5 Strange Ways to Stay Cool in the Summer

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With the exception of one glorious summer of apartment dwelling, I’ve never lived anyplace with central air. In fact, it wasn’t even until after I was married that I had a window air-conditioning unit.

So, my childhood summers were spent sweltering in our home where the downstairs windows didn’t open and my second-story bedroom was cooled by one small fan. I remember sneaking down to the freezer for ice cubes to run across my forehead at night in the hopes I would cool off enough to fall asleep.

As those of you without air conditioning know, the heat can make you resort to all sorts of tactics to keep cool. If you’re feeling desperate, you could try one of these rather strange methods to find relief from the heat.

1. Take an icy foot bath

The fastest way to start shivering in 90-degree heat is to dip your toes into freezing cold water. Fill a bowl with cool water and dip your little piggies right in. Add some ice if you’re brave, but don’t overdo it. Quickly immersing your feet in ice cold water can be painful – although I suppose it would take your mind off the heat.

While you’re at it, try running cold water over your wrists and placing an ice pack around your neck or on your forehead. Cooling down your pulse points can help your whole body feel more comfortable.

2. Wear some frozen clothes

To turn down the heat a notch and look fabulous at the same time, you could buy this stunning lime green quilted vest from Amazon. Soak that bad boy in cold water for a few minutes and, in theory, you should be feeling cool and comfortable for hours.

Actually, you can buy a whole range of clothing products that claim to cool you off in the heat of the day. There are cooling caps, cooling sleeves and cooling bandanas (don’t forget your dog). However, my favorite by far is the freeze ice vest that not only lets you wear ice packs on your body but also gives the illusion of six-pack abs. I’m so putting that on my birthday wish list.

3. Freeze your sheets

You don’t need specialized sheets to stay cool at night. Simply take the ones you have and throw them in the freezer a couple hours before bedtime. Then, pull them out and enjoy the cool. Just fall asleep quickly, because on an 80-degree night it won’t take long for them to lose their chill.

Of course, it might be a bit inconvenient to make your bed each night, so maybe try this strategy with only your pillowcase and a top sheet.

4. Go underground

Head underground to the basement on those hot, hot days. Our basement is so chilly, we sometimes even use blankets down there in the summer.

However, not everyone has a finished basement. If you find yourself without one, as was the case in my last house, I suggest cleaning out a corner and setting up a chair or maybe a desk. Personally, I would rather smell musty and look at the furnace than melt into the floor upstairs.

If your house is built on a slab, well, I’m sorry. You’re plain out of luck.

5. Live underground

Are you ready to get extreme? Then consider buying or building your next home underground. Sure, you might not get too much sunlight, but that’s a small trade-off in order to have your very own hobbit house.

Often called earth homes, underground living will give you the same cool air of the basement without making you feel banished from your main living quarters. If you’re ready to get drastic, you can look here for inspiration, and this site has some practical advice and details.

What about you? Are you going to feel like someone needs to scrape you off the floor with a spatula come August, or are you going to be staying cool? And for those of you with central air, there’s no need to rub it in.

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  • shondell mann

    we have always like the use of shade to stay cool, maybe by growing trees that will eventually block those UV rays from your home can be helpful. another method we could use; turn off your lights during the day time and use the light from your windows to do your reading or browsing on the internet.

  • LagunaLady27

    Most of these are just plain silly. How about some real suggestions, like planting deciduous trees on the south and west sides of the house? Then there is changing the roof to a lighter color, when it is ready to be replaced. Or, how about having a yard sale and using the money to buy an air conditioner? They are not as expensive now as they were twenty years ago. There are plenty of ways to cool off, but freezing your clothes? I don’t think so.

  • I.Popoff

    I found this article to be entertaining. Thanks for the link to underground homes. I am interested in the topic.

  • Don Lowery

    Used to be a teacher in Arizona and found this rather funny. Back before AC…the pioneers used to soak their sheets at night and sleep on the porch which would be screened and run around the house. Now…I live on the Colorado front range and haven’t had AC for a long time. At night…it gets into the 50’s. With my window fan blowing onto my cat and me…I have to use at least one blanket year round.

  • Tom

    Living without AC in the mid Atlantic can be tough. Only one of these ideas I’ve tried is the first–cold water on wrists and other pulse points does indeed help for a little while. We have some strategically placed ancient maples that shade our 170 yr old house much of the day. In our mountain area, opening up windows with fans at night to flood house with cooler air, closing up in the morn before temps get too high, and using shades, keeping lights off, etc helps until late afternoon on all but the most sultry days or stretches when night temps stay in 70s. We have several small portable fans, easy to move and place where they’ll do the most good. Ceiling fans are great–a damp cloth on the face and neck and the stirring air provides relief. Oh, and if you have AC get some ceiling fans too–you can raise the thermostat a few degrees, save $ and energy, and be just as comfy. Last suggestion, save washing the car for one of those really miserable afternoons–spraying yourself and significant other can cool you off and heat things up all at once!