72 Simple Ways to Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning

A blue and pink popsicle on a purple background with palm tree leaves

Are you desperately trying to figure out ways to keep cool without running your Air Conditioning system?

Welcome to the club!

I live in an apartment without A/C, and MAN does it get hot! I’ve spent too many days enduring the heat in summer. And not just during the day, but also while lying awake at night. Without a window or portable air conditioner, I’ve had to look into other solutions to try to keep things cool.

For anyone who’s gone through the same experience – I’m sure you understand how it feels. That’s why I’ve prepared the article below, where you’ll find 72 simple ways to stay cool without using an Air Conditioner or any other HVAC appliance.

I wanted to put EVERY possible tip into one list, but you might only need a couple, so don’t get discouraged if some aren’t for you.

Ready? Let’s get you back to feeling fresh!

Contents show

Tips for Home

72 tips is a lot, so I’ve divided them into categories. They’re all focused on little changes you can make around your home to help against the heat.

Father and son playing in the garden on a sunny day
There might be many things you can do around your home that can improve this situation greatly

#1 Keep the Blinds Closed

Open blinds mean that the direct heat from the sun will get into your home. It may seem counterintuitive, but keeping them closed will help keep things cooler (especially with open windows).

#2 Heat Blocking Curtains

Getting some thermal-insulated blackout curtains can make this effect even better. For an ugly but effective DIY alternative, throw up heat-reflecting foil!

#3 Close Off Your Hottest Rooms

If your living room gets all the sunlight (and roasting hot), try to stay out of it and keep the doors closed to stop the heat from flowing throughout the home.

#4 Switch Ceiling Fans Rotation

This isn’t super well-known, but most ceiling fans actually have two ways they can rotate. Switching to a counter-clockwise downward flow helps to push cool air down to the floor. Check out this quick, 1-minute video from Del Mark which explains it.

#5 Leave Windows Open When Going to Sleep

Any open windows will help to circulate the cool night air and give you more cool protection against tomorrow’s sun.

#6 Switch to Energy Saving Lightbulbs!

Not only will you be saving on your bills and helping the planet, but energy-saving bulbs also produce a lot less heat. Every little helps.

#7 Create More Shade!

Do anything you can to stop that sunlight. Put up awnings, or even hang something in front of the window – it will all help. Want the craziest tip on this list? Plant trees that will grow to give you shade in the future!

#8 Open Windows and Cycle Out Air

Do this in the mornings, and then close them to keep cool. This may seem counter-intuitive, but after flushing out all the stale air in the mornings, close your windows to keep everything cooler for longer. Since your home is more insulated, the outside air will warm up quicker than the air in your house. (This changes after the first few hours).

#9 Use Minimal Electronics

We’re getting pretty minuscule here, but everything which uses electricity produces heat somewhere. Make sure to unplug every electronic that you’re not using. They even produce heat when not on standby!

#10 Use Room Lights Sparingly

Lighting is a massive producer of heat – again make sure everyone is only using lighting when it’s needed.

#11 Check Your Insulation

If you’re lucky enough to own your own house, attic insulation, and ventilation are especially important. The better insulation you have, the less your A/C has to work. Great for coolness, and your energy bills.

#12 Spray Drapes and Curtains With Water

The damp material gives off cool air and helps to prevent them from getting too hot.

#13 Try Building Your Own AC

This may sound crazy, but this guide by Lifehacker promises to help you build a ‘dorm-legal’ air conditioner at home. Here’s a video on the same method:

#14 Keep Cool Snacks and Drinks Handy

You never know when a heat snap is going to hit. Keeping plenty of ice and your favorite cold foods/drinks can make things a lot more bearable.

#15 Consider a Whole-House Fan.

Whole-house fans are powerful units that are typically installed in your attic. While they’re a little expensive, they’re generally cheaper than an A/C unit and much cheaper to run.

#16 Minimize Heat Production

Another great way to keep cool without Air Conditioning is to be mindful of how much heat you’re producing with your daily activities. Whether that’s with cooking, moving, or using electronics – just keeping an eye out can help you spot ways in which you can not produce as much heat.

#17 Repaint the Roof!

Black shingles absorb heat without transferring it inside. Just make sure that repainting is okay with your warranty and the paint is intended for roofs.

