How to Make Your Own Ice Pack

By Stephanie Bingham, MS, LAT, ATC

Ice is a great form of cold therapy to help with the symptoms that can come from bumps and bruises. Applying ice to an injury can help to decrease pain and inflammation in a localized area, helping to speed recovery.

Ice packs are a great way to apply ice as they are  flexible, will fit the injured area, and are re-usable.

Even better, you can make your own gel-like ice pack at home.

Materials needed

1-gallon or quart-sized zippered plastic freezer bags

1 cup of rubbing alcohol (we used 70 percent isopropyl alcohol)

2 cups of water


Step 1. Fill the freezer bag with 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol

Step 2. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the freezer bag before zipping and sealing

Hint: Placing your bag into a second freezer bag will help contain any leaks

DIY Ice Pack - Drayer Physical Therapy Institute

Step 3. Place the bag in the freezer for at least two hours before removing for use

Step 4. After two hours, you should find a cold, slush-filled ice bag ready for use (and re-use!)

Make Your Own Cold Pack - Drayer Physical Therapy Institute

Never place the bag directly on skin when applying it to an injured area. To avoid burns, place a towel between the bag and skin and for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. Allowing one hour between ice treatments is a safe rule of thumb.

If your symptoms do not improve, make sure to seek advice from a physician.


Homemade Ice Pack Instructions - Drayer Physical Therapy Institute

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