Microwave heating pads, often filled with rice, are used to soothe aches and pains. This is a guide about microwave heating pads.
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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
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!
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
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
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Here are questions related to Microwave Heating Pads.
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?
I need a pattern for a hot/cold neck pack. Thank you.
By cotygirl from Canada
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.
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
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.
I am looking for instructions for how to make cow corn microwave heating pads.
By Barbara from Haverhill, MA
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.
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!
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
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!
I have a zipper on my wheat bag. Can I heat it in a microwave?
By John H
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.
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.
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.
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
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.
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.
What can I use to fill a homemade heat pack?
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?