Microwave heating pads, often filled with rice, are used to soothe aches and pains. This is a guide about microwave heating pads.
If you want a really simple and quick microwave heating pad, this is a frugal way to throw one together.
Fill a tube sock with 4-5 cups or rice or until the sock is 3/4 filled.
At the end of the sock tie a knot and pull tightly so the knot can't come undone easily.
Optional: Add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice. Add a few sprigs of dried lavender or rosemary.
Place the rice filled sock in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. You can also place these in the freezer to make a cool pack.
These are great to put around a sore neck or on the small of a sore back. Also great during pregnancy. Make a few of them and put them on all your sore spots. These are much cheaper than the therapy bags sold in stores and work the same.
Note: Don't let the pack get wet.
By Stella Bella from Manchester, WA
I am looking for instructions for making the bags that you can put in the microwave. The ones you use for aches and pains etc. What is inside and how do you clean them when needed?
PICO from ST. PAUL, ALBERTA
December 4, 2005
I take a terry cloth tea towel. I fold it in half length wise. I then sew it in thirds. I then fill it about half full of field corn in each of the three pockets. I then double stitich around the towel.
I heat in the micowave about 4 miniutes. When it no longer keeps the heat or it gets dirty, throw it in the washer. Lay it out to dry (DON'T) put it in the dryer.
This works great on a knee as it is big enough to lay on the top of the knee and around the sides. Enjoy!
December 5, 2005
My sister made some of these with a medium weight cotton fabric. She used regular rice and added some essentail oil like peppermint and lavender. They smell great and are very soothing. Then she sewed a little pillowcase for it out of some old upholstery that was pretty. That way, when it gets dirty, you just take off the pillowcase and wash it.
December 5, 2005
Here's a coincidence! Not 30 minutes ago I finished two hot pads for my Chihuahuas. I used 100% cotton fabric and 100% cotton batting (thin). I cut 6 layers of fabric using a plate for the shape and 2 layers of the batting. Layer 2 fabric, 1 batting, 1 fabric. Sew around the rim of all and leave a 4 inch opening. Turn it inside out so the batting has fabric on each side. This gives you a low temp side with the batting, and a higher temp side with the fabric. I stuffed them with cheap, bulk rice and then sewed the opening shut. Popped them in the microwave for 90 seconds.
A word of warning--a friend put his nylon or polyester socks in the microwave to dry them after he got caught in the rain. They melted and started a fire in the room.
I've been thinking of finding a cotton shirt and sewing on a liner with vertical tubes to fill with rice. I'd have the tubes run around the shoulders and across the back. My bursitis just yells for it. --Stone in OKC
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
October 6, 2006
For a medicinal heat pack for arthritis and rheumatism, dry roast in a clean pan equal amounts of fine diced old root ginger and rock salt till the ginger is golden and dry. Make a thick cotton case large enough to hold the mixture so that when flat the heat pack is 1 inch thick and seal. Make another as a washable case to put over it.
This can be heated in a microwave oven for 1 to 2 minutes to the desirable temperature. Do not over heat as salt can retain high heat and cause burns on fragile skin. Place on affected areas to soothe the pain. Store in dry cupboard when not in use.
I've made heat pads before and had no problem with them, but I do not remember what kind of rice to use. I'm concerned about fire.
I bought Carolina Jasmine enriched Thai fragrant long grain rice (Thai Hom Mali Rice) and Lundberg California white Basmati aromatic long grain rice. Does anyone know how safe these are?
By Marjae from NY
December 27, 2010
I don't know about the rice, but I do know that deer corn works great. The corn has a moist heat and holds up very well, no worry about fire.
To make a nice heated rice bag, use fleece and make it as big or small as you like. Just put the white rice into the rectangular fleece bag and stitch it up. I'm sure you could also use a tube sock and just stitch up the end. Then you can put it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes to heat it up and put it on sore muscles or arthritis areas. (Also, our Chihuahua loves it to warm up in the winter). The rice keeps the heat for quite awhile and it is also moist heat. We have one rice bag from 15 years/ago that my mom made and it still works great!
They are telling us we are going to get our first snow tonight here in Colorado and I was thinking that I needed to do something to warm up our bed to keep us warm at night when we turn down the furnace. So here is what I am going to do. I am going to get some of that polar fleece and make some bed warmers.
