Homemade Heat Packs

Therapeutic heat packs can be quite helpful to treating aching muscles and other ailments. You don't need to buy an expensive one at the store, when you can easily make one at home. This is a guide about homemade heat packs.

February 2, 2011 Flag
7 found this helpful

This simple little bag can help relieve anything from minor pain to major pain. Simple and easy to make and use and with the harshness of cold weather it can alleviate pain associated with arthritis. Consider making one for someone who needs pain relief. Makes a wonderful Christmas or birthday gift for young or old.

Approximate Time: 20 minutes



  1. Cut a piece of material 15 inches long by 6 inches wide.
  2. Turn it to the wrong side and start stitching from one corner almost all the way around.
  3. Leave one small side open for stuffing. (I normally sew this twice to ensure the rice doesn't come out.)
  4. Turn the bag inside out and run a stitch through the middle. Leave about 3 inches so you can pour the rice in each tube like area.
  5. Start filling with dry rice and fill until about 3 inches are left at the top. Turn the ends of the top over and stitch it together.

Heating instructions:

With everything safety comes first. Only use a microwave to heat the bag. Do not put the microwave on longer than 3 minutes.


If hot to touch allow to cool or wrap in a towel. Apply to areas that hurt for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Doctors usually recommend 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.

If you smell the rice you probably have the temperature too high. Take it out immediately.

These make wonderful gifts for older adults who suffer aches and pains regularly. They are much safer than a heating pad.

Rice bags can be made in any size or shape. Smaller ones are used for headaches and earaches. Larger ones are great for back, arm and leg pains. Some Ladies like them during their cycle to help relieve the cramps.

Enjoy making a small gift that can last a lifetime if taken care of.

Do NOT put in water. If it needs to be cleaned use a vacuum cleaner to clean it. If you are really obsessed with cleanliness put it in a pillowcase or make a cover just slightly bigger than bag and cover your bag.

You may want to make one in several sizes to keep on hand for yourself or family. Enjoy the comfort of warmth in painful areas.

By Gem from VA

Comment On This PostWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
February 2, 20110 found this helpful

This is one of the projects I use old denim fabric from the legs of worm out blue jeans for. I make them in all sizes, even very small ones that fit inside gloves or mittens. They are wonderful under the covers at the foot of your bed before you get into bed. They will do the job of pre-warming your bed for you, and I love climbing into a nice snuggy-warm bed on these very cold winter nights.

If you make a large one, put it on the floor under your feet (take off your shoes) and work at your desk. A 20 pound bag of rice can be purchase for $3.99 sometimes, and 20 pounds of rice will make a lot of rice bags. I also keep a medium sized rice bag in a Ziploc plastic freezer bag in the freezer for hurts and bruises that require a cold compress. Just be sure to push all the air out of the freezer bag to reduce the chance of moisture in your rice bag.

If you take care of them, they'll last years. I do make little pillow cases for them which can be washed. Flannel is nice for this.

Great project for sharing. Many people will thank you. Thumbs up.


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February 3, 20110 found this helpful

I purchased one from a local Crafter that goes down my back and 2 flaps over my shoulders. My DH uses it to warm up his hands after his Chemo treatment. Thanks, now I'll make one for his feet as well.

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February 4, 20110 found this helpful

April 4, 2008 Flag
1 found this helpful

How do you make herbal heat and cold packs with rice or feed corn? Does anyone know of easy patterns for these?

Beverly from Fall River Mills, CA

December 12, 20080 found this helpful

Can you use oil such as eucalyptus as a scent?

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October 11, 20110 found this helpful

I made my first rice hot/cold pack today and lo and behold, hubby hurt his shoulder. I heated the pack up and it was great. Except, it smelled like cooked rice. I wasn't sure I wanted to use any scent, because I wanted them for my migraines, and odors make me ill during a migraine. Will this odor go away in time or will it always smell like Uncle Ben is here?

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July 25, 20160 found this helpful

January 20, 2014 Flag
1 found this helpful

I use rice for my heat packs, but have found it breaks down too fast. I make these heat packs for my Chihuahuas. They are used a lot and heated up frequently.

