Heat got you down? Just want some relief this summer? We’ve rounded up more than fifty of the top ideas on how you can cool off when the weather is warm. Whether you are just trying to chill out or trying to stay comfortable during a brutal heat wave, these ideas run the gamut.
The one thing they have in common? They are all worthy ideas of feeling the chill this summer.
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Use a Portable Air Conditioner to Keep Your Space Comfy
Think that air conditioners cost thousands of dollars or at least take a lot of time to install? Think again. These days you can get portable air conditioning units for a few hundred bucks. The machines are perfect for cooling down a bedroom or similar-sized room without breaking the budget. Use them to keep cool while you sleep or just stay comfortable during the heat of the day. See our buying guide and suggestions for portable air conditioners here.
Create Your Own Cold Compress
When you just can’t seem to cool down, a cold compress can work wonders. Place it near spot with lots of blood flow (the neck, under the arms, or the groin) and it can help make you feel cooler. Don’t have one? Just drop some uncooked rice into a tube sock and tie it off. Place it in the freezer for a bit and you’ll have a compress that will help you feel some relief.
Use a Sunshade When You Park
Those sunshades you see in the windshields of cars in the parking lot during the summer? They really work. Our tests found that not only did it keep the interior of the car about 10 degrees cooler when in use, but it also kept the dashboard a full 40 degrees cooler compared to being in the direct sun. Best of all, they only cost about $10 on Amazon.
Put Cool Pack at Strategic Parts of Your Body
One quick way to make yourself feel cooler is using cold packs. Keep a few in your refrigerator or freezer and place them at strategic points when feeling hot. A wrap around your neck, under your arms, and in between your legs offers a simple way to cool down when you’re feeling uncomfortable.
Cross Ventilate Your Home
While temps are high during the day, heating up your home, they can cool off quickly in the evening. Meanwhile your home likely still has a lot of warm air trapped inside well after the sun goes down. If it’s cooler outside than inside your home, then look to cross ventilate. Open up windows where the prevailing breeze is coming from and also open them on the opposite side of the house. The effect will create a draft through the home and pull out the warm air inside the house, replacing it with cooler air from outside.
Hop in the Shower
Water is one of the best ways to rid your body of heat. If you’re feeling hot, simply jump into a cool shower for a few minutes. Not only will bathing help you feel fresher and cleaner after you’ve been sweating, but the water will help to lower your core temperature while helping you feel more refreshed.
Place a Fan In Front of a Bowl of Ice
Similar to our homemade air conditioner listed above, in a pinch you can put a bowl of ice (or frozen water bottles) in front of a regular fan. The air from the fan will blow several degrees cooler, providing some relief from the heat. It’s a technique that’s been around for more than a hundred years and still works today.
Hot at the Office? Here’s How to Turn on a Locked Thermostat
If you work in an office, you know how serious the battles over the thermostat can be. That’s why many offices put locks over the thermostat so that employees can’t change them. If you still want to change a locked thermostat, then the trick is to put something warm (like a heating pad) next to it. Thermostats turn on and off based on the air temperature nearby. By raising the are temp with something warm right next to it, you trick the thermostat into turning on.
Head to Colorado
Perhaps no state in the country has a better image as a cool space than Colorado. With the majestic Rocky Mountains dominating the middle of the state to hip cities like Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, to a trendy culture famous for brewing beers and ski slopes, it’s among the favorite cool-weather getaways for millions of folks. Best of all, it’s fairly central location means it’s an easy flight for tens of millions of people (especially those in heat-stricken Texas). If you have the means, a few days in the Colorado mountains will have you forgetting the heat.
Pick Up a Cheap Desk Fan
If you’re sitting at an office desk for eight hours a day, then you deserve to do everything you can to stay comfy. One of the easiest ways is to pick up a cheap desktop fan. Simply plug it in (there are also versions that run off batteries or even USB) and feel the instant relief in a warm office.
