How To Heat Up Your Heating Pad Without A Microwave

A lot of people don't like to use their microwave over concerns as to what it can do to your food or whatever else you might put in there.

So how do you heat up your heating pad without a microwave?

There are a few simple options that you might already have available in your home.

You have the option to heat up your heating pad in an instant pot, an air fryer, or your oven.

Read on to find out more about these options and what might be better for you.

Why not use the microwave?

People do have concerns over using a microwave.

And even if you search for sources on the internet, you can find sources like the FDA that will provide some concerns over using microwaves.

From the FDA website:

"Microwave radiation can heat body tissue the same way it heats food. Exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause a painful burn. Two areas of the body, the eyes and the testes, are particularly vulnerable to RF heating because there is relatively little blood flow in them to carry away excess heat. Additionally, the lens of the eye is particularly sensitive to intense heat, and exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause cataracts. But these types of injuries – burns and cataracts – can only be caused by exposure to large amounts of microwave radiation."

So we can understand from the above why some people might be hesitant to use the microwave in any circumstances.

There are certain parts of the people that would be especially vulnerable again the radiation that is given off by a microwave.

The FDA goes on to say:

"Most injuries related to microwave ovens are the result of heat-related burns from hot containers, overheated foods, or exploding liquids. Most injuries are not radiation-related. That said, there have been very rare instances of radiation injury due to unusual circumstances or improper servicing. In general, microwave oven radiation injuries are caused by exposure to large amounts of microwave radiation leaking through openings such as gaps in the microwave oven seals. However, FDA regulations require that microwave ovens are designed to prevent these high level radiation leaks."

So while it isn't likely that someone will get hurt or suffer from radiation poisoning from using a microwave, it isn't outside the realm of possibility.

Some people choose to be safer rather than having their food cook faster (which I think most of use can understand).

And honestly, food that has been cooked in an oven or an air fryer tastes a lot better and is cooked more evenly than in the microwave.

This might make it hard when it comes to heating up a heating pad when you need it in a pinch.

The heating pad heats up pretty quickly in the microwave for a few reasons.

First, the heating pad (especially the LavaBag) in pretty thin.

And when using the microwave, having something thin in there is the most effective way.

This is because whatever the microwave radiation has the easiest access to is what gets heated up.

In the case where you have something that is thicker, like food, the microwave will heat up the outside of the food and then it depends on the heated up outside part to then heat up the inside part.

That is why people can sometimes tell when food is heated up in the microwave (thinking of any Gordon Ramsay show where he is testing food).

With a thin heating pad, the microwave can then use the radiation to heat up the whole heating pad and do it quickly.

Second, the microwave can be focused on just the object in the middle of the microwave.

While the oven needs to heat up the whole oven compartment as well as the food, the microwave can just focus on the food or heating pad that is in the microwave.

Continue reading below to find out how the LavaBag compares to other heating pads in our oven, air fryer, and instant pot options.



For the LavaBag, we love ovens.

They are not only a good way to heat up the LavaBag, but they are also a good way to dry the LavaBag.

First, before you stick your LavaBag in the oven, you are going to want to grab something to put the LavaBag on top of or in.

If you are anything like our household, the racks in the oven are most often dirty from something else you've had in the oven.

Our kids are cooking things in the oven every once and awhile and they aren't very good at making sure that food doesn't overflow.

So our racks are often dirty.

In that case, you are grabbing a cookie cooling rack or glassware that is microwave safe.

Then set your LavaBag on or in what you have chosen.

Next, set your oven to 200 degrees.

If you have the cotton LavaBag, cotton has been shown to start to burn at around 210 degrees.

So to be safe and to keep from ruining your LavaBag, 200 degrees is a good place to start.

Once your oven has warmed up, place your LavaBag on the cookie cooling rack or in the glassware and then put it in the oven.

Now you need to do some waiting.

In the oven, the heat isn't so concentrated.

So where the microwave would only take about 3 minutes to warm up the LavaBag, the oven could take 30 minutes or more to heat up the LavaBag.

After that 30 minutes, it should be around 170 degrees, which is optimal for using as a heating pad for pain relief.

Other heating pads

Other heating pads are going to be much the same process.

First, you are going to find a cookie cooling rack or glassware to put the heating pad in.

Next, you'll turn your oven on to 200 degrees and place your heating pad in there when ready.

The biggest problem with this is, depending on the filler of your heating pad, your heating pad might end up ruined.

At 200 degrees, after 30 minutes your rice or wheat might end up being burned and clumped together.

And this wouldn't be of any use to you once the fillers have burned.

