How to make an ice pack with common household items

Forget buying ice packs. Instead, you can make several with ingredients you already have around your house for less than $1 each.

Taylor Martin CNET Contributor
Taylor Martin has covered technology online for over six years. He has reviewed smartphones for Pocketnow and Android Authority and loves building stuff on his YouTube channel, MOD. He has a dangerous obsession with coffee and is afraid of free time.
Taylor Martin
2 min read
Taylor Martin/CNET

It's always a great idea to keep an ice pack in your freezer for bumps, bruises, aches and pains.

If you don't have any on hand, however, you can easily make one out of things you probably already have, and it will only take about one minute to put together.

Learn how to make your own ice packs at home.

What you will need

The materials for a DIY ice gel pack are very common household items. You will need:

  • Two zip-top bags per ice pack
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Water

If you don't have isopropyl alcohol, you can use dish soap instead.

How to make your own ice pack

Begin by ensuring the zip-top bags you have are both strong and watertight. For this use, it's probably best to stick to higher-quality zip bags instead of the cheapest ones you can find, solely for the durability. In my personal experience, the zip-top bags from IKEA work exceptionally well.

Add one cup of isopropyl alcohol to the zip-top bag. Next, add approximately three cups of water to the bag. To make the gel a bit more viscous, only use two cups of water.

Next, remove as much air as possible from the zip-top bag, close the seal and slip it inside the second zip-top bag. Once again, remove all the air from the bag and press the seal shut.

Taylor Martin/CNET

Place the bag inside the freezer for several hours. Since isopropyl alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water, when chilled, the solution will create a slushy mix that will easily wrap around limbs or conform to your body. Once it has warmed up, toss it back into the freezer.

Due to the fragile nature of zip-top bags, these ice packs won't last forever. That said, they cost less than $1 each to make, so you can make several for less than the price of a store bought ice pack. Also, if it ever starts to leak, you know exactly what is getting on your clothes, skin or furniture -- water and rubbing alcohol.