How to Make a Microwaveable Heat Pack

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Rice is effective, easy to use and inexpensive.
Rice is effective, easy to use and inexpensive. (Image: Ranveig Thattai: Wikimedia Commons)

A homespun alternative to hot water bottles, electric heating pads and chemical heat packs, a homemade microwaveable heat pack provides the same benefits with a touch of charm. Reach for one for headaches, sore muscles, insomnia or just for comfort after a long day. These packs also make excellent gifts.

Things You'll Need

  • Sturdy fabric (flannel)
  • Uncooked rice, barley, wheat, beans, flax seeds or buckwheat hulls
  • Sewing machine or a needle and thread

Cut a rectangle of fabric twice the size you'd like your heat pack to be. Consider recycling fabrics found around the home like towels, old sweatshirts or fleece blankets.

Fold your fabric in half, right side in, and stitch two sides closed. If you are using a sewing machine, choose a sturdy stitch such as a zigzag. If sewing by hand, make your stitches small and close together.

Turn your fabric inside out. It should resemble a bag at this point, with one open end and the remaining edges tightly fastened.

Carefully pour the rice or other chosen filling into the pack, leaving it about three-quarters full. When the pack is complete the filling will move around inside, adjusting to your body's contours.

Tuck the unfinished edges inside and sew the pack shut.

Microwave your heat pack for one to three minutes, watching it carefully for signs of overheating. Shake it several times to evenly distribute the filling.

Apply the heat pack to any part of the body that needs soothing. The pack will remain warm for at least a half-hour.

Tips & Warnings

  • For an even quicker version, fill a clean sock with rice or another filling, tie the open end closed and microwave.
  • Synthetic fabrics should never be placed in a microwave.
  • Supervise children during use.

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