How to Keep Cool for About an Hour Without Air Conditioning

Despite the fact that it is technically still a few weeks of summer, the high temperatures and humidity have not gone anywhere (at least in New York). And those without air conditioning (or with really old, crappy window units), who usually work remotely from a cafe or library, currently do not have this option. I fall into this category.

Chances are, if there is a trick or strategy to keep my cool without air conditioning , I tried it. This is exactly the case with this tiny trick: wrap your head in a cold, damp cloth. No, this is clearly not something new, but somehow I forgot about it this summer until recently when I stumbled upon this article on Well + Good . Having done this over the course of a few days, I am ready to report back.

An old trick with a cold wet headband

When we were growing up, we would simply find a loofah or other piece of cloth, rinse it with cold water, and then apply it to our foreheads when our temperature rises or we feel hot. It was a start, but I like to have a little more material to work with (more on that in a moment) so that it can cover most of my sweaty head, face and neck.

The method described in Well + Good is to take a bandage, wet it, and then refrigerate it briefly before putting it on. I liked the headband idea because I could put it on my ears and it stayed in place (unlike a washcloth). But after five minutes of searching for a headband in my apartment, I couldn’t find it. So I improvised.

My version

When I was looking for something to serve as an impromptu headband, I reminded myself that I am alone at home and have been here for several months: any intentions I made to look like a member of society came out of my wide open window (for ventilation). in March. So, I picked the closest I could find that could handle the job: a pair of (clean) underwear.

So yes reader, I took the underwear, rinsed it under cold water and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours to cool it down. (These are not part of the formula or anything like that – I just forgot about them.) When I took them out of the refrigerator, I aligned the belt with one of the leg holes and put it on as a headband. When everything was folded and on my head, apart from the parts with the inscription “Hanes Her Way”, it looked almost like a regular headband. [For clarity: the photo at the top of the article is not mine. But I am sure that this person will definitely be able to pull off an image with a headband from underwear. I do not.]

It wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the headband anyway – I actually had a decent amount of excess material on the back of my head. But this is one of the benefits of using underwear (or literally any longer piece of fabric) over a headband, folks. I could let the fabric run down the back of my neck like a cold cotton mullet, or I could use a rubber band to secure it at the back of my neck. I could also adjust the size, which allowed me to be sure that my ears were always completely covered – sort of like headphones, but exactly the opposite.

Verdict and options

Did this feel like a cool island beach in my stuffy apartment? No, it’s not like that. Did I ever get out of the apartment into the corridor before I remembered that I was wearing underwear? No, it happened twice. But this strategy did provide a decent respite from the heat by about an hour. Besides, it doesn’t mean that the attempt was worth anything or the assembly took more than a minute.

And she didn’t limit herself to just the underwear in the fridge. I also tried putting them in the freezer. But then again, I forgot about them, and by the time I got them out, they were pretty frozen and not as pliable as I would have liked. But after a few minutes of thawing, they were great too.

Then I prepared not one, but two pairs of underwear (that’s what multipacks are for) and put one on as a traditional headband, and the other pair more as a neckerchief. Unsurprisingly, the extra cold damp cotton wool on my head and neck made me feel cooler (in terms of temperature – although this clarification was probably not necessary). I won’t bore you with the other options, but basically cloth + cold water + refrigerator time = makes the heat more bearable, at least for a while.


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