Every now and then life hands you a situation that says “I need an icepack!!”
Maybe you’ve had an injury or a sprain, perhaps a hurt child needs to soothe a boo boo, someone might be recovering from surgery. . .
Or . .
maybe you just need to keep your lunch cold.
(That’s an important situation too!)
When you find yourself needing an ice pack, why not Make Your Own? Here are five easy methods using common household items:
5 Ways to Make Homemade Ice Packs
All of the methods below can be put into a ziploc bag and then put in the freezer. For extra security against leakage, you can also double bag your ice packs by putting the ziploc bag inside a second ziploc bag, with the zippered side facing down toward the bottom.
1. Corn Syrup
Corn syrup (such as a brand like Karo Light Corn Syrup) makes an excellent gel type of ice pack. It stays nice and squishy and flexible and doesn’t change texture or color in the freezer. It also contains nothing harmful if it would accidentally puncture or leak in a lunch, aside from things getting a little sticky. It can be made using any size ziploc bag. Simply pour some corn syrup into the bag, seal, and put in the freezer for several hours.
2. Dish Soap
Dish soap can also be used to make a gel type of ice pack. I used Dawn dish soap when I tested this out and found that after only a couple of hours it was still much like the corn syrup and had not changed color or consistency and was nice and squishy. However the next day it was no longer like a gel and was much more icy and firm. Either way, it doesn’t freeze up solid and if you use a colorful soap (like the blue color of Dawn) it will signal that it is not an edible substance. It also can be used in any size ziploc bag by pouring in some dish soap, sealing, and putting in the freezer for several hours.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
The addition of alcohol to water will keep it from freezing completely which makes it an easy way to create a homemade ice pack. Use a sandwich size or quart size ziploc bag and combine 1-1/2 cups of water with a 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol. Seal and put in the freezer for several hours or overnight. Sometimes you can also find a Green Colored Wintergreen Rubbing Alcohol which would give the ice pack a little bit of color.
For a really cheap and easy DIY ice pack, simply add some ordinary table salt to water. Use a sandwich size or quart size ziploc bag and add 2 tablespoons of salt to 2 cups of water. Seal and put in the freezer for several hours or overnight.
Finally, you can create an ice pack by using a clean sponge, getting it wet with water and putting it in the freezer. This is a good method for an ice pack for lunches as it’s just water with no other possibly harmful substances. The sponge will be hard and firm with no flexibility when first taken out of the freezer. As it warms up it becomes moist and soft again, but not drippy. You can put it in a baggie if you want, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.
– You can freeze the small packets of ketchup or other condiments from fast food restaurants for teeny tiny ice packs for the little ones.
– For a quick and easy cover for ice packs, check out my previous post about homemade heating pads and ice packs.