possible.
On very, very hot days plan to go shopping where there is air conditioning or somewhere like Barnes and Noble where you can sit and read for a while. I used to go for a drive in my air conditioned car until it got cool.
I always have to have something covering me when I sleep, so a sheet worked very nicely.
In the evening, I would take a cool shower, use the baby powder and go to bed in front of my window with the summer breeze blowing across me. To this day, I prefer that rather than a colder air conditioned room.
The other ideas of wearing wet clothes are good also. If I absolutely had to mow the lawn, sometimes I'd leave the hose running and every five minutes or so, I'd go hose down - it was very effective in keeping me cool.
Another thing I noticed is when I'd come in very hot after mowing, water would make me nauseous. I'd need to drink koolaid with sugar or juice. However, if you're not working that hard, sweetened drinks do tend to make you hotter. For normal thirst, the best thing is water or tea or a light juice. Sweetened sodas will make you feel hotter. (05/05/2009)