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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

7. Cold Spoon Compress

A cold spoon also works as a great cold compress, especially for your eyes. It is particularly good for tired and puffy eyes. Cold spoon compress also works well for reducing the pain and swelling of a hickey.

  1. Chill a few small metal spoons in the freezer for a few hours.
  2. Place a spoon on your puffy eyes.
  3. When the spoon becomes somewhat warm, replace it with another cold spoon.
  4. Do this for 10 minutes on each eye.

8. Unused Diaper Compress

Although it may sound strange, unused diapers can make a great cold compress. Also, the shape of the diaper makes it more flexible for use on different body parts.

  1. Prepare a solution with equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and water.
  2. Pour the solution over the clean diaper.
  3. Roll the damp diaper into a tight, small bundle.
  4. Put it in the freezer for a few hours.
  5. Wrap a thick cloth around your homemade cold pack and apply it accordingly.

9. Clean Kitchen Sponge Compress

You can also make an ice pack at home with a clean sponge. Kitchen sponges are especially soft, squishy and flexible in nature, which makes them perfect for making a comfortable ice pack.

  1. Saturate a clean kitchen sponge with water.
  2. Put the sponge in a ziplock bag.
  3. Put the bag in the freezer for a couple of hours.
  4. Before use, set it on the counter for a few minutes to allow the sponge to return to its soft state.
  5. Cover it in a thin cloth and apply it on the affected area.

10. Rice Grains Cold Compress

Rice grains also work great to make a cold compress at home. Rice is great at retaining cold temperature.

  1. Put a cup of uncooked rice in a sealable plastic bag.
  2. Put the bag in the freezer overnight.
  3. When you need to use the cold compress, wrap it in a thin cloth and apply it accordingly.

Benefits of Using a Cold Compress

  • Swelling: In the first 48 hours following an acute injury that causes swelling in the affected area, you must apply a cold compress to minimize that swelling.
  • Muscle cramps: When suffering from muscle cramps, first use a hot compress. Then, use a cold compress on the sore muscles to get complete relief from the pain. It will also help the affected muscle to relax.
  • Insect bites: When bitten or stung by an insect, apply a cold compress on the affected area to stop the itching and reduce swelling in the area.
  • Pimples: As cold temperature helps contract the blood vessels underneath the skin, a cold compress is effective at minimizing a pimple’s appearance and redness.
  • Fever: To reduce a high fever, put a moist, cool compress on the forehead as it helps bring down the temperature.
  • Toothache: Pain in the jaw due to some kind of oral problem can be reduced with a cold compress, due to its numbing effect on the nerves.
  • Rashes: Itching and burning sensations associated with skin rashes can be treated with a cold compress. Also, it will prevent the rash from developing into blisters.
  • Eye strain: A cold pack is also effective in relieving mild eye strain. All you need to do is close your eyes and put a cold pack over them for a minute.
  • Razor burns: You can use a cold pack to get instant relief from the burning sensation caused by razor burns. It helps reduce inflammation, redness and itching.
  • Black eye: Whenever you have a black eye, immediately apply an ice pack to the affected area to help reduce the swelling and constrict the blood vessels to minimize the risk of internal bleeding.

Additional Tips

  • Never apply an ice pack directly on bare skin, as it can cause a cold burn and damage the skin.
  • Avoid using a cold compress for more than 20 minutes at a time, as it can cause a cold burn or frostbite.
  • Avoid using a cold compress for serious injuries.
  • People suffering from diabetes or Raynaud’s syndrome should not use cold compresses.
  • For long-term conditions like arthritis, chronic irritation and constant joint stiffness, a cold compress is not effective. It is best to use a hot compress.
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Published by
Top10HomeRemedies Team

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