How To Make A Microwave Heating Bag

SuppliesInstead of using electric heat pads & blankets or hot water bottles for your aches and pains, these microwaveable packs are just the ticket!

They’re known by a few different terms such as: bed buddies, stress busters, rice or magic bags, corn cozies–but they’re basically all the same thing.

These serve a dual purpose as you can also keep them in the freezer to use has a cooling pad or freezer pack when needed.

If you’d like to learn how to make them, you’ll find a tutorial below along with tips for different kinds of fillers to try and directions for using them.


No pattern is necessary, simply cut two pieces of cloth in the size/shape you wish (leave a seam allowance about 1/2″). More detailed instructions are found below.

Some prefer regular square shapes, others prefer tubes or more rectangular shapes. Experiment, whip up a few different sizes and shapes to try.

These are really easy to whip up as well as cheap!

Filler Options

  • Uncooked rice
  • Wheat
  • Feed corn
  • Buckwheat hulls
  • Barley
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Flax seed
  • Cherry pits

You can also add the following to the above for a soothing, fragrant sack: Spices, herbs, essential oils.

  • Ideas: lavender, rose petals, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint oil, crushed mint
  • If using: Mix herbs, spices and essential oil with choice filler (such as rice) and let sit in a sealed container for a few days (occasionally stirring). This will help set and distribute the fragrance a bit.

Fabric Options

  • Cotton: (plain, prints, flannels, denims)
  • Alternate ideas: old socks (sew or knot end closed), washcloths, old towels

You can also make cozy, removable & washable outer pouches, this is especially nice to do when giving as gifts.

  • Fabric Ideas: use old towels, fleece, velour knits, pretty fabric prints and flannels (don’t microwave anything other than cotton fabrics). The softer & fluffier & better!


  • Cut and sew the fabric in the size and shape you want (usually a large washcloth size works well).
  • Leave an inch or two open on one side so that you can fill pouch with your choice of filler (about 1/2 to 3/4 full, more or less as you prefer). You don’t want it too full though, the sack should be able to mold itself around your body when you apply it.
  • Once it’s full, sew opening closed either by hand or machine (keeping filler pushed to the opposite side of bag while sewing).

If wanting a removable cover, just sew a “pillowcase” idea with your soft, plushy fabric by making it a little larger than your pad and leaving an open end (make sure to finish off ends by sewing a hem). Or you can add a strip of velcro to close it. Careful: Make sure to never microwave this cover unless its content is full cotton. Remove cover to wash as needed.

Filler Suggestion For Headache Soothers

Rice (or other grain listed above) and a mix of:

  • Dried lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Betony
  • Rose petals
  • Cloves
  • Rosemary

Directions For Use

Heat for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size. Do not leave unattended “just in case” the filler smokes or starts on fire. As a precaution, you can set a cup of water inside along with it to add moisture or spritz sack lightly with water first. If you add spices and herbs, this is a good idea to do.

If You’re In a Pinch:

  • If you need something “now” and don’t have time to sew one, try filling a ziploc freezer bag (use the microwaveable kind) 3/4 full with uncooked rice, seal shut. Zap it for a minute or two then wrap in a hand towel and use as needed.
  • You can also fill a clean tube sock, tie closed the open end, heat and use as needed.


These are glorious to use for aches and pains, or just to pamper yourself after a long, hard day–but be careful before applying to body. Shake it first, feel around and check that it’s not too hot and won’t burn, especially when using on a child.

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What Readers Are Saying: 320 Comments
  1. ruby says:

    If your one of those more lazy people, I sugest using a sock.I recantly just rescued a abandon 1 day old kitten, And they need warmth, I just used an old thick sock and it works like a charm. My kitten loves it
    xoxo help the tip helps

    • Karissa says:

      awwww, thats soo nice, and adorable! Haha, I love kittensβ™₯

    • Shirley says:

      Hi, I’m looking for something to make for feral cats this winter – about how long does this stay warm?
      Thanks so much!

      • becca says:

        it lasts about an hour or two at most if microwaved for 2 minutes… thats about a sock sized one. Hope the kitties stay warm!

      • Rhonda G says:

        U can build them something u take very big tote and some really thick styrofoam and put it around the sides and the bottom and then stick a tote a bit smaller then the larger one so its tight in there and then cut out the front of the totes so they can go in and out and u can put old blankets and hay and stuff in there so they can get out of the elements that way to stay safe and warm and dry

        • Diane says:

          Great idea…you just gave me another. Im thinking tote bag, canvas seems like it might work well and are available quite cheap. Fill sew closed and heat. Now, take it to your car on cold days! Friends and Family gonna love me this Christmas. Any thoughts?

      • Vickie says:

        It won’t last really long but insulating it might help. Like making a thin pillow to place on it etc.

    • maggie rees says:

      Good idea ruby so kind of you to rescue the poor kitten.

      • Kristin says:

        I just adopted OUT 3 kittens that I found at @1week old. They were so sweet-I used a heating pad(electric) I wish I had thought of these instead, but the hating pad was mandatory! I was sooo attached to these little guys-I could barely give them up-but I already have 3 others that I rescued-I didn’t want to be the ‘crazy cat lady’ haha. The first couple that came to meet the babies (at 8-9weeks) took all 3! so they got to stay together with their bros and sisters! I sure miss em! Good luck! lmk if you have any ‘parenting’ questions!

        • Laura says:

          I adopted a really cute puppy last year, but the owners came the next week πŸ™ I used a heating pad, but it wouldn’t have worked as well as these!
          P.S would using a polyester teddy work, because I’m going to make one for my niece for Christmas.

          • prairiesunshine says:

            Polyester teddy won’t work, polyester will melt or catch fire in a microwave. But you could remove the stuffing from his belly and make a removeable grain pillow made of COTTON that can go in the microwave. His tummy could be laced back together with ribbon or attach velcro πŸ™‚

          • Sherry says:

            NO! You can’t microwave any fabric that isn’t 100% natural. Polyester will likely melt or catch fire.

        • Deckie says:

          I hope the couple that took all three weren’t using them as bait. You have to be weary about people that take 3 kittens. They usually use them for snake food. Your might want to ck to see if they still have them.

          • Debra says:

            They might also be using them as dog bait. I heard that most people who answer the pet ads on Craigslist are looking for bait, not for pets. I hope I am wrong, I just heard that.

    • Linda says:

      I made these for a church auction with cute patterned oven mitts I found at a dollar store. Filled them with lentils and sold them for about $4.00 each. The mitt is like a cozy hand on your neck, head, shoulder, etc.

  2. caycequilter says:

    It might be neat to make one the size of a pillow case to warm your bed on cold nights too. You could fold or roll it to heat it in the microwave, then spread it flat under your blanket to warm you bed and your tootsies.

    • MrsSpunkmeister says:

      I just lay the hand towel size one down the front of me–every cold night– and love it.

    • Paulette Dellaero says:

      Thank you…great pillow case idea. Will use for my mom’s bed…instead of little square I was trying to heat an area with for her. I never thought “pillow case”. I appreciate these great ideas ideas .
      I googled this as my old (gift) bean? bag is starting to burn….12 yrs old lol! Thanks again.

  3. Prudence says:

    Just an FYI. There are precausions you should take.
    A wonderful website, written my a nurse who uses these in her hospital will give you heads up for what NOT to do.
    I love these..and have made them for my family, but did not know some of the safetly issues this site talks about.
    It’s worth taking the time to read. She also offers free patterns and notes you can print out.
    Stay warm!

  4. Brianna says:

    I dont know about your offices, but mine is normally on the chilly side. I keep a heating pad at work, pop it in the microwave, and I bundle up with it. It works like a charm!!

    • lorrwill says:

      Oh snap, you are brilliant. I work at a client site once a week and it is absolutely freezing there. I could take a small rice bag and zap it. Thanks so much for this idea!

  5. Robyn says:

    If you make teddy bears and fill them with the fillers like rice it makes something really nice for kids and you don’t have to keep it hidden if your picky about whats on the bed. Make the legs longer too and it gives a pillow and the legs can wrap around your neck. VERY NICE!

  6. rob says:

    I’ve always wondered why people refer to socks as ‘tube socks’ – are there other kinds of sock? and if so, what are they?

    • julie says:

      Tube socks are generally sold in the mens sock department at discount stores. They are different than regular socks in that they do not have a heel so they are just one long “tube” Great for things like this and other crafts.

  7. TipNut says:

    Rob there are knee high socks, dress socks, stockings, sockettes, etc. “Tube sock” is in reference to the type of sock, they have no formed or fitted heel.

    At least…that’s how I always understood it :).

  8. Lisa says:

    omg. thank you for posting this. My grandma use to make these and I was just thinking about making one! It’s like you read my mind.

    Thank you!

  9. sandycallli says:

    What is the name of the website of the nurse who lists some hazards to watch for when making/using the heating pads.????

  10. Lin says:

    Thanks so much for posting this!! Been troubled by cramps frequently. Just a question:

    How long can each heating pad last?

  11. TipNut says:

    Sandycalli: Prudence had the link in her name (Microwave Heating Bags)

    Lin: The bags can last for ages (years), but I don’t know of any guidelines on when to dump and refill. I’ve opened up bags that were a couple years old and they had no mold, bugs or anything like that. I think the freezing/heating prevents that from happening, even though the bags can sit for months without being used. I like to heat the bags a few times when I first make them just to kill off anything.

    ETA: The bags are definitely nice to have on hand for cramps

    • Carrie says:

      The frezzing is what kills bacteria,,, you can do the same with paints if you dont want to wash them just put in frezzer over night and fresh smelling and bacteria free paints…

      • meg says:

        Freezing does not kill bacteria, it only slows down their growth. Heating or other solvents kill bacteria.

        • K says:

          True that freezing will not kill bacteria but it might do in some insect eggs – I know you freeze worm compost to kill off mites, same principle might apply. The microwaving probably takes care of at least most bacteria. πŸ™‚

  12. TipNut says:

    I had an email asking where to buy the cherry pits or other filler suggestions, but my response bounced back. Here’s the info in case that person is still reading this, others may be wanting help with this too:

    You can get the various filler items at bulk food stores or in the bulk section of your grocery store. If there’s no bulk section available, you can try farm supply stores.

    Things like rice, barley, beans and oatmeal can be found in your grocery store with no problem.

    Some health food stores carry many of the items too, or you can find pretty much everything online.

    Cherry pits are a little trickier to find locally, but check with craft stores. You can definitely find them online too.

    There must be a way to clean and sanitize the cherry pits if you have access to fresh cherries, but I have no info on how to do that. Maybe boiling them clean then allowing to dry out? For cherry jam makers, this would be an ideal way to use up those cherry pits.

