This Is Why Your Heating Pad Smells Bad

It's that dreaded time of the month and you go fetch your trusty heating pad, only to find that its smell is worse than your cramps. You throw it into the microwave and the smell only gets worse.

In exasperation you throw it in the trash, wondering why your best natural pain reliever has let you down.

Unfortunately, the the reason why most heating pads begin to smell funny or rancid is because they are made out of food.

Food which spoils and burns, especially when heated in a microwave time and time again.

rice with bugs

What Are Heating Pads?

You may have googled natural pain relievers, especially when looking for relief from menstrual cramps and stumbled upon the benefits of heat therapy.

Heat therapy helps to improve circulation and blood flow to aching parts of the body by applying heat.

By doing so, it can help muscles relax and offers relief from uterine and other types of muscle contractions.

One of the most common products for heat therapy are heat pads, which come in various forms like:

  • Rice Socks
  • Heat Bags
  • Microwave Heating Pads
  • Bean Bag Heating Pads
  • Corn Bags
  • Rice Sacks
  • Bed Buddy
  • Heating Packs
  • And More

They come in various shapes, sizes, and materials but they all have one thing in common.

They are all made out of food.

Why Do Heating Pads Smell

Although many of these products boast of smoothing scents such as lavender or orange blossom, no amount of herbs or essential oils will stop heating pads from spoiling or burning.

Many popular heating pads such as Bed Buddy, DIY projects from Pinterest, and Etsy products are made of foods like rice, beans, flax seed, corn, wheat. 

Unfortunately, although each of these foods have a long shelf life, they still spoil and go rancid, especially when used for heating pads.

The problem is made even worse when the food is reheated time and time again, eventually burning.

And we all know how horrible smell of burnt popcorn can be.

Not to mention that no cloth covering can keep bugs and rodents away from an easy meal.

Weevils, mice, cockroaches and other pests are opportunistic feeders, and will love the opportunity to find ways to eat whatever foodstuff is inside heating pads.

Disadvantages of Rice Socks

The go to filling for most heating pads, especially homemade heating pads is rice.

Rice is seen as a cheap filling that is cheap, can hold heat, and is easy to find.

However, rice is still a food.

Shelf Life of Rice

It's true, when properly stored rice can last a long time.

In fact Utah State University says that rice stored in cool storage areas and sealed in oxygen-free containers can last up to thirty years.

However, your rice sock is not in an oxygen-free container.

In fact, even in it's original packaging, many rice bags have microscopic holes that allow the rice to breathe.

And as you look at the fabric that of the rice sock, you'll see that it is far from being oxygen-free.

Not only that, but when in use, the rice in the sock is being repeatedly heated up past 70 degrees.

Normally packaged rice in the store can last a year or two at the most, but is susceptible to rot especially if it ends up getting wet or exposed to different bacteria.

Rice Socks on Fire

Although rice socks are a popular form of heating pads, they do have a few disadvantages.

First, as we discussed, they smell bad after a while due to natural food rot.

The other is the fact that the rice burns, especially after heating it several times.

Not only will the rice begin to burn, but it can also catch on fire.

In fact, one of the main dangers of microwaving any heat pack with foodstuffs inside them is the chance of fire.

If a rice sock is placed in a microwave too long, the rice will begin to burn and catch on fire.

Although many people place a small cup of water in the microwave along with the heating pad, the rice can still burn.

Another issue that arises with various foodstuff heating pads is the materials used to make the bag itself.

Many people see cute fabric and decide to make heating pads with them.

Unfortunately, some fabric such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, certain types of felt, and other fabrics with synthetic materials are not microwaveable friendly.

These fabrics can melt or combust if placed in the microwave.

On the other end, fabrics made of 100% cotton and other natural fibers are generally safe to microwave.

Disadvantages of Bean Bag Heat Pads

The beans of choice for most heating pads are pinto beans, the beans legends and burritos are made of.

Having beans in your heating pad carries the same issues as that of rice socks.

Shelf Life of Pinto Beans

 As with rice, when properly stored in oxygen-free, cool storage containers, beans can last longer than your mortgage payments.

However, normal bags of beans straight from the store will last 2-3 years at the most, but that is if they are kept in cool, optimal conditions.

Unfortunately, weevils usually find their way into the beans before that time and can even find their way past the fabric barrier into your heat pad.

Although they may be cheap and can do the job, bean bag heating bags still attract bugs and smell even worse than rice when repeatedly heated.

Disadvantages of Flax Seed Heating Pads

Flax seed heating pads come with a few more disadvantages than the ones mentioned earlier.

First off is the the cost.

Flax seed is significantly more expensive than rice, beans, corn, or wheat.

They are also much smaller, and tend to burn easier than the bigger grained foodstuff fillers.

Flax seed is very oily and can go rancid even faster than other food fillers.

burnt corn kernals

Disadvantages of Corn Heating Pads

Unlike popcorn, dried corn kernels do not pop to make a tasty treat.

However, like popcorn, they can burn and smell up the kitchen.

Surprisingly, dried corn is hard to come by in local grocery stores.

Unlike their popcorn cousins, dried corn is usually only found it pet and feed stores.

Corn is still food and will rot and burn causing nasty smells overtime.

Disadvantages of Wheat Heating Pads

Wheat is the worst of the foodstuff fillers when it comes to heating pads.

Not only does StaySafe caution against its use, it states that some people have died by heating it up improperly.

In fact, there have been instances when wheat filled bags have even been known to spontaneously combust.

Not to mention if you have any celiac disease, wheat could be a disaster. 

Heating Pad Heat Retention

Another problem with traditional heating socks and other foodstuff heating pads is the amount of heat they can retain.

Although heating socks and other heating pads are used to apply heat to certain areas, effective heat only lasts for 20 or so minutes.

How many of you have had cramping, especially menstrual cramping that only lasted 20 minutes?

For the majority of cramp sufferers, we want relief that will last more than 20 minutes, we want it to last until we feel better.

That is why you should leave pantry staples in the cupboards or made into your favorite food and discover a better heating pad. 

The truth is, there's a better way to get the heat therapy you need, especially during that certain time of the month.

The Best Heating Pads Available

Lavabags are the cleanest, most comfortable way to sooth away painful cramping, especially when it comes to menstrual cramps.

Lavabags don't rely on foodstuffs that go rotten, but instead rely on something that comes deep from within the earth.

That amazing substance is called lava sand, a rare earth mineral that retains heat better than anything else on the market.

Lavasand is rare because it is created when hot lava flows into water and washes up on beaches such as those found in Hawaii. 

However, all beaches with sand are protected with heavy fines for anyone who takes even a small handful of the precious substance.

However, Lavabags mine their lava sand legally from ancient lava beds in the desert.

The three reasons why lava sand is best when it comes to heat pads is because:

  • It is odorless (no food involved)
  • It provides deep pressure stimulation therapy, molding and conforming to your body
  • It retains and slowly releases heat

Affordable and all natural, Lavabags are perfect for women, children, arthritis sufferers, hard workers, babies, or anyone with aches and pains.

Find lasting natural comfort and discover why so many people are loving their lavabags.