DIY Rubbing Alcohol Shapeable Ice Pack Review – Does it Work?

4 out of 5 leaves

4 out of 5 leaves

Whether you’re two, or fifty-two years old, boo-boos happen.  And when they do, an ice pack is a wonderful tool to help you feel better fast.  But store bought ice packs can be expensive, and are filled with industrial chemicals. And filling a bag full of ice cubes just doesn’t really cut it sometimes.  My Pinterest feed suggested that rubbing alcohol is the secret to the perfect DIY ice pack.  Does it work?

The Good

  • Better for you – while you have to be careful with rubbing alcohol, at least there are no other unknown toxic chemicals in your ice pack (what is that blue gel anyway?)
  • Better for the Earth – making your own ice pack reduces the environmental strain of factory processing, transportation of goods, and packaging waste
  • Saves Time – no fumbling with ice cubes while you’re hurting: you can prepare this pack ahead of time so it’s always ready
  • Saves money – uses water and rubbing alcohol – super cheap compared to commercial ice packs which start in the range of $5 each
  • Easy – super quick to make
  • Shapeable – the frozen mixture stays slushy so you can shape it for full injury contact

The Bad

  • Supervision required for the kids as rubbing alcohol is flammable, poisonous, etc.  Your curious toddler WILL open the zipper lock bag the second he/she feels better.

My Experience


With two little monkeys active and highly mobile kiddos in the house, we have a lot of bumps and bruises.  In my quest to be a creative, problem solving mama, I’ve learned the novelty of an ice pack can usually dry up the tears that come with big falls.  I am quick to pull out an ice pack for even the smallest bumps so we can laugh about how chilly it is, and then move on with the day.

What I don’t like is the blue liquid filled ice packs.  There are two options: (1) the brick shaped ones that don’t really form to the injury, and (2) the soft pliable ones just waiting to be pieced by a toddler’s little teeth.  (Ice packs always seem to end up in someone’s mouth around here).

When I heard about the rubbing alcohol ice pack, I was excited to try it!  It was cheap, easy, and looked soft and pliable too.  I used the following recipe, and stashed it in the freezer.

  • 1 part rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl alcohol)
  • 3 parts tap water
  • Mix together and double bag in zipper lock baggies

The liquid freezes to a nice slushy consistency.  Depending on the amount of empty space you left in the bag, it can be wrapped or formed very easily around most any body part.

It didn’t take long before we had our first test subject 🙁

DIY Rubbing Alcohol Ice Pack


Just the novelty of having a new ice pack was enough to make the pain subside almost immediately!  My toddler was thrilled that I had made an ice pack just for her.  Then she waited until I wasn’t watching and opened it, spilling some of the alcohol slush out on the floor.  Sigh.

I rolled the ice pack up and put it in a large tube sock for the next use.  This is now our new favorite ice pack.  The kids request it specifically for injuries.  We like it because it is big, and formable for full injury contact.  It provides quick pain relief.  And it’s cheap so if we get a hole in the bag it’s not a big deal to toss it and make a new one.  As soon as I get a chance, I’m planning to improve it by stitching a nifty flannel pouch to hold it in (like this).

I highly recommend going with this type of ice pack for pain relief!  Make sure you double bag, and put it in a sock or pouch for the kids to make it harder to open.

What’s your quick trick to dry up the tears that come with bumps and bruises?


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21 Responses to DIY Rubbing Alcohol Shapeable Ice Pack Review – Does it Work?

  1. Jasmine Bass says:

    I absolutely love this! I don’t know why I haven’t heard of this before. Ha! I am going to make two today…my husband will be on his knees all day at work today, so this will be perfect. Great timing! Thanks for testing this out Victoria.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Pinning!

  3. Jamie Asper says:

    What a great idea! I am going to make these ice packs now. Anything more natural and cheaper is my kind of thing! Visiting from Creative Home Expressions link party. Have a great night! ~ Jamie

  4. momstheword says:

    I recently heard of this and made one. It really is pretty amazing