    • Tara says:

      So I got dried pinto beans to use cause thats what I could find and afford and am gona take the advice of another and put peppermint tea bags in with the beans. Are the tea bags safe to not catch on fire? And are these beans gona smell so bad that it is unbearable. Im gon use them either way just wondering. Thanks

      • jamela says:

        just be careful with the tea bags with metal staples! you don’t want to microwave those! :0)

        • diane says:

          Tara, the small pcs. of metal will be ok, I have microwaved food w/spoon or fork in it and nothing happens. I was told by my brother how it worked, I was also skeptical….Wish I could explain it, LOL Still kinda freaks me out, but nothing happens, not even a spark. Always be careful though, keep an eye on it…also do not leave any of these Bags in too long…with the Rice, mine started smelling burned…made years ago and love them~ Good Luck~ These are wonderful gifts~

      • Tahlia says:

        Ive used beans for years.They really all smell the same and its not that bad.Just be sure to shower if you’re gonna go somewhere that people are gonna be close to

    • Joni says:

      I tried cherry pits one year. They stink when they are hot. Could not stand to use them.

  13. Hilda says:

    Just found your site and I love it! Thanks for all the wonderful tips and keep them coming.

  14. michelle says:

    I have one that is filled with beans, and I love it. I use it every night almost. You do need to be careful how hot you make it, and if it is a bit too hot, I just put a towel around it, then when the heat does not feel as hot, I then take the towel off. I have to tell you animals love these too. My dog is always cold, and she loves to cuddle with me when I am using mine.

  15. Kirsty says:

    Any idea what is the best filler for keeping cold? My 2 year old loves ice packs so I’d love to make a few more. Rice hasn’t seemed to hold the cold that long – is there a better option?

    • Deb says:

      why would a 2 year old use ice packs, just out of curiosity. Maybe my family has missed

      • Dina says:

        We have a ice pack just for my 2 year olds..they are constantly getting hurt and cold helps with swelling and pain. My boys run to the ice pack as soon as one gets hurt they know it works!

        • Pat says:

          Ice packs for kids in the teeth losing stage is also good. We often dull the “pain” with a popcicle but having an ice pack on the jaw feels good after the tooth comes out.

          My kids are like yours constantly using an ice bag for minor boo boos. Keeps them from crying as long. LOL

      • Cris says:

        LOL My kids LOVE sleeping with our cold packs! Not sure why so I laughed out loud when you asked why because I have no idea they just love them.

    • bonnie spurlock says:

      Feeder corn is the best

    • Debra says:

      soak a sponge in water, then freeze it in a ziplock bag…use it with the ziplock bag (and a cloth cover) the sponge will keep it from leaking, the water is completely safe if it does…

      Need a softer icepack? Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water and put in ziplock bag…doesn’t completely solidify but MUST be watched with young children!!

  16. Lynda says:

    I have made tubes of muslin, filled with millet, sealed with stitching, and then placed in a “pillowcase” I made for the tube. I made these for gifts one year for Christmas after purchasing one. The thing is, with any type of natural ingredient, you have to freeze it for a minimum of 24 days. I was given that number of days, in order to kill any eggs or insects in the grain, etc. I do that before I pack the bags. I was able to put them in the microwave (for about 3-5 min. depending on how big the bags are), and also wrap in plastic bag and place in the freezer. You could make one for hot, one for cold.

    I recently took 3 packs I had made and opened them up with a seam ripper in order to clean the bags and repack them. I had waited way too long to do that. The bag I had purchased initially had dead bugs in it. The bags I had prepared, with the prefrozen grain, didn’t have any signs of insects at all.

  17. Sandy says:

    Be aware that mice like to eat the content of these bags. Before leaving for vacation, I left the cherry pit bag out. When I came home I found cherry pits in the back of my closet, my dresser and in my attic. Now, when the bag is not being used I keep it in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

  18. vicky burkhard says:

    if you use a long (over the calf) mens tube sock you can tie a knot in the end and it is easier to check the rice to see if it needs changing. Rice that is all clear instead of white is too dry, has a fire risk when heated and needs to be changed.

  19. Sanabtha says:

    I am always looking for inexpensive, useful items to make. These hot pads to sew up for the body aches are a lot cuter than hot water bottles (yuk!) I read the section about the mice tampering with the contents, if accidently left out, not good. How about pellets? Are these only for freezing and not for use with microwaving? I am referring to pellets used in bean bag chairs. Samantha

    • Khat says:

      Pellets would be fine, as long as they’re the hard plastic ones. That’s what they use in the commercial hot/cold bags.

      • Deb says:

        But where can I purchase these pellets at. Dorchester NB

        • Katrina says:

          I know I’ve seen them at Walmart for a great price.

          • Katie says:

            Try Moncton, it’s not too far away. Have been away from “Down Home” to long to know the places that mightcarry pellets but I would try Home Depot and such places. Try the net. And I, if for myself would go thrifting looking for an old beanbag chair, if the price was right.

  20. chicoblackboowhite says:

    olay is my favorite word! these heating pads are awesome and work well for keeping orphaned kittens warm when they are very small!

  21. Jennifer says:

    I first experienced these by filling socks with rice and heating in the microwave. Now I use a store purchased bag with dried herbs and flax seed. They are awsome for just about anything. We use them to preheat the bed and to keep our feet warm at night. I have also used them for earaches, cramps, and recovering from surgery. When I rescued 2 wk. old baby suirrels I was able to keep them warm by putting one in the cage with them.

  22. Cheri says:

    you said this can be made with beans…any beans or a certain kind?

    • Katie says:

      Navyor pea beans are the small white ones and the cheapest. I have a jar of these that I use over and over for pie weights and they are only slightly darkened after years of use,

  23. Pam says:

    Heating pads are my backs Best Friend these days. I am curious to know what kind of pellets can be used that are flame retardent for heating pads and also what kind of material is used in the Ice Pack tubes that initially look like a tube of material, but when placed in ice water they swell up into a nice tube to wrap around your neck. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You,

    • Tracy says:

      I have had one of those “ice pack tubes” for 24 years and I LOVE it! It’s like a bandana tube, filled with those “mystery” pellets. I just soak mine in a sink full of tap water until it swells up, then tie it around my neck before I go out into the hot Arizona summer sun! What ARE those pellets, and would they also work for a heat pad?

      • Pat says:

        I don’t know about the heating part, but you can often find those water soaking pellets in the floral department cause they used them in flower arraigning to keep water closer to the stems in decorative displays.

        • Joan says:

          Cricket pellets also work well. the kind you soak in water then put in the cage for them to drink out of. They’re little orange beady things. You can find them at any pet store. They dry out eventually but I don’t know if it will get the tube wet.

  24. TipNut says:

    Cheri I can’t think of a dried bean that couldn’t be used, is there a bean you’re wondering about?

    Sorry Pam I’m not familiar with the ice pack tubes, maybe someone reading this can help you out. What do you mean by flame redardent pellets?

  25. Tillie Polen Scholz says:

    I keep several heating pads as I get cold during the winter while I’m on the computer so I pop them into the microwave and put them on my shoulder and back or if I have shulder pain I use them and my husband also uses them, I would be lost without them.

  26. Abigail says:

    I’ve got a sty in my right eye and when I talked to my doctor about it she said it’s no big deal and can be treated at home with a hot compress 3-6 times per day. Using a hot, wet washcloth was too messy, but these heating pads are perfect!! I made one with a small crew sock and it’s the perfect size for one eye or both at the same time. Great tip!

    • Hilda Dohogn says:

      A sty will have a white hair in the center. If you tweeze the white
      hair out, the sty will immediately start to go AWAY

  27. Roberta says:

    also what kind of material is used in the Ice Pack tubes that initially look like a tube of material, but when placed in ice water they swell up into a nice tube to wrap around your neck. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You,

    The substance used in those neck coolers are the granules that you can buy to add to soil to hold moisture or for in vases of flowers. It forms a gel when wet. I had one when I was undergoing chemotheraphy and it saved me a lot of discomfort from overheating due to hormones raging. Use only about 1 teaspoon to the entire length of the narrow scarf. divide in 4 and add 1/4 teaspoon to each section.
    Take care

    • Tracy says:

      Awesome! Thank you!

    • Bella says:

      Vermiculite? That’s what is sold to be added to plant soil to hold water.

      • Debra says:

        not vermiculite, there is a clear gel bead that will absorb water and very slowly release it to your plants. Or in the case of tube will absorb water and slowly release it from the tube while it is around your neck…this is a simulation of sweating…

      • Rose says:

        No, not vermiculite. The ones they mean are tiny mostly clear crystals that also used for soil. But the crystals are not only sold in agricultural, but in florist and hobby/craft stores, look near the products for arranging fresh flowers. As stated above when soaked in water, they turn to a gel consistency, and hold the moisture for hours and feel cool. These are not for warming, just for cooling. So do NOT microwave.

  28. Denise says:

    I made one of these years ago and it’s terrific… I want to make more now, but I don’t have a microwave. Is there a way to heat them in the oven or on the stovetop, like maybe a 200 degree oven???

    Any ideas would be appreciated!
    Denise =D

    • Danni says:

      yes this is a suitable heating method but make sure you keep an eye on the wheat bag so it does not catch fire

      yours sincerely danielle

    • Gina says:

      My mom made rice socks and put them in the oven when I was a child. (No microwaves then) The were very comforting on a little girl with chronic ear aches.

  29. Jane says:

    Hello… I have made possibly 200 of these bags over the years; first using raw oats, now rice (I preferred the oats but does seem to have a “smell”)….
    I live in North Bay, Ontario – a few years ago a lady overheated her heating pad (not one I had made incidentally) in the microwave; she put it in the sink. It smelled, so she put it in her porch overnight – it was winter time. The bag reignited and burned the house down…. this is true, the story was in The North Bay Nugget. Since then, when I make the bags and give them away I make sure I have a list of instructions containing warnings like: do not heat for longer than 2 minutes; if bag hasnt cooled off before reheating, only 1 minute.
    I still make them and we use them every single night…. but I thought you just might be interested in this story.
    If anyone wants a copy of what I write to put in with the bag, I think I could copy and paste it into here…???
    Thanks for the many tips on other types of stuffing.

    • Lorie says:

      Hi Jane – I just bought 100 of feed corn and a bunch of fabric. I tested the corn in the microwave and sure enough it’s popping. the kernels are not actually changing shape but I’m wondering if you know if it’s safe or will reduce the integrity of the heating capacity or make it more of a fire hazard? Also, do you know how to further dry out the corn? I only paid 10 dollars for the corn but i have so much I don’t want to waste it before I switch to rice or something else. Any tips would be greatly appreciated πŸ™‚



      • Nana Teresa says:

        I have been told you have to use feed corn in order to prevent the popping. If you have a farm supply place near such as Orchelns, MFA Feed or something like that you can usually buy the feed corn in bulk rather than by the bag so you can get what you will use rather than having a bunch left over. Also, be careful not to heat for more than 1 or 2 minutes.

        Good Luck. I hope this helps.
        Nana T.

    • Shannon says:

      I work with geriatrics and started making my own hot packs that were much lighter and created different shapes for a good fit to various body parts. The ones supplied in our therapy department are huge and heavy on most of my patients so this works very well, then they can keep them to take home and use. I would appreciate the copy of warnings and directions you referred to, to give a copy with the packs for home use.
      Thanks so much

      • heather says:

        Hi Shannon,

        Can you please tell me how you made the geriatrics hot packs so they were more lightweight? My mom is always cold, (she is in here 90’s) and yet cannot take anything heavy.