#18 Try Out Liquid Ice Wraps

These innovative ‘wraps’ for body parts were first created for sports injuries. Basically, you wrap them around a body part, and they keep everything crazy cool. Check out this wrist example. It’s a little crazy of a solution, but they’re ice-cold and stay freezing for ages!

#19 Keep Any Must-Use Appliances for the Night

If you absolutely can’t avoid using certain things, wait until it’s cooler before you do. Washing machine, dishwasher, hoovering – it all gives off more heat. The dryer and stove exhaust air will also help to pull in cooler evening air.

#20 Install/Use Screen Doors Properly

A surprising amount of people don’t use their screen doors properly. Think of them as a massive window to be opened at night and morning. If you have one, make sure you use it to your benefit!

#21 Be Wary of Your Furniture

Install/Use Screen Doors Properly. Leather, velvet, suede, and silk are bad for hot days. If possible, try to favor lighter materials with linen or cotton upholstery. Cover with a damp sheet or towel for bonus points!

#22 Sleep/Stay Closer to the Ground

Another easy and free way to keep cool without using Air Conditioning is sleeping on the ground. I know this doesn’t sound too appealing, but hear me out. Hot air rises, so staying as close as possible to the ground can help you feel a little less like you’re in a Sauna.

#23 Focus Cooling One Room

If things are terrible, put all your effort into keeping just one room cool. Use all your fans, close all the other doors, and minimize electronics. It’s a lot easier to control one room than try to battle the sun over the whole house!

#24 Assess Your Windows

Better insulated glass is much better at keeping out the heat.

#25 Live in the Shade

Make sure you’re spending most of your time on the shaded side of your home. Even if it’s not normal. Who cares if your kitchen becomes your new living space if it’s on the shaded side of the house?

#26 Keep Humidity Low Where Possible

A damp sheet is fine, but don’t dry a heap of clothes inside. Consider a dehumidifier if you’ve got a lot of humidity. Things only get sweaty, sticky, and uncomfortable.

#27 Seal and Caulk Doors and Windows

Don’t let your cool air escape! Insulation is the name of the game. Trying to keep a room cool with an ‘airy’ door frame is like trying to inflate a tire when it has a puncture!

Body & Mind

Next up are tips for you and the family! These tips are ways to help you cool yourself down, even on the hottest day.

A woman meditating near the shoreline
Convincing your body that you’re not under sweltering conditions is hard, but not impossible

#28 Keep Your Feet Cold

Your feet and your head are two of the least insulated parts of your body. That means if they get cold, it won’t be long until you’re cold. Putting your feet in a bucket of cold water and ice will work wonders. It can feel like you’re opening a valve and letting the heat out!

#29 Cool Your Wrists and Neck

Just like with your feet, running cool water over your wrists or splashing it onto your face/neck is a quick way to cool down. Especially cooling your wrists because of the blood there.

#30 Take Cool Showers

‘Screw that!’ I hear you say, but wait: don’t do it too cold. Freezing cold water means your body starts producing heat like crazy, leaving you sweating after you’ve dried off. Keep things ‘comfortably cool’ instead.

#31 Don’t Stress Yourself

This is super important. Stress can make us hot on its own, but also rush and do things that’ll make us heat up more. Keep it chill, take it easy. Be relaxed, walk slowly, and take your time to do everything.

#32 Use Wet Washcloths

Just like with your feet, a damp washcloth on your face (or feet!) can be soothingly cool.

#33 Use Your Mind

Breathe slowly and picture being on a cold adventure. Especially if you’re stuck awake on a hot night. Imagine the crisp and cold feeling of snow in your hands as you breathe ice-cold air through your nose and feel it in your chest.

Feel the slight numbness of your fingers as you make a snowball while being able to see your breath as you look out over the icy mountains.

#34 Use Mint Bathing Products

Lotion, peppermint soap, or even minty foot soaks. The crisp, fresh feeling from mint keeps skin refreshed and feeling cool.

#35 Let Yourself Get Used to the Heat

Being used to AC all the time makes things feel worse for you. If you can afford to, spend a day taking in hotter temps to increase your ‘tolerance’. 90F may seem horrific if summer’s just starting, but you can also learn to be grateful for it after being in 100F!

