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Twenty-one Natural and Cheap Ways to Stay Cool This Summer

Kristen Howe knows how to cool down in the summer. Some of these cost-effective ways were tried and true to beat the heat.

Cool Down When It Gets Hot

Summer is officially here. The temperatures would be high with unbearable heat closer to the 90s and the triple digits. Your health could be at risk, if you don't protect yourself from the sun's burning rays. To prevent dehydration and receiving other ill health affects, stay hydrated and cool all season long. Don't let them sweat, when they cool down. Check out these twenty-one cheap and natural cost-effective ways to stay cool without paying high amounts on your next utility bill.

Draw Your Blinds at Night


How to Cool Down Naturally

1. Expand Fan Base and use the AC

Moving air accelerates sweat evaporation when fans are most effective for cooling people directly. Don’t overlook your open basement doorway as a fan location, although ceiling and window units do the job. Place a fan facing your living space to fill cellar air into the floor, unless your home has high radon levels or mold. (Note: When the heat index “feels like” and reaches 99 Degrees Fahrenheit, fans stop being effective.) Fans help circulate air and makes you feel cooler, even in an air-conditioned house. Be sure to clean fans regularly, if you’re bothered by allergies or asthma. If you have more than one fan, and it’s cooler outside than inside, position two fans in your windows, so one pushes hot air out, and the other brings cool air in. To decrease your energy bill between 6-18%, set your AC at 78 degrees instead of 72; if 78 sounds warm to you, don’t worry since it’ll be plenty cooler when it’s hotter outside or 90+ degrees.

2. Use Cooler Light Bulbs and Replace Them

An incandescent bulb radiating 90% of its energy as heat is a “little heater.” Replace them with Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent bulbs, which emits 75% less heat. So whenever possible, switch electronics like computers to sleep mode, and realize that dishwashers, TVs, computers, and other applause generate heat, so limit their use.

3. Hit the Shower

Anything that puts water in touch with your skin cools you down, because water evaporates which stimulates sweating. Try taking a cool shower, and then relax by drying yourself in front of a fan —but don’t towel off completely. Take frequent baths or showers with tepid or cool water. You can achieve the evaporating effect by misting with a spray bottle, or applying a cool cloth on your neck.

4. Turn the Tap on, Bring Water Spray Bottles, and Use Sports Drinks

It almost goes without saying to drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. So drink lots of water! If you’re tired of plain water, try infusing them with foods that contain water—a medium apple, a watermelon wedge, cheddar cheese, cooked broccoli, roasted and skinless chicken breasts, coffee, and tea. You can make your own flavored refreshing drink by adding some fresh fruit slices, herbs, and veggies to your water. Orange with mint, and cucumber with lemon, are two refreshing combos, since infusing them is easy. Slice the elements you want for flavor, put them in a pitcher with water, and keep it in the fridge. Fill spray bottles with water, and keep it in the fridge for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors. By drinking plenty of water along with sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes, combats dehydration.

5. Window Shields and Drawing Blinds

About 40% of your home’s heat comes in through windows, especially those facing east and west. Curtains, shades, and blinds should closely fit windows, and be a light reflective color to block it. Try installing Energy Star windows with a low E-coating which deflects heat; or an easier move is to buy a clear, heat-controlled window film from a home improvement store like Home Depot, and apply it to your standard windows. Keep the curtains and blinds down if you’re not at home—this stops sunlight from getting in and heating your home. Simply drawing the blinds during the day cuts down on heat inside the house— a simple fix that many people forget. White or light colored drapes are the most effective at blocking out heat; so ditch the dark shades and get a lighter set for summer.

6. Cotton Bedding and Pillowcase Freezing

So keep cool with cotton sheets and loose-fitting PJs, since many of us have trouble nodding off in a room warmer than 75% F. If it’s still hot out, when you’re going to bed, stick your pillowcase in the freezer for a bit before you sleep. Then you’ll fall asleep on a nice, cool pillow.

7. Outdoor Exercise

Take advantage of cooler time (early morning/late evening) by altering your outdoor exercise patterns. Scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walking instead of running, or decrease the level of exertion, if you can’t change the time of your workout.