        Thanks so much!


      • Ruthann Graham says:

        what filler did you use that was lightweight

    • Tuula says:

      Hi Jane,
      yes, please let us know what you write for using the bags, I’m very interested. What an unfortunate story about the house burned down!
      Thanks for these tips.

    • Ruthann Graham says:

      would love copy of note you put with bags thank you

    • Kim says:

      I would love to have a copy of your caution instructions! My first time making these, and with the lavender essential oil I can’t wait to use and give as gifts! But I am concerned about them catching fire and me being one of the gift-giver’s. Thanks ever so much!

  30. TipNut says:

    Hi Jane, I’m sure many would love to see what you write for the bags, please do share! πŸ™‚

  31. Jane says:

    Hi again… well, this is what I put in with the heating pads now…. if you have any suggestions or amendments, I’d really appreciate hearing them….or comments, good or bad πŸ™‚
    — bye for now.


    (I have a photo of one here)

    When heated in a microwave oven, it provides warm relief for aches and pains, especially where a regular heating pad is difficult to use (e.g.neck)

    (remove and dispose of plastic cover before use)

    Put the bag, folded, into a clean microwave oven with a turntable for no longer than two minutes on high
    – take out and β€œshake” to distribute any hot spots;
    this should stay comfortably warm for about twenty minutes
    If you want to heat it up and it is still a bit warm to the touch, only put in microwave for up to one minute, or it will get too hot

    β€’ Do not use if too hot
    β€’ Do not use on children, or someone who can’ tell you its too hot
    β€’ Like any other food product, if it is left too long in microwave it can burn… If this happens it should be put into a sink full of cold water until thoroughly soaking wet and then disposed of as you would any burnt food
    β€’ If used according to directions it is safe and you will be able to use it on your aches and pains for many months…..

    Only new, pre-washed, fabric is used –
    Cover is washable
    (don’t wash the actual rice bag)

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Jane, thanks for this great info! I’ve been wanting to make these for myself and also if I can come up with a good recipe maybe sell some on my esty shop site. This was the only thing I was worried about though. I live in a house with a total moron. She doesnt read instructions, and throws away extra parts if she doesn’t know what they’re for. If it’s not hers and she has no need for it, she just randomly puts it somewhere, crystal, glass, top half of a vaccuum cleaner. So, I’m thinking about people buying my items, I always think about the people that use my items. Working in retail myself, I know that not many other people read directions either, and these seem like they’re pretty easy to follow.

  32. TipNut says:

    How Excellent Jane! Thanks so much for sharing that with everyone, I appreciate it! πŸ™‚

  33. Adrienne says:

    I have a 95% cotton shirt with 5% spandex; would that shirt work if i cut it up or would the spandex be a problem?

  34. TipNut says:

    Hi Adrienne, I wouldn’t try the spandex, just 100% cotton to be safer.

  35. Pamela says:

    Since I don’t have a sewing machine I found that making a bag with my vaccum sealer worked great! The bags are boilable and microwaveable. However, the problem I had was that when I placed the bag against my back while sitting up, naturally all the rice slid to the bottom of the bag and ended up feeling like I was leaning against a rock – albeit a very warm rock, but uncomfortable none-the-less.

    Can anyone give me any suggestions how to keep the rice flat?

    • Nana Teresa says:

      I heard if you sew it like you would a quilt with the pouch style filled it keeps them from all flowing to bottom. Then after heating or freezing cover with a cotton pillow case so that you can remove the pillow case and wash it if it becomes dirty.

      Good Luck.
      Nana T.

  36. Pamela says:

    After much trial and error, I created small pockets and filled them with the rice. Guess what – it worked!

  37. Karin says:

    I want to make a heating pad for an elderly uncle and like any project in our family there was a debate. Many felt that the corn would be uncomfortable and since we have a field of millet we should use that. My question is after reading the precautions from prudences friend, how long can you use a grain like millet before it is too dry and becomes a fire hazard and will it hold heat for any length of time? Thanks

  38. Gill says:

    I bought some whole maize (corn) today at a pet store. I made the inner bag and put in microwave about 750kw for 2 minutes and a few of corns popped and it smells like popcorn. Does this happen first of all and the popped corn taken out. Have I used the right corn. Thanks for the help

    • lisa says:

      Deer Corn works good but you have to watch that you dont heat it too long because some will pop keep checking it every once in a while to the temp you like.
      It does smell like popcorn!!!

      • Chi says:


        • Meringue says:

          I bought one which has a label on it, saying I have to put a glass/cup half full with water in with the pack when heating it in the microwave. Today, when googeling how to make my own, I read that the wheat can catch fire if you don’t have a glass of water in it. So I’m thinking of embroidering some small instructions on my heat packs.

        • meryl says:

          These are lovely if used with caution. I have personal experience of an old age nursing home that down, and the cause of the fire was a heating bag which was heated too long, and smouldered and caught fire once in the bed. Several old folk died in the ensuing blaze. So USE WITH CAUTION!!!!

  39. TipNut says:

    Karin I really don’t know of any information or guidelines that show how long you can use it before the filler needs changing, sorry. But having a glass of water heating in the microwave with the bag will keep things moist enough so it helps prevent the filler from drying out too quickly and sparking.

    Gill it is the wrong corn, it shouldn’t pop. This link was mentioned above already, but has info on what to look for in corn: Microwave Heating Bags:

    Different types of fillers are used, but I chose deer corn, which is also called feed corn or field corn. Corn is a larger grain than rice, wheat, or flax, so it can hold it’s heat longer, yet remain moldable around arms and legs. It’s not the same as popcorn, which is sealed closed, builds up steam, and bursts open. Feed corn is naturally cracked open at the bottom where it comes loose from the cob, and will not pop open when heated. For the corn bags, you should use whole corn, not cracked corn, as the cracked corn will dry out too quickly.

  40. lolly says:

    Hello can anyone tell me how long does the heat last i was thinking of making some cushions for my dogs and wondered will they last through the night?

    Many thanks for sharing a great idea!

    • momstaxi04 says:

      Hi…I have made these for my puppies and they love them….they lay on them when they are warm and there body heat afterwards seems to keep the bag warm through the night (if they stay on the bag). I had a border collie with arthritis and i made a larger one (actually 2) and he loved them. Hope this helps.

  41. TipNut says:

    No the heat doesn’t last through the night Lolly, it would depend on the size too but Jane listed 20 minutes (above), that would be the peak heat I believe. There’ll be some heat for about 2 hours, it does depend on the size and the filler used.

  42. Emily says:

    I make these for my family. They are so comforting on a cold night. I buy pillow cases from garage sales add 2 pounds of brown beans (from a local salvage store) Tie a knot near the opening so the beans are loose and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes. The beans are still warm after 8 hours when used as toe warmers. You could also use pea gravel. Rice gets sticky and smells when heating.

  43. Judi says:

    I’ve been using these heating pads for years but always seem to notice an odor no matter what filler I use. My husband says I can hear and smell a gnat fart 10 miles away. What do ya’all think about using aquarium gravel? Kind of harkens back to the hot rocks of old. I’m going to give it a try, maybe pea gravel too. The paint in my microwave is peeling and it is pretty old so a new one is on the horizon any way!

    • Jen says:

      Has anyone tried using pea gravel yet? I would love to make this, but would like to use something that wouldn’t have to be eventually replaced. My plan is to make a removable cover for washing, so that it can last a lifetime. πŸ™‚

    • MegaBossNaki says:

      Judi – aquarium gravel is probably NOT a good idea – even the ‘natural’ gravel is sealed with a clear enamel or paint to prevent any minerals & whatnot in the rocks from leeching into the aquarium water.
      My only other concern would be whether or not there were any residual metals in the rocks themselves – you know, those little flecks of ‘shiny’ that you see in some rocks. Not sure whether or not those are metal or mineral….

  44. pauline says:

    hi i have bought the wheat and cotton, can you tell me is it safe to use vanilla pot pourri oil this is also used for oil burners, i am makeing my wheat bags for myself and for christmas presents, many thanks pauline.

  45. pattyjoe says:

    What kind of herbs, How much, and do you use dry or oils? I would like to try and make these. If any one could help. Thank you…

    • Nana Teresa says:

      U can use herbs to make them sented such as lavender, cinnamon, sage and other desirable dried herbs, but from what I have heard and read you should put the filler and herbs in a large freezer bags for a few days and shake or stir couple times a day to mix with the filler then remove any extra herbs and fill with just the filler and sew as directed. Hope this helps. Good luck

      Nana T.

  46. lynda says:

    a friend of mine made one for me and she sewed a litle pocket on to it. the pocket is a scent sachet. that way at night i put lavender in the pocket and during the day i put an invigorating scent.
    i store mine in a decorative tin. mice love these and will tear them to pieces.

  47. TipNut says:

    Hi guys, to answer a few questions:

    I’ve never tried using potpourri oil and don’t know what the results would be like or if it’s ok to be heated in a microwave.

    As far as what kind of herbs to use and how much, there’s no exact science to it. Use dried herbs, not fresh. Depending on what size bag you use and how much filler is needed, I’d use about 2 TBS dried herbs per 1 cup of filler. If you find that too much or not enough, adjust. Some herbs are stronger in fragrance than others so there’s no way to give a definite answer.

    For essential oil, I have no exact measurement, it’s based on preference and some oils are stronger in fragrance than others. Add a few drops to the filler (it won’t take much–maybe 2 drops per cup of filler) and seal in a container for a few days as noted above. Because you’re sealing the filler first the fragrance will be absorbed and the EO will stretch a lot farther so you won’t need much.

  48. L says:

    I’m thinking of making a heating pad, has anyone tried using dried soy beans as filler? Would that work?

    I’m going to be mailing this to a friend as a gift, any recommondations as to what material as filler that would be the lightest?

    In addition to cotton as suitable fabric for the casing, is silk a suitable fabric as well?


    • Andrea says:

      Hello! Being that these arrent time marked, I don’t know when you posted this. You probably already have your answer, but I think silk would be a good case to slip over the cotton, but not to use as the part that would be warmed up. hope this isnt too late, or at least it helps someone else asking the same question.

  49. Justina Justin says:

    I can not believe how amazing these bags are!!! I started reading this article 18:00 & by 18:19 I had followed the tips & advice & thought to myself I only have rice, oats & spice in the cupboards but read that this should still be efficient & like that, I was curled up on the sofa feeling warm & bewilded.


    I used two stocking and a bright colour sock for protection!!!!

  50. Cathy says:

    I made these a few years ago as gifts and am planning on making them again this year, but want to use a different filler. In the past I used Feed Corn which worked very well, but it was a lot of work preparing the corn. I bought the feed corn at a farm implement store in a huge 50 lb bag. Brought it home, had to wash it (since this corn is fed to cattle it is not clean has a very grainy, dirty smell to it). After washing it I was told to bake it in oven on low heat for several hour. The corn filed bags worked great and all who received them loved them, but they do smell like popcorm when heated.