Freeze Your Sheets
It’s sounds a little crazy, we know. But if you are hot when going to bed, try freezing your top sheet for a couple of hours before you hit the hay. When it’s time to go to bed, simply unfold it from the freezer and let is chill you down. It will especially help if you have a ceiling fan above the bed to further increase the cooling power.
Hang Wet Towels In Your Windows
While we wouldn’t suggest this tip during the heat of the day, it’s worth a shot in the evening when temperatures cool off some. First, wet a towel or a bed sheet and them hang it inside an open window. As the breeze blows in, it will feel cooler thanks to the moisture it catches from the towel. Don’t expect this to cool you down like an air conditioner, but it should make things slightly more comfortable.
Put on a Cooled Neck Wrap
Your neck is one of the key points of cooling on your body given the blood flow in the area. If you can keep this area chilled, then you can feel several degrees cooler overall. That’s why a chilled neck wrap is a cheap way to cool down. There are many types you can buy on Amazon, or just wrap some ice in a towel, wet it, and wrap it around your neck to get some much needed relief.
Carry an Insulated Water Bottle
It’s common sense that staying hydrated is a must when you’re trying to keep cool. That means carrying a water bottle with you is a no-brainer. We’d suggest getting one that’s insulated (usually with double-walled construction). This not only keeps your drink colder for longer, but it also means that the bottle won’t sweat — dripping condensation everywhere. That’s two solid reasons to never use a regular single-walled bottle again.
Change That Desk Chair to a Mesh Back
Get hot at the office? It might be your desk chair. Most chairs with backs made of solid material don’t breathe that well. If your back gets hot there is nowhere for that heat to go, leaded to the dreaded sweaty back. Instead, look for a chair that has an open mesh backing. This allows the transfer of cool air to keep things much cooler and more comfortable.
Head Out to a Movie Theater
Back before air conditioning was common in homes, businesses used it as a marketing tool to get folks in the door. One of the most common places to see it was the movie theater. These days movie theaters are still known as places where the air is kept ice cold. If you need a break in the middle of the heat, take a couple of hours to go see a flick and cool off.
The Best Parking Spot Is in the Shade… Not by the Door
In the summer, you shouldn’t be looking for a parking spot next to the door when you are out shopping. The best place to park is in the shade. It will keep you car cool while you are in the store and much more tolerable when you get back in. Of course, shade in a parking lot is usually under a tree in the parking lot, which can mean a bit of a walk to the front door of where you are shopping.
Use Water Bottles Instead of Bags of Ice
Trying to keep things cold in a cooler? Instead of filling it up with ice, try freezing some bottles of water and using those instead. Regular ice melts and can make a mess if you have to move a cooler around. On the other hand, frozen bottles of water are self-contained so there isn’t a ton of water in the bottom of the cooler once they melt. As well, they are reusable and you can also ensure that you have plenty of extra water to drink on a hot day.
Head to the Coast to Cool Off
There’s a reason that going to the beach is so popular in the summer. Not only is it a fun place to go, but it’s also cooler. Temperatures near the coast can often be 10 degrees cooler than in the urban core just a few miles inland. That’s because the breeze coming off of cooler water helps to keep temperatures moderate. If you’ve had enough of the heat, look for a vacation near the shore to get a break from the heat.
Use a Portable Canopy to Stay Shaded
Have to work outside during the heat? Today you can get portable canopies to keep you shaded and cooled. These canopies usually come in 8’x8′ or 10’x10′ and cost between $50 to $100. They set up in just a few minutes and can provide instant relief from the sun. They are cheap enough that if you plan on spending any time outside there’s no real excuse to pick one up and make it more comfortable. They are also perfect for using at the beach.
Wet a Bed Sheet and Sit Under a Fan
Want to cool off in a hurry, grab a bed sheet and run it under the shower until it’s wet. Ring out all the excess water until you just have a damp sheet. Lay it over you with a ceiling fan running on high overhead. The breeze from the fan will instantly make you feel cooler as the wet bed sheet works similar to sweating to cool you off.