Open Windows for a Light Breeze


On the Cheap

8. Go to the Library

You can read free books, magazines, Wifi, and surf the Internet with free air conditioning all day at the library than at home. If you have kids, check out programs your library has to offer this summer like story-time and book clubs.

9. See Matinee Movies

Movie theaters pump air conditioning. If you’re planning to see a new movie, see a matinee when the tickets are cheaper. You’ll get out of the heat while the sun’s shining.

10. Wear Light Colors on Loose-Fitting Linen and Cotton Clothing (and Use Sunscreen)

Like dark colors do, light colors reflects light instead of absorbing it. So why sunscreen? While wearing light colors keeps you cooler with light-fitting clothing, they’re not as effective at blocking the sun’s harmful rays from your skin. Cotton and linen clothes keeps you cooler than synthetics, which makes you sweat. So you remain protected by considering applying a daily lotion that contains SPF 30 and dress accordingly.

11. Eat Strategically and Freeze Water Bottles

Drinking and eating cold things helps us cool down. If you eat spicy foods, it can also help chill us out, because they induce sweating. A few frozen water bottles in the freezer can do a lot. Put one in your bed with you, when you sleep at night, and one behind your neck when you’re watching TV. Bring it to drink—if you’re going out and about—slowly, leaving you with something extra cold to sip on. You’ll have a supply of cold water with you as the ice melts.

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12. Windows Open at Night and Cross Currents

Wait until evening to open windows to let cool air in, instead of opening them during the day, which makes your house hotter. Often people wonder why it doesn’t help much on a hot day, when you open the window closest to them. Opening windows across the room from one another, you can create a wind-tunnel effect that cools you down, when one window offers a slight breeze.

13. No Cooking in Oven and Cook Outside

Plan for meals that only use the stovetop, microwave, or grill, instead of using the oven, which can drastically increase heat in the kitchen. When you use your oven, it’s going to quickly transform your kitchen into a sauna. Consider cooking outside instead on hot days. Do you really need an excuse to fire up the grill in the summer?

14. Cold Lotions

To use on hot, overtired feet, try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the fridge.

15. Don’t Overuse the AC
The difference between a fan and an air conditioner are pretty dramatic, while a fan does use electricity. An average AC consumes about 900kWh per month, whereas a fan consumes about a tenth of that—a cost savings of more than $100 per month. Ask yourself, if flipping on a fan and putting on a pair of shorts, will be as good before you crank the AC.

16. Good Thermostats
You’ll waste big bucks to cool your home when you’re not around with old-school thermostats to keep the temperature constant all day long. Good programmable thermostats lets you turn the AC off, when you go to work, or raise the temperature a little after you’ve gone to bed. If you have one, take ten minutes to set it up to save money. If you don’t have one, invest in purchasing one.

17. Portable Fans
Use small, portable battery-powered fans. There are versions you can attach a water bottle to it to spray a cooling mist.

18. Ceiling Fans
Set up your ceiling fan correctly, since most fans have two settings. The first creates an updraft, which is useful in the winter months to displace warm air that's risen to the ceiling. The second for summer-time use that pushes air down, creating a cooling breezing. Check to see if it’s the right setting during the summer months to ensure your fan is doing its job.

19. Garden Wisely
In the summer, you can use your garden to your advantage. You can shave a few degrees off your indoor temperatures by strategically planting trees to limit light through windows. You’ll provide a little buffer between your home and the sun by allowing ivy to crawl across your walls outside similarly. When the temperature outside gets too unbearable, a nicely landscaped backyard that provides plenty of shade gives you a cool place to retire to.

20. Send the Heat Somewhere

Your attic is probably full of hot air rising right now. It causes your air conditioner to work overtime, when a mass of hot air above your head warms the upper levels of your house. A simple way to cool things down is installing an attic fan to exhaust this air.