    I also tried rice as a filler adding essential oils. The smell was overwhelming. I’m not sure what I did wrong. I may have I added too much oil. I know I did not let it sit for several days like suggested above which may have been the problem. I didn’t care for how the rice heated as well as the corn.

    This time around I was hoping to make them out of a different filler that has “no smell” when heated and was hoping to find the answer on your website. Has anyone tried the dry beans? If so, what were the outcomes. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    PS: I made my outer casing out of brown polar fleece cut in the shape of gingerbread men. I tied a red ribbon around neck and attached the instructions. Very, very cute!!!

  51. Jackie says:

    Hi I was at a craft show today and my daughter fell in love with a stuffed animal that was filled with this stuff and smelled of lavender and was warm. Only problem was they were $30. I thought well I could make it.But after reading all of this I am not sure what to put in it and all the stuffed animals I looked at said polyester fibers. Where do I find a Stuffed animal made of 100% cotton? I would love any ideas you have. I want to make one for both of my daughters for Christmas. Thanks in advance.

    • Laura says:

      I bought bags of “stuffing cotton” a year ago from a quilting website. I don’t remember exactly which one, but you could google it and possibly find it. If you have any sewing skills at all, you could open up the animal and replace the fibers with cotton.

    • Dawn says:

      I know that we have a “Mother and Baby source” store that offers stuffed animals made of 100% cotton. Maybe you could google that store and see if you could have it shipped to you. They are really cute and would feel great too.

    • Jolyne says:

      You can purchase any stuffed animal, then open the seam down it’s back, pull out the stuffing in the body only, & replace the seam with a zipper. Then make a hot/cold pack like the ones discussed here. Your daughters can unzip their animal & heat (or freeze) the pack only, then zip it back in.

  52. Candi says:

    I have been making these for Christmas gifts and it’s soooo fun!

    I have made rice one’s and deer corn one’s so far. I’m looking for a filler with no odor now. I was thinking about dry beans but I don’t know if they hold heat as long. Has anyone tried the dry beans yet?


  53. Candi says:

    So I tried dry pinto beans with lavender essential oil last night. Beans still kind of give off an odor…darn it! The only other thing I can think of is birdseed. Anybody have any idea about a filler with no strange smell?


    • Bella says:

      My spouse and I were standing over a pile of grain on our guest bedroom’s closet floor. He said with a slightly agressive tone, “Mice!” to which I countered, “Yes, but they don’t come with their own grain they come for your, and I sure don’t store grain in the bedroom closet! After thinking for a minute, I remembered we had just moved into this house. The people who lived there before us had a bird. I was confounded that they could have missed their seeds, their movers miss their seeds, our movers miss their seed, and us miss their seeds, but there it was on the floor of our closet. After cleaning it up and searching around the closet to be sure it was all gone, we discovered a small hand-sized bean bag frog that had been given to us when we moved. Well, all I can say is that thing was ripped to shreds! Yep, that’s where the grain had come from. Thus I would caution, if filling these with enticing food products, storage in a mouse proof container is critical.

  54. Angie says:

    About the rice…I have heard you really need to make sure it is the long cooking (not minute rice) style of rice. This helps to prevent it cooking up if it is slightly moist in the microwave.

  55. april says:

    question – i have only read about using 100% cotton, but what about 100% wool? i was making a small pillow with hand-felted wool for a friend and thought of making it into a heating pad. does wool not microwave well? otherwise i could make the wool pillow into a casing for a heating pad insert. i appreciate any feedback. thanks!

    • Nana Teresa says:

      I think if I were you I would use the wool as a cover rather than the actual heating pad since wool in itself is highly flamable. Or at least thats what I have heard anyway.
      Good Luck.
      Nana T.

      • Bennetto says:

        I have to correct your comment about wool. Wool is not flammable. In fact if you hold a flame against it, the flame tends to deflect around the wool. If you do manage to get the wool to catch fire, it will self extinguish very quickly. That is why fire safety uniforms (eg fire fighters, racing car safety suits etc. ) are made of wool.

  56. renee says:

    i just bought some feed corn for my bags, but it is obviously not all completely full pieces…do i need to separate them from the odd shells?


  57. Barbara Toohey says:

    My sister made some using some old whole coffee beans. I loved them. Great, providing you like coffee smell!

  58. Sarah says:

    What is the difference between the fillers? Is rice the best? I was wondering which one keeps heat the longest and which one smells the least

  59. Lynn says:

    I have made these microwave bags with tube socks and I just tye them. I use extra long grain rice. I have never had any problems at all of any kind. I am very cold blooded and my husband doesn’t like electric blankets. I heat up either 2 socks for 4 minutes, 3 socks for 5 minutes, or 5 socks for 8 minutes. It depends on how cold it is. I put them in my bed about 5 minutes before I go to bed and it is so great. I put one where my feet are and line them up in the bed so every part of me gets warm. I can’t wait to go crawl in my bed on cold nights.

  60. nila says:

    Can i use green lentils as a filler? i have 2 bags of lentils sealed bags but i think they are old. will it work?

  61. blair says:

    would it be possible to use polyfil pellets for stuffing? I have an almost full bag and am looking for the perfect project to stuff.

  62. Amanda says:

    I’m using old ripped denim jeans. I have about 5-6 pairs with odd holes and rips in them. They are unable to be patched and fixed so this is a great idea!! Also, I don’t own nor want to own a microwave. You can heat the packs in the oven if you wrap them in foil first and heat them on a lower temp, like 200-250 for about 15 minutes.

  63. Sandaili says:

    Lentils work but they get moist when you heat them in the microwave. Also they don’t seem to hold heat that long, about 20 minutes depending on how hot you make them. I think after a few times of heating they won’t be as wet…I didn’t put in a glass of water and the pad was very moist. These were dried lentils about a year old.

  64. megs says:

    Hey I know it’s not relaxing but I have filled teddy bears with coffee beans for some of my friends(we are college students and can’t afford our heating bill) and they love them because they smell so good esp the hazelnut and french vanilla.

  65. thoughtful says:

    I have had a few of the pillows and have been reaserching ways to make them and ive read alot about the cherry pits but I began thinking about it and i was looking around (just simply glancing around)and i saw a bag of oranges… do any of you think it would be possible to make these with orange seeds???

  66. Patricia says:

    Could anyone tell me if I can safely put epsom salts inthe bag with long grain rice as a fill. I read mineral salts on one website but wasn’t sure if epsom salts is the same?

  67. Cam Jeanneret says:


    This kind of heating pad for who does have a microwave.
    Use a thick fabric ( Canvas ) , sew a bag with many channel.
    Fill with SAND . Put in the pot of water and boil .
    Wrap with a towel when you use them.

  68. HRNamaste says:

    I have an old one of these bags that I received as a gift a number of years ago. Recently it has been smelling really bad after heating it up so I have been looking for either a replacement or tips to make my own. After I read over the comments here I unstitched the bag I have and dumped out the contents. I found numerous types of beans (including coffee beans) – but despite the corn-type smell, there was no corn in my bag at all. After rummaging through my cupboard I found a bag of dried black beans, a bag of dried black-eyed peas and a half a bag of dried kidney beans. After smelling each bag for any type of odor I picked the black beans and the black-eyed peas, mixed them together with some dried lavender and put them in a glass microwave safe bowl for “testing”. After heating the contents in the microwave for 2 minutes, the beans were dry, warm and had no foul odor.

    After that I decided to test the kidney beans on their own because they had a slight smell. I put them in a separate glass bowl and again heated them in the microwave for 2 minutes. Totally different result! The beans came out wet/moist and they were stinky! I’m going to stick with the black beans and black-eyed peas and forget the kidney beans. I have posted this as a courtesy for those who are considering making these with kidney beans, but I think I would just test anything you were considering using in the microwave first just to see what it will smell like or if there is any water content before you use them in your heat pack.

    • theresa says:

      thank you thank you thank you for your experiments. this is exactly answering my question. i too have pack of experimental “stuff”—now i can just cook and eat them.

  69. haley says:

    these heating pads are awesome but you have to be careful about how much rice u put in cause if its to heavy it ciyld tear the fabric and its cool if u make handles to put on them

  70. Jenny says:

    I have a problem with weevils eating and breading in my wheat and rice bags.
    Does anyone have a solution or alternative filling so I can avoid this problem?
    Your help would be appreciated.

  71. Lainey says:

    I make heat packs and fill them with the lupin seeds that grow locally here in Western Australia. Lupins are a legume that grows all over the world, the seeds are quite rounded, so they move freely inside the heat packs. I discard any seeds that are flat or discoloured. The heat seems to last for ages, great to warm the bed on those cold winter nights. I usually cover them with a polar fleece “pillowcase”, the actual heat pack is made with thick cotton calico. I also make channels in the pack, it stops the seeds from all rolling to one end and they seem to heat more evenly in the microwave. I also add some dry lavender flowers inside the pack for that lovely relaxing scent. Great for pain relief too.

  72. Marie says:

    I use hard wheat from the produce store in nsw australia. They told me to separate the big bag of hard wheat into smaller bags. Place in freezer for 2 weeks. This will kill any bugs.Use 100% cotton, heat for 1-2mins & check till you work out your microwave, heat maybe up to another minute. It is a good idea to spray with water and / or place cup with water in mircowave

  73. Rene says:

    Just used a hospital tube sock, filled it with oatmeal, tied a knot at the end and heated it for a minute! Works great. I had a store bought one, then my dog got to it and tore it open!

  74. Kami says:

    Could anyone tell me if cotton-polyester thread or polyester thread will be okay for sewing the bags?

  75. Crystal says:

    I have made these in the past using rice. I made a cover using a hand towel folded long ways like you would for display in thirds, I then sewed the ends and then in three places along the opening. Also in the ends of the towels I put a loop of cord as handles. I then made a cotton bag to fit inside filled with rice. These lasted a long time for all that I made them for and the towel was easy to remove and wash plus I could replace the rice bags easly when they wore out. I am thinking of making a diffrent type as the rice tends to fall to the ends or channeling the rice bags to prevent that issue. I have seen a square U shape heating pad in the mall that was channeled and layed flat but it was over 50 dollars!! I know I can make that much cheeper and so that is my next project.

  76. Kim says:

    What kind of flax seed do I use golden or dark?

  77. Gayle says:

    I tried white beans lastnight about 15 minutes after finding this site. They held the heat for a long time but the smell made my hubby extremely sick to his tummy. I’m in need of finding something he can stand.

  78. Megan says:

    I was considering making one of these for my grandma for Christmas and nearly everywhere I looked said to put the pouch holding the corn in a Ziploc freezer bag to keep it clean. I couldn’t help thinking that even with a pillow case the bag would be uncomfortable and if I were to make a fun shaped pillow (like say a horse) the freezer bags would be awkward.

