Car sweat. How do I minimize that?
April 23, 2014 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out how not to sweat in the car, so that teens can get good, comprehensive sex education!

I work in a position that requires much car travel throughout a southern US state. Additionally, I have to make a very good professional impression among elected officials and community leaders in small, very conservative areas. When I travel in a car and it's hot out, even if the air conditioning is blasting, my back sweats. So does the area where the seat belt touches. Is there anything you can think of that I can do to minimize showing up soaked through on my back, with a nice sweat stripe on my waist and across my chest? I suppose I could try wearing a "Miss Something" sash, but I don't want to go that way. Difficulty level: adolescent sexual health profession, so I have to present as especially put together.
posted by Stewriffic to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I live in GA, so I get it.

How about a Cooling towel?

You can get a bunch of them, and keep them in a cooler in your trunk. (In baggies on ice)

Drape over the back of the car seat (you can sew ribbons for this.) And one on your lap. That and your blasting A/C should do the trick.

(I used to live in Phoenix, and I had cars with NO A/C, I've got a bunch of hacks.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:51 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Separate travel clothes; t-shirt and shorts for the car, then stop someplace close to your destination (McDonald's or one of the really nice big gas stations) and change. Gives you a chance to reapply deodorant, fix hair and makeup, etc.
posted by emjaybee at 1:52 PM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

Those wooden bead things are amazing for this. I can be cold and I will still get back sweat from most car seats - I think it's the lack of breath ability of the upholstery as much as heat. One of those wooden bead seat covers makes an immediate difference.
posted by Benjy at 1:58 PM on April 23, 2014 [10 favorites]

I was going to recommend the wood bead thing too. They're also excellent for keeping you away from the nuclear-hot seats if you have to park all day in the sun.
posted by jquinby at 2:00 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, reflective windshield screens are a great idea when parking, along with leaving windows cracked. The less work the AC's got to do when you start the car, the better.
posted by asperity at 2:08 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

All those ideas and keep a very lightweight dress jacket in the car as well to slip on over a short sleeved dress shirt
posted by edgeways at 2:13 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Put antiperspirant on your body where you sweat. Liberally douse yourself with baby powder before getting dressed.
posted by radioamy at 2:16 PM on April 23, 2014

Wooden bead thing really works. Back when most people had vinyl seats, we all used either the bead thing or a beach towel draped over the seat and kept in place with the headrest. Also, body powder before you dress will help.

If you are new to the South or don't live in the South, take comfort that we natives understand. It takes several summers to really get used to the heat and humidity to a point that you don't sweat even when outside. (If you do live in the South, one thing that helps is to keep your home warmer. After a while, the AC will feel too cold because you acclimate to the warmer temperature.)
posted by Houstonian at 2:19 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

No idea if SCIENCE! supports this but one weird old trick I heard is to angle the AC vents and hold the steering wheel so that the airflow goes against your wrists and associated arteries, so as to more directly cool your blood, rather than let them blow on your face even though that feels better.
posted by XMLicious at 2:42 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

All the suit-wearing ladies I knew in Texas would wear a shell and take their jackets off to drive and also not sit back too much, but the bead thing is just about the finest technology there is, shy of cooled seats.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:06 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Spray anti antiperspirant as it's easier to get on your back. Though the beaded backrests are your best bet. Also get a anti reflective sun protector thingy for your car windows to help keep your car cooler when parked. Also maybe have some of those packs they use for icing injuries in a cooler that you can slip behind you when you drive. Hang a light jacket on a hanger when you drive and wear a tank or cami or similar to wear under it and slip the jacket on once you get out of the car. If you live in a hot but dry environment, arriving a few minutes early so you can walk around and let the sweat evaporate also helps.
posted by wwax at 3:14 PM on April 23, 2014

Seat covers with built-in fans might also work!

posted by flimflam at 4:53 PM on April 23, 2014

Adjust your seat back so that it is barely supporting you. You will get used to it quickly. There is no need to be all the way up in there. Keep a rolled up hand towel to wedge between you and the shoulder strap, just above the rise of your breast, to keep it off of you everywhere else.
posted by myselfasme at 5:46 PM on April 23, 2014

If the wooden bead seat cover doesn't work, and you can afford it, there do exist body cooling shirts you can buy such as this.
posted by Poldo at 6:17 PM on April 23, 2014

I had a car with a woefully inadequate AC and my solution was to leave early and wear another shirt for the drive and use the time before I was due to cool down at a fast food place near to where my appointment was. I would then change shirts in a bathroom stall. I never got a second look from the staff.
posted by vapidave at 3:11 AM on April 24, 2014

Adjust your seat back so that it is barely supporting you.

Please don't do this. Insufficient support while driving is dangerous (and causes fatigue, which itself is a danger) and also may hurt you if you have an accident.

Look at bead seats or otherwise increasing air circulation around your back. Compromising the seat as an effective support structure is not the answer.
posted by Brockles at 5:20 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

This vent mesh lumbar support will improve your posture and keep your back off the back of the seat just enough to let air through and keep you from overheating. My partner uses one at work, where her co-workers keep the temp at 79 F for some damned reason. It has kept her back from getting sweaty.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:27 AM on April 24, 2014

Another vote for the wooden beads. It's the only way I ever made it through summers in Georgia, even with a car with working A/C. Also be sure to have a windshield screen for when you park.
posted by candyland at 1:18 PM on April 24, 2014

What color is your car? A white or silver car will be much cooler than a black (or other dark colored) car.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:37 PM on April 24, 2014

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