Make a square out of polar fleece and fill it with clean kitty litter. These then can be popped into the microwave and put in our bed to warm it up before we get in. Since the kitty litter will hold the heat, it should keep us very warm this winter.
By Debra in CO
By Barbara 1
I am looking for instructions for how to make cow corn microwave heating pads.
By Barbara from Haverhill, MA
September 15, 2010
I found that if you place a small cup of water in the microwave as you heat your rice bag the rice will get that burnt smell and it helps with the moist heat. Also, I made a fleece sleeve cover for my rice bags, it helps hold the moist heat in longer .
Beans, and cheery pits work best, as they are a larger grain and hold their heat longer. Does anyone have any ideas for non-stop use . I injured my back and I am non-stop using my rice heating pads and the microwave heating is slower when you are trying to heat up more then one heating pad.
I thought of setting up a steaming pot on the stove top to set more then one heating pad in so I would have instant heated pads on hand as one or more cooled down. But I'm not sure if that would actually cook the rice or not?
I made a heat pad with rice, but when I first got it out of the micro wave it was sweating. Why?
By Cindy W.
January 15, 2015
Over time, it'll stop sweating. I think with ours on about the 3rd or 4th use it stops that.
I use popcorn, too, but find that is does tend to pop in there, and also the smell from the heated popcorn bag starts to bug us after 20 or so uses, but not so the rice bags. We love these in our house all winter for taking to bed at night, and they make great Christmas presents!
By vcates 1
Can I use silica gel beads as filling for a microwavable heat pack? Or, I've heard of glycerin beads, but can't locate them. Any ideas?
By vcates from South Jordan, UT
April 5, 2011
Hi there! We use men's tube socks or women's knee high socks for heat packs (one of a pair that remains with no holes or tears) and fill with dried white or brown rice or dried barley. Works like a charm and if the sock happens to rip, we save as much rice or barley as possible, boil it up and add it to our dogs' food before starting all over with another stray sock. Can't get much thriftier than that! :) Good luck!
By cotygirl 1
I need a pattern for a hot/cold neck pack. Thank you.
By cotygirl from Canada
February 15, 2010
The quickest way to make a hot-cold pack is by taking a pillow case (made of cotton or 50/50 cotton-poly) then pour in one or 2 boxes or bags of any type of rice. (Minute rice OR regular). Then tie a knot on the end of this pillow case so the rice stays in.
To heat: Simply microwave it to heat the rice up. Usually for 2 or 3 minutes. You can also freeze it. But I prefer to instead use this rice-bag for only heating, then use a bag of frozen peas or corn for cooling. Buy 2 bags of peas & switch them out when the first starts to melt. When you no longer need the frozen peas (or corn) you can eat the veggies. (as long as they stayed frozen!)
I like the way you can take the warm rice-bag with you in the car, unlike a heating pad, this bag is portable!
If you know how to sew, you can turn the empty pillow case inside-out, then sew 2 seams up the middle of the pillow case 1 inch apart, then with scissors cut between the seams so you'll have 2 thin tubes, then fill with rice & knot the ends. If you use a pillow case you will have lots of room to move the rice around for your best fit & comfort. Buy your pillow cases at Second Hand at any Thrift Store or Garage Sale for 50 cents.
---> If they get dirty, simply un-knot the pillow case then dump the rice into a container & wash & dry the fabric then refill with the rice again. Easy, Fast & Cheap... Plus, if you are poor, you can buy the rice & frozen peas with Food Stamps & eat them when you no longer need the hot-cold packs!
* If you want a nice scent, add several tablespoons of Dried Lavender, Whole Cloves or slightly crushed Cinnamon Sticks to the Rice.
Take a tube sock of whatever size you would like and fill 3/4 full of instant rice. Put in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. You will have a natural heating pad. Have kids or anyone decorated it with stamps or clothing paint.
By Linda from Decatur, IL
I have a zipper on my wheat bag. Can I heat it in a microwave?
By John H
February 23, 2015
I agree. What you might want to do is just pour your barley or the medium you heat in an old single sock. Then, tie a knot or sew it closed. No metal and no worries. Just a thought. PBP
I made a heating pad with rice out of a small square pillow case that I bought at the dollar store. I ripped out the zipper and sewed it up for microwave use. I used the pad maybe 20 times and then it exploded in the microwave. The rice was smelling like pop corn each time. When it exploded, the rice was burned. I used just plain white rice and heated it for up to 5 minutes each time as it was about 5 lbs of rice. And it wouldn't feel good unless it was heated for a few minutes then turned over and heated another minute or so. Has this happened to anyone else? What did I do wrong? Material type, type of rice? Heating length? (but I needed it hot, not just warm). Thanks.
