Freeze The Knees, Homemade Cold Packs

Post by blogger | July 16, 2013      


Homemade ice gel pack made with a common kitchen item.

My latest shopping spree on Amazon was for gel cold packs. I wanted some large ones that I could wrap around my knees. The ones I found were pricey and not quite big enough. So, after a bit of research online, I decided to make my own.

There are various ways to make cold packs: frozen bags of rice, peas, or ice cubes in water. The commercial kind I like is a flexible gel pack so that model was my goal.

I found a recipe using rubbing alcohol and water. Water freezes, alcohol does not, so mixing the two will produce a flexible ice pack. How flexible depends on the ratio of each. I tried 1/3 rubbing alcohol mixed with 2/3 water, double bagged in a large Ziploc bag. It froze stiff but became softer as it melted.

The method I like best uses regular liquid dish soap. I bought the cheapest I could find, $1 per bottle. Two large bottles were enough for a 2 gallon Ziploc bag, double bagged to prevent leakage. When frozen, it was more flexible than the alcohol/water mixture and seemed to melt at a slower pace, maintaining a flexible consistency longer.

Both of these methods produce a very cold pack, so I wrapped them in a pillow case to prevent frost nip. Hurrah, now I can freeze my knees with ease and our budget won’t feel the squeeze.



15 Responses to “Freeze The Knees, Homemade Cold Packs”

  1. Bill July 16th, 2013 12:56 pm

    super info.


  2. Rob July 16th, 2013 1:15 pm

    Another good DIY tip from you guys. But can it be modified?

  3. SR July 16th, 2013 1:26 pm

    Great stuff, thanks!

  4. Zippy the Pinhead July 16th, 2013 2:33 pm

    Seems like one of those seal-a-meal type of things would be great for your home-made gel packs. Less danger of leakage, unless you managed to puncture the bag.

    You could also use the gel-packs to keep your food bag cool. That way your strudel wouldn’t spoil on the trail!


  5. Bar Barrique July 16th, 2013 10:17 pm

    Looks like a good way to keep your beer cool. I guess I’m lucky, but my knees have survived the “sit back” skiing style of the 70’s, and, everything since. They complain a bit now, and, then but nothing serious.

  6. Mykhaylo July 17th, 2013 7:34 am

    Excuse me, but what is the point of freezing one’s knees?
    Personally I’ve found that warming them up by using knee pads (namely BD TeleKneesis) works much better for my activity…

  7. Lou Dawson July 17th, 2013 7:53 am

    Common therapy after exercise, to reduce or prevent inflammation. Yes, joints need to be warm during use!!

  8. XXX_er July 17th, 2013 9:44 am

    yes a sports physio bud told me he would immerse an entire rugby player in ice/water after a big game for as long as they could stand it and recommended the same for my feet which I had over stressed in an all night ski, so I used beer coolers 1/2 full of snow & water, he didn’t recommend any heat

  9. milt July 17th, 2013 12:13 pm

    i wonder how the heat of fusion with the various recipies compares with plain water.
    a test would be how much will a bag of frozen gel vs ice lower the temperature of a gallon of water.

  10. Jake K July 20th, 2013 8:44 pm

    This is so simple, not sure why I never thought to look into this before.

    I made some bigger packs so ice my hamstring.

    The “formula” I used was ~30oz dish soap + 2-3oz rubbing alcohol in a gallon sized bag. You can mold it and wrap it right around the hammy with an ace bandage. Works great.

  11. Mike July 21st, 2013 3:38 pm

    I didn’t even know you could make your own. They are quite expensive and I’ve also had trouble finding ones that are big enough. Thanks for the insight.

  12. Jake K July 21st, 2013 3:45 pm

    Here’s a post I did on what I came up with. Thanks for the inspiration, Lou!

  13. Buddy November 26th, 2013 4:38 pm

    “..freeze my knees with ease and our budget won’t feel the squeeze.”

    Hey, you’re a poet and don’t know it. Bet a dime you’ll make a rhyme every time.

  14. MB January 20th, 2014 9:20 am

    I am making both types of ice packs now. Thanks for the info.

  15. LLD March 14th, 2014 10:57 pm

    I was wondering what are the measurements for the materials you used to make your ice packs… Thanks!

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