Are DIY Rice Sock Heating Pads Safe to Microwave?

Rice Socks: The Appeal of a DIY Solution

Can you put a sock in the microwave, filled with some white rice, and treat it like a heating pad to soothe sore muscles? Can you make a heating pad with an old piece of clothing and some dried pantry food?

Of course you can. But should you? Is it safe? Is it reliably useful? Is it... palatable?

Popular DIY sites suggest making your own rice bag by filling an old sock with rice in the bottom, tying it like a balloon, and then microwaving it for a minute. Voila! A Rice Sock is born!

It sounds like an appealing, quick, and cheap solution for workout soreness and period pain. After all, who doesn't have a spare sock lying around and plenty of white rice left over in the cupboard? And who doesn't love a good no-sew solution?

Unfortunately, this is NOT the best idea for a couple of reasons.

The Fiery Truth About Rice Socks

One reason this is a bad idea is that many socks today are made of fabric blends that may catch FIRE in a microwave.


I don't think any DIY that carries the risk of FIRE is entirely worth it, do you?

Furthermore, according to TheActiveTimes.com and their list of "Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave," clothing in the microwave is a big no-no!

Anything with elastic will catch fire in a microwave, as will some types of fibers used in modern clothing. For instance, modacrylics melt at low heat while nylon fuses in the presence of heat.

University of Georgia has a whole list of artificial and natural fibers and how they respond to electricity and heat. I would not want to mess with this. It's like playing a game of Russian Roulette, except with your textile footwear and kitchen appliances.

Even if you escape the fire danger, the fibers could fuse together with the rice, creating TOXIC fumes.

When toxic fumes are inhaled, they can damage your respiratory tract and lungs.

And all you really wanted was some soothing relief from sore muscles or cramps. It's not worth it!

Rice isn't the best filler for a heating pad, either. It's food, so it is prone to decay when it comes into contact with moisture and heat over a period of time.

That's where that yucky burnt rice bag smell comes from. When I'm already mildly to wildly miserable, depending on the severity of my aches, the last thing I need is a bad smell adding to my misery.

Since rice starts decaying from the first time you use a rice bag, these do not have a long life. You'll have to keep replacing your Rice Sock.

I don't know about you, but I don't love the idea of making a new rice bag every month, or even every six months (if you choose to let it go a little while longer in its decaying state).

No matter how many times you replace it, that burnt rice smell will continue to haunt you, too. I bet you can almost smell it right now, just thinking about it. I know I can. *shudders*

All of these reasons add up to a big fat NO on the DIY Rice Sock idea.

Lavabag: The Best Microwave-Safe Heating Pad on the Market

So what's a girl to do? You know you don't want a rice bag because it won't last long and the food inside will decay.

You know you don't want to microwave something that hasn't been proven to be microwave-safe, like a nylon-acrylic sock!

What you really should do is look into Lavabags.

Lavabags are safe.

The rare lava sand inside them is proven to be microwave safe, as is the 100% cotton fabric casing that surrounds it.

Lavabags are clean.

The lava sand has been carefully washed and sterilized. It's not polluted with anything biological, and so it will never rot or decay like rice does.

Lavabags are long-lasting.

The small stones of lava sand also retain heat much better than a rice grain, so your heating bag will stay soothingly warm longer.

Lavabags are flexible.

Lava sand is finer than rice grains, so it will form to any part of your body like liquid in a mold. That means you can put your Lavabag anywhere for instant thermal-assisted relief from your aches and pains.

Lavabags might help you sleep.

An added bonus is the satisfying weight of Lavabags. Each one weighs in at 3.5 lbs. It's not heavy like your aerobic hand weights, but it sits nicely wherever you put it without slipping off.

An obedient heating pad: just what every woman needs.

And, rather like the soothing comfort of a weighted blanket, the cozy heaviness of a Lavabag is just what the doctor ordered. This pleasant heaviness is one of my favorite things about my Lavabag.

I keep mine by my bed and have used the Lavabag as an extra security object to help me sleep on those nights when my mind simply won't settle down. It doesn't even have to be hot for this type of use.

If you've never heard of this idea before, check out what this doctor said about weighted blankets and anxiety:

“The pressure of the blanket essentially tells your autonomic nervous system—the system responsible for things like heart rate and breathing—to settle down into a state of rest. This typically helps induce a state of calm that helps kids fall asleep more easily,” says Dr. Chaudhary, as quoted at TheHealthy.com.

What's good for the kids is also good for the parents. As an adult, you may find an entire weighted blanket to be too hot at night. This was my husband's complaint when I bought him one to help with his wakeful nights. It sits unused in our closet.

But a weighted Lavabag covers just enough of you to trigger the ANS and relax your breathing without overheating your whole body.

You won't know for sure until you try it, but it works for me!

The pleasant weight factor has even helped me fall asleep when I was battling a headache. That's a big deal for me. I'm excited for you to try it for yourself and experience the benefits.

Lavabags are highly recommended.

The longer I'm alive on this earth, the more I realize the value of quality. Some things are great to DIY, especially door wreaths and end tables. But when it comes to my non-medicated pain relief, I want something made by someone who has carefully studied how to make it right.

I want something I know will last a long time, withstand repeated use, and make me feel good every time I reach for it.

I've learned that spending a little more for something well-made by someone who knows is better than replacing something low-quality over and over again.

I've also learned that homemade doesn't always equal best quality. Reaching for whatever extra socks I have lying around and the dried pantry goods in my kitchen, for instance, doesn't reek of quality to me. It reeks of something else...

That's why I'm recommending Lavabags!

How much do I recommend Lavabags to my friends and family?

Five out of five stars!

The design, material, and execution of this great idea are very nearly perfect! It's a sustainable, long-lasting, clean, odor-free, pleasantly weighted solution to the very old problem of sore muscles and period cramps.

Put your socks in the sock drawer where they belong, and keep them OUT of the kitchen! Seriously, socks are for feet.

Heat up a Lavabag instead, and feel the long-lasting relief of your new best friend.

You can even give your Lavabag a name, like Tom or Bunny or Nebuchadnezzar. I don't care what you call yours--I call mine comfy!

Don't take my word for it alone. Here are the reviews.

Dallin says, "I steal my wife's Lavabag every once in a while for my neck and it soothes away my pain incredibly well. I love the texture of the lava sand, and most of all that there is no horrid smell when you microwave it! Highly recommend"

(Watch out, ladies. Husbands have been known to steal the Lavabag for their own aches and pains. Maybe you can share, but you might want to consider getting him his own. You've been warned.)