#36 Use Aloe Vera Aftersun Instead of Moisturizer

Helps to keep skin cool and gives instant relief for hot areas.

#37 Find a Favorite ‘Hang-Out’ Place

During peak temperatures, going to the library, café, or gym can be a saving grace with their proper AC systems. Not to mention a great excuse to get out and be productive or just meet friends.

#38 Get a Haircut!

This is really ridiculous, but having a lot of hair can be the same as wearing hats all the time. A shorter and thinner cut can really make a difference – especially since your head is so heat sensitive.

#39 Stay Distracted

Watch a movie, get some work done, or have a friend around to complain about the heat. Anything to take your mind off of the heat. You could even read some really awesome appliance articles on this website!

#40 Take Afternoon Naps

Several countries around the world have “siesta” cultures, and there’s a good reason for it. Naps are an amazing way to skip through the heat and enjoy more time awake on a cool night. Prioritize your own comfort ahead of keeping a ‘normal’ schedule – try to arrange appointments/friends for later or earlier in the day.


Your bed is important enough to get its own category. If you’re struggling to sleep in the heat, these tips are for you.

A man stretching in bed
Keep cool without using Air Conditioning by maximizing the effects of the “cool side of the pillow”

#41 Check Your Bedding

The bedding you sleep on has a huge effect on how hot you feel at night. Try to find duvets and covers made of cotton (breathes well), linen, or tencel. If you want to get really serious, a company called Sheex is producing some great duvets especially to keep you cool.

#42 Dampen Your Bedsheet

If you’re just using a sheet to sleep under, dampen it to make it feel cool.

#43 Practice Really Having Two Sides to the Bed

If you’re sleeping alone in a double bed, make use of the whole ‘cool side’ if you’re ever lying awake at night.

#44 Get a “Chillow”

These innovative pillows get filled with cold water and have insulation to keep them cold for hours. The colder the water, the colder your pillow. If it’s too strong, you can also put it underneath your normal pillow and just flip that around every so often.

#45 Consider Your Mattress

The material of your mattress plays a huge role in how hot you are at night. If it’s a densely packed spring mattress or memory foam, then you’re going to be cooking. Consider getting a cheap straw or bamboo mattress for a while until the heat fades.

#46 Get a Cold-Water-Bottle

If you have any hot water bottles left over from winter, fill them with water and place them in the freezer. At night, they can provide great relief. Try having it against your cheek or behind your head.

#47 Hammock It Up

There’s a reason hammocks are linked with exotic islands. They’re excellent at keeping air flowing around you and keeping you cool at night. They’re not quite the same as a king bed, but if you’re feeling adventurous they’re no joke!

#48 Check Out Bedjet

Another ‘cool’ idea for keeping cool at night is using BedJet. This system uses a small machine to cool (or heat) a thin layer in your bed. This helps keep you cool all night, and can even be used in the winter for warmth. Check them out here.


Next category – clothes! Here’s 5 quick tips for what you wear in the heat.

Fresh colorful clothes flying away in the wind
What you choose to wear is important to keep cool without using Air Conditioning systems

#49 Keep It Damp

Having slight dampness on your clothes will help to keep them feeling cool/cold. Run an old t-shirt under cold water and put it on for some cool relief.

#50 Have Misting Sprayers on Standby

If the above is working, keep your mist sprayers topped up. These are also handy for a quick face/neck spray. Tip: For the best results place the mist sprayers in the freezer until they’re ALMOST frozen.

#51 Get a Sockful of Ice

Wrap a few socks into each other and place a bunch of ice in the middle. Place it against your neck or forehead and feel the cold.

#52 Don’t Sleep With Warm Pajamas

If you’re not comfortable sleeping with less, make sure your pajamas are suited for hot summer nights. Cotton, linen, or silk pajamas are great at not taking on too much heat.

#53 Wear Cool Clothes

I’m not talking about your fashion style (though I hear from your friends you’re a badass when it comes to looking great!). Instead, try to make sure you’re wearing clothes with material suited to hot temperatures.

Food & Drink

Almost there! Just like what you do to your body, what you consume is just as important. Don’t sabotage yourself with spicy food and cookies!

Fruit popsicles
You’d be surprised by how much more manageable a hot day can be with ice-cold treats!