Burned fillers are no longer good for keeping heat and the smell is horrible.

But you might be able to skate by at 200 degrees, which isn't incredibly hot.

Air fryer


Just a few years ago and most people didn't know what an air fryer was, let alone have one in their home.

An air fryer is not only good for frying your food at home, but you can also use it to heat up your LavaBag.

The first step is to clean out your air fryer.

Make sure to clean it well so it doesn't smell like the last food that you made in it.

If you don't, then your LavaBag might end up smelling like chicken wings or fries or whatever else you might have cooked.

Next, place your LavaBag in the air fryer and set the time to 10 minutes and the degrees to 200 degrees.

As discussed in the oven section, a temperature over 200 degrees might end up burning the cotton in the LavaBag.

Half way through, open up your air fryer and flip the LavaBag over so you get a nice even heating of the LavaBag (be careful as the bag will be hot, so use tongs or oven mitts to turn it over).

After 10 minutes, your LavaBag should be nice and warm.

Tests show that the LavaBag will be around 100 degrees after 10 minutes, which will give you some good heat, but might not last as long as a LavaBag in the microwave for 3 minutes.

So you can try running it for a little bit longer and see how the amount of heat does.

From our testing, 250 degrees for 10 minutes seems to be the optimal time.

But make sure to check it regularly so the cotton doesn't burn.

Other heating pads

Heating up your other heating pads in the air fryer has the same concerns as heating them up in the oven.

Since your microwavable heating pads a lot of times have fillers that are food, you have to be very careful putting these heating pads in an air fryer.

Put the heating pad in the air fryer with a temperature of 200 degrees and then keep a close eye on it for the next few minutes.

Just like the LavaBag, flip it over halfway through.

Then once the timer is up, you can take it out and use it.

But be aware of the smell that might be given off by your microwavable heating pad.

If it smells like burning, then you may have ruined the fillers of your heating pad.

I wouldn't recommend using the air fryer too many times for your heating pad.

Doing so could lead to burning.

Instant pot

Instant pots are great because they use pressure to cook your food.

So while it might take extra time to build up that pressure, you get well-cooked and moist food in the end.

But how does this work for heating pads?


When you use an instant pot to cook, you put water in the pot.

This water is what allows the instant pot to build up the pressure it needs to cook food.

With a LavaBag, this isn't a big deal.

The LavaBag is filled with lava sand (which can be purchased here).

The lava sand in the LavaBag is just like other sand in the fact that you can get it wet and then it dries off without ruining the sand.

For example, if you need to wash your LavaBag for some reason, you are perfectly fine to put it in the dishwasher or your washing machine without worrying about ruining the LavaBag.

The same is true with heating up your LavaBag with an instant pot.

You are going to start off by putting a little bit of water in the bottom of the instant pot (about 1 cup of water).

Then you put the stand in the instant pot that will raise the LavaBag above the water (instant pots usually come with these stands when you purchase them).

After that, place your LavaBag on top of the stand.

Then you'll set your instant pot to pressure cooker for 5 minutes.

Depending on the amount of water you put in the instant pot, it could take anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes for the pressure to build up.

But once the pressure is built up, it will only take 5 minutes until the pressure cook is done.

After the 5 minutes are up, release the pressure from the instant pot and take the lid off to get your LavaBag.

This should give you around 160 degrees of heat on the LavaBag.

Plus you can do this multiple times between the water and pressure inside the instant pot won't ruin your LavaBag.

Other heating pads

It isn't recommended that you use an instant pot for heating up other heating pads.

As we've already mentioned, the instant pot uses water and steam to build up pressure to heat up whatever is inside of it.

If you have a heating pad that has rice fillers, for example, this means that the instant pot is actually going to use water to cook your filler.

This means that the rice in your heating pad (or whatever filler you have) will get cooked and will no longer be able to keep the heat you need.

And the more you use it in the instant pot, the more your filler is going to get cooked.

So just stay away from using the instant pot to heat up your non-LavaBag heating pad.


As mentioned, there are many valid reasons to not use your microwave.

So when it comes to heating up your heating pad, you'll need to find some alternatives.

Using an oven, air fryer, or instant pot are a great option for heating up your heating pad.

But for other heating pads, the best option is only the oven, since an air fryer and instant would end up cooking your food fillers.

So in our opinion, the LavaBag is the best option for heating pads.

You can look at our different LavaBag options by going here or if you need more LavaBag because you lost some for one reason or another, you can purchase more here.

Once you get your LavaBag, you'll be glad you took the time and effort to purchase such a wonderful heating pad option.

You won't have another heating pad worry.

They also make great gifts for friends and relatives.