5 Odd But Effective Ways to Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning

5 Odd But Effective Ways to Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning Photo by Georgethefourth / Shutterstock.com

With the exception of one glorious summer of apartment dwelling, I’ve never lived anyplace with a central air system.

I didn’t even have a window air-conditioning unit until after I was married.

I spent my childhood summers sweltering. The downstairs windows of our home didn’t open, and my second-story bedroom was cooled by one small fan.

I remember sneaking down to the freezer at night for ice cubes to run across my forehead in hopes I would cool off enough to fall asleep.

The heat can make you resort to all sorts of tactics to keep cool. If you’re feeling desperate for relief, try one of these sometimes strange methods:

1. Take an icy foot bath

The fastest way to start shivering in 90-degree heat may be 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.

2. Wear some cooling clothes

To turn down the heat a notch and look fabulous at the same time, you could buy this stunning . Its evaporative cooling system is designed so that if you soak it in cold water for a few minutes, you can — in theory — wear it and feel cool and comfortable for hours.

Actually, you can buy a whole range of clothing products that claim to keep you cool in the heat of the day.

My favorite by far is the , which 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.

If strapping ice packs to your torso is a little too strange for you, however, consider cooling fitness clothing like or .

3. Freeze your sheets

You don’t need specialized sheets to stay cool at night. Simply throw the ones you have in the freezer for a couple of hours before bedtime. Then, pull them out, put them on the bed, and enjoy the cool.

Just fall asleep quickly, because on an 80-degree night it probably won’t take long for the sheets to lose their chill.

Of course, it might become a bit inconvenient to remake your whole bed each night. So, maybe try this strategy with just your pillowcase and a top sheet.

4. Go underground

Head down to the basement on those scorching hot days. Our basement stays so chilly that we sometimes use blankets down there in the summer.

Some people may balk at this idea if their basement is unfinished. However, don’t let that stop you. Simply clean out a corner and set up a chair or maybe a desk. Personally, I would rather smell mustiness than melt into the floor upstairs.

5. Live underground

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

Often called earth homes, underground dwellings 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, do a web search for “earth homes” or “underground homes” for inspiration.

For some less drastic but still effective tips, check out “It’s Heating Up — 17 Ways to Bring Down the Cost of Keeping Cool.”

What’s the weirdest method you’ve tried to stay cool? Let us know in a comment below or on .

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