Making Microwave Heating Pads

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

May 23, 2012 Flag

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.

To Use:
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

May 26, 20120 found this helpful

I do this! It works great. I have lupus, my regular heating pad isn't as flexible. A friend shared this with me, been doing it ever since! Great post.

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December 3, 2005 Flag

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?


December 5, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

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

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October 6, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

April 6, 2013 Flag

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!

April 8, 20130 found this helpful

Rice can last - sometimes - but can become brittle. If you use cherry stones instead, it will last for all your life (and more!), heats more than rice, keep the warmth for a longer time and does not attract insects...

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November 12, 2004 Flag
0 found this helpful

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.

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February 22, 2015 Flag
0 found this helpful

I have a zipper on my wheat bag. Can I heat it in a microwave?

By John H

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February 23, 20150 found this helpful

I wouldn't. I would take the zipper cover off, and just heat the inside bag. If the zipper is all plastic, it might be fine, but I still wouldn't do it. I have gotten hot spots in my wheat bag that burn through the flannel cover when it has been slightly overheated. I think nuking the zipper is just asking for trouble.

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July 19, 2006 Flag
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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.

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December 22, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

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 23, 20100 found this helpful

I haven't done this for a few years, but when I did, I simply used whatever rice I had on hand. Honestly, I think I even used Minute Rice on occasion. :-) I just kept an eye on such as I was heating it in the microwave (usually less than two minutes) and it always turned out fine. As well, I was doing so super thrifty style and used clean, lone, tube socks as the casing. It's amazing how a clean, lone, tube sock filled with warm, dried rice can help a stiff neck!

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December 27, 20100 found this helpful

November 9, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

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, 20150 found this helpful

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!

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Anonymous Flag
December 15, 20150 found this helpful

February 15, 2010 Flag
1 found this helpful

I need a pattern for a hot/cold neck pack. Thank you.

By cotygirl from Canada

February 15, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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June 25, 20160 found this helpful

April 3, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

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, 20110 found this helpful

You can use dried beans as well.

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April 5, 20110 found this helpful

December 24, 2009 Flag
0 found this helpful

I am looking for instructions for how to make cow corn microwave heating pads.

By Barbara from Haverhill, MA

July 3, 20100 found this helpful

Just make sure the fabric you use is 100% cotton (or wool or silk)!

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September 15, 20100 found this helpful

September 5, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

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.

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