How to Make a Cold Compress at Home and Its Benefits


When you make a first aid box, a cold pack is one of the most important things you should put in it. A cold compress helps reduce inflammation, bleeding and bruising during the first 48 hours after an injury occurs.

The cold temperature restricts circulation and causes blood vessels to constrict, which prevents further bleeding. Also, the cold temperature offers a numbing effect on the nerves, which plays a key role in reducing swelling and inflammation. It can also help limit any bruising.

When using a cold compress, it is best to alternate between 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.

Instead of buying a cold pack from the drug store, you can easily make one at home using some readily available items. Also, it takes only a few minutes to make and can be stored in the freezer.

Here are 10 different methods to make a cold compress at home.

1. Ice Pack

Using ice cubes is one of the best and simplest ways to make a cold compress at home. You can prepare it in less than 5 minutes and use it right away.

make ice pack at home

  1. Put some ice cubes in a plastic bag.
  2. Run a washcloth under cold water.
  3. Wrap the washcloth around the plastic bag of ice.
  4. Apply the compress on the affected area.

2. Towel Compress

You can use a small towel to make a cold compress if you don’t have ice available. Also, a compress made from a wet towel is more comfortable for sensitive areas, such as the eyes.

cold compress towel

  1. Dampen a small towel with cold water.
  2. Squeeze out the excess water and place it in a sealable plastic bag.
  3. Put the plastic bag in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. Your cold compress is ready for use.

3. Frozen Food Compress

Instead of ice, you can use a bag of frozen food as a cold compress. It works best to use smaller vegetables like peas or corn, so the compress can sit well on your skin.

frozen food cold compress

  1. Grab a bag of frozen peas or any other small vegetable.
  2. Run a washcloth under cold water.
  3. Wrap the washcloth around the frozen food bag.
  4. Apply the compress on the affected area.

Another cool trick is that you can freeze small packets of ketchup to make tiny ice packs for the eyes or nose area.

4. Corn Syrup or Dish Soap Compress

You can use corn syrup or dish soap to make a gel ice pack. The squishy and flexible nature of a gel pack allows it to mold according to the affected body part. This makes it more effective at reducing pain.

dish soap cold compress

  1. Pour some corn syrup or dish soap into a plastic ziplock bag.
  2. Put the ziplock bag in your freezer for a few hours.
  3. Remove it from the freezer and wrap a thin cloth around it.
  4. Now, use your homemade cold compress accordingly.

 5. Rubbing Alcohol Cold Compress

Rubbing alcohol helps change the freezing point of water, so that the water does not harden into a block of ice. This is helpful when you need a cold compress that is more flexible to apply on various body parts.

rubbing alcohol cold compress

  1. Combine 1½ cups of water and ½ cup of rubbing alcohol.
  2. Pour the solution into a quart-sized ziplock bag.
  3. Seal and put the bag in the freezer for several hours or overnight.
  4. Put a cloth between your skin and the gel pack when applying it to the affected area.

You can also add some food coloring to the solution to make a fun, colorful gel pack.

6. Salt Compress

For a cold compress that retains the coldness for a longer duration, ordinary table salt is very effective. Adding salt to water will also keep it from freezing completely, so the ice pack is slushier and more flexible in nature.

salt cold compress

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to 2 cups of water.
  2. Pour the solution into a medium-sized ziplock bag.
  3. Seal and put the bag in the freezer for several hours or overnight.
  4. Wrap the cold pack in a thin cloth before use.

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How to Make a Cold Compress at Home and Its Benefits

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