21. AC Seals and Check-up

Don’t let the cool air escape. Your AC does double duty in the summer with leaky doors and windows. An inexpensive way to trap cool air is caulking around windows and weatherstripping around doors. All sorts of gunk like leaves and dust clogs your AC over time. It makes your AC much less efficient when this debris dramatically cuts down on air circulation through the machine. For a checkup and cleaning every couple of years, take it into a repair shop to ensure it’s running at its peak efficiency.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Every summer, you can beat the heat and stay cool all season long with these twenty-one cost-effective cheap and natural ways. It helps you save your life, if you stay in the shade, let the breeze in, and keep yourself hydrated with plenty of fluids. It also saves your money on your future utility bills every year. So why don't you give it a try, and don't sweat the small stuff today.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Kristen Howe


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 23, 2018:

You're welcome Nyesha. Hope it helps you this summer. Thanks for stopping by.

Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on April 23, 2018:

You offer some great advice here! Thanks for the tips about cooling down in the summer.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on December 23, 2017:

Thanks for stopping by Sky and commenting. Thanks for the link.

skyfallingyet on December 23, 2017:

I totally agree with you, Great Article, especially about the attic heat. There is a way to use that heat to lower your electric bill and cool your house using an electric dryer. This hack lowers your electric bill 2 ways, 1) it makes it so that the electric is spinning the dryer only and removes the hot air from the attic to dry the clothes and then shoots this hot air out the dryer vent out the side of your house.

This is so cool, I thought I'd share it with you.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on November 05, 2015:

Thanks Barbara. Good for you for staying cool this summer. It's been an Indian Summer week over here this week.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on November 05, 2015:

Thanks Barbara. Good for you for staying cool this summer. It's been an Indian Summer week over here this week.

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on November 04, 2015:

Good hints. I used many of them this past summer. I had to save energy on smart days, so I would just take off for the library or do my shopping during those hours when I did not want to use electricity at home and it was just to hot to be at home without running the A/C.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on October 04, 2015:

Thanks Akriti.

Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on October 04, 2015:

This is informative

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 31, 2015:

thanks Sheila! good for you

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on August 31, 2015:

You have some really good advice here for staying cool in these hot summer days. We are replacing our windows and getting blinds on those that don't have any right now. Our ceiling fans have made a big difference too!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 26, 2015:

Thanks Bill. Same here--cool morning, warm afternoons and cooler nights. Is it fall yet? LOl

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 26, 2015:

All good suggestions. I'm happy to report the heat is gone and we are settling into blessed Fall. :)

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 12, 2015:

Thanks Deb! Me too, when I had Lake Erie in the backyard of my condo.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on August 12, 2015:

Great tips. I always find that sticking my feet in cold water for a few minutes helps to cool me down tremendously.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 03, 2015:

My pleasure. Stay cool this summer!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 02, 2015:

Fine tips to chop down electricity bills in summer and I'm glad I follow most of them. Thanks for sharing.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 01, 2015:

Thanks Dolores. I live in an apartment with a screen door for my backdoor patio to the balcony. That's about it. Good tips!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 01, 2015:

Great tips. I remember back in the day when not everybody had AC. The thing to do was place a fan blowing out of an upstairs window. Then open the basement door (hopefully you have a screen door there) . The draft pushes the rising hot air out upstairs, while pulling the cooler basement air up into the house.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 31, 2015:

Thanks Carrie! So good to hear from you! You're welcome. It took me about a month, give or take.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on July 30, 2015:

Voted useful and right in time for this hot summer :) Thank you for taking the time in writing this article.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 30, 2015:

Thanks so much Sheila for stopping by and commenting. Good for you! I have two in my apartment--bedroom and living room-dining room area.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 30, 2015:

You're very welcome Vespa. And thanks for the follow!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on July 30, 2015:

These ideas are very practical for cooling down. My favorite is keeping frozen water bottles in the bed, etc. Thank you!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on July 30, 2015:

These are all great tips for staying cool this summer. We have ceiling fans in almost every room and using them certainly helps.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 29, 2015:

Thanks Chris for stopping by and commenting on my hub. I owe you a few soon.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on July 29, 2015:

Great advice. Thanks for sharing.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 29, 2015:

My pleasure Rebecca! Stay cool this summer!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on July 29, 2015:

