Homemade Heat Pack Gets Wet?

My son is 11, has Autism and is non-verbal. His para at school has a bean/rice flannel bag that she heats up. He's in love with it! So she mentioned it to me, and that her daughter made it for her years ago at girl scouts. Well I went out and bought dried beans, nice rice, Red Sox flannel fabric and hand stitched it! When I heated it, it got hot but very stinky! Then it began to retain moisture and the flannel began to sweat/feel wet!


I researched a little and started a new one. I made the pouch a little smaller and used dried unused rice. It didn't stink as bad but it to got wet! Can someone please help! He loves it and I feel that it calms him (sensory-wise). I'd like to know if they're supposed to get wet? His teacher says at times hers does stink but doesn't get wet. Please help!


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By Sherri (Guest Post)
September 29, 20080 found this helpful

I make these bags for gifts around Christmas time, but I have never used beans. I recommend you leave those out, but you can add lavendar potourri or some other fragrance or the rice will have an odor.


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September 29, 20080 found this helpful

I have made many of these with just rice, not the beans. I guess they do smell some but I don't think they are that bad.


What you can do is add some dried lavender or some type of good smelling dried flower. People tell me that really helps.


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September 29, 20080 found this helpful

My sister made me one from corn that she bought from a grain store. It smells wonderful and has not seemed to get wet, but I do not use it daily. I have heard that you would need to be concerned with weebles using corn but not sure. It's a bit heavier than rice but the smell is like popcorn just wonderful. She used fleece as the fabric (polar fleece) and it is so soft plus its thicker so it holds the heat in longer. maybe you could try that.

By Melanie (Guest Post)
September 29, 20080 found this helpful

I have a magic bag that smells when its hot. Every time I heat it up, I put a fabric softener sheet around it and wrap it in a towel, smells much nicer!

September 29, 20080 found this helpful

I have made these before. I use a kitchen towel or a bath wash cloth for a smaller one. These have never gotten wet. If you need it larger you could buy terry cloth by the yard at a fabric store. In fact I have sprayed mine with water when heating for a more hot steam effect.


I know some kids with autism and similiar disabilities like things heavy on them. In fact blankets and vest with weight have been used to calm children and are used at school. If you need more help just let me know.

September 29, 20080 found this helpful

We have made them with flax seed, with excellent results. I am not sure where we got the seed (it was bought in bulk for a Girl Scout fundraising project); but I suspect you could get it at a bulk food store. It is more expensive than rice or corn; but doesn't smell; and I don't think it gets damp, either.

If you find that your son needs a "fidget" in order to manage a situation where he cannot take the heat bag, you might try the small hand warmers that you can buy that begin to automatically heat up when you open the package, exposing them to air.


He could hold it in his hand, or put it in his pocket. Maybe the warmth would help him self-soothe.

You might also try making three or four of the heat bags--then you could rotate them and they might not get smelly so fast?

By Ruth (Guest Post)
September 30, 20080 found this helpful

I make and sell these by the dozen in all shapes and sizes. Kids tend to like the shaped ones (like a gingerbread man). You can use any fabric as long as it doesn't have metallic threads in it. Important! Use plain dry rice - not the parboiled or instant kind. They will smell like rice the first couple of times you use them, but that goes away after a while. You can add dried lavender flowers if you like, or just spray it will a scent once in a while. I keep mine in the freezer for those boo-boos; and just through it in the microwave if needed for warmth. My Chiropractor sells them in his office for me. Everybody loves them!

December 15, 20180 found this helpful

Do you sell them in Etsy?

By Nancy (Lucas'mom) (Guest Post)
September 30, 20080 found this helpful

Hi well thanks everyone! Well, just for an FYI I do use polar fleece. And he has tried a weighted vest and doesn't like it at all! And over the weekend I used another recommendation, I tried a used, but washed sock. But first I also used yellow dried corn(hominy bits) and mixed w/ dried Barley, also I also heated these in the microwave mixed together in cycles 4x's at 3 minutes each in a bowl.


Then I placed them in the sock! He loved it! He loves the smell! Popcorn and oatmeal are some of his favorites! So these are awesome! Well the true test was heating it up in the sock without and sweating and moisture release! and it was successful! Woo Hoo! So know all I need to try is the mixture in his redsox fleece fabric (which I also decided to wash and dry first this time)without and sweating/moisture release! Today is my day off so I'll try it!

