When growing up, did anyone ever put a wet sheet across an open window to cool a room?

I have seen this done.

BQ: do you know of other ways before air conditioning?

15 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favourite answer

    That didn't happen for me but I was talking to someone from India a few years ago and they said they hang something wet and then have the fan hit it and it cools the room. So I started hand washing towels and undies and hanging them between the bathroom and living room on hot days and it does cut down on ac time and keeps my bill down.

    There are still homes here in Florida that have no air conditioning. People sit on their porch with a cold drink in hand.

    Back home we had a floor fan from my dad's office sitting in the center of the hallway and it was supposed to circulate the air (not cool anything). I wonder if I could use your idea on my car windows in summer

  • 7 years ago

    We didn't have A/C in our house when I was growing up, but the house always seemed cool. My stepdad always had a de-humidifier going in the family rooms, and that took a lot of moisture out of the air. There were lots and lots of shade trees surrounding our house. Sometimes you'd put a small fan in your bedroom window at night and when that fan caught a small breeze, it was lovely. But I sure don't remember the wet sheet trick.

    My second husband and I never had A/C in our first, rather smallish house, but there was a HUGE black walnut tree in the front yard, the branches of which entirely covered the house. It had to make a good 20° difference on a hot day. My daughter called me a couple of months ago to tell me that tree was gone now. She could hardly believe it - it was a very old tree (took two people to put their arms around the trunk) and must have cost a fortune to have removed, though, of course, the wood itself would have been valuable. Can't imagine why they did it - sure, it made a mess in the lawn with its once every other year walnuts and its tiny, impossible to rake leaves - but it was a beautiful tree. Perhaps it had died or had some disease. She said its being gone changed the look of the whole street, and I'm sure it did!

  • Putting a wet towel over you or just be wet and stand in from of the fan.

    Some ice cubes all over ya with the fan blowing on you.

    BQ-Actually I learn to keep it dark in the room with the windows and blinds close with the fan on the floor can keep it cool in a room too.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Before air conditioning people sweated. For driving they sat on a Kool-Kushion, and that helped a lot to keep the shirt dry. I used to carry a Kool-Kushion to school but for some reason nobody else ever did that.

    Air conditioning used to be a huge machine. To cool a movie theater for 500 people took a water shower as big as a house. Houses were cooled by evaporative coolers, and that was ok if the humidity was low. They even made them for cars.


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  • Dick
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    I can remember sleeping under a damp sheet in extreme high temperatures. Never saw a wet sheet over a window. My mother used to put a bowl of ice cubes in front of an electric fan. Don't remember if that did any good or not. I built a mist system to cool my patio, in summer. Just drilled tiny #80 holes in copper pipe and hooked it up to the garden hose. Worked up to 108F in low humidity.

  • S
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    RB, my best friends mom's daddy worked on the Hoover dam construction crew building that magnificent dam. He was very lucky he said to have landed that job at that time during the depression and located the family in Nevada. Her grandma would sprinkle the children's sheets with water just before bed to give them some relief of that hot Nevada desert and yes, she too put wet sheets up hoping for a breeze. My friends mom said it was like a steam bath at times, sometimes though the desert CAN get cold at night.

  • Kai
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    No, mom would probably have killed us if we wet her sheets. I can remember sleeping on the floor since a mattress got too hot. Dad has a window air conditioner in their bedroom but they kept the door closed so no one else got the benefits--supposedly the air conditioner kept the allergens down for him. We just stayed in the shade, kept window shades drawn when the sun tried to beam in, drank lots of water, wore as little as possible, wet down our hands, arms, feet, legs, neck, face. Didn't do a lot of moving around. Didn't cook indoors if at all possible.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    I've never had air conditioning. If it gets too hot, I put a large soaking wet bath towel over the back of a low chair with one end of the towel weighted on the chair seat and the other end submerged in a shallow trough of water (sturdy cardboard box lined with large plastic bag works), and arrange the chair in front of a box fan on the floor so that the plane of the towel's surface is perpendicular to the fan blades. Two towels and two chairs in front of the fan work even better.

  • 7 years ago

    People talk about "going back to the 'good-old-days,' but.... excuse me? Reading how people kept cool in summer heat does NOT sound like "good-old-days" to me. I went through high humidity/high heat summers in my parents house. And it was awful. My dad had a big 4 ft x 4 ft attic fan that pulled outside air in through the windows, up into the attic. And guess what? It pulled in HOT, and HUMID AIR! Did nothing to help. It was still miserably hot at night.

  • Ann
    Lv 7
    7 years ago


    Wet a towel and laid it out in the bathroom (towel bar, shower rod).

    Put water in a basin and put it up someplace it would not tip.

    Winter humidifiers:

    Put a pan on top of the heating unit. Refilled it with water as it evaporated.

    In station wagons, after trips to the beach:

    Wet towels. Put one in each rear seat windows. Rolled the window up to hold it in place. As they evaporated, they cooled the air.


    Applied cool water or ice to the inside of the wrist, and at the elbow.

    Wet a short towel, shirt, or clean rag. Put it on the back of your neck. Really cooled the skin.

    Ran fans to move the air, which FELT cooler

    Source(s): Life experience before air conditioning
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