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10 DIY Heating and Cooling Products You Can Make to Help Relieve Pain

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Heat and cold therapy are some of the most popular and effective tools for managing chronic pain. But many of the heating and cooling products available for purchase can be expensive.

That’s why we asked our Mighty community to share their favorite DIY heating and cooling products they make at home to relieve chronic pain.

These ideas are low-budget as well as low-effort, so if you’re going through a bad pain flare, you can quickly and easily pull together a hot or cold pack to soothe the aches.

Here are their suggestions.

We hope the products below, all recommended by our Mighty community members, help you or a loved one in your health journeys. Just so you know, The Mighty may collect a share of sales from the Amazon links on this page.

Heating Products

Note: When making your own heating products, be sure not to use any materials that are flammable or would melt in the microwave.

1. The Rice Sock

tube socks, rice and essential oils

Materials needed: Tube Socks (3 pairs for $12.90) and Rice ($9.92). Optional: Essential Oils ($19.95).

“Rice socks!” said Jamie Lynn. “The long tube socks, fill and tie. They are great because they are flexible, wrap around your neck, tuck against your tummy, lay across your knees and the heat lasts. (Also good for a big age range, we used it as young as 4 and up.)”

Jenny Williams Sarver wrote, “A pair of socks… stuff with rice or beans and put lavender and mint essential oils in it. Tie a knot at the end. Heat it up in the microwave for a couple of minutes and wrap around neck or put on areas you need warmth for sore muscles. It works. You can reuse again and again. The essential oils are great aromatherapy.”

2. The Epsom Salt Compact

epsom salt and wash cloths

Materials needed: Water, Epsom Salt ($22.95) and a Wash Cloth (6-ct. for $11.29)

To make this compress, simply dissolve some Epsom salt in a bowl of hot water, then soak the wash cloth in the solution. Wring it out so it is damp but not dripping, and apply to the area that hurts. This is a good alternative for anyone who is unable to take a full Epsom salt bath.

3. The Bean Pillow

dry beans and pillowcase

Materials needed: Dry Beans ($1.32) and Pillowcase (2 for $7.49)

Mandy Grooms Schuler recommended, “Dry beans in a pillowcase, however big/small you like it, warm in microwave for 30 seconds. Feels so good on tummy.”

4. The Damp Hand Towel

hand towel and ziploc bags

Materials needed: Hand Towel ($4.99) and Ziploc Bag (32-ct. for $4.73)

Emma Hooker told us, “You wet/dampen a towel. Put it in the microwave for about two minutes then throw it in a plastic bag. Quick and easy!”

“I had a professor heat up a wet napkin in a microwave and then put it in a Ziploc for my back once. It worked well, as weird as it sounds,” said Skyelan Rayne Seabourn.

5. The Corn Compact


dried whole corn, fabric, needle and thread

Materials needed: Dried Whole Corn ($15.97), Cotton Fabric ($10.99), Cotton Thread ($12.85) and Needle (6 for $4.91)

If you have fabric scraps lying around (or even an old T-shirt!), you can stitch a small pouch and fill with corn to heat in the microwave and use as a heat pack. Be sure to 100 percent cotton fabric and thread as well as dried whole corn (such as feed corn or birdseed) – not popcorn!

Learn how to make a heat pack with corn here.

Cooling Products

6. The Classic Ice Pack

ice pack, bandana and ziploc bag

Materials needed: Ice Cube Tray (4 for $6.99), Ziploc Bag (32-ct. for $4.73) and Bandana (3 for $4.99) – plus ice!

“Small Ziploc bag and some ice,” Tania Sherley suggested. “Throw the ice in the Ziploc, then grab a bandana or similar piece of long soft material, tie the material around the Ziploc. Place the Ziploc at the base of your neck (at/on the top of your back, not at your throat), tying the material loosely around to the front of your neck. Absolute heaven on horridly hot, humid days at home. (I wouldn’t advise wearing this when out and about as the ice water drips down your back – which is also heaven.)”

Christy Danger wrote, “When I travel by plane, I often bring two Ziploc bags and a washcloth with me. If I need an ice pack during the flight, I can ask a flight attendant for ice to put in one bag. I seal it and put it inside the other bag to prevent leaks. Finally, I wrap the washcloth around the ice pack. After it melts, it can be emptied and dried out to use on rerun trip.”

7. The Frozen Liquid Bag

dawn dish soap, ziploc bags, rubbing alcohol

Materials needed: Rubbing Alcohol ($9.04) or Dawn Dish Soap ($5) and Ziploc Bag (32-ct. for $4.73)

“Rubbing alcohol and water in a Ziploc bag,” suggested Angela Rowley. “It doesn’t completely freeze. Perfect flexible ice pack.”

Liberty White told us, “I use Dawn dish soap poured into a plastic baggie. I keep it in the freezer. It works great because it doesn’t freeze solid.”

8. Peppermint Cooling Spray

witch hazel toner, peppermint essential oil and fine mist spray bottle

Materials needed: Water, Witch Hazel ($8.28), Peppermint Essential Oil ($14.95) and Fine Mist Spray Bottle ($3.25)

To make this spray, simply combine water, the witch hazel toner and peppermint essential oil in a small spray bottle and shake it up! The witch hazel and peppermint will provide a cooling sensation, but you could also store it in the fridge for some extra coolness.

9. The Frozen Sponge

sponge and ziploc bag

Materials needed: Sponge (3 for $4.88) and Ziploc Bag (32-ct. for $4.73)

Kathy Lashuay recommended, “[A] wet sponge in a Ziploc bag – put it in freezer. Use as an ice pack. Works well for kid boos-boos as well.”

10. The Frozen Wash Cloth

wash cloth and ziploc bag

Materials needed: Wash Cloth (6-ct. for $11.29) and Ziploc Bag (32-ct. for $4.73)

Kel Williams told us, “I get a wash cloth wet and then freeze it. Then I put it into a Ziploc bag to carry in my purse. Prednisone makes me sweat a lot.”

Lead photo via Tatomm on Getty Images

Originally published: December 10, 2017
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