How to use a hot water bottle for the suction of a boil

Written by nikola goddard
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How to use a hot water bottle for the suction of a boil
Boils arise when the hair follicles become infected. (skin image by Robert Kelly from

Boils are red lumps on the skin that tend to be sore and painful to the touch. They are caused by a staphylococcus aureus infection of hair follicles, which results in the area becoming inflamed and filling with pus. Most boils will come to a head and drain between 4 and 10 days, but the discomfort caused can often lead to alternative methods being used to speed up this process and encourage the pus to come to the surface and be dispelled. The suctioning or cupping method is a popular alternative remedy for boils and can be performed with a jar, cup or hot water bottle.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hot water bottle
  • Kettle
  • Duct tape
  • Antiseptic wipes

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  1. 1

    Boil some water in a kettle.

  2. 2

    Fill a hot water bottle with the boiling water and screw the stopper on. Leave for 10 minutes.

  3. 3

    Unscrew the stopper and pour out the boiling water.

  4. 4

    Place the opening of the hot water bottle over the boil to form a tight seal against your skin. If the rubber around the opening of your hot water bottle has a hole in it, then seal it up with duct tape so that a vacuum can form. Hold in place for 10 minutes.

  5. 5

    Remove the hot water bottle from the skin. You should notice that the area that has been suctioned is raised into the shape of the hot water bottle opening and the boil is bright red and raised.

  6. 6

    Repeat this method several times a day as necessary. Wipe away any pus and clean the area with an antiseptic wipe after each suctioning treatment.

Tips and warnings

  • Never attempt to squeeze the boil. The pus will be expelled by your body naturally.
  • A cup or jar can be placed in boiling water and applied to the boil in the same way to suction it.
  • The Staphylococcus aureus infection is extremely contagious. Avoid skin-to-skin contact with others and do not share items such as towels and flannels.
  • Always consult a doctor if you suspect a Staphylococcus aureus infection.

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