Summer is in full swing, and it’s hot out! Well, not as hot as it was a few weeks ago, but for Seattle, these long sunny days can bring the temperature up much higher than we’re used to.
Especially since most Seattleites live without air conditioning, people have had to get creative with finding ways to stay cool.
There are the tried-and-true methods of staying cool in summer heat — drinking cold beverages, buying blackout curtains, grilling outside instead of turning your oven on — but I was intrigued by some of the more unusual life hacks I saw floating around the internet. So here’s the scoop on whether any of them actually work.
Freeze your pillowcase
Pop your pillowcase in a plastic bag and place it in your freezer at least 20 minutes before you go to bed. The cooler pillowcase will bring you some relief while trying to sleep during a hot night.
Does it work? No. By the time I got my “frozen” pillowcase onto my pillow and lay down, my pillow came to room temperature in less than 30 seconds. Perhaps if you had enough space in your freezer to fit your entire pillow, that would stay cool for longer.
Damp sheets in the window
Wet a thin towel or sheet, and squeeze out any excess water. Hang it directly in front of an open window. Warm air will pass through the sheet/towel, causing the water to evaporate and the air to cool.
Does it work? Yes! It doesn’t create full-on AC coolness, but it does noticeably change the temperature of the breeze. Depending on how hot it is, you may need to frequently rewet your towel/sheet.
Put ice in front of a fan
Fill a bowl with ice and place it in front of a fan. The fan will blow the cold air surrounding the ice toward you.
Does it work? Sort of. The ice will cool the air but there are a handful of things you need to do to make this effective: You need a lot of ice. A single tray didn’t do much initially, but once I doubled it, I noticed the ice cooling the air. You also need to be pretty close to the fan, so this works best with small fans you can position within a foot of yourself at your desk or on a counter. And depending on how hot it its, the ice can melt pretty fast, so just be aware that this is not a long-term fix.
Mint tea vs. water
Brew some peppermint tea and stick it in your fridge. Once it’s cool, pour it into a spray bottle and mist yourself when needed. Apparently mint creates a special cooling sensation that can help lower your temperature faster than regular water.
Does it work? Maybe, barely. I did a blind test with my roommate — misting her with water and peppermint tea of equal temperature. She said that the peppermint felt ever-so-slightly cooler, but not enough that it seemed worth it to make the tea in the first place. You’re likely better off with a regular misting of water.
Create a cooling scarf
Wet a dish towel and squeeze out any excess water. Place it in the freezer in the shape of a “U” for 20 minutes. Take it out and place it around your neck or head, which will help you cool down quickly.
Does it work? Yes, this one felt nice! Because the towel was frozen, it kept cool for a while, and didn’t melt or drip anywhere. Your neck and head retain a lot of heat, so having something to cool both down helps a lot.