Sleep in a Hammock
If you get hot sleeping at night, maybe it’s time to switch things up. In many warm climates hammocks makes much more sense for sleeping. Maybe of open mesh fabric, they allow for your back to breathe instead of holding heat against yourself like with a typical mattress. As well, hammocks can be hung just about anywhere, which gives you the option to sleep in a cooler part of your home (or outside).
Douse Your Feet in Cold/Cool Water
You may not realize it, but there is lot of blood flow to your feet and legs. That means it’s a good place to keep cool in order to cool your entire body. One technique you can use is to get a bucket of cool water (or ice water if you’re feeling brave) and soak your feet in it. Doing so will help cool you down and give you a brisk, refreshing sensation. This trick is especially good if you want to cool down while working at a desk.
Keep Your Interior Doors Open
Of course if it’s hot outside, then you know to keep your doors closed. But what about inside the house? In that case you want to keep doors open to let air circulate around the house. This works not only because it allows conditioned air to move more freely, but it also helps to release trapped heat. Consider a home office with computers and other electronics running, along with the body heat of a person working. Close the door and it’s easy to have the temperature in that room rise by several degrees.
Take a Siesta
There’s a good reason that the siesta is popular in many cultures. Working during the heat of the day not only is hot, but it’s also less productive. It’s hard to keep up a steady pace of working in hot and humid weather, so you’ll find yourself moving slower. Instead, just take the afternoon off to avoid the heat and get back to work later in the evening when it’s cooled down.
Eat a Cold Treat
Ice cream? Popsicles? Snow cones (our favorite). It doesn’t matter. When it’s hot out, grab something cold to eat. It’s also something that’s fun to do while cooling down during your siesta. With a cheap mold you can even make your own at home.
Do you live in an area that has caves? Chances are that you are at least near one cave as they are spread throughout the United States. One thing you may not know is that caves stay near the same temperature year round and it’s cooler than the typical summer day. For instance, caves in Texas stay around 70 degrees, even in the summer when the temperatures outside can easily break 100 degrees. In cooler climates the temperatures inside caves are even cooler.
Get Yourself a Personal Pool
There’s no doubt that the pinnacle of staying cool in the heat is having your own swimming pool. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to build an in-ground pool. That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. There are tons of options for small personal pools that cost just a couple of hundred dollars. It’s a small price to pay to beat the heat.
Try a Cooling Vest
If you’re in extreme heat, then you need an extreme solution. This cooling vest is just the thing. Lines with layers of cooling gel packs, it surrounds your entire torso in cooling relief to help you battle heat. It’s ideal for those who have to work outside in the worst of the heat like construction workers or landscapers.
Add a Mist to the Fan
We all know that sitting in front of a fan can help cool you down, but if you want to supercharge the cooling power, add some mist. A simple squirt bottle to mist yourself can make the fan feel much colder by acting just like your body does when it sweats. It’s by far one of the cheapest ways to cool down.
Head to a Splash Pad
Ok, maybe splash pads are for kids but if you’re a parent, you can also have some fun while “watching” your child. Splash pads seem to have soared in popularity and are popping up in large and small towns alike. Simply run through and let the spray do the hard work of cooling you off while you have a blast.
Tube a River
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a clear water river then what are you waiting on? Grab a tube and head out on the water. Many rivers in Texas and Florida, for example, are spring fed. That means the water is always clear and cold no matter how hot it gets. Best of all, there are a number of places that will rent tubes and provide transportation from a pick-up point down river. You just need to bring yourself and a swimsuit.
Get to the Lake
For those who don’t live near a cool river or on the coasts, then how about a lake? Lakes are the closest body of water for many people in the middle of the country and offer a reprieve from the heat in the heart of the city. Meanwhile they offer a ton of recreational opportunities from boating to fishing to swimming. Simply having a few hours at the lake can put you in a much better mindset to deal with the heat.
