How To Make a Microwavable Heating Pad

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make a homemade heating pad

Many people think that Dining on a Dime is “just” a cookbook about how to save on food and groceries but what they don’t realize is that it includes big sections full of other things like homemade beauty products, cleaning products and much more. Today I thought I would give you our “recipe” for a homemade heating pad (since I had to use mine last night) 😀 I saw a heating pad similar to ours sell for $20 the other day. You can make ours for about $.25.

Homemade Heating Pads

Quick Version

Fill old sock with rice and knot end. Spray lightly with water and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.


Deluxe Version

Essential Oils

Mix herbs or oils with dry rice. Let sit for a day or two before filling pad.

Herbs and Oils to Use:

Allspice, cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg for an old-fashioned scent
Dried lavender to soothe headaches and relax
Dried lavender and rosemary for body aches
Or anything you find relaxing and pleasing

Make Pad 

I like to use an old sock because it molds so well to different areas of the body but you can sew some flannel, an old washcloth or muslin (anything you want) into desired shape. Leave one end open in order to fill with rice sew closed.

To Use:

Spray lightly with water*. Place in microwave for 30 seconds or 1 minute.

*Be sure to spray with water before microwaving. This will make the heat last longer and prevent it from burning in the microwave. To be honest though I have forgotten to spray it and it seems to do fine. It’s just better if you can.

For more easy recipes like this to make your life easier, check out our Dining On A Dime Cookbook.


Photo By: Pamela Carls


  1. Melody says

    I have the same type of heating pad and I love it…I have never sprayed mine with water though will give that a try next time…I also have made smaller versions in baby socks that I filled with flax seeds from the dollar tree…My husband loves them and warms them up in the morning before going to work and he puts one in each pocket so that way he can warm one hand up at a time and they keep him warmer since they are in his coat pocket! He showed them to the guys at work and they now want me to make them some too :)

  2. mommakaos says

    I have made these for years!
    I have even made ones attached to gloves for arthritis pain in the hands.
    You can make them with any dried bean or rice, whatever is cheapest is what I use at the time.
    They are a great gift for others or just to treat yourself.
    We live in Canada and get temperatures as low as -40 in the winter, we have one we heat up and throw in the bed every night to get it warmed up for us in advance!
    Personalize them with fabric to match your personality, I search thrift stores for fabric that is funky..HINT: DO NOT GET FABRIC WITH GOLD OR SILVER IN THEM AS THEY CAN SPARK IN YOUR MICROWAVE!!
    Enjoy the heat!!

    • Sheri says

      Ditto that! I made that mistake already! The gold paint on my fabric burned a hole in my bag!

      If you sew channels in the pad, you can cover more area with less barley, rice or whatever you use.

      I never heard of spraying it with water, but it makes sense.

  3. Brenda D. says

    I love my homemade heat pad. I actually have 2. My 1st one I made years ago with shelled corn (and I made several for Christmas gifts to stick in spa gift packs I made along with homemade sugar scrubs and things along that line) and the second I made a smaller sized face heat pad with lavender scented rice for when I have a headache. The bigger one I made in the shape of a big dog bone (cut out of an old cotton hole filled, stained table cloth) and the shape is perfect for sore necks & shoulders.
    Keep up the great work on your newsletter…I love it!

  4. Vicki says

    Just be sure that whatever fabric you use is a natural fiber, not a synthetic. Natural fibers hold up to the heat better.

  5. Chearyl says

    Was wondering I have made a couple of these herbal bags with corn, but they don’t seem to hold the smell very long, what is the secret to keep them smelling a long time? I have a boughten one I have had for over two years and it still smells, just wondering what I am doing wrong, as it has a strong scent in the beginning.

    • says

      It depends on what you are using for scent. If it’s herbs then it helps to crush them to release it. If it’s oils you just have to refresh the oil.

    • says

      when you’re done with it let it completely cool. put in a ziplock bag and store in your freezer. just as if you store your tea in the freezer it will preserve longer!

  6. Lindy says

    My Mother has made these for years and they hold out well. She also puts a removable, washable cover on them, of the same fabirc, with little poppers, which we have found great. It keeps it cleaner and from a nurses point of view I think it is healthier.

  7. Ladygray4 says

    I made some filled with buckwheat for a gift for a friend who has fibromyalgia, whose hands get cold alot. Since they’re heated in the microwave, I read somewhere to use ONLY 100% cotton material. Unfortunately that means no fleece, as it’s polyester :( so I used flannel.
    I’m thinking baby socks would probably be polyester too, wouldn’t they? But they apparently work – does anyone know for sure that fleece works without being a hazard, melting or something??

    • says

      I’m really not sure about the fleece. I know you can’t iron fleece because it could melt but that maybe different from putting it in the microwave and heating up what is inside of it. I personally would stay away from it but some may have used it. There are a lot of socks now that are cotton so don’t totally rule them out. You could use adult cotton socks to and just fill them with a little of your buckwheat then knot. That way you can make it as big or little as you want.

  8. linda says

    i was wondering i had a lavender heating pad i brought , after i used it in the microwave i used the microwave to heat some food well i wanted to ask did any one do the same? if so did your mouth taste like lavender from the food you cooked ? i don’t want to get sick from the lavender.

    • says

      You probably won’t get sick from it but food can easily pick up the taste of any smell in the air. For example if you put butter in the fridge uncovered and a garlic dish you will have garlic flavored butter before long. That is why I say cover all of your food and put it in air tight containers. I have often gone to people’s homes and the have served cookies and the cookies or baked goods have a little bit of an off flavor. People don’t realize they need to keep things like their baking soda in an air tight container because what do we often use baking soda for – to absorb odors so that open box of baking soda in your cabinet has been sitting in there for weeks absorbing odors and if it is in the spice cabinet it has really been busy. That is why sometimes people’s baked goods have that off taste. Butter is another thing that we use in baking and it absorbs odors easily. Usually we have a covered butter dish which helps.
      But know it won’t hurt you it just tastes weird.

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