From swimming pools, tree forts, and barbecues to bonfires, stargazing, and long walks on a warm sandy beach – there are hundreds of reasons to love summertime.

Receiving an astronomical electric bill isn’t one of them.

Save your money (and the environment, too!) with the following 21 natural tips and tricks to stay cool this summer without turning on the AC.

1. Opt For Cotton

Natural fibers like cotton allow air to circulate around the body while synthetics like polyester trap heat against skin. During the warmer months, opt for cotton over synthetics whenever possible to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Also, cotton sheets are especially effective for staying cool at bedtime.

2. Wear Loose Clothing

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Just as the type of material is important when choosing what to wear in the summertime, the fit of your clothing can make a big difference in keeping your core body temperature within a comfortable range. Loose-fitting clothing also increases air circulation over your skin, releasing trapped heat and helping sweat – your body’s natural cooling mechanism – to do its work.

3. Choose Light Colors

Light-colored fabrics reflect heat away from the body while darker colors absorb heat and radiate it inward toward your skin. When you’re planning to spend time outdoors in the summertime, go with whites and other lighter-colored clothes to naturally stay cool and reduce the need for air conditioning when you go back inside.

4. Make Cold Packs

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In preparation for really hot days, make up a few cold packs and keep them in the freezer. When you get overheated and need to cool off fast, it can be as easy as taking out one of these ready-made compresses, wrap it in a small towel to prevent freezing your skin, then lay the pack over pulse points in your neck, wrists, feet, or anywhere else blood runs close to the surface of your skin. Your core temperature will drop several degrees within minutes, providing instant relief throughout your entire body.

An easy method for making homemade cold packs is to mix one part rubbing alcohol with three parts water in a resealable zipper bag. Double up the zipper bag if you’re worried about leakage. Then pop it into the freezer. The pack will stay flexible when frozen so it shapes to your skin even at sub-zero temperatures.

In a pinch, a bag of frozen green beans, peas, or other veggies works, too!

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