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Make Your Own Heating / Cooling Pads

Sometimes called "bed buddies" or "stress busters", these nifty little pads can be tossed in the microwave and used as heating pads for sore, aching or tense muscles, or tossed in the freezer and used as cooling pads!
The Insides

You can fill the pad with dry rice, corn, bird seed, or a combination of all of these.

Add spices, herbs and/or essential oils - when heated the pad will smell wonderful. A combination of allspice, ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg makes a nice Christmas smell. The combination of herbs below are purported to soothe a headache:

  • Dried lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Betony
  • Rose petals
  • Cloves
  • Rosemary
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add a few drops of essential oil if desired. Cover and leave for a day or two, stirring occasionally to distribute the herbs.

The Outsides

Quicky pads can be made by using an old tube sock and sewing up the ends.

Other materials:

  • An old towel or washcloth
  • Flannel (cut up an old flannel shirt or nightgown if you have one)
  • Muslin
Simply cut the material into retangle pieces, 2-3 times longer than the width. Fold lengthwise and sew up the sides. Spoon in the mixture and sew the top end closed.

If you'll be giving these as gifts, you might want to go one extra step and make an outer pouch that's pretty, and washable. An outer pouch also helps protect the skin from excess heat or cold. Follow the same basic instructions as above, but make the outer pouch just a little larger than the inner. On one end you might want to include a strip of velcro to close the pouch and hold the inner pad in place.

Added embellishments might include a loop of material or ribbon on both ends to use as a handle, a strip of satin ribbon folded over the edges for trim, or a embroidered design. Just remember, whatever decoration you use should be soft, not scratchy or hard.

To Use

Simply pop the pad in the microwave and nuke for 2-3 minutes (time will vary depending on the size of your pad). To use as a cooling pad, place in the refrigerator or freezer.


One of our readers wrote in with a cautionary note about heating pads catching fire from smoldering on the inside. This may occur when the water content of the filling is dried out and burned from many re-heatings. One possible solution is to place a cup of water in the microwave when heating the pads, to keep the interior moist. Another solution would simply be to replace the filling after so many heatings.
Thanks, Dawn!

Toni says: I bought a similar product at a flea market and they recommended spritzing it with water before nuking it so as not to "kill" the filling, and make it last longer. Makes sense.
Thanks, Toni!

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