Wear Loose-Fitting Fabrics
These days tight workout gear seems to be the rage. However, you’ll often feel more comfortable if you stick with looser-fitting clothes. Clothes that hug your body can trap heat while looser items allow your skin ample room to breathe and perspire. Even if you aren’t planning to be out in the heat, wearing loose clothes can even help you stay cooler around the house.
Have Your Air Conditioner Tuned Up
That air conditioner you have may be blowing… but is it blowing cold? The air coming out of the vents should be about 15-20 degrees cooler than the ambient air temperature. So it it’s 78 degrees in your house, the air coming out of the vent should be about 60 degrees. (You can check the temp using an infrared thermometer like this one.) If it’s not that cold then you are wasting money on electricity. Call out a service company to check things out.
Insulate Your Attic
Want to save money and be cooler? It can be as simple as insulating your attic. If you live in a hot climate then chances are you have a hot attic that can swelter in the summer. Temperatures of 120 degrees are not uncommon in many homes. All that heat sits on top of your living space, keep the inside of your home warm. And if you have a central air conditioner that runs vents through the attic then that cold air is being heated as it moves through the duct work. Instead, you should ensure your home is properly insulated to keep the hot air from wreaking havoc on your electric bill and your comfort.
Use an Umbrella… When It’s Not Raining
Sure you can use an umbrella when it’s raining, but it’s just as useful when it’s sunny and hot. Using that umbrella can keep the sun off you as you head outside and keep you from getting so warm. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about what to do with a wet umbrella like you do if it’s raining.
Put Protective Film On Your Windows
Did you know there are window films that can help keep your house considerably cooler? If you have a set of windows that face the direct sun, think about putting some blocking film over them. Not only do they help cut down on some of the bright light and glare that comes with a sun-facing window, but they also cut down on the heat transferred from the sun into the room.
Be Outside Early in the Morning
If you have to be outside to do things like mow the lawn or run errands, do it early in the morning while it’s still cool out. Sure it may be more convenient for your schedule to do things later in the day, but that can mean being a lot hotter. The heat of the day typically doesn’t wind down until the middle of the evening in the peak of summer, so doing things early can be a life saver.
Check Into a Resort With a Pool
Can’t beat the heat with a pool of your own? Why not check out a resort with a pool? Pools are one of the best ways to cool down in the summer, but they can be pricey. For the cost of a night at a hotel, however, you can use their pool to your heart’s content.
Plant Shade Trees
There’s an old saying that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is today. Even if you can’t enjoy the shade from a tree today, it’s worth taking the effort to go ahead and plant it anyway. It won’t be long before that sapling grows into a full-sized tree that can keep you cool in the heat.
Head to a Resort in the Mountains
As a rule of thumb, the temperature drops about three degrees for every thousand feet in elevation. So if you are at sea level and head to a resort that’s about a mile high (5,280′) then you can expect the temp to be about 15 degrees cooler, all thing equal. That’s why mountain getaways are so popular, even in the summer when there isn’t snow on the ground for skiing.
Visit a Waterpark
Does the pool get a little boring? Want some more excitement? Head to a waterpark to bring out the kid in you while also cooling off. Slides and river rides are a fun way to beat the heat and offer a great family vacation — especially when you only want to head somewhere for a day or two. And if you can’t make it to a waterpark? What about setting one up in your backyard with sprinklers and waterslides?
Don’t Forget to Water the Grass
In the middle of a hot and dry spell, watering the grass may seem like a cosmetic thing to do to your home. However, it can actually help keep things cooler. Dry ground actually makes the air temperature hotter as moist ground helps to absorb some of the sun’s heat. To be sure, you don’t want to water in the middle of the day as the sun and heat will cause lots of the moisture to evaporate before it has a chance to soak into the ground. Instead, try to water in the early morning or late evening.