#54 Drink/Eat Mint

Get that instant release from menthol or minty drinks to make the air you breathe seem way cooler than it actually is.

#55 Be Smart With Cooking

Try to avoid cooking hot food, and if you do use heat, make sure it’s quick (stir-fry, steaks) not long (hot pots, stews).

#56 Host Barbecues!

Why heat up your entire house with cooking, when you can do it inside? A lot of people think a BBQ is only for a special occasion, but when it means a good meal without heating up the house, there’s no reason not to do them all the time. You could even use a Pizza Oven for an unforgettable garden party.

#57 Prioritize Water, Avoid Alcohol and Coffee

Alcohol and caffeine are proven to dehydrate you and make the heat feel so much worse!

#58 Have Great Frozen Treats

Having ice-cold desserts or snacks to look forward to can help mentally get through the day.

#59 Make Sure You’ve Got Plenty of Chilled Drinks

A good combination of flavors and types can make sure you’re motivated to keep hydrated throughout the day.

#60 Make Your Own Snow

While this isn’t the most efficient way to cool, it can be a great activity with kids. Make sure to put it in the freezer afterward!

#61 Try Out Chrysanthemum Tea

This is a hugely popular herb in China, with a whole host of health benefits. Apparently, in certain places, you have people drinking it everywhere! There’s a good rundown of its health benefits here, but for our interest, it’s also great for cooling and reducing inflammation. If you want to try it, check it out on Amazon here.

#62 Create Real ‘Iced-Drinks’

Freeze entire water bottles. Take them out one at a time and drink from the ice-cold water throughout the day.

#63 Fill a Bowl With Ice

Use it as your own personal oxygen tank – blow on it to get cool air in your face, and breathe in for some relief. Use in an emergency!

#64 Keep an Eye on Your Food

It should be obvious, but avoid spice! Even if you think “it’s just a little bit”. Avoid salty foods (dehydrating) and carbohydrates which will release energy and make you hotter (easier said than done, I know..).

#65 Eat Small Meals

Our bodies can be like an engine – filling it up with hot food equals a lot of heat. Light, small meals throughout the day are a much better way of keeping things in first and second gear.


Last up, tips for our allies against heat – fans. Not got a good fan to help you? Check out our rundowns of the best Pedestal, Vornado, Box, and Quiet fans.

A young man holding a hand fan, and an electric one
If all else fails, there’s no shame in turning to smaller cooling appliances

#66 Don’t Let Air Get Stale – Use a Fan!

I once spent a week in the heat in a new place without a fan. The difference was night and day! Keep freshly ventilated and flowing air circulating throughout your home to stay comfortable.

#67 Be Smart With Windows and Airflow

Try to block out the sunny side, and get airflow through the shady side.

#68 Use Ice Under a Fan to Create a Miniature Home-Made AC

It sounds crazy, but it works to create a cool flow of air.

#69 Set up Fans in ‘Cross-Breeze’

If you’re lucky enough to have more than one fan, set them up to ‘cross-flows’ which will help circulate a lot more than both in the same direction. Or use them in combination to push hot air out and move cool air around.

#70 Blow Warm Inside Air Out at Night

Unfortunately, we can’t “pull” in cool air at night, but “pushing” out hot air also works well. Direct your hot air out, and it will get replaced by the cool night air. You can even stack box fans, so one is blowing air in and one is blowing air out, encouraging great circulation.

#71 Sleep With a Quiet Fan

Not all fans are made equal, and some are blessedly quiet. Check out our guide to some here. Aim them either at you or facing in from an open window to create a cool sleeping zone.

#72 Try a Vornado Fan!

Vornado have some of the best fans in the world at air circulation. They’re amazing. So amazing, that I’ve written an entire guide around their fan catalog. Check it out here.


Being stuck in the heat sucks. Really, really sucks!

I hope this list has given you at least a few ideas of ways you can beat the heat without forking out for an expensive A/C system.

Just in-case you’re caving and are considering getting an air conditioner, don’t miss our popular guides on the quietest portable and window air conditioners.

If you’re still stuck, I’ve listed some other summer posts below that you’ll surely find helpful. Check them out for more ideas!

Best wishes,

— Craig.

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more