How to make homemade gel ice packs

Written by kristin urbauer
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How to make homemade gel ice packs
Add homemade gel ice packs to your first aid kit. (Lea Kavcic/iStock/Getty Images)

Gel ice packs provide quick relief for strained muscles and bruises. They are softer than normal ice packs and can be moulded to place over almost any area of the body. However, they are also more expensive then regular ice packs. Solve this dilemma by creating your own homemade ice packs. Store these ice packs in your freezer for quick access the next time you or a family member has an injury.

Things you need

  • 250 ml (1 cup) rubbing alcohol
  • 750 ml (3 cups) water
  • 2 Plastic freezer bags

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  1. 1

    Pour the alcohol and water in to a freezer bag. Close the bag completely, squeezing all the air out of the bag as you do so.

  2. 2

    Place the bag with the alcohol and water mixture into a second bag. Close the second bag as well, once again squeezing out all the air from the bag. This provides added protection from leaks, as well as making the outer surface of your gel pack slightly thicker to add comfort and protect against excess cold.

  3. 3

    Put the bag in the freezer in a flat position. Allow at least two to three hours for the bag to freeze before use. This will create a gel-like substance inside the bag, because the alcohol will keep the water from freezing completely.

  4. 4

    Wrap the gel pack in a thin cloth before using it. Never apply a gel or ice pack directly to the skin. Use your homemade gel pack for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, as needed. Remove the gel pack before the specified time if the pain seems to be worsening.

  5. 5

    Put hair styling gel directly into a bag and freeze it in a similar manner if you need a gel pack quickly and do not have any rubbing alcohol. It will also create an adequate cold pack that you can mould to an area in much the same way as the alcohol-water mixture.

Tips and warnings

  • Use alcohol and water in a one-to-one ratio for a slushier finished mixture.
  • Check your homemade gel pack for any leaks before each use. Replace the outer bag if it shows any signs of wear or damage.
  • Use the gel pack in accordance with your doctor's orders.
  • Never use frozen gel packs on a severe injury, a healing wound, areas with poor circulation or skin that has been subjected to radiation therapy.
  • Stop any cold treatment on an area if additional swelling, redness or pain develops. Consult your GP for recommendations.

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