Common sense tips that I actually need to follow. Thanks, Kristen!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 29, 2015:

My pleasure Linda. Thanks for the comments on my stay cool for summer hub. My AC is also set on 80 too!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on July 28, 2015:

Kristen, these are all fabulous tips to help stay cool during the heat of summer. Living in the desert, I've tried most of these, but there were a few that were new to me. Today, it's currently 101 (a cool day for us this time of year). We have a floor fan and our ceiling fans on, plus the AC is set on 80. All of the blinds are drawn. This all helps to keep us cool and keeps our electricity costs down. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 28, 2015:

Thanks Emese for coming by and commenting on this hub. Good for you for doing the fans and AC to stay cool where you live. That's too hot and high for me. LOL

Emese Fromm from The Desert on July 28, 2015:

Great hub! Living in an area where we reach 120 in the summers, and outside temps don't go under 100 for at least three months, we use all of the above mentioned methods, especially the fans (only because "it's a dry heat" and they work, with the AC. :). You got them all! Great job :)

Nell Rose from England on July 27, 2015:

lol! thanks Kristen, my brother said, 'I love August' I said 'Er no, it always rains in August'! and yes the forecast is agreeing with me! lol!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 27, 2015:

Thanks Nell for commenting and loving the hub. Enjoy the rain! It's going to be a hot week over here!

Nell Rose from England on July 27, 2015:

lol! we have had our hot weather, it was so hot the pavement was melting! but now we are getting to August and here comes the rain! but never mind, I will keep these ideas in my mind for the next time! great advice!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 27, 2015:

Thanks KoffeeKlatch Gals for stopping by and commenting. That's what I do too on hot summer days. :-)

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 27, 2015:

Thanks KoffeeKlatch Gals. That's what I do too. :-)

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on July 27, 2015:

Excellent advise. I use the fan and air conditioner together, that way I don't have to set the air conditioner on quite so low.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 27, 2015:

Thanks so much Flourish! I hope it works!

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 26, 2015:

I like the pillowcase in the freezer idea and frozen water bottles in the bed idea! Great hub!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 26, 2015:

Rachel, thanks so much for commenting and stopping by. You learn something new everyday. It's been nice and humid over here in NE Ohio. Stay cool!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 26, 2015:

Hi Kristen, That was great advice and the timing is just right. lol We here in NE PA are having a heat wave. I was surprised to read that cheddar cheese has water in it. I love cheddar cheese. I voted up and useful.

Blessings to you.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 26, 2015:

Thanks Peach! I do use the AC from time to time, when I turn off the ceiling fans.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on July 26, 2015:

great tips, the weather is indeed hot right now. I don't on aircond either

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 25, 2015:

Poetryman, thanks for stopping by and commenting as always. I owe you a threw comments on your hubs in return. Give it a try and see if you works on a hot summer night!

poetryman6969 on July 25, 2015:

Voted up as useful and interesting.

We actually used that go the library thing when we lived in an apartment without A/C. Putting a pillow case in a freezer seems crazy but if it can be done in a sanitary manner, why not?

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 25, 2015:

My pleasure Bill. I'm happy to share this exhausted list of tips for staying cool in the summer, even on the cheap side. I'm glad it's helpful and useful for everyone here on HP.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 25, 2015:

Great tips Kristen. Sometimes the simple common sense things can add up to big savings. We try to be attentive to keeping the house cool, cheaply in the summer and a few of these we did not think of and will utilize. Thanks for the tips.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 25, 2015:

Thanks so much Mary for the vote and for commenting.

Mary Craig from New York on July 25, 2015:

Certainly each example is one to be taken to heart. We forget about little things like light bulbs. Now with LED we're about to reduce not only the heat emitted by light bulbs but the electricity used!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 25, 2015:

Thanks Denise. Enjoy the frozen bottles. Better late than never on positing it. (Hope it passed HP inspection.) Thanks for stopping by and checking it out.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 25, 2015:

Great advice. Much appreciated. Good reminders too for those things we already knew but forget when it gets really hot. I'm going right now to put some water bottles in the freezer!

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