September 7, 2013
I also agree that 5 minutes was likely too long. I have one my neighbour made for me; it is filled with wheat and she put 3 or 4 cloves in it for the aroma. I have had the cloves overheat and char the flannel, and make a little hole. I only ever heat it for three minutes, and then re-heat for 2. Mine is about 1 pound, maybe two. I suspect that 5 pounds is too big, and parts of it overheated before the center got warm, and this caused your explosion.
I just bought fleece fabric to make rice pack cover, but neglected to check fabric content. Must it be 100% cotton to be used in microwave?
By Jackie P
When making a microwave heating pad can it be sewn with polyester thread? I am afraid of the thread melting or over-heating and causing a fire?
By Elise L
Can you use vanilla essential oil purchased from the Dollar Store, or vanilla flavored tea bags, or vanilla scented potpourri in the rice heat pad?
By Carmela S.
By debbie 3
I saw the cutest pattern for a cold pack for kids that was made like a chicken (it reminded me of the owl patterns you see everywhere). It was so cute. I wanted to make some for my great niece and great nephews who are always getting boo boos. Now I can't find the pattern. Please help me find a pattern and help the kids with their boo boos.
January 31, 2012
Don't know about a chicken, but I use a Boo Boo Bunny. Instructions are here: http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/boo-boo-bunny-660989/
I stitch the face instead of use the glue on eyes and such so it is okay for the littlest child to use. Use it dry, wet, cold or warm to help whatever the boo boo might be. It holds an icecube very easily and absorbs the water as it melts. Good luck
I see the pattern for the neck band made from a sock. I was wondering if you have any other styles or shapes that I could try. The bands are the ones that you heat of make cold and are filled with rice.
How much dried lavender do you put in a rice bag, hot/cold pack?
By Jeannie Y. from Elizabethtown, KY
Tips and ideas for making your own heat pack. Post your ideas.
Buy some lavender buds, you can find them and flea markets, or herb fairs. You only need a few, then go to a bulk store and buy flaxseed. I do this because you want the lavender for the smell and the flaxseed to fill the space up at a reasonable price. Lavender is expensive. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup lavender and the rest flaxseed. You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil. (10/04/2004)
Heat hot packs or foot warmers in the microwave! These can also be made cheaply by using some fabric and dry beans or rice. (12/20/2004)
I've used a combination of the feedback you've already gotten. Use whatever fabric conatiner works for your ultimate purpose: something long, flexible and cylindrical for a neck warmer, or more of a pillow if that's what you need. A "dogbone" shape is good for neck support and warmth while sleeping. Use lavender flowers, not seeds. They have the essential oil with the scent. You can also use some essential oil as well, or a less expensive fragrance oil. Use rice as a filler. Flaxseed has its own properties that can add to a special pillow, but if you want something economical and that works, just use rice. (12/20/2004)
By Judi in Orlando
Microwave for about 5 minutes--times vary remove.
Then wrap inside a towel or pillow case (05/23/2005)
By Lucie Mclaud
I use a sock. I fill it with a mixture of rice and lavender buds. Then tie it off with a rubber band and a pretty piece of ribbon. You can place this in the microwave for a couple of minutes, or the freezer for a few hours for a cold compress. This feels really good on sore joints or mussels. (05/23/2005)
You can go to this web site to tell you how and what to use to make homemade heating pads. http://www.diamondthreadworks.com/microwave-heating-bags.htm (05/24/2005)
I have Fibromyalgia and I wouldn't be without my rice packs. When my muscles start to tighten-up. I pop them into the microwave for no more than 2 minutes and then apply them to the offending muscle.
