How can we chill water in a plastic bottle without a freezer or refrigerator?


I'm in the office and I have two plastic bottles of water (brought from home). I'm in the office for 3 to 4 hours and this means the bottles I brought from home will get hot (and won't be drinkable in a hot season). Now I want to make it cool so that I can drink chilled water, without access to ice with salt or a refrigerator.

Is it possible?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Have a look at these techniques: wikihow.com/Cool-Beers-Without-a-Fridge (obviously you can just substitute the beer with water). They are all based on either touching a cooler object or something very similar to sweating. $\endgroup$
    – Michiel
    Jun 5, 2013 at 6:19
  • $\begingroup$ The simplest solution is to put the water in a Duwer flask/thermos flask in the fridge before you go to work. It will then stay cold all day. $\endgroup$
    – Nick
    Jun 5, 2013 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ You can use some good type of bottle, which can keep water drinkable for more then 5 hours(normally student use them.) $\endgroup$
    – Freddy
    Aug 27, 2015 at 5:45

4 Answers 4


I'm really not sure this is a chemistry question.

Having said that, evaporative cooling will do the job for you. Here on the Indian sub-continent a clay/earthenware water container works wonders using the technique of evaporative cooling.

In the absence of earthenware, wrap two pieces of thick cloth of the appropriate size around your containers. Keep both cloth wet/moist, and let nature do the rest.

You may also consider taking a bit of pot luck

  • $\begingroup$ It is a very good trick forma the beach, with wind blowing $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2015 at 11:06

The old system of keeping things cool utilized the evaporation of water, which takes its latent heat from the item you want to keep cool (milk, butter etc. normally). Either using a cloth soaked in water (and dipping into water at its base) or a coarse earthenware vessel, it worked.


It depends on what you can use:

  • Leave the bottle in the cold air from the air conditioner,

  • Freeze it at night and wrap in bubble plastic,

  • Use a peltier cooler.

    This last one is expensive and not too good, but I've used the others with good results.

I think this is Physics more than chemistry.

  • $\begingroup$ Freezing overnight and putting it in a flask can be very effective, I tend to find the water is still reasonably cool at the end of the day $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Feb 18, 2015 at 9:58

It's pretty easy. Put one of your bottles in the freezer when at home and let the water turn into ice. Then wrap an old cotton t-shirt around the bottle so that it makes a thick insulating layer around it. Then fasten the cloth with a safety pin. This would prevent the ice from being melted quickly and provide you with cool water for almost a day. With a little enthusiasm you can make it so that you just have to change bottle through pulling old ones and pushing new ones into the cloth without necessarily opening the cloth.


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