Make your own ice packs to use for minor injuries. This is a guide about homemade ice packs.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
For boo-boos, swelling or high fevers, slip a freezer-sized zipper bag into a tube sock THEN fill it with ice and zip. Tie a knot in the top of the sock, and you have an easy-to-manage ice pack that won't leak and easily conforms around knees, elbows, and foreheads.
For a gel ice pack, place 2 cups water and 1/3 cup (80 proof) vodka in a ziploc freezer bag. Seal and enclose in a second ziploc freezer bag. Place in freezer. When frozen, wrap with a cloth before applying to skin.
By duckie-do from Cortez, CO
Share Your Feedback: Once you try any of the above solutions, be sure to come back and give a "thumbs up" to the one that worked the best for you. Do you have a better solution? Click "Share a Solution" above!
Here are questions related to Homemade Ice Packs.
I've been trying to think of ways to defeat heat stroke. I'm thinking about buying these jell packs filled with Phase change material. They are expensive. Would any one have ideas on making some thing similar? To elaborate, phase change material aren't freezing cold. They just pump out a nice pleasant 60 degrees or so over a long period to help you avoid heat stroke in the absence of air conditioning. any one got any ideas on creating a cheap, cost effective version of this stuff?
Quizzelbuck from Toledo, OH
By Dennis Lee (Guest Post)07/19/2008
Making homemade phase change cold packs should be relatively easy to implement as they are by definition not freezing cold but instead delivering a more constant and stable 60 degrees F. for a much lower period of time.
The recipe calls for the use of something called Sodium polyacrylate it is the stuff that also happens to be in baby diapers.
One can get Sodium polyacrylate from, http://www.watersorb.com/prices.htm
The unique thing about Sodium polyacrylate is that it has the ability to absorb 30 gallons of water per pound of sodium polyacrylate granules.
A little sodium polyacrylate medium sized granules goes a long way. One should only use 1 teaspoon of sodium polyacrylate granules per quart of water. So for example when using a gallon sized ziploc bag use no more than 4 teaspoons of the sodium polyacrylate granules with four quarts of water.
By using the sodium polyacrylate granules when mixed in the proper recommended above ratio one can make a suitable homemade phase change ice pack that can by design parameters have a much higher and not freezing cold 32 degrees F but instead delivering a more constant and stable 60 degrees F. for a much lower period of time.
This is the way to go as far as customizing ones own homemade phase change ice pack for different desired objective temperature points for different chilling objective applications.
I know there is a way to make gel, aka boo boo, packs, but I do not remember the recipe. Do any of you know it?
By McCollonough from TN
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 feedback that was provided then.
I recently had shoulder surgery and am using lots of ice. I would like to make my own ice packs. I know that you can put rubbing alcohol and water in a zip lock bag and freeze it. The alcohol prevents it from freezing solid...it becomes slushy and can be easily molded to your "owie". The only problem is that I don't know how much of each to use; nor do I know what strength of alcohol since it comes in 50%, 70% and 91%. Can anyone help me?
Margaret from Texas
By Ardis Barnes
Yesterday, my 7 year old daughter fell and hurt her knee. Well, she loves an ice pack for all of her ailments so I got the cheap dollar store ice pack out and it was hard as a rock and hard to hold in the right place so since she had already destroyed my "good" squishy one by trying to see what was in it, we made our own. I took a quart size generic ziplock bag and put rubbing alcohol and water not quite half full and froze it. I guess you could add food coloring for more interest. Anyway now we have a very, very cold squishy ice pack that conforms to all those odd parts that sometimes need ice.
A reader mentions below that the rubbing alcohol could be toxic to a child. A better mixture might be water and vodka. That way it would be much less toxic if it broke or some of the contents dripped out. If you use this with a child, make sure they don't lick eat the contents or suck on the bag.
Susan from ThriftyFun
By Susan B
If you label it well, you can use it time and time again - just refreeze. It will mold well to any body part.
Label it well because you do NOT want to eat them after thawing, etc. (01/05/2005)
I live with neck and back pain every day from herniated discs. My PT passed along the info to mix the rubbing alcohol and water to make cold packs. My little 5 year old loves them. She won't put an icecube pack on her booboo, but she will use the alternative. (11/29/2007)
Another great homemade cold pack is to add regular rubbing alcohol to water - about 1 part alcohol to 3 parts water - in a freezer type zip top bag. I keep a couple of these in my freezer at all times. The bags don't freeze solid because of the alcohol and that makes them ideal to wrap over a wrist, knee or similar area. I use them over and over before they get a leak. I also usually add a drop or two of food color to the mixture to make them easy to find in the freezer.
I find those store bought ice packs ineffective. There are 2 kinds. The big bulky ones that take up too much space or the thin kind that don't reach everything. Freeze ice cubes and seal in a vacuum sealed bag, then let it melt until you have moldable ice pack to refreeze that will fit your needs. It's reusable and leak proof to boot.
I recently heard that you can make your own ice pack by putting water and alcohol in a zip lock bag and freezing. does anyone know what the formula is?
Kathy from New London, CT
I would suggest buying 3 or 4 bags of frozen peas (yup, regular green peas) and keep those in the freezer--label them "not for eating" if you have others in your family who might be doing some cooking.
Use the bags of peas (you can wrap in a cloth, if you like) for an ice pack. When one thaws, put it back in the freezer, and grab another. I've found that 3 or four bags will allow the first to refreeze by the time the others are used. (07/28/2006)
You can make your own cold pack: Put 1 pint of rubbing alcohol and 3 pints of water in a 1-gallon, heavy-duty, plastic freezer bag. Seal the bag, and then seal it in a second bag. Mark it "Cold pack: Do not eat," and place it in the freezer.
A bag of frozen vegetables will also work as a cold pack (07/29/2006)
A quick and easy recipe to make a reusable slushy ice pack is to combine 4 parts rubbing alcohol to 1 part water and ice cubes in a plastic seal up baggie (freezer bag) Place this in the freezer for a few hours and when it is ready you will have an inexpensive ice pack.
The reason this works is that the specific temperature of the rubbing alcohol is low enough that it will not freeze in a normal freezer, allowing the contents of the bag to form a slush rather than a solid.
However, you will want to make sure you mark this bag as poisonous so that the contents don't end up in someone's drink the next time you have company. You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables which will work just as well. (07/29/2006)
I've been icing my knee (softball injury), but I left my ice bag at work last night. I knew there were ways to make your own ice bags, but I'd only heard about the rubbing alcohol/water mixtures.
Instead of the Palmolive "bbb" mentioned, I had a 90 oz. bottle of Dove Advanced Power. I poured about 20 ounces each into two 1-gallon bags, which I then double-bagged in case the first bag leaked.
With two ice bags, I could ice both the front (anterior) and back (posterior) sides of my knee, which was far superior to just icing one side.
Cost - about $5, but really almost zero. Why? I can pour the liquid soap back into the bottle when I no longer need the ice bags, and re-use the four 1-gallon ziplock bags. (08/20/2006)
By Dee - Imperial PA
I can't remember where I heard this, but I've done it and it works.
I am looking for instructions for a homemade ice bag with alcohol.
Last summer I had some eye surgery. My surgeon's nurse recommended I use a bag of frozen peas as an ice pack after the surgery.
I just had surgery for a broken femur bone and am going through ice without an ending. Does anyone have the recipe for homemade ice pack gel?
I tried making the homemade gel packs with alcohol, and I kept having issues with the stuff leaking out. I had it triple bagged, and it still leaked out.