    Are these bags necessarily required? If so is there another, more comfortable, option?

  79. Brandy says:

    my mom makes them all the time and NEVER put them in a ziplock bag. She has one that is over a year old and it is fine.

  80. Tiffany says:

    * This may help with keeping the smell out*
    I always put my heat bag in a microwave safe bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Keeps the good smell in and the smell of the pop corn I just popped out πŸ˜‰
    My bag is filled with rice. I love it. Keeps my happy when pregnant.
    Also, sewing a few lines down a square shaped bag, starting and stoping an inch or two from the edges, helps keep the rice from falling all to one side.

  81. Jenny says:

    Has anyone put herbs in these??? Do you just put the herbs in with the rice and let sit in a ziplock bag for a few days and then remove the herbs before putting in the cotton bag??? I am making these for christmas presents. I am using lavender and anise with a few drops of peppermint oil. Thanks

  82. Janet Fairchild says:

    how many drops of esstional oil do you put in with rice…and how do you do this

  83. anne says:

    I made one tonight with dried great northern white beans and added 2 mint tea bags into a tube sock. It works wonders for my headache.

  84. Jenny says:

    Janet I think I put 4 drops of peppermint in one bag and 6 drops of lemon is another bag.

  85. Julie M says:

    I made heating pads using a mixture of rice and fax seed. I put them in the freezer for 3 days then took out to heat. It has no other additives. When the pad is microwaved it smells like cooked rice. Herbs and spices are offensive so thus only the rice and flax seed. What should I have done differently?

  86. Edith says:

    i wanna make one because i have menstrual cramps
    but i dont know what type of fabric
    and How Long Does It Stay Warm?

  87. kenna says:

    So… which hold the heat the longest?

    It’s for for a stray cat who won’t come inside the house(can’t have him anyway). But it has been freezing outside and I worry for him & others who I might make them for every night as well. So, length of heat retention is key here.
    And he would probably prefer something stinky… all animals do! Lol! Especially my dog… Gotta love that lightening fast roll they do so eagerly yet so lovinlgy into that invisible stink pile in the neighbors yard before you can even blink!… and always right after a bath too!

    Anyway, so which hold the heat the longest?

    Thank you all for the great info.

    If this plan work out, you can call me,
    The Toasty Kitty Bean Bag Hag…
    or something clever… but you can leave out the “stinky” part… Well, most of the time anyway.Lol!

  88. Leta says:

    i have several bags of rice that I made out of pillow cases several years ago… channeled with long stitches and circles…filled with long grain rice. I love the bags hot and hot…and have seriously scorched them thru the years I have had them…but have not had a fire…not put water in the microwave…so love the rice because I have had a lot of success…and yes it can smell like cooked rice…but is that bad??? :}

    my massage therapist said she made them with flaxseed…so I started looking and found this discussion…all I can say is WOW…never knew there was so many options. Thank you guys for all the input…

    i would love to know if there is anything that holds the heat longer than rice…but I guess unless you tried putting everything in a ziploc bag and did a “scientific” test … it would be a guess if one holds heat better than another…

  89. Misty says:

    Would like to thanks everyone for their wonderful input…I have read each and every comment and found it all to be very helpful…although I am still uncertain on which filler I will end up going with but at least I can say I am less loss- as now I do know some of the what NOT to do methods now!

  90. Joy says:

    I’ve been using three rice bags. One caught on fire last night. The microwave caught on fire and the entire garage stinks. Spritzing the bag with water sounds like an essential safety tip.

  91. Jessica says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My back pain is acting up, but my heating pad is looking rather scorched. I was originally looking for DIY instructions for a hot water bottle and could not find anything sustainable. You may have saved my sanity with this post. Thank you again!

  92. Dianne says:

    Look people. Do not under any circumstances use a microwaved wet cloth, in a plastic bag, with a towel wrapped around it as a heating pad for anyone of any age. This can cause severe burns, especially in small children and elderly. I have seen this happen to many times. My CNA class instructor has instructed us not to do this and so has an RN of 30 years.

  93. Naomi says:

    Growing up, we had a store bought Wheat Sack for over 20 years. Best thing ever. Now ive left home and going to make one with the Leg of an old pair of Jeans.
    The store bought one, is all natural and is made from, what i think, is Calamanco Fabric. The thick one with the lines in it?
    It held heat for up to an hour and even more when you and the Heat Sack is wrapped up in a Doona or towel to keep in the warmth. And in the whole 20yr i used to, it never attracted mice or anything. Never smelt when heated. And has never scorched or burnt even though i carelessly overheated it plenty of times when i was younger.

    I cant wait to make one!
    Also, i know that Priceline and other Cosmetic store have, over the years, sold a Lavendar scented Heat Teddy. Bought one as a gift about 5yrs ago and recently, saw the same thing in a store last month.

  94. JenniferAnne says:

    i noticed lots of people asking about the “DO NOT’S” but not many responces. i did try using the link to the saftey tips site posted above, but it was not working. i would REALLY like a list of the DO’S and DONT’S as i had planned on making several for christmas gifts. i have made one by putting rice into a sock and have had no problems other than a slight rice smell. i am looking to do something a little prettier for the gifts, ANY advice would be greatly appriciated or can someone point me in the dirrection of a working saftey page? Thank you very much!

    • Tipnut says:

      Hi JenniferAnne, the link is working but it may take a moment to load. If it isn’t working for you, the site may just be down at the moment. I can’t copy the info from the page to here due to copyright laws. For anyone wondering what link we’re talking about, it’s on the web archive here.

    • Debbie says:

      I use Flax seeds. They work better then rice and molds to the body much better then rice. By using Flax seed you don’t need to deal with the smell that you get by using the rice. I get the Flax seed at Trader Joes for $2.50 or so but the bag can make 2-3 bags depending on the size. The Flax seeds have no smell at all and you can add lavender oil or any other smells. I have mixed a couple of whole clove or even some herbal tea the the seed.If you want to keep the mice from getting to it you can add a couple drops of Tea Tree oil which also helps when you have a cold! To find a list of “DO NOTS” just go on-line to sites that sell them and I’m sure you will find a list. Hope this help!

      • Dina says:

        Debbie – I made a bunch using the flax seed from Trader Joes and one of them caught fire. Ever have this problem? I purchased one over ten years ago and it still works fine. I’m afraid to make another with flax seed but really don’t like the feel of corn or rice.

  95. Dee says:

    The easiest and quickest way to make a Microheatbag is…fill a tube sock with rice,,tie the end and heat!

  96. Amanda says:

    I have used rice as well and have found it to be wet and the smell displeasing. I was given an herbal pack 11 years ago that is still WONDERFUL. I believe it is filled with whole and ground flax seeds and what smalles like chammomile… or tea??? but I am taking some of the contents to Whole Foods to be identified. It doesn’t get damp when heated and has never smelled foul. It has accidently been washed twice and was also thrown in the pool by my 3 year old who sleeps with it nightly- and it still smells wonderful and is in incredible shape… maybe flax seed is the way to go…

    • heather says:

      Dear Amanda,

      Can you tell me what the contents of your bag was as identified by Whole Foods?
      I would really like to use this to make my own bag, it sounds so great.



  97. Sarah says:

    Question! I hope someone still gets on here! Which filler do people usually prefer? And when using scents such as lavender, do I use oil or actual leaves?

    • Jolyne says:

      Hi Sarah, filler preference is subjective. I have both a rice & a corn one. I LOVE the corn one because I really love the smell. Sometimes I heat it up just to smell up the room even if I don’t need a heat pad. My boyfriend, however, dislikes the smell & much prefers the rice one. There are many posts above explaining how to use the scents.

  98. ROBIN says:


  99. kelly says:

    Hi i was just wondering if there are other things you can add like eucalyptus in these ? Does it have to be the oils or can you use the real thing???

  100. Toni says:

    Do you mix the essential oil to the wheat….would this cause the wheat to cook or burn?

  101. Sarah says:

    I was wondering if you could mix dried tea leaves in with rice or something to make the bag smell good. I was thinking of jasmine or clove. Is that alright?

  102. Bill Hair says:

    Filled a crew sock with pinto beans microwaved for 1.5 minutes. Works great holds the heat but the smell becomes over-powering after you use it several times.

  103. Trins says:

    Great website! Exactly what I was looking for. I plan on making these as part of my bridesmaids gifts πŸ™‚

  104. Tanya says:

    I’m so confused now after reading everything from the beginning, including the link from the nurse. I planned on using rice but them found out from a retailer at the mall that he mixes his with flax seed so that when it’s placed in the freezer it will prevent the rice from freezing solid. I suppose that if the rice is kept dry it would be find but if it’s been used as a moist heat pack prior to freezing it will loose it’s flexability and so that is where the flax seed comes in so I went to the local ranch and feed store and bought a 5lb bag of whole flax seed for $5.00
    My only concern with the flax is the possibility of it exploding/blowing up (or whatever word was used to describe it) in the presence of oxygen because I want to make one of these for my brother-in-law who is in a full on war with a brain tumors. In the past month, he has been in the hospital several times where, of course, oxygen tanks happen to be present. What should I do??? Oh, smell would also be a problem as I’m sure he is quite sensitive at the moment
    I would also like to make one for myself to help with my back pain but since the pain can be anywhere from the neck/shoulder area and the very low part of my back and anywhere in between, Ive thought about making a sort of vest to encompass the entire area but then I thought about the weight which would only cause more back pain. Let’s face it…back pain is a no-win situation
    I found some great ‘recipes’ for ice packs so I think I’ll stick with that instead of the heat/freeze rice bags
    If anybody has any kind of input to help me decide on what to do, please let me know because I’m just in a state of confusion with life in general. I didn’t think that this heat pack would add to it so now I’m super confused and the only thing that comes to mind right now is the screaming pain my back is putting off right now. Please help!

    Thanks a bunch!

  105. Lisle says:

    Okay, there are a lot of confusing/conflicting things here. I have made tons of these bags over the years, and I still have my very first one and it works like a champ.
    First, whole corn will hold heat longest of any dry grain. It will smell like corn. Rice smells like rice, wheat will smell like wheat. Oatmeal should not be used, as it’s a milled grain, and it won’t hold heat. Oat groats can be used–they will smell like oatmeal. Cherry pits smell like cherries. Flax works wonderfully, as do coffee beans. These both contain oils, so they heat up a little hotter, and stay warm longer than the grain-filled bags. If you overheat a flaxseed bag, it will smell terribly. And the seeds can pop if they are too hot, and the oil will stain. They are my personal favorite, though.
    I never use beans; they’re too variable in how they act in the microwave, and too easy to burn.

    The size of your bag is as good a guide as anything to how long it should be in the microwave. If you’re making handwarmer-size bags to put in a pocket, they should be heated less than a minute. A medium-size bag (6″x16″~ish) is good for 2 minutes in the microwave. An 18″ square can go as much as 3 minutes. The wattage of the microwave also makes a difference.