I've made my own. If you can sew a straight stitch on the sewing machine, you can too. Measure the area where you will want to apply the pack. If for example the area is 12 inches by 13 inches, you will need a piece of material 25 inches by 27 inches. You will have about a 1 inch seam. take your material over to your ironing board. With the wrong/inside of the material facing you, fold the 'top' edge of the material down about an inch & iron it flat. Do the same with the 'bottom' edge of the material. Now with the 'right'/outside of the material together, fold the maaterial in half. Pin the short side together, so you will have an envelope effect. Straight stitch the pinned ends. Turn the 'envelope' inside-out. Press the envelope flat. (All this ironing makes the sewing easier as it makes your project lie flat & easier to sew.) Fold the envelope in half & iron it,then fold the half in half again & iron that. Take some pins and put them where the ironed folds are. Go to your machine & sew from the top down to the first corner on your right. When you get to the corner, lift up your pressure foot, leaving the needle in the material, turn the material so you will be sewing along the bottom edge. Sew slowly so that when you get to the place where the pins are in the ironed fold, aso you can swivel the material & after having removed the pins you can sew from the bottom to the opened top. When you get to the top, you now have sewn in a U shape. Swivel the material so that you can go back down on the line you have just sewn to the bottom. When you get to the bottom swivel the material so that you are sewing along the bottom edge until the next set of pins in the middle fold. Sew up & down again & make another U.Now you have 2 'pockets' completed. Do this twice more and when you come to the top on the left side you will have 4 'pockets'.
Now you can fill them with rice. I use Jasmine rice as it doesn't have an old musty smell after a few uses (my rice packs have been in the microwave about 500 times. I've tried adding lavender to them but haven't been able to get the right preportions.) I use the top I've cut off a plastic coke bottle for the funnel. Fill the 'pockets' about half-way full. Carefully lay the pack down so that you won't spill all the rice out. Push the rice down to the bottom of the pack & pin along the top edge of the rice NOT the top of the pack. Use as many pins as necessary so the the rice does not escape & get in the way of you're sewing the final seam across the top. I always make one row of stitching across the top & then make another row of stitching just to make sure. I have wrapped them in a towel on occasion to keep them from getting dirty. But I finally make 'covers' for them. Now stick them in the Microwave & ENJOY. (06/05/2005)
I've recently woken up with a n incredibly sore neck and have since been looking for an easy way to make a heat pack. I've tried the rice idea. Unfortunately, I used poly sock, so that was quite disastrous! I now know that cotton is the way to go. (07/27/2005)
I've had several relatives who have used homemade microwave heat packs, but they were filled with either rice or corn -- and I thought they were extremely uncomfortable. One day I was in the mall and asked one of the vendors who sells these what made hers so soft. Ever since, I've been making them for friends and family, and I fill mine with a combination of oatmeal and flax-seed.
I also use about a half-bag of that scented ground potpourri (for sachets) you can buy at WalMart in the crafts section, per heat-pack. (It comes in lavender and other scents like Gardenia and Cinnamon.) Mix up about 2 cups of the oatmeal with 1-2 cups of the flax, and the sachet-potpourri, and fill about 3/4 full in a long sewn-together tube of fabric (about 30" x 6 or 7" folded in half), then sew ends together.
Microwave for one minute on high at first -- then just 30 seconds to warm it up each time after it starts cooling down within that same hour. I wouldn't live without these in the winter -- and I LOVE how they smell so great too! (11/08/2005)
By Ruth V
I use regular cracked wheat seeds - the kind you use for growing 'wheat-grass'. Add a little bit of cloves, lavender, etc. (12/31/2005)
I am probably older than most of the posters (67), and have suffered front pinched nerves and back problems since I was 20. Finally wound up with cervical spine surgery.
BUT, a zillion years ago, an old Italian Grandma helped me out by heating "kosher" salt in a pot and filling a white cotton sock with it. She sewed the top and that was it. Of course now you can heat the sock with the salt in it in the microwave. I never used any scents, just plain old "kosher" salt.
Do not use instant rice! (03/01/2006)
We have all seen those microwave heating pads selling in the stores for big bucks, and I always thought "Boy I wish I knew how to make one" They look so easy to make. So my new friend Wendy gave me the "directions" and it is easy enough to do and so helpful to those of us who get cold easily or have sore muscles.
It's pretty easy to make a wheat bag heating pad. All you need is some strong material like cotton, canvas, or tartan, as long as there's no give in it, so it doesn't stretch. Keep in mind, it needs to be pretty thick so when the wheat is heated (and it gets pretty hot) that you don't burn yourself.
