How to Make Ice Packs At Home
Since centuries, ice packs have been used for various purposes and most commonly, as an instant remedy for pains and injures. Till date, ice pack is probably the first thing that comes to our mind when it comes to treating various kinds of wounds. Here are a few DIY remedies that you can easily consider making at home, and make the best use of ice packs efficiently.
DIY Flexible Ice Pack with Rubbing Alcohol
- Water – 2 cups
- 70% rubbing alcohol – 1 cup
- Blue/green food coloring (optional)
- Zip-top bags – 2 (quart or gallon-size, or vacuum sealer bags)
- Mix the water and the alcohol in a zip-top bag. Add the food coloring to get the desired tint (you can also use other colors though).
- Press the bag and release as much air you can before properly sealing it.
- Put this bag inside the second bag and seal again (do not skip this step, since the double seal makes sure that the fluid doesn’t leak out).
- Keep it in your freezer and allow it to cool until it gets sluggish. This should take around 12 hours.
Before applying this soft alcohol gel pack, make sure to place a thin towel between your bare skin and the pack to avoid burning your skin. Icy alcohol is exceptionally cold, and might give you frost bites if it comes in direct contact with your skin.
- If you don’t have rubbing alcohol at hand, you can also use the same quantity of 80-proof vodka.
- Another option is replacing rubbing alcohol with 2 tbsp salt and mixing it in 2 cups of water.
- Simply replace the water and rubbing alcohol mixture with corn syrup for a gel ice pack that will not harm your skin when applied directly.
- You may skip the alcohol and use 1/3rd cup hydrogen peroxide with water.
- Use hair gel (without water) in small quart- or snack-size Ziploc bags and freeze. This might sound a bit expensive, but is a safe alternative for those looking for a slushy gel.
Reusable Gel Ice Pack with Dish Soap
You might be surprised to know that, dish detergent works as a great ice pack. The consistency of dish soaps are normally not too thick, and once frozen, it would become much more viscous. This recipe is also easy to make, and of course, cheap. Simply pour a liter of liquid dishwasher soap (you can use Dawn or Palmolive dish soaps) in a zip-top bag and freeze until you get the desired consistency.
Long-Lasting Cold Pack with Rice
- Tube sock
- Raw rice – As much as it fits inside your sock
- Essential oil (eucalyptus, peppermint, or any other of your choice) – 8-10 drops
- Pour all the rice in the tube sock.
- Add the essential oil, and then sew shut the bag tightly.
- Put the sock in the freezer. When cold, your rice ice pack is ready to use.
- For the above recipe, old cotton pillow cases and sheets will also be good. If you want to use this pack for your knees, opt for a long, rectangular cover so that you can easily wrap it around your wrist, ankle or knee joints.
- You may heat up this rice pack in the microwave for a heat pack as well, but make sure not to overheat, or the rice may start cooking
- Beans or feed corn may be a replacement for rice.
Disposable Witch Hazel Ice Pack
Post child birth, if you have any delivery-related issues like perineal tearing, stitches or swelling, these homemade witch hazel ice packs work best.
- Hospital grade incontinence pad or thick pieces of sponge – 5-6
- Witch hazel (about half a bottle)
- Pour some water on the absorbent side of each pad (or the sponge), without completely saturating it
- Spurt some witch hazel on top of each pad.
- Put these pads separately inside flat zippered bags and freeze until solid.
- Sit on one of these until the solid pad thaws completely.
- Sponge ice packs are useful for pain in your back, shoulder, elbow, neck, and other joints. You can leave out the witch hazel for this purpose.
- Interestingly, you can even use a few iced sponges (in zippered bags) to keep your lunch boxes cool. Just freeze them as mentioned in the above tip and toss them into the lunch box. You can freeze them again for the next day’s lunch.
Other Homemade Instant Ice pack Ideas
Simple homemade ice packs can come in handy for various common ailments and inflammations like migraine headaches, wisdom teeth pain, swollen gums and hemorrhoids. The following instant ice packs are ideal for athletic injuries as well:
- Plain water frozen in a cup
- Plain ice cubes tied in a piece of clean cloth (you can add salt to the ice to decrease the melting point)
- Iced bottled water (drape in a towel to make it last long)
- Crushed ice filled in a plastic bag (you can use bubble wrap plastic to make small bags using duct tapes to control the temperature of the ice bag)
Although adding ammonium nitrate to normal water aids in freezing it quickly, using it is not at all recommended due to risks of burning and irritation.