DIY icepacks in a pinch (or to pinch pennies)
Why spend money on a fancy reusable ice pack when there are so many do-it-yourself options. Learn how to make these common household items into ice packs. For each, we recommend double bagging in sealable bags removing as much extra air as you can.
- Sponge—Just wet, bag and freeze overnight. This icepack not only stays cold, it is also drip-proof.
- Dish soap—Just put the dish soap in a bag and freeze. The soap will freeze, but not quite all the way, making a gel pack that can form nicely around an injury.
- Corn syrup—This works just like the dish soap, just bag and freeze. And it’s edible, making it a good choice if you need it for a teething child.
- Rubbing alcohol—Add 1 cup rubbing alcohol to 2 cups water, seal and freeze. Add food coloring to help you (and kids) remember that it’s not edible. If you prefer a slushier ice pack, add more alcohol.
- Salt—You know how adding salt to the pot makes it boil faster? Salt also keeps water from freezing solid. Add 2 teaspoons of salt per cup of water, bag and freeze for a slushy ice pack.
The best do-it-yourself icepacks don’t require any prep beyond your weekly shopping list. Just make sure to always have a bag of frozen peas or corn on hand. They make terrific “ice” packs, staying cold a long time and the bags form nicely around an injured knee or elbow because it’s actually hundreds of little rounded ice packs in one.