By Karin

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January 26, 20140 found this helpful

Try Barley. It's cheap, can be purchased in bulk, and you can even add things like some potpourri and give them a nice scent. I hope that helps.

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January 27, 20140 found this helpful

I have used oatmeal tho I don't need a heat pack often. I do like the idea of rice with a bit of potpourri.

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January 29, 20140 found this helpful

June 2, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

How do you prepare the rice for use in hot packs?

By Bev

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June 4, 20130 found this helpful

There is no preparation. Just add the rice and sew closed. some people use lavender in theirs and they just put the loose lavender in with the rice. These are wonderful items to use and to give as a gift.


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June 4, 20130 found this helpful

You don't have to do anything to the rice. I put a sock in a jar and fold over the top of the sock over the mouth of a jar and just pour it in the sock. Then I tie a knot in the sock.

Don't use any kind of metal tie such as a hair elastic with a little metal piece on it or it will ruin the microwave. I always just tie a knot in the sock. Then microwave for about a minute or so.

They can get very hot so be careful if you are using it on someone else.


Robyn from Tennessee

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May 23, 2012 Flag
2 found this helpful

This is a guide about making microwave heating pads. Microwave heating pads, often filled with rice, are used to soothe aches and pains.

Making a Microwave Heating Rice Pad

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November 24, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

I want to know if I can use plastic beads to fill the bags?

By Elizabeth

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November 26, 20130 found this helpful

I wouldn't, due to the fact plastic gives off dangerous toxins when heated and will burn you if too hot. I'd use rice. I have heard of some folks who use kitty litter. Dried beans can be used as well.

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December 2, 20130 found this helpful

You can also use dried corn kernels. Smells like popcorn when you put it in the microwave.

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Anonymous Flag
January 23, 20160 found this helpful

November 10, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

My friend has frequent joint pain and I would like to make her a rice heating pad, but she does not have a microwave. Is there any other way to heat the rice heating pad? I think the pad would catch fire if she tried to heat it up in an oven! Any solutions out there? (She won't buy a microwave.)

By Linda W.

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November 11, 20130 found this helpful

Much better to give her a small electric heating pad-try Amazon: one for less than $10-Sunbeam Cozy Spot. Will last many years!

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November 11, 20130 found this helpful

Maybe putting the pad into a sealed tight zip lock bag, (make sure all the air is out of the bag) and float in a sink of very hot water? Might even weigh it down with something so the bag is submerged in the water for awhile. Don't know how well it might work, but it is a heat source.

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November 14, 20130 found this helpful

November 27, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

I want to make my own heat packs as Christmas gifts. Some have posted that they use rice, others use flax, some use oatmeal, etc. The ingredients don't cook or go rancid, etc. after use?

Also, which ingredient can I use for scent? Some say lavender turns after being heated and there were a few scents that didn't work at all.


By BeachMouse from Canada

December 1, 20100 found this helpful

I use buckwheat hulls and rice. I use lavender and rosemary essential oils and find the scent lasts a long time. You can always renew the scent if you close it with a few buttons or velcro. I sell alot of the neck wraps at craft shows. You do need to use all cotton material for these to be microwave safe though.

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December 2, 20100 found this helpful

I've been wanting to make some for gifts also, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I was planning to use either flax seeds or buckwheat, which I've heard works better. I wouldn't want to use rice, because it seems like it would 'cook' it if you keep heating it, then smell bad.

As a coincidence, I got this instructional just today (from another newsletter I get) on how to make 'baby' heat packs. The are so cute, I may have to make a couple for my little grandson who seems to have ear infections quite often.


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December 14, 20110 found this helpful

November 19, 2008 Flag
0 found this helpful

I would like to make a bean or rice heat pack, but I have a few questions. What fabric should you use? Are they safe for children? How long do you microwave them? I wanted to make them for my nephews for Christmas, who are both just under two years old. I worry about them chewing on them. I wanted to make a 2-D pattern of an animal. Any good suggestions on shapes or cut outs to use?

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September 5, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

What heat pack filler stays hottest the longest?

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