How to Cool Down a Room Without AC or Windows

To lower air temperature, try fans, wet sheets, or ice misting

Large fan cooling room with houseplants

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Learning how to cool down a room can eliminate the misery of stifling-hot rooms that lead to sleepless nights. A whole-house air conditioning system may sound good. But you need faster, less expensive cooling solutions that help you cool down a room fast.

Fortunately, there are a number of cooling methods that take between a few minutes and an hour to employ. With any or all of these methods, soon you'll cool down a room fast to more manageable temperatures.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan

Consider yourself a smart energy user if you've been using your ceiling fan in the winter. During the cold months, ceiling fans on the clockwise setting better distribute warm air. But this is exactly what you want to avoid during the summer.

If you've ever wished that there was a magic "on" switch for misbehaving appliances or stalled cars, there is one, of sorts, for your ceiling fan. In the summer, your fan should be running counterclockwise. Changing the direction is as easy as flipping a switch.

Ceiling fans reverse in any number of ways, so check your product instructions. Some fans have the reverse setting conveniently on the remote control. Other fans will reverse direction by flipping a switch on the side of the fan or by pulling the chain.

Ceiling fan reversed as an air conditioning trick to cool room

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Cover the Windows During the Day

Windows are always a compromise between energy efficiency and the basic human desire for natural light. Hot outdoor temperatures are best controlled inside by blocking the heat and direct sunlight.

In that sense, a room with no windows or small windows would be ideal. But nobody wants to live in a cave-like room. You can achieve the same effect by installing thermal curtains over the windows. At the very least, close the drapes or the blinds.


If you need a fast solution, drape thick, soft materials like bedspreads or lightweight down comforters over the windows during the day when the heat is at its peak. The thicker, the better.

Window blinds pulled down to cover windows and cool room

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Dehumidify the Air

One trick of air conditioners is that, in addition to delivering chilled air, they remove moisture-laden air from the room. You can duplicate the latter with a dehumidifier. High-quality dehumidifiers can remove a lot of water from the home each day.

Open the Windows at Night

After the sun has set, temperatures outside usually will dip lower than temperatures inside. If this has happened, remove the covers from the windows and open the windows as far as possible. If you have double-hung windows (windows with two sashes, one on top and one on the bottom), you might not be aware that most modern double-hung windows' top sashes can open, too.


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Promote a Cross Breeze

Letting in the air at night is good, but keeping the air moving is even better. If you have two windows that are in line with each other or even positioned diagonally, make sure that both are open.

You can further encourage the air to move through your room by placing a fan in each window. One fan blows in air from the outside, while the other window is reversed and blows air outside. There are even reversible window-sized fans available just for this purpose.

Window opened to promote cross-breeze to cool room

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Skip Using the Hot Appliances

Most appliances give off some residual heat. Then there is that other appliance category designed for the sole purpose of generating massive amounts of heat, namely the clothes dryer and the oven.

For the clothes dryer, consider substituting it with an indoor drying rack. As for the oven, a microwave is a definite improvement, but even that generates some heat. Leave the cooking for another day and instead stay cool by exploring the possibility of delicious no-cook dinners.

Sleep Cooler

Trying to sleep in a sweltering bedroom can be the absolute worst. You feel bad at night, then you feel even worst the next day. Heat rises, so try lowering your sleep area. Place the mattress on the floor or find a lower place in the house to sleep.

Pare Down Your Bedding

Use lighter-weight covers and 100-percent cotton sheets. If you still like the feel of heavier covers, but don't want the heat, switch to weighted bed covers.

Rest on a Cooling Pillow or Pad

Purchase a cooling pillow or mattress pad specially designed to draw heat away from your head. These items can help reduce or eliminate night sweats by better redistributing the heat around your head and body.

Use an Ice Pack

An ice pack, ice bag, chilled or frozen water bottle or gel cooling packs placed in the foot of the bed will help your entire body feel cooler, not just your feet. Place an ice pack or ice bag on your head for an immediate cooling effect. Stick an ice mat inside your pillowcase if you don't have a cooling pillow. If you don't have ice packs, the next best thing is a washcloth run under very cold water. Squeeze it out and drape it on your forehead or wrap it around your wrists or neck. Keep replenishing the cold water on the washcloth to keep the cool feeling.

Frozen gel cooling pack inserted in bed to cool room

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Close Unused Rooms

Rooms that you aren't using seriously impede your cooling efforts. Veritable saunas, they waft unwanted heat from one room to the next. By closing the door of unused bedrooms or by keeping the bathroom door always shut, you effectively trap that heat and keep it out of the way. However, before closing off a room, shut the curtains tight and even cover windows with a thick bedspread or comforter.

Room door closed to cool off rooms

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Shut off Incandescent Lights

Incandescent lights, which produce a significant amount of heat, have largely been phased out in the United States in favor of cool CFL or LED lights. Does this mean that you don't have any of these bulbs anymore? Not necessarily.

Not all types of incandescents have been banned. For one, your home's ceiling may have energy-gobbling incandescent recessed lights or your home may still retain those older, phased-out bulbs, especially in out-of-the-way areas such as ceiling light fixtures or in closets.

Incandescent light switch turned off to cool rooms

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Place Ice in Front of a Fan

No air conditioner? No worries. Make your own temporary AC unit by putting a bowl of ice cubes in front of the fan. The fan will naturally blow around cooler air from the cubes. This is a rudimentary "ice misting" method, but you can use a bucket, too.

Hang a Wet Sheet

Hanging a wet sheet over an open window can offer some cooling relief by bringing down the temperature in the room a notch. Make sure the sheet is not drenched, but damp enough with cold water so the breeze can distribute the cooler air into the room.

  • Does a fan make a room cooler?

    Actually, using a ceiling fan or portable fan doesn't cool down a room, but they feel good blowing on you and help to keep your body temperature down.

  • Will closing window curtains during the day help keep rooms cool?

    Absolutely! Keeping the curtains closed, especially in a room where the sun pours in, will help keep the heat out, thus keeping the room and your house cooler.

  • Which way should the ceiling fan be blowing in the summer?

    The ceiling fan should be blowing down during the summer so you can feel the breeze. Check the switch on the fan or use the remote to ensure that your ceiling fan is moving in a counterclockwise position.