Sometimes I only have 10-15 minutes and I have a water bottle out, but it's near room temperature. I need it to be near freezing, but I don't have time to do anything.

Usually I will just put it in the freezer until I have to leave, but that usually doesn't do much. Is there any way that I can get a regular plastic water bottle near freezing temperature (or at least feel like it) in 10 to 15 minutes?

It would only have to be one water bottle at a time, and it would be great it the hack could work for Gatorade bottles too. The water must stay in the bottle (it's a hastle to get back in).

Regular plastic water bottle


6 Answers 6

  1. Submerge the bottle in a bucket of ice water [1]
    Fill a bucket with ice water and add a pinch of salt, which helps the water absorb the heat energy from the can or bottle.
  2. Wrap your bottle in a wet paper towel and put it in the freezer [2]
    The wet paper towel outside the bottle will utilize physics to help transfer heat energy outside the bottle more quickly.
    enter image description here
  • 6
    If you have a bucket of ice water already, wouldn't there be no need to cool your bottle of water down?
    – Origin
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 22:46
  • 2
    I... don't see how that changes anything with my question about the bucket of ice water.
    – Origin
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 22:51
  • 3
    The OP wants a "near freezing" bottle of water. They have water and (presumably) ice, but they want the bottle of water to be cold because they "have to leave".
    – Mooseman
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 22:54
  • 9
    For method 1., you want to add a lot of salt to the ice water bucket. The salt will lower the freezing temperature of water, so that the temperature of the ice water in the bucket is actually below freezing. The colder temperature will chill the water bottle faster.
    – Mark H
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 3:56
  • 2
    Meta-meta hack for method 1: always rinse off the bottle after using this method to avoid a nasty, salty first swig. (Disregard if imbibing some kind of margarita). Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 14:30

Always keep one bottle of water in the refrigerator (or freezer if you prefer a block of ice that will thaw throughout the day). When it's time to go somewhere, swap your room temperature bottle for the cold one.

Before you argue that it doesn't answer the question, remember this is LifeHacks SE not Physics SE. This takes less than 10 minutes, doesn't require you to remove the water from the bottle, and works with Gatorade.

  • 9
    This is exactly the solution to the problem that I've been utilizing for years. A life-hack is a lifestyle change. 80% of my life hacks boil down to "be prepared".
    – dotancohen
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 7:00
  • Drink half a bottle and put it in the freezer. When you grab a new bottle, pour half into the frozen bottle, and leave the new half in the freezer for next time.
    – Tanath
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 4:59

Fill a bottle about half full and lay it on its side in the freezer with the neck tipped up just enough so that the water doesn't block it. Just before you leave take it out of the freezer and fill with water from the tap. While you're out the ice melts and cools the water. You could rotate bottles through the freezer so there's always one ready :)


We used to keep a container of very strong brine (water with a lot of salt dissolved in it) in the freezer for cooling beer bottles super quickly whenever The Thirst would strike. The brine could take a bottle from room temperature to freezing (we made a few beer slushies this way) in about 15 minutes. Problem was we didn't have a lid on the container and the salt water rusted out the door of the fridge.


Get some dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) or liquid nitrogen if you're cool. Dunk your water bottle into one of those for about 30 seconds for dry ice, 5 for liquid nitrogen. This will cool your bottle super-fast and even turn some of the water into ice. To increase the rate of heat transfer away from the bottle, cover pellets of dry ice with acetone. Acetone has a very low freezing point and can be purchased at most hardware stores.

  • 8
    I don't usually have dry ice sitting around my house.
    – michaelpri
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 22:38
  • 20
    Well, you're obviously not cool then.
    – Origin
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 22:38
  • 1
    @Tim That's pretty much the exact method the other answer uses: get something cold and dip it in. Or get something cold, wrap it with the something cold, and then put it in something else that's cold.
    – Origin
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 22:58
  • 4
    @Tim Yes. One shows a lack of planning. The other does not. If you already own dry ice or liquid nitrogen, this is arguably more efficient and lifehackish than the other answer.
    – fbueckert
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 23:02
  • 2
    Hu? Who has a bucket of liquid nitrogen to hand? How do you keep it cold?
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 23:03

How about the best of both worlds? Wrap the water bottle with salt-water soaked paper towel then put it in the freezer. Make sure to make as much contact between the water bottle and paper towel as possible.

The absolute fastest way is (as stated by mooseman) to submerge the water bottle in an iced salt water solution. If that is unavailable, the paper towel trick is next best.

  • I understand the reason for salt in the bucket and why the towel thing works. I fail to see what good the salt would do in the towel, though. Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 15:08
  • Salt in the towel will lower the temperature of the water in the towel. Salt water will remain in liquid form even if its temp is below freezing. In this case, liquid contact is more efficient than solid in that when water on the towel freezes there will actually be less contact because of the crystals made when freezing (which create space for air). Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 21:02
  • The goal of the wet towel is for the water to evaporate, and the salt reduces that effect. The enthalpy of dissolving NaCl isn’t all that large – sure, it does get the water a little bit colder for a short while (unlike some other salts), but nowhere near what happens with ice. I’m not going to make a prediction without a couple of experiments, but I would be less than surprised if the salt at this place wasn’t all that helpful. Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 22:52

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