    Fabric on the actual bag should always be 100% cotton to keep from damaging your microwave. You can make if from a sock, or from muslin, or an old t-shirt or jeans. You can make a cover for it that is fuzzy and soft. Use flannel or fleece, but remember that fleece will melt in your microwave. Therefore, it’s a removable cover.

    Finally, cherry pit bags and whole-corn bags can be washed. Cherry pit bags can be thrown in with your laundry, and they’ll be just fine. Corn has to be hand washed, but you cannot let it soak. Other, smaller grains will absorb the water too quickly, and become a smelly, mildewy mess that attracts bugs and animals, just like cooked food. Flax can be washed if you’re very careful, and I’ve never actually tried to wash a coffee-bean bag, so I don’t know about that. Keeping bags in covers means that you can wash the covers in the laundry, and the bags stay pretty darn clean.

    Essential oils and herbs should only be put in the bags of people who like those scents. And they should be used sparingly. Children should be taught to take care with the rice bags, and they should be supervised. Bags should be stored someplace dry, and preferably on the cool side.

    I have multiple bags(about 3/person in the house, plus a few extra). We do that so that you don’t have to keep reheating a bag that hasn’t cooled all the way. Or, you can warm your bed up with all of them at once. If you put two in the microwave, increase your time to 3 minutes–do not double it. If you put 3 bags in, add another minute. Do NOT heat bags that are very different sizes together.

    Take care and enjoy!! These really are a cheap, easy, and wonderful gift!

    • Stephanie says:

      Wow, thanks so much for the very informative post! I learned more in your one post than I did by reading all of the others!
      Do you have to be careful with seperating the whole corn as you do with other types of corn? I saw previous posts about the corn “popping” and want to avoid that. I’m looking at making lots of these so the quickest way to make them would be preferred. Thanks again.

    • Lisa says:

      I have a store bought wheat bag which I have had for four to five years and it is made with a polar fleece outer shell which goes in the microwave. It initially had a stronger lavender smell but is still slightly scented and the wheat has been fine. I put a lemonade bottle lid/cap in the microwave with water in it every time I heat it. I also had a store bought small heat pillow with those plastic pellets that were mentioned earlier and that scorched the second time it was used so I threw it out.

    • Patty says:

      Wow, I never thought of using whole coffee beans. Makes sense if corn feed works why not coffee beans. Thanks for the tip! I’m getting ready to make one but couldn’t find out where to get corn feed. I can find Coffee beans anywhere. LOL. πŸ™‚

    • Bella says:

      What about buckwheat hulls?

      • Jan in Eugene, Oregon, USA says:

        Craftspeople who sell their warmers at our local art and craft market seem to prefer filling theirs with buckwheat hulls, possibly because they are relatively odor-free and also lightweight. However, the bags are certainly not cheap, probably because the buckwheat hulls are rather expensive to buy even in bulk from local growers. They have been selling these for years, so I assume they are popular with customers. I don’t have any personal experience with them, so I can’t shed any light on their heat-retaining capability.

  106. Kat. says:

    Who ever said use old socks has never done so. I suggest NEW. The microwave will bring out that fine aroma of gymlocker no matter how well the sock is washed. Buy new white tube sock and tie not in end = no sewing Bed Buddy

  107. Lizzy says:

    These packs are also wonderful for kids with ear aches. My two stepsons and I usually get them horribly during allergy season (which is our house starts in spring and doesnt end until after a few frosts) These work so much better then just a warm wet rag!

  108. Liza says:

    My sister just moved in with us and she is addicted to hers. It is such a great idea but I think hers is several years old. She microwaves it every hour and carries it with her everywhere. Even in beautiful 70 degree weather. My concern is the HORRIBLE smell, dang like dirty socks. I won’t even prepare food in that microwave anymore. I bought her a new one, but my question is this :

    How many uses is reasonable ? What are the sanitation concerns ? Such as mold or bacteria.

  109. Rachel says:

    Ok, I want to make these using rice as a filler and I want to add a scent. I have some essential oils I like. Do I just add the oils in with the rice, or will that ruin the rice and cause it to cook? How do I add the oils without ruining the filler?

    • Lori says:

      i was reading that to add the oils to mix in a sealed container where you can stir it so the olis will be even

      • Michele says:

        I read somewhere on this site to put the rice and a few drops of essential oil in a zip lock bag. Shake it ever so often for a couple of days before using it.

        I haven’t tried it yet but it sound like a great stocking stuffer. I’m making some for my office ladies. Out office can get a little chilly this time of year.

  110. Cindy says:

    I have found that a new bandana also works if you can or like to sew. My 2 year old son took the first one I made and said ” my heat pad, my heat pad mommy ” now my 8 year old wants one. With the bandanas you know that it is 100% cotton. There are also different patterns you can choose from my family really like the one that has a lot of texting as the design of course they are big on texting. That will also make a great gift if you know of somebody that likes the patterns. I only paid $1 for each bandana, I can make 2 heat pads out of one bandana. Hope this helps cause they are 100% cotton ( it is written on the bottom )

  111. anonymous says:

    My family has shared a store (mall) bought one for quite a few years now and the scent has changed. Also we’ve heated ours for like 4 min at a time and it has never set fire. Do only home made ones set fire? How big is the “fire”?

  112. Catherine says:

    Can I use soybeans in the warming bags?

    • Cheri says:

      I wanted to use soybeans and after reading all of the blogs here I decided it would be a good idea to test them in the microwave before making one and giving it to my daughter. After 30 seconds the soybeans started making a popping sound and after a minute they were burnt. I’m going to try a different filter. Thanks to everyone for all of the posts!

  113. i made it says:

    i did it i made it with a sock i filled it with rice and put it in the microwave and watched it the hole time i was so scared incase it caught on fire but it never its amazing i have it on my feet now it is amazing ahhhhhhhhhh warmth

  114. Glenda says:

    My sister and I made these all the time out of old jeans.
    We sell them at craft shows as a “green” craft. People love them! Great for all ages.

  115. v gay says:

    can you use polyester?

  116. v gay says:

    I have made them from different materials, other than cotton, the acted the same,
    Is this alright?

  117. Rae Wollner says:

    I have made a few rice bags for myself and family members – we all like them very much — however, when I heat the bags up they get moist. I don’t know if this is supposed to happen or not – if it isn’t – what am I doing wrong. I’m afraid of mold building up in the moist bag. Thanks.

  118. Korrie says:

    My daughter has a unicorn bed-time buddie. It is filled with flax seed and vanilla fragrance. I have had it for approximately 7 years. She doesn’t use it anymore, but I can still smell the vanilla and have microwaved it and it still is in excellent shape. The tag does say to heat for 1-1 1/2 minutes, varies with each microwave. Adult supervision required. I would microwave it for one minute, check it, massage it, and microwave an additional 30 seconds at intervals til warm. My microwave is above 1200 so it does not take long. We all know to use common sense when heating, but sometimes we do need these tags for precaution. I really like the flax seed. The stuffed animal was good because the seed wouldn’t move around like I have read in other users bags.

  119. Pat says:

    I want to make these for my mother’s at church for Mother’s Day, but I have a few questions: 1. What is Whole-corn, there to purchased it? 2. Is the rice the same rice that you use for cooking and purchased at Walmart 3. How much fragrance oil to a bag? I would appreciate any help.

    • Daisy says:

      Hey the rice you use is up to you i used the adverage cooking rice and it works fine! also for great cough/cold relife add menthol like VIC which can be purchesed at a chemist or health section at superstore. πŸ™‚

  120. Alex says:

    Wow this actually works. I used it for a substitute to heating pads since I heard heating pads help take away cramps but we dont own a heating pad and man this took those cramps away πŸ™‚

  121. Daisy says:

    Hey its a great idea i used an old pencil case as a fun alternative! I took an old sock and filled it with rice in which i had mixed VIC (menthol) then tied the top with an elastic band then put the rice filled sock in a quirky material pencil case! Its great it you have a cold and if you like the smell!

  122. Bridget says:

    Thanks for the instructions. I was just thinking about my mother’s rice-filled one and wondered if I’d be able to find some instructions on the web – and I did! Thanks!

  123. Carol says:

    HELP! I am having a problem with the corn popping in the microwave. This has happened twice, the first time when I used “Deer Corn” from a local feed store and the second time when I used “Feed Corn” from Tractor Supply. Both times, the corn started to pop after less then 1 minute in the microwave. I would really like to make up some bags for gifts, but am getting frustrated at the prospect of having to buy new bags of corn, hoping to find one that won’t pop. Any ideas?

  124. Brenda says:

    Hi, well, I’ve been reading everyone’s posts and just wanted to add my own. I’ve been using ‘wheat bags’ for about 14 years. I suffer with fibromyalgia and find them a real comfort. I’ve made my own bags and sold them or given them away as gifts and I always use wheat which I buy from an animal feed farm shop. The finished size of my bags are approx 9in x9in or 4.5in x 18in. (I add 5/8ths of an inch all round for seam allowance) Both bags can be made from the same size piece of fabric, either fold it widthways or lengthways. The long ones are really good for sore necks and shoulders and the square ones are good for backs and feet! I heat them for at least 3 mins in the microwave and have never had any problems with them catching on fire. The wheaty smell deminishes with age and my whole family have one each.I keep one in the freezer in a ziplock bag for sprains and other injuries and have never had any problems with bugs or mould.
    I made two very small bags for a friend who suffers fron Reynauds and she loves them because she can just pop them in the microwave for a minute, much better than the reusable gel packs she had before. Another friend who has athritis in her hands thinks hers is a ‘godsend’.
    Just one last thought, aren’t lupins poisonous? Or is that delphiniums?
    Whichever, I think wheat is the way to go, it’s small and isn’t too lumpy plus it holds the heat. The good thing about these is that they only cool down to room temperature which in a solid doesn’t feel cold unlike room temperature water!
    Hope this helps a few of you make a decision.

  125. amy says:

    hi i have learnt to make the heat bag from my late sister it is very good but i am having a problem when using it it feels moist or wet how can i solve the problem
    thanks alot

  126. nikki says:

    i just made a heat bag and it works quite well but i put it in the microwave with a cup of water, the water boiled over and spilled all over the bottom of the bag.
    I used a combination of buckwheat, rock salt, oats and fine barley to fill the bag, can i dry it out somehow or do i have to replace everything in it?

  127. Susan says:

    Would fleece work? And how do you figure how much to sell them for the different sizes, may I ask?

  128. DJaM says:

    I made one of these from my daughter’s 0-3 month sized dress and gave it to my mother for Grandparents day – she loved it!

  129. Nicole says:

    Hi! These heating pads are such a great idea and I want to make them for my flight attendant friends. It gets pretty cold on the aircraft, but we don’t have microwaves in the plane…just ovens. Is it safe to warm these up in the oven if I use 100% cotton fabric and dried rice??? I sure hope so, these are great!