Once you pick your material, cut a square about 18" each side and fold it in half so it's inside out. It will be oblong shape. Stitch down one short side and the long side. A sewing machine works best as you need short stitches close together, so the wheat doesn't come out. If you stitch by hand go over it again to make sure the stitches are tight. Next, turn it the right way in so the seam is on the inside. You will need to buy some Flax seed or Wheat. They need to be the whole kernel. Fill the bag about 1/2 way, then stitch the one side that is left, sealing it tight.
If you are handy with sewing, and don't mind a little extra work, you might want to divide the bag into sections, maybe in 4. Put in 1/4 of your seeds then stitch the bag 1/4 of the way up, drop in another 1/4 of the seeds and stitch those in, repeating for the rest, so you will have 4 compartments full of seeds, instead of one big one. Then you will have seeds fairly distributed throughout your hand made heating pad. This isn't necessary, but a great tip.
At this point, if you desire, you can use essential oils to sprinkle on the material for aromatherapy.
You will need to microwave it for about 2 minutes.
* Please note all microwaves are different, so please "test" it a few times for more or less time to see what works for you. Please use caution when first using it, as it might come out of the microwave very hot. It stays warm for a couple of hours. You can also put these in the fridge/freezer if the cold is better for you.
If you want, you can make these any shape you like. For example, a horseshoe for your neck or a heart for a child to hold when going to sleep, etc. You can make these as big or as small as you desire. Just remember that you are going to need as many seeds as it takes to fill 1/2 the bag. Usually about 1lb is enough for the 18" bags.
These heating pads make great gifts for yourself or for others. They can be reused time and time again.
Good luck making yours.
About The Author: Christine Miserandino is a writer, motivational speaker, and patient advocate from NY. Her writing has been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines, medical newsletters and television media. Check out http://www.ButYouDontLookSick.com to read more of her articles, and to receive her monthly newsletter.
You can also use rice and I like to use close knit terry cloth, it's softer. (06/02/2005)
I have a friend who used a pre-made stuffed animal. She took out part of the body stuffing and replaced it with rice, making it floppy. Mine is a blue Teddy bear. This would be great for kids.
Mary Lynn (07/10/2005)
I posted a site about making heating pads out of deer corn. It was diamondthreadworks.com. Hope this helps because deer corn is cheaper. If you can't use all of it up make heating bags for Christmas presents or hand warmers in the winter. You can use rice if you like, either will work. (08/07/2005)
I made one for myself to use after knee surgery. I used rice and heavy muslin to make mine, and I use it for a cold pack as well as a heating pad. Just pop it into a plastic bag and store it in the freezer until needed.
Harlean from AR (03/28/2007)
I have made the heat bags for years. I use wheat and I add about 3/4 cup of dried Lavender to the wheat. I also advise people when they have used it 10 times, for the next time to heat it with a cup of water to get some moisture back into the wheat.
From Manny in Australia (09/17/2008)
A friend told me of using corn. Take my word. Do not use it. It is a very heavy heating pad. It hurt more then it helped. So thank-you for the better idea. Can anyone tell me which is the lightest? Thanks.
Need instructions to sew hot/cold packs made from dried beans or rice and aromatic herbs for neck or muscle aches. Have some time during surgery recovery to make these as thank you gifts.
Rosemarie from Tampa Bay, FL
I put some rice in an old "unholey" sock and tied a knot in it. Of course it's for my own use not for a gift. Microwave for about 1 minute or less. Test the heat before placing it on the sore area.
I like making small items of this sort out of bandannas. They are easy to work with and there are no raw edges to worry about. You can put rice with a little lavender for relaxation.
Fold the bandanna in half and stitch all the way around the open edges. Then fold again and stitch to make your tube then put the rice and lavender inside and close by machine stitching.
These can be decorated with ribbon or lace.
You can also use the soft pajama fleece. You can get this in really nice prints and florals. Have someone check the remnant table at the fabric store. Bandannas are about a dollar twenty nine. Some of the dollar stores have several colors of bandannas. Dollar General has a really nice grade of red and blue bandannas.
I have always used these hot. I don't know how the rice will react to being placed in the freezer. Maybe someone else can help with that.