Change Your Underwear
Don’t have winter undies and summer undies? Maybe now it’s time to make the change. If you just wear regular underwear year round, it could be that you are keeping yourself needlessly hot down there. Thick cotton undies may be comfy around the house, but in warm weather they can trap heat. Look for underwear made of sweat-wicking fabrics or that are made of thin material to help you keep cool below the belt.
Reduce the Humidity
Air conditioning makes you feel better in two different ways. First (obviously) it cools the air. But as it does so, air conditioning also removes humidity. Lower humidity makes the air feel less “thick” and more comfortable. It stands to reason that if you can reduce the humidity in even a warm house that you can make it feel better. There are a number of products that are designed to pull humidity out of the air, from plug-in dehumidifiers to things like DampRid that absorb moisture.
Change the Color of Your House or Roof
Ok, it’s not easy to repaint your house or change out your roof. However, if you are thinking about it, choosing light colors is a smart move. Dark colors absorb sunlight and heat. Light colors help reflect it. That’s why having a dark brown or black roof in hot climates is an easy way to ensure everything is much hotter than it needs to be.
Take a Cruise to Alaska
Taking a cruise is normally associated with warm weather, but during the summer is high season for Alaskan cruises. There are hundreds of cruises across several different lines that depart from up and down the West Coast, including Seattle and Vancouver. Most trips last a week, providing you with a nice vacation and a chance to cool off while seeing some of the most beautiful wilderness on the planet.
Don’t Go Anywhere Without a Chill Towel
The past few years have seen a boom in the popularity of chilling towels. Simply soak them and ring them out… and them place them around your neck or over your head. The moisture in the towel helps to keep you chilled in warm weather. If it’s hot and you’re going to be outside, it makes sense to always carry one of these with you. They are small enough that there’s no reason not to have one.
Sprinkle on Some Gold Bond
If you get warm down there, get some relief using some Gold Bond or a similar product. The powders have menthol in them, which provides a cool, refreshing feeling. As well, they help to absorb moisture so you don’t have the dreaded “swampy” feeling that’s so uncomfortable.
Sleep on a Cooling Mattress Pad
There is no shortage of products designed to help you stay cool while sleeping. One of the most inviting is a cooling mattress pad called the ChiliPad. The ChiliPad uses “a network of micro tubes [that] regulates the surface temperature of your mattress by actively circulating water throughout the night.” In other words, you can set it to keep your side of the bed cool instead of being up in the middle of the night tossing and turning because the mattress is too hot from your body heat.
Spray Down Your A/C Unit
An air conditioning unit works by pulling heat from inside a house and expelling it outside. That’s why if you put your hand above the fan on the outside unit of a central air conditioner, you’ll feel warm air being blow out. To help improve the efficiency of the unit, you can try spraying a shower of water on the outside unit. Just like misting yourself down outside, water on this part of the machine will help it better cool the refrigerant used in your air conditioner so that it can pull heat out of the house.
Clean Your A/C Coils
Within your air conditioning unit are copper coils that can get dirty from dust and dirt. When this happens, it makes the unit run less efficiently meaning it costs more to cool down your home and the cooling simply doesn’t work as well. If you have some do-it-yourself know-how you can usually do this on your own. If not, call out a service company to do the job. Not only will it help your air conditioner run better, it will also help extend its life.
Don’t Heat Up the House by Cooking Inside
While most people know that kitchens can get hot when cooking, you may not realize that even cooking a simple meal can mean a dramatic increase in heat. Consider that you just pop something in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. For that 20-minute cooking time you usually have 10 minutes of pre-heating and another 30 minutes until it cools down completely. In other words, cooking for 20 minutes means having a 350-degree oven putting off heat for an hour. Cook outside using a grill to keep the heat out of your house.
Avoid the Upstairs
It’s a basic principle that hot air rises. That’s why if you live in a two-story house, you’ll often find the second story is a few degrees warmer than the downstairs. It’s only logical that if you want to stay cool, avoid the upstairs during the heat of the day.