  130. fran says:

    I have made a few heat packs for my daughter and neice for cramps i used long grain white rice mixed with a few drops of vanilla essential oil placed in a ziplock bag for 2 days shaking it a few times a day then i used scraps of fabric left over from quilts filled and stitched them up the girls love them they have had them over a year still smells good we heat them for 1 minute at a time stalking the microwave just to make sure it does not catch fire they use them after track on their thighs i freeze mine when i have a migraine its a blessing hope this helps someone πŸ™‚

  131. Cindy says:

    I’m trying to figure out how to make these to donate to an inpatient Hospice facility. The problem is that they must be able to wipe them down with disinfectant—-otherwise they can’t be used. Any idea what type of fabric I should use??? (I will be making washable covers for them—-but that’s not enough)

  132. naz says:

    Hi, could I use an old hot water bottle and fill that up with the wheat and then I could microwave that when I need to?

  133. Judy H. says:

    I’ve been making these for 2 years now. Absolutely love them. I use the corn cause it stays warm the longest. I’ve been making the little pillowcases to go on them. That way…you only have to wash the pillowcase. I put them under the covers at the foot of the bed when I go to bed. Warms my feet and puts me right to sleep. I have made so many and given them to family and friends. Try it…you WILL like it.

  134. Sarah says:

    I tried this using patterned fleece and uncooked rice but when i took it out of the microwave, it was soaked! Everytime I put it in the microwave it comes out wet. πŸ™ Does anyone know what is causing this?

    • sheila says:

      is the fleece cotten? i use flannel for micro and fleece for the freezer. the fleece is very dense and build up steam too much. i have tried both snd found that the flannel is best for heat. the fleece is perfect for the freezer bags , it keeps the cold from being “too cold” on the skin. i love them both.

  135. Justin says:

    Ok just a question not sure if asked my mother made one for her arm because its been hurting but the question is this. Is their a number of times you can use it before needing to change the stuff out of it. My mother is using a old sock with rice if anyone knows please let me know thank you.

  136. Andrina says:

    Anybody know if you can use felt instead of fleece or cotton? I had a brain freeze at the fabric store as to what I should be getting, so it’s a good thing I just got a small remnant on closeout!

    Sarah I’ve heard of them getting sort of wet before but not soaking. How long did you have it in the microwave for? Do you perhaps live in a humid area? That might have something to do with it.

  137. Livvy says:

    Question: is it better to use rice or barley? does one last longer than the other? is one more comfortable than the other? I have owned both (bought for me) but i want to make some as gifts and thought i would ask….

  138. Jess says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I finally found all the information I need (in one spot) to make my Christmas presents. πŸ™‚

  139. Hannah Jay says:

    I’ve been making these for a long time. Personally, if I’m making one of any larger size, then I don’t use rice–it packs too dense and heavy which makes it harder to shape and more uncomfortable to lay on (I have a massive on I use for my back, like 10″x24″). I’ve used beans and dried corn (this always smells like popcorn when you heat it), but my favorite is dried lentils–they have more of a beanie baby texture once they’re sealed in. I use whole tea bags (apple cinnamon or spiced chai, yummmm) for scent and I’ve never had an issue with the staple on the tea bag when I put it in the microwave.
    For larger bags, I make “chambers” to keep the filler distributed. For all my sizes, I start low: 30-second intervals. I place my pack in the microwave, heat for 30 seconds, feel it and shake it so it doesn’t heat too much in just one area, and I repeat until desired heat level.

    • Catzpaw56 says:

      Thank you very much for the time frame. I have a 800W micro and found it takes about four blast at 30 sec each to heat comfortabally. I am trying different rice’s like, jasmine etc. ThankU.

  140. Julie says:

    I’m making these for Christmas gifts this year–finally something even guys will like and actually be able to use πŸ™‚ I’m filling them with rice and tea leaves

  141. Karen says:

    Is there something you’re supposed to do the rice first because I’ve made a gew and they come out too moist when heated

  142. Carol says:

    Wouldn’t the feed corn filler pop, like pop corn? Or is it different than regular corn…just wondered

  143. Ellen says:

    I have been using the same ones for years, 5 of them of different sizes. They are all made with new, long ski socks filled with rice. The secret is to place a very small jar of water in the corner of the microwave, off of the turntable, and keep it there at all times. They won’t scorch unless you leave for a very long time. My largest ones take 5 1/2 minutes, the smallest 2 minutes. They get hot enough to kill anything that might have been in the rice. I store them in my armoire all summer and have never had any problems with odor or bugs.

    I put 5 of these in my bed and they will keep me warm all night (night thermostat at 56 degrees in my house). I just move them around with my feet to adjust the temperature close to my body. The smallest one goes around my neck, on cold days around the house as well. The dog loves them, too. My cousin used to put one under his “Fred R Turbo” hat after a cold day at work to warm up quickly.

    But I do have a question. I had never considered the elastic content of the ski socks and the effect of heating as far as fumes. Any thoughts?

  144. Tiffany says:

    I have been making a heating bag with a corn filler, but I got corn that was freshly picked and shelled. I am not sure if I need to bake the corn or not. It is meant to be a gift, so I was hoping to find out so that nothing would go wrong.

  145. Dylan says:

    My shoulder smells like rice and old sock, but totally worth it.

  146. Margo says:

    My friends and I attend a lot of pot-lucks…and these microwave heating pads are so great. I have 2…cut to size to fit my potluck dish….after you have made your food, and placed it in the dish or cassarole…put the item on top of several layers of newspaper. Place a hot pad (heated already) under the dish…then cover the top of your dish with several layers of foil, and place a heated hot pad on top. You can then draw up the newspaper and scotch tape it to make a secure package.

    The hot pads will keep the food warm until ready to serve…and the newspaper acts like insulation too. And it will hold the heat quite a while, especially if you place the whole package in the quilted potluck dish carrier, or insulated carrier of some sort.

  147. Demi says:

    Just have to say, thank you all! I loved all the comments and ideas shared here. I work from home and the room I use has such a chill compared to the rest of our home. Just about to google electric heating pads/blankets and came across this site and just had to voice how much I loved reading it!

  148. Kimberly Kay Griffith says:

    I was introduced to these in 1993 during a very bad time with ruptured disc. A friend of mine made me three of these. 2 from a very soft, thick kitchen towel and the 3rd from a tube sock. She used rice as her filler. I microwaved the sock and largest ones for 3 minutes and the smaller one for 2 minutes. I dont think I could of made it until 1994 for surgery had I not of had these rice bags. I am not sure how long they were intended to last, but I finally retired the oldest 3 in 2006. I was still using them until my friend made me another set. The rice makes a moist heat and this was great on the back when there was pain and mucsle tension. My husband uses them on his back, shoulders and elbows when he has “over done it” outside. They have also saved us from taking a lot of extra medicine by relieving the pain naturally.

  149. Hedy says:

    I made so much of the flaxseed warmers for my brother who had spinal surgery about a year ago.. I learned about these warmers from his therapist. We bought one at first and then went online for instructions on how to make it because it is so expensive. Up to this moment i have made about 10 different shapes and pieces to fit his needs. I also read online that “flaxseed” last longer than any other seeds so I have not tried corn or rice, etc.. Excellent for joint, muscle pains and leg cramps or any other body cramps.. We discovered also that the heat stays longer if you cover the warmer with towels. I have given some friends and other family members and they loved it.

  150. sheila says:

    i make these all the time. i have arthritis and the pain goes away instantly (warm) when i put it on affected area. (Til pain pill kicks in) they are great for headaches (cold) and tension (warm). i have ones i always keep in freezer . freezer ones i always use flannel or fleece, it keeps the cold (burn) from happening. great for bumps and bruises and great for stings, shot sites, and then ones i always have for heat. i love them and give them to gift to everyone. i always get compliments and thank you’s for them and they are so easy to make.

  151. Darlene says says:

    I have made many for cool Boo Boo Bags for kids out of buck wheat and rice because they are not
    as heavy. Same with microwave heating pads, buck wheat and rice seems to make a nice lighter

  152. Martin says:


    My wife had an accident with her beanie bag, and burnt a hole in it. I have found an old towel that I have used for a replacement cover, the thing is my wife put the damaged one outside in the rain.
    What is the best way to dry the seeds/beans out before putting them into the new cover I have made?????

  153. Catzpaw56 says:

    Jasmine rice is beautiful.It holds the heat longer and smell lovely…

  154. Maria A. says:

    Cherry pits??! Wow that gives me the incentive to go out and pick up all the cherry pits that are left over from years of wasted cherries under my cherry tree! Woot! Free filler! πŸ˜‰ Actually, I love this idea.

  155. Claude says:

    Thank you for this site! My wife and I used to use the store bought ones but can’t find them anymore. Great for neck and lower back pain as well as just about any other kind of pain. I made one out of a sweat sock in about ten minutes using two “boil in bag” bags of rice in each end with a hand sewn stitch of strong button/carpet thread in the middle to separate. I also used two pieces of cord for handles on each end. Works just as well as the ones we used to buy and can’t find now. 30-45 SECONDS is all mine needs to be heated. You MUST be careful not to get them too hot or they can burn your skin if you do not test them first before wrapping them on. Many Thanks again!

  156. chewynum says:

    thank you for the how to!

    Started feeling sick earlier in night, thought it would go away of course it didn’t…

    Couldn’t find the gel heat pack ANYWHERE, well anywhere i could reach… so found a good 3-4 almost empty white rice packets, stirred in a few drops of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil in a bowl with the rice. Found a really nice microfiber cloth (so much softer then towel and seems to be keeping the heat in better) and using my mini sewing machine (thank you grandma!) stitched a bag up and within 10 minutes of sewing, mixing oils, filling and heating… the relief is amazing!

    May of added a bit to much of the oils though… if i ever get a cold i’m sure as i can be that i’ll use this sucker to keep me warm and my head very clear. Lovely smell anyway :3

  157. Lindsey says:

    How much filler do you put in? I don’t want to over do it…

  158. Jo says:

    My dog suffers from belly aches. I usually place a hot water bottle on her when these happen but thank you for this idea. I will make one the next time I’m off work.

  159. Nicole says:

    I have made some using fragrant rice. When heated it just smells vaguely floral. No cooked rice smell, no strong scents πŸ™‚

  160. Boston says:

    I have been making these for years. I use a thicker dish towel fill it 1/2 way with rice and use as a heating pad.

  161. Dee says:

    I’ve used these rice bags for years and love them. Can you tell me how much spice, herbs or oil to use to make a scented bag? Thanks.

  162. Meagan (Gnarly V) says:

    I have a bazillion wheat berries so I used those in mine along with brown rice and a bit of oats. My fragrance combinations were lemon balm leaves(dried) & lemon extract, Vanilla extract & dried flowers (rose, lavender, rosemary, jasmine, chamomile), and Tea tree oil(antibacterial, anti fungal, beast of an oil) with Herbs de Provence (I had some stuff that was getting a little old). I am using them to absorb odor & sweat from my roller derby knee & elbow pads and for my skates. The Derby Stank is getting to be too much and I don’t want to have to buy new pads all the time because I wash them too often. I will let you know of the results after testing!