There are crystals that you can buy online for the cooling ones. I can't seem to find the link right now, but when my Jaycees troop made them for the soldiers we had Googled "soldier's neck wrap" or something like that. (09/04/2007)
I make and sell the rice bags. I use fleece and cut a square 10 inches by 10 inches. Then put right sides together and sew leaving a space to fill. I turn them and fill with rice sew up the space and I sew 5 knots with yarn or embroidery floss. I put one in the middle and space 4 around the square, this makes it so the rice dosen't all stay in one big space. You microwave them 2-3 minutes for hot and put them in the freezer for cold. With fleece you get a moist heat. I have a bad back so the square is nice on the back. Enjoy.
<p.Dameemag from Rothbury, MI (09/04/2007)
You can also use feed corn, sold at feed stores. It has more weight than rice and I understand doesn't have that smell that comes from a rice bag. I bought men's cottons socks (they were the cheapest that were all cotton) and filled them with rice. As they were dress socks they have a curve in them already that makes for a nice neck warmer. I use them in the winter for our outside kitty's house under his towels, in my daughter's bed to heat her up (I don't like electric blankets for kids) and for me.
I'm going to try corn this year as the rice can really start to smell like, hmmm, well it's just a microwaved dry rice smell. Good luck though, they are awesome gifts. (09/04/2007)
We've used finger towels for these before. Just fold in half and sew as the other posts have said. As for the crystals for the cold ones, they're sold in the garden department at you local "discount" department stores. I can't rightfully remember the commercial name, but it's a crystal you put in a vase/pot; dampen and plant your plants in without soil. The only drawback to this is it has to be wet and wrung out to be used.
You can make your own freezer pack with regular rubbing alcohol and water (mixed approximately in equal parts) in a heavy duty freezer bag. The alcohol won't freeze, the water will. Play around with the ratio to get the consistency you like. (09/05/2007)
As far as hot packs are concerned, I use an old white tube sock and empty a bag of white rice into it. You can fill it as full as you wish to make it more firm or more flexible. Secure the end of the sock with a rubber band. When you need a hot pack, simply heat it in the microwave for a few minutes and it's ready to use. It can be reused repeatedly. It smells like rice pudding while it's warm (yummy).
As for an ice pack, take a sponge and saturate it with a 50/50 solution of water and rubbing alcohol. Place this in a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag and place in freezer. The alcohol will keep it from freezing solid and keep it pliable enough to wrap around a skinned knee or whatever. These can be refrozen and reused countless times. They make sponges and Ziploc bags in such cute designs now that you can make really cute ones. (09/05/2007)
I used to make and sell these. They are great. Mine were made in a variety of shapes and sizes using 100% cotton quilting material or 100% cotton flannel. I used cow corn for the filler. It is cheaper than rice, about $6 or $7 for a 50 lb. bag. When new, they smell like popcorn and are a bit moist which is great for aches and pains. Eventually they start to dry out, but then I just dampen a washcloth or kitchen towel to wrap around it for moisture.
Warm them and toss them under the sheet while you are getting ready for bed and you will be snug as a bug when you hit the sheets. My kids keep several sizes in zipper bags in the freezer for ice packs, as they are flexible and hold the cold for a good long while. (09/07/2007)
I add dried lavender which is a very calming smell. This completely covers the nuked rice odor, which isn't too bad to begin with. I have also used dried rosemary, but I'm sure you could use any herb. Even at the Whole Foods market lavender is only 19.99/lb which ends up being really inexpensive. A little goes a long way.
For the person who didn't know how well rice would work in the freezer:
A flexible ice pack can be made by filling a plastic resealable bag with rice and placing into a freezer. They work well, because they are flexible. However, they do not stay cold for long (maximum of 30 minutes), so I recommend making more than one. It is always beneficial to have multiple ice packs available anyway. Good luck. (01/09/2008)
Enjoyed all of your suggestions very much and thank you. I have two bad bulging discs in the back of my neck. I use moist hot packs. I make my own and use a black tube sock filled with beans and knot the top. I use black as the white shows everything and I am a neat freak so black does not show the soil as much.
I use a sock over a sock so I can wash the outer sock without bothering the beans. For bulging disc people only moist heat helps my neck, dry heat will make it worse. If I'm in much pain I use cold first then put the heat on after about 10 minutes of cold. It stays warm for a long time, too. Works great for me. (01/27/2008)
By Sandy B
What can I use to fill a homemade heat pack?
