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Preventive HealthWellness

How To Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning

5 Mins read

If you’re trying to figure out how to stay cool in the summer heat without air conditioning, rest assured that there are ways to avoid overheating at home. Not every home or apartment has air conditioning, and portable air conditioners can cost hundreds of dollars – but you might not need to buy one. Using cross-draft strategies in your home with regular fans, closing the blinds, and keeping gel ice packs in your freezer are just some of the ways you can master how to stay cool without air conditioning. 

Learning how to stay cool in the summer heat isn’t just for the purpose of your comfort, it’s also for your health. There are certain heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion that can be dangerous, and it’s important not to let yourself overheat. Below are 11 tips on how to stay cool in the heat without air conditioning: 

1. Close the Blinds and Turn Off the Lights

Sun shining through your windows will heat up your home even more. Keeping your blinds closed during the day will help keep your home cooler. It’s okay to open them at night, but remember to close them before you go to sleep.

Black-out curtains also help keep your home cool, even more so than closing blinds.

You should also turn off lights in your home whenever possible, since light bulbs are another source of heat. If you’re reading a book at home, try to use a small lamp or the glow of a salt lamp to read, instead of using the stronger ceiling lights. In the daytime, you shouldn’t need to have lights on at all.

2. Have Cold Showers

Whenever you’re at home and feeling uncomfortably hot, take a cold shower. When cold water runs all over your body in the shower for several minutes, your core body temperature will start to cool down. (A cold bath works as well.)

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3. Sleep in Cooling Blankets

Mastering how to stay cool in your home without air conditioning often involves upgrading your bedding. Certain types of materials trap heat, while other materials of sheets keep you cool, and feel soft and light instead of sticky or heavy.

These bamboo bed sheets from Nolah Mattress are the ultimate cooling and ultra-soft sheets to sleep in. Bamboo has moisture-wicking capabilities that draw away sweat, which then evaporates and cools you naturally. Nolah’s bamboo sheets are also surprisingly soft, airy and breathable. They don’t trap body heat, and their incredible softness makes you feel like you’ve upgraded your bedding beyond expectations. That’s why these sheets made our list of the top products that help you sleep better.

4. Eat Frozen Treats

Cold or frozen treats will also help you cool down, such as homemade popsicles or frozen yogurt. Try some of these cold summer treats as part of your strategy for how to stay cool in the heat.

5. Try Not to Use the Oven

Using the oven or the stove will add more heat to your home. If your home already feels like it’s overheating, try to plan meals that don’t require the oven or stove, and note that there are many delicious no-bake desserts out there such as icebox cake, frozen yogurt and ice cream.

If you do need to use the oven or stove, it’s best to cook at night when your home has cooled down, and meal prep a few days worth of food at one time.

6. Ice Packs

Place gel ice packs in your freezer, and to cool down, place the icy cold packs on your wrists and your neck. If you want to master how to stay cool using ice packs, note that the wrists and back of the neck are important areas to place them, because these are pulse point areas on the body where blood vessels are closer to the skin. This means you’ll cool down more quickly if you target these areas. Armpits are another great location of your body to place ice packs. If you don’t have gel ice packs, run cold water on a small rag or towel, and place that wet towel in the freezer. Your freezer should have plenty of these, so that you always have a fresh icy cold one to grab and dab yourself with to cool down.

7. Cross-Draft and Multiple Fans

A cross-draft or cross-breeze is achieved by opening multiple windows in your home located on different sides of the home, which helps move hot air out, and creates a cross-draft.

When you combine this with multiple fans moving the air around, you’ll help some of the hot air exit your home, and improve air circulation, which makes you feel cooler.

Small fans are available on Amazon for as low as $20. Sometimes, all you need is a few small fans to cool down your home facing opposite walls, in combination with cross-breeze from open windows.

Tilt your fans to face slightly upwards, as this creates a better cooling effect. Some people even have window fans, or a regular fan pointing out the window, which also helps hot air exit, and fresh air circulate.

8. Use Ice Cubes with Your Fans

If you put a bowl of cold water and ice cubes in front of your regular fan, the air will feel even cooler. Some very affordable small fans on Amazon also double as humidifiers and are often referred to as ‘mini portable air conditioners’ which can be as inexpensive as $20 – $30. They’re not real air conditioners, but they do come with a water tank and a ‘mist’ or ‘spray’ function, and you can add ice cubes to the water tank to make the mist from the fan cooler. The small ones are very affordable and they’re perfect to place right next to you for a constant mist of cool air blowing at you to keep you cool. They’re great for placing on your work desk while you work, or on your bedside table to keep you cool while you sleep. Because they’re small and not proper air conditioners, they can’t cool an entire room, but they will cool you down if you’re sitting or standing right next to it – especially if used in combination with another fan on the other end of the room.

9. Make a DIY Cooling Mist by Using a Spray Bottle

Buy some spray bottles at the dollar store, and fill them with cold water and ice cubes. Spritz yourself with the cool mist throughout the day. It’s refreshing and helps you feel cooler. It’s also much more convenient than running to take a cold shower every hour.

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10. Wear Breathable Clothing

It goes without saying to wear cool, light and breathable materials when it’s hot out. If you want to master how to stay cool in the heat without air conditioning, you may want to go shopping for breathable clothing. 

Linen shirts are breathable, light, and flowy. Linen is known for making you feel cooler. Similarly, a cotton and polyester blend will also be clothing fabrics that keep you cool.

Furthermore, many athletic clothing stores (athleisure clothing) have designed moisture-wicking, breathable clothing meant for staying cool in the heat.

11. Stay Hydrated

Heat-related illnesses can also be avoided by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. In the summer heat, you may want to drink more than the regular recommended 8 glasses of water per day. 

Be Aware of the Signs of Heat-Related Illness

All of the above tips on how to stay cool at home without air conditioning will help you avoid heat-related illnesses. Some signs of heat-related illness include:

  • Red, hot, flushed skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling faint, dizzy or nauseous 
  • Body temperature of over 102 degrees fahrenheit
  • Confusion 
  • Headache

Some people who have existing health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart problems or high blood pressure could be more prone to heat-related illnesses in the summer months. 
To find out if you are at higher risk of these health conditions due to your genetics, take a CircleDNA test and read your detailed genetic health reports.

Erica Gordon
148 posts

About author
Erica Gordon is the Managing Editor and Director of Content at Circle Magazine. Erica majored in Psychology at UBC and has since founded The Babe Report and followed her passion for writing and journalism, with a focus on health and travel writing.
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