  163. Miranda says:

    We have a few “rice socks” at home that we use in place of heating pads at home. We simply have taken a few socks that have lost their matches (knee highs are ideal for this, but anything that is bigger than an ankle sock works), and we fill it with rice edited just tying it off. All you have to do to use it is nuke it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and its wonderful. πŸ™‚

  164. Skip says:

    Where can cherry pits be purchased?

  165. Theresa says:

    Has any one ever had mealworms in there wheat and can you freeze them out and still use the wheat or do you have too throw out the wheat I have large bag of wheat it is cleaned and untreated would like to use it.

  166. Leslie says:

    Don’t tell my family but they are getting these for Christmas this year!

  167. susan says:

    I recently started crocheting. And i just LOVE cotton yarn. Was wondering if this would be ok in the microwave? I plan to make several both hot and cold packs as gifts. We ALL have aches n pains lol. Also which filler would be best for both? Looking for what works best for reusable packs. Thx. I luv this. Thanks so much for sharing ur crafts/talents.

  168. Joanne... says:

    I am SO happy to have stumbled in here. I have used shop bought ‘wheat bags’ for years.

    I use the hot for my arthritis and Mother Nature visits (cramps), and cold for migraines.

    The one downside though is that here in the UK I can only ever find theses scented with lavender.

    Although many use lavender to cure headaches, with me it will give me a headache or worsen an existing one. Just the scent can have me almost blinded by a migraine, dizzy and nauseous.

    Usually I have to heat a pad several times, leaving it outside until it stops smelling, before I can use it.

    But now I think I will have a look at making my own, either non-scented or witha scent I can use.

    I tried looking for the right filling to use and found the suggestions hard to find here. Then I read this and my little lightbulb turns on… I have so much rice in the house! I had my filling all along!

    I’m also going to try a shaped one which will drape around my shoulders and neck without sliding off like the commercial ones do, I spend much of my time repositioning it.

    So thank you all for saving my poor achy bones n sore head πŸ˜‰

  169. Cathy says:

    I use barley and have never had a problem with it over heating and I leave my 22 in. neck bag in mic for 21/2 minutes. I also put a cup of water with it and it gives off nice heat then and will not burn material.

  170. Rhondda says:

    I have made heat bags before and used wheat. After a few times of heating the wheat became sweaty and the bag became mouldy. So I thought I would give uncooked rice a go. To my horror, I tried just rice in a container in the Microwave and it burnt.
    What is really the best filler that won’t go moldy and won’t burn?

  171. Amani says:

    My mom suffer from fibromyalgia and this will be perfect for her.

  172. BJoy says:

    I make the pillow cases After I fill it to make a good fit. I fill them about half way full to make them easy to drape, wrap etc.
    I “scrunch” them up with a little indentation in the middle when heating.
    Polar fleece is Great for keeping them secure and hold in the heat longer.
    …. Cut 1″, or more, larger than you want. Right sides together sew with short stitch . turn and then do a hem about a half inch in just a bit longer stitch. That gives you 2 secure seams… nothing falls out. Most funnels are difficult for filling, make a cone of newspaper. I always use rice (it’s cheap at Asian food markets-when I make a bunch for holidays) and loose dried herbs and oils, but I still get the smell of popcorn occasionally)

  173. Sam says:

    Which filling stays warmer longer?


  174. Allison says:

    Hey I want to make a pillow for my boyfriend and was wondering when using essential oils do they last or no? and I’m suppose to distribute it throughout the mix right and let it stand for a while?

  175. Heather Hicks says:

    Is it possible or even a good idea to use soy beans if yes how long do they hold the heat.

  176. Janice says:

    Can I use silk thread for my microwave bag? I found some at our local thrift store and I don’t have cotton thread on hand.

  177. jodi says:

    Just wondering what the best filler would be when it is being used for keeping kittens warm? They are in the house but can be fairly young (I’m a foster home for momma cats and kittens) and I would like something that lasts fairly long but doesn’t smell over much.

  178. Betsy Sylvester says:

    Just to add a spin to this, I got one several years ago and continued with the original recipe from it. I use bird seed and whole cloves. They’ve always been a hit.

  179. Kathy says:

    I used a fabric placemat, folded in half lengthwise. Left one end open to fill and the sewed it shut. Nice size for across the shoulders.

  180. Bev says:

    Been making rice ones for awhile, love the idea of herbs or oils. When making a larger one for neck…I make rows in material so rice does not just fall to one corner.

  181. Heatmarsh says:

    I am really surprised no one said to use bay leaves….they have a wonderful scent and are used in a lot of traditional remedies for cold/sinus and headache problems. After reading a lot of websites, and going by how other people I know have made them I think I am going to stick with the beans.

  182. Susan says:

    I’ve been looking for directions to make one of these for a long time.

  183. Abby says:

    Omygosh this was a life savor! I have severe endometriosis and ovarian cysts and I hadnt gotten a chance to replace my heating pad after my puppy chewed the cord. The pain started about 1 am and I didnt want to go to the store. I came across this post and threw some rice in a sock to get through the night. Without it I probably wouldnt have slept and might have made a trip to the ER yet again. I am SO making a few of these with different fillers and pretty covers to keep in the house. Thanks

  184. Jennifer says:

    I can’t live without my microwave heating pads! I have experimented with several fillings and here is what I’ve discovered: rice, dried beans, and cherry pits will do, but my all-time favorite filling is dried whole corn – not the popping kind. Whole corn has excellent heat retention and may be microwaved (and frozen) repeatedly without breaking down. It has a mild, sweet aroma – similar to popcorn – and doesn’t take on a peculiar odor like rice or beans and doesn’t require added fragrances. This is an added value for those who dislike the strong smell of herbs and/or perfumes like lavender, clove, etc. Once the corn is set inside your warmer it will last for years so you can enjoy the nurturing heat (or gentle ice if you choose to freeze it) without the worry of it β€œcooking” and breaking down and needing to be replaced. So, try whole corn — which can be purchased at your local feed or hardware store — and discover the reliable heat retention and rest assured the corn will last for a long time.

  185. Sue says:

    Hi All, Friends of mine gave me some wheat and barley that still has the husks on them . Can I use the wheat and barley for the hot/ice packs ???? Or just feed to chickens . Help Help . Thank you

  186. Michael says:

    How many years does a cozy heating pad last ?

  187. Liz says:

    so this is probably a dumb question but if I use a material like fleece and can’t microwave it to heat it up, how do I hear it??

  188. Linda says:

    Girl scouts make them using old long sleeve shirts, great for someone who doesn’t sew.

  189. Sarena says:

    Wow so much info in the comments took so long to read but I think I got all the info I’ll need, I think I’ll make sock monkeys for the little (&big) girls in my family so there are no plastick eyes that could get too hot. I know 4 girls who would love them pink monkeys to warm up and blue to chill

  190. Gerald Smith says:

    I had one catch fire in the microwave. I would never give one to somebody. I would not leave it unattended. There might be way to make it safe, but the one made in China caught on fire the first time I used it.

  191. Michele says:

    What is the rice to oil ratio when adding an essential oil like lavender or clove?

  192. kim says:

    I love to use fleece to make the rice bag, but I can’t find the cotton fleece, only the ones with polyester. I’ve purchased corn bag made by fleece,at a craft fair, but there’s not description on it. I’ve been microwaving it about 2 minutes and seems to be fine. Is it safe to use the polyester fleece? Thanks.

  193. Micah Burns says:

    i used rice and lavender in a sock it turned out amazing i love it

  194. Melanie says:

    I just made a tester pouch; I put uncooked rice in and after a min and a half it was burnt. I would recommend the flax seed

  195. Abby says:

    Right now… all I have on hand is Minute Rice……would this work ?

  196. Angela says:

    What type of flax seed? Also…do you use whole seeds or milled/ground flax seed?

  197. Pat says:

    My rice bags are several years old. I have lost instructions on how to “rejuvenate” the bags. Can you help?

  198. Monique says:

    I made 2 heat bags over a year ago, both with rice. I LOVE them but the problem is…so do My grandkids! I never get to use them when they are around so I figure I need to make more. My question is about flaxseed. I have golden flaxseed meal and flaxseed meal, but I’m guessing you are talking about the actual seeds and not the ground flaxseed meal? I love the rice,but the family does complain about the slight odor, so when I read that flaxseed releases no odor, plus holds heat longer – well that’s a no brainer for me. So…can you please be specific about the flaxseed filler, down to the brand you used? I pose these questions to Lisle, Hedy and whomever else has solid knowledge on using flaxseed.

    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you

    Waiting on pins and needles so I can get to work…lol


  199. Hales says:

    So I made one of these with rice, and some lemongrass and mint. I love it! I am flying overseas next month and was wondering if anyone knows if these are safe to bring in a carry-on? I find they are still nice even when not heated but I was wondering if it would be an issue because of the rice and herbs?

  200. Anita says:

    To anyone who makes these, especially for gift or sale, make sure they are sewn securely! I bought one at a boutique and it opened up after only about 2 weeks of use. Very disappointing to have to repair it so soon.

  201. Pink says:

    Soooo will regular oatmeal work (mine says 100% natrual whole grain) from the brand quaker oats?? And how long will i have to heat it and how long will it last with oatmeal??? Thanks alot

  202. Megan says:

    I heated beans in the microwave for two and a half minutes, then put them in one of those thick ice packs with the lid. It insulated the heat making it last longer and it worked like a charm for my mother who has endometriosis.

  203. Richard says:

    I saw the question about using pea gravel. Microwave ovens heat by agitating water molecules in food or, in the case of heating bags, beans or grain. Gravel has no water so it will not heat, just like glass dishes don’t get hot in the microwave. In the rare case of entrapped water in the rocks, they could explode. Not good. Hope the helps.

  204. Casondra H says:

    I just made one out of black beans, my husband’s unused tube sock and added a littleint and peppermint extract. It smells amazing and works beautifully. Peppermint is only found in grocery stores around Christmas but minte extract is found year round.

  205. ashley says:

    What is the best filler? something that will last the longest both heat wise and the life of the filler with all the heating i’ve only ever used wheat.

  206. Jane says:

    THANK YOU so much to everyone who posted in this thread; it’s marvellous to have this level of information and personal experience to help me figure out how best to make my own heat pads, because, well, they are life savers! I have arthritis and heat has, in my experience, proved itself to be the most efficient painkiller and/or pain reliever. I’ve ended up with major blisters from falling asleep whilst using a hot water bottle. I’ve been told I risk ending up in hospital with cellulitis because of how the hot water bottle usage has affected my skin. You have to be so cautious/careful, but heat pads, they are AMAZINGLY powerful at getting the job done. And it’s like getting a big hug from your loved one when a home crafted heat pad is gifted to you! Again, thank you one & all!

  207. Suzy says:

    I’ve used barley to make these over the years, works the same as wheat but prevents the problem of Wheat allergies. Channels for bigger bags really help prevent filling sagging at one end. I’m loving the ideas from here of essential oils and herbs. Great ideas from all over. Good health and peace to all from this Kiwi

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