Lori from Ponca, NE
I made a whole bunch of heat packs and filled them with oats. Because I had to buy a 50 lb. bag of oats, I used them in the bird feeder. (12/29/2006)
Rice grains, uncooked of course. Beans will work too. Add lavender or some sage if you want to. Enjoy! (12/30/2006)
Use an off brand rice, but not minute rice. It works great! (01/03/2007)
Fill a cotton tube sock 3/4 of the length with plain white rice and sew the end shut. Heat this in the microwave on a pie plate (to keep it clean) for 2 minutes. I usually put a washcloth under the heated sock at the beginning because it is really warm. As it cools, I remove the washcloth. It will stay warm for about 20 minutes. Mine have been used repeatedly. (01/06/2007)
I had the idea to make one for myself last night having sore muscles from jogging. I poured some Sushi rice I had on hand in a sock and tied it off with a scrunchie rubber hair band. It worked awesome. My legs went from being tight and sore to barely sore the next day. I'm gonna try adding lavender or sage, any other herb suggestions? Also, just curious why not minute rice? Does it puff up or explode or something? Now I want to try it to see. :) (02/15/2007)
Minute rice works well too. I didn't have regular rice. I also tied the sock in a knot at the end. (04/29/2007)
I use rice in an old tube sock. I just tie the opening in a knot. I have one I microwave for a heat-pack, and one I keep in the freezer for an ice pack. So simple. (08/08/2007)
There's this website selling specialized heating pad filled with mineral salt. The heating pad not only retained heat, but available with very nice natural flower scent. For some reason, salt ingredient has strong stimulate effect for blood circulation, and the weight of the salt also allows heat to penetrate under our skin surface that creates a more therapeutic effect.
This is definitely unique, and effective. It's available at http://www.saleyaremedy.com (09/03/2007)
I woke up at 3:00am with terrible back pain and was in NO condition to pull out a needle and thread and sew up a sock with rice in it. I took a wet medium sized bath towel and zapped it in the microwave for 2 minutes then placed the towel in a large freezer storage bag (don't put bag in microwave, it may melt) and TADA! Instant heating pad. The towel stayed very warm for almost an hour and solved my back pain problem. (10/28/2007)
Has anyone had problems with microwaving neck pillows burning, that are filled with a combo of flax seed and lavender? (11/30/2007)
We made one with flax seed, but the flax seed seems to turn bad a stink after a few uses. We will try rice or beans. (12/13/2007)
I was able to make 13 homemade heating pads with 25 lbs of rice, two bath towels, and 26 one serving packets of tea. First I cut the towels into pieces measuring 10 x 20 inches. I folded each piece long ways and sewed two sides, leaving one side open. I turned it right side outward and filled each sack with one full 20oz Dixie cup of rice. Then I added one packet of tea, a half a Dixie cup of rice, another packet of tea, and another half Dixie cup of rice. So each heating pad this size needs 40oz of rice (two full Dixie cups).
If these measurements are followed exactly there should be just enough rice and no extra. Lastly, I folded the raw edges in just enough to catch them in my seam as I sewed the last edge shut. Each heating pad should be about three quarters; full of rice. Three bath towels may be needed for some, as I had no scrap left over. Get the measurements of the towels you want and be sure to do the math before you buy them. Also make sure you get 100% cloth, whether you use a towel or not.
The tea I used was peppermint and chamomile, but any fragrant tea may be used, or none at all if you prefer, it's just to make it smell good. My only other note in making these heating pads is to be sure to have a funnel handy, it is a necessity. This project cost me approximately $24 for 13 beautiful and useful gifts ($1.84 per gift), and I know for a fact it can be done cheaper. (12/18/2007)
I filled a bandanna with some pinto beans. I tied all the corners together and put it in the microwave. No sewing needed. (04/27/2008)
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I have been using rice with whole clove or cinnamon stick for scent enhancement to make my hot packs. I usually just buy the scrap fabrics that are reduced in price at the fabric shop for mine, so I have a variety of shapes and sizes for all different uses. I'd like to know if anyone has ever tried using the small river stones to retain heat longer?
