Receiving an astronomical electric bill isn’t one of them.
Save your money (and the environment, too!) with the following 21 natural tips and tricks to stay cool this summer without turning on the AC.
1. Opt For Cotton
Natural fibers like cotton allow air to circulate around the body while synthetics like polyester trap heat against skin. During the warmer months, opt for cotton over synthetics whenever possible to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Also, cotton sheets are especially effective for staying cool at bedtime.
2. Wear Loose Clothing
Just as the type of material is important when choosing what to wear in the summertime, the fit of your clothing can make a big difference in keeping your core body temperature within a comfortable range. Loose-fitting clothing also increases air circulation over your skin, releasing trapped heat and helping sweat – your body’s natural cooling mechanism – to do its work.
3. Choose Light Colors
Light-colored fabrics reflect heat away from the body while darker colors absorb heat and radiate it inward toward your skin. When you’re planning to spend time outdoors in the summertime, go with whites and other lighter-colored clothes to naturally stay cool and reduce the need for air conditioning when you go back inside.
4. Make Cold Packs
In preparation for really hot days, make up a few cold packs and keep them in the freezer. When you get overheated and need to cool off fast, it can be as easy as taking out one of these ready-made compresses, wrap it in a small towel to prevent freezing your skin, then lay the pack over pulse points in your neck, wrists, feet, or anywhere else blood runs close to the surface of your skin. Your core temperature will drop several degrees within minutes, providing instant relief throughout your entire body.
An easy method for making homemade cold packs is to mix one part rubbing alcohol with three parts water in a resealable zipper bag. Double up the zipper bag if you’re worried about leakage. Then pop it into the freezer. The pack will stay flexible when frozen so it shapes to your skin even at sub-zero temperatures.
In a pinch, a bag of frozen green beans, peas, or other veggies works, too!
5. Try This Heatwave Peppermint Spray
Marie from HumbleBeeAndMe.com, the creator of this “Air Con In A Bottle” describes it’s effectiveness here:
When I first gave it a try I spritzed my entire body with it before putting on my pajamas. My bedroom was approximately 35°C at the time, and I found myself covered in goosebumps, shivering under my down duvet. So, yeah—this stuff works!
6. Adjust Your Ceiling Fans
While you may already be aware the fact, those who aren’t intimately familiar with ceilings fans may not realize that these wonderful energy-saving cooling devices have two modes. A small switch located on the body of the fan reverses the direction blades, thus changing the air currents produced by the fan. Because heat rises, a ceiling fan set to blow air downward actually pushes warmer air back into the room. Instead, flip the switch and set your fans in “pull” mode. This will pull heat up and away from the floor while it circulates the air.
7. Set Up Box Fans
Box fans are a great way to cool off a room. Also, because they are portable you only need one or two. Carry a fan around with you as needed throughout the day and set it up as your own personal low-energy air conditioner.
8. Open the Windows
Increase the air flow in your home can also go a long way toward lower the temperature. However, simply throwing open all of the windows is also a good way to let hot air flow inside. If you have windows that open from the top and bottom, crack them at the top. This will allow hot air around the ceiling to flow outside while the cooler air close to the floor stays put. Setting up your trusty box fan in an open window with the business end facing outward is another great way to blow hot air back outside where it belongs.
9. Use A Damp Cloth
Drape a damp towel or other light cloth over the front of a box fan and position it to blow directly on you. Air passing through and around the moist cloth will feel cooler than it would with the fan working solo. You can also hang damp sheets in front of your open windows to cool down the summer breeze as it enters your home.
10. Make a Personal Mister
Follow this super simple “MacGyversims” guide from WonderHowTo.com to make your own personal cooling mister using a spray bottle, hand-held fan, rubber bands and sticky-backed velcro.
11. Mind Your Head
While wearing a hat in the summertime is certainly a great way to keep the sun off of your face, wearing the wrong kind of hat can actually trap a lot of heat on your noggin. Especially if you have thick or curly hair, you’ll want to choose a hat woven from natural materials (like this one) to stay cool while also protecting your skin from damaging UV rays.
12. Soak Your Feet
Again, because blood runs close to the skin’s surface around your feet and ankles, cooling off your tootsies is a great way to bring down your body temperature fast. Create a cooling foot soak by filling a shallow dish with cool water. Add a little Epsom salt and eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil to increase the therapeutic effect.
13. Take Cool Showers
Ignore the negative connotation often associated with this advise and take a cold shower when you need to cool off. Stand under the water for at least five minutes and be sure to target areas like the insides of wrists and elbows, underarms and the back of your neck where blood vessels are closer to the surface. This will rapidly drop your core temperature while you bathe.
14. Chew Peppermint
Peppermint is one of the easiest herbs to grow – so easy, in fact that you’ll probably have to keep it in a container just to prevent it from taking over your garden! On a hot summer day, break off a leaf or two and chew them. The minty oils released from the crushed leaves will permeate your airways, offering a nice cooling effect with every breath you take.
15. Stay Hydrated
Sweat is your body’s natural cooling mechanism. Therefore, staying well-hydrated is one of the best ways to naturally keep your body temperature at a comfortable level. If you aren’t sure how much water you should be drinking, I highly recommend this hydration calculator on About.com to find your personalized target amount.
16. Drink Icy Beverages
Cool your body from the inside out by adding ice to everything you drink. If you’re worried about ice-melt diluting your beverages, pour a bit of whatever you plan to drink later in the day into ice cube trays and place them in the freezer ahead of time. (This works great with juice, wine, etc.) Alternately, pick up a set of chilling stones to use in lieu of ice.
17. Eat Cold Foods
When hot weather is at its worst, don’t turn on the stove or oven when it’s time to prepare a meal. Instead, go with cold foods like salads, sandwiches or chilled soups.
18. Diffuse Minty Oils
Filling a room with the chilling essence of peppermint oil is one of my favorite ways to stay cool on a hot day. Set up an atomizing essential oil diffuser (this is the one I use) in any rooms in your home where you tend to spend the most time and simply add a few drops of your favorite minty essential oil(s) to the water before you turn it on.
19. Line Dry Your Laundry
Running the dryer creates a huge amount of heat and even with proper ventilation, this everyday appliance can easily run up the temperature in your home. If you have the option, hang a clothesline outdoors and let mother nature dry your laundry for you. Not only will line-drying keep your home cooler, it will also save you even more money on your electric bill!
20. Turn Off Electronics
The clothes dryer isn’t the only household device that inconspicuously raise indoor air temperatures. Electronics like computers, televisions, and even light bulbs all pump out heat into their environment. Turn them off when you aren’t using them to further cut down the heat and your energy costs.
Even when turned off, electronics can still radiate heat. Unplug computers and other large devices whenever possible minimize their heating effects in your home.
21. Grow Houseplants
Maybe one of the best-kept secrets of the natural living world – growing plants throughout your home is a sure-fire way to drop the air temperature by as much as 10 degrees! Plants such as English ivy, palms, spider plants, Ficus and Pothos are all great choices for growing indoors.
As an added benefit, houseplants are also natural air purifiers. Be sure to read all about the best plants for the job plus seven more great ways naturally achieve better indoor air quality in this great article!
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