I don't think I'll try any scents for him since he loves the natural smell, but his para also loves the Red Sox, so I think I'll make her a new one that smells good since she says her husband says he detests the smell! And she did introduce him to I know refer this to as his "Woobie"


Thanks so much everyone again! I'll keep you posted, you do the same!

September 30, 20080 found this helpful

My daughter has done this, only she only uses rice, not beans. Microwave it for about 3 min. She also uses terry kitchen towels instead of the flannel.

By mrsz Bartow, Fl (Guest Post)
September 30, 20080 found this helpful

I used to watch an autistic boy. I used fleese scaps or ends the size of a scarf or a small blanket. I bought them in the remenant bin at the fabric store. they have every holiday. he would come in everyday and go get his little blanky. He was so excited when we had holiday ones. he knew he had to leave them there and he always put it away.

September 30, 20080 found this helpful

Dear, Nancy.
I have been making rice bags for years.What I do is use a pillow case, or a old sheet. When I give them away I always tell them to keep them with their wash cloths. they will keep dry and they will last longer. If you get them wet the rice will swell and mildew, that's why they have a bad odor. I hope this will help out because they do help relax anyone that uses them.

October 1, 20080 found this helpful

I've made many of these in the past. We use wheat berries. After heating a minute in the microwave, they actually smell kind of good! I have not had a problem with them being wet either.

By Vicki (Guest Post)
October 1, 20080 found this helpful

I see how popular these are! I have used old pantyhose legs, doubled, filled with rice (and, maybe some dried lavender), tied off at the top to retain all. Then, I insert the pack into a tube sock, a long one, and tie it with a pretty ribbon. Never had a problem with microwaving it. The tube sock can be changed, laundered, as needed. Need to make one soon, myself!


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October 1, 20080 found this helpful

Mine stinks too. Both the one I bought and the one I made stink.

By quiltinlibrarylady (Guest Post)
October 1, 20080 found this helpful

You should only heat those rice pads 1 minute in the microwave each time you use it. It sounds like that may be the problem of the stinky smell and the extra moisture.

By PATTY (Guest Post)
October 1, 20080 found this helpful

I have made these for years. I use rice (the amount depends on if it is in a sock or wash cloth or hand towel--I also add 1/4 to 1/2 cup salt because the salt heats faster and keeps it hot longer. I have never had them get wet or to smell but if they did they are cheap enough to open up one seam, dump the contents and refill and sew it back up. I heat them in the microwave and use on my shoulders at night. I have made them for many friends who also love them and are using them 4 years later.

By Dede (Guest Post)
October 1, 20080 found this helpful

A year or so ago I read that you should use Jasmine rice to make heat packs. I have not made it yet, though I did buy the rice. It said that this type won't smell and get damp like the regular rice does. It did cost a little more than the other rice, but if it works, worth the price. Hope this helps.

October 22, 20180 found this helpful

I tried the jasmine rice because it was what we had unused in the cupboard, but it seemed to get moist when heated also. The odor of cooked rice was in the air of course but it was not unpleasant. However, i wanted the heat pack for stray neighborhood cats to keep warm with and the extra moisture produced from heating in mic just wont do for stray cat cares. Boo-Hiss

By Steve B. (Guest Post)
November 11, 20080 found this helpful

Try using unrefined oats or even cherry pits. Cherry pits are machine washable as well and do not mold.

By Colleen (Guest Post)
December 30, 20080 found this helpful

Instead of using rice or beans I use dried corn, you can find it at a feed store. So when you heat it up it smells like popcorn it does get warm quicker then the rice and beans so be careful. Good luck. Colleen

February 16, 20110 found this helpful

Try dehydrating the beans and rice first. Not sure it will work but never hurts to try.

July 13, 20200 found this helpful

How do you dehydrate? Mine is very wet and steamy every time I heat it.

September 20, 20160 found this helpful

I have made many of these too and I use 100% Cotton, not flannel fabric. I also use Organic Flaxseed from my local Food Mill market to add in bag. You cannot get any of them wet because of mildew issues so please try to keep microwave dry along with the warming bag. Also please make sure to heat them at 1 minute intervals and 20 secs at a time if bag is not at desired temp

April 24, 20180 found this helpful

My rice bag got wet can I put in the dryer to dry

December 17, 20190 found this helpful

I make mine with Jasmine rice so it smells real nice!


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