DO NOT PUT LAVENDER IN THE MICROWAVE! It is one of the few herbs that burns in the microwave. I recommend dumping the contents of a tea bag (peppermint works best) to make it smell nice, as well as rice and a little salt, and place it in scrap cloth that you have tied into a small sack. Old socks tend to be smelly, especially after being microwaved. Works like a charm. They do tend to cool down within an hour, so be prepared to reheat. (11/27/2008)
My mom and I made 2 homemade heat packs to give as presents. My dad has one and uses it constantly. We put uncooked brown rice and lavender buds in them. Believe it or not, I'm 9 years old and might start going into a business with these cool things! (12/24/2008)
I buy fabric napkins on sale, generally for a dollar or so, and use those either two sewn together and sectioned off to make a BIG sack, or one folded in half, which is a perfect length to fit across my shoulders or along my spine (I'm kinda little). :) The napkins are generally a brushed cotton which is nice and soft and have pretty colors - and of course are pre-cut and edged which helps! If folding in half, I then just sew two of the open sides shut, turn inside out, fill with rice or wheat, fold in the top edges and sew shut.
Often you can find a napkin that's slightly bigger than the others and I use that to make a cover, simply fold in half and sew two sides shut and slip over the sack. These are wonderful gifts. I am a massage therapist and use them all the time on myself or clients. (01/01/2009)
I bought the hand warmers that stay hot for about 7+ hours and they work great. All you do is take them from the packet and they heat up. Then after they are done you can reuse them, by putting them into the microwave for 10-25 seconds and voila! It will be extremely hot for at least an hour. You might wanna wrap it up in a small hand towel after you take it out. (01/17/2009)
I make heat packs all the time and I find that using an old mismatch sock works great. Add uncooked white rice, tie the top and place in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes depending on the size of the sock. (02/07/2009)
We use these to help soothe our puppy in his crate at night. It is effective and safe if he happened to chew one open. I place it under his bedding. (02/11/2009)
I am going to make some therapeutic bags for heating and cooling muscles and injuries. I plan to use flax seed for filler. What is the best kind of fabric (heat resistant, yet breathes) for me to use as the outer shell?
By Trixee from Phoenix, AZ
I made rice bags years ago, and I used unbleached muslin. I heat them in the microwave. I've not had any problems. (11/22/2010)
Jersey knit, like from jersey t-shirt sheets works great too! (11/22/2010)
Rice would be better than flax seed. The flax seed is smaller and easier to burn if you have it in too long. Rice burns too, but not as easily. They all crumble with time. Stocking fabric is good. Buy tube socks and use them. Cut off at the ankle and sew it at both ends. (11/24/2010)
Flax seed will mold when exposed to moisture and the oils in it will probably turn rancid when exposed to repeated heat. I'd use rice, beans, or something dry. (11/25/2010)
I have a friend who sells these at a chiropractor's office locally. She recommends only using cotton fabric (denim) and cotton thread and then fills them with corn from a feed store. They heat evenly, stay warm longer, and the cotton will not flame out in the microwave.
I made microwaveable heatpacks using terry cloth and rice. I put Velcro across one end so the rice could be emptied out and the terry washed. I also made covers for this using different fabrics for the different seasons. Good luck. (11/26/2010)
Can you use polyester fabric for making the microwave heating bags?
By Becky from Tucson, AZ
I wouldn't.The fabric would probably melt in the microwave. I get my flannel baby blankets at the thrift stores to make them with. (01/04/2011)
I use socks that are without mates and put rice in them. I place one in a jar and fold the top around the lid of the jar and pour in rice. I leave enough room for a knot to be tied in the sock. Microwave until it is hot enough; I rarely go a full minute. I will occasionally empty the rice out and wash the sock and refill it. It is a good freezer rice sock too for booboos. I just like to use old white socks, the ones you get in the big bags at Walmart. They get really hot. I use them when I get an ear infection or have a really bad bruise. They fit to the body part when they are in the freezer they are not hard like ice and won't melt.
By Robyn Fed
I personally wouldn't! I agree about polyester melting in the microwave because it's made from plastics. Have you ever put certain plastic or Styrofoam food containers, or even plastic baggies, in the microwave for a couple or more minutes? Not only can and do they melt, but also emit fumes that are released during the melting process. Please use cotton fabrics. (01/05/2011)
I too use the cheapest rice in a cotton sock. You can mix some nice essential oil in with the rice before filling the sock then secure it at the top. I put it into the microwave until it's at a heat I can place on my body. The essential oil will stop the smell of rice when heated. Also, you can do two and place one in the freezer to use as an ice pack this is good as it does not freeze. Let us know how you go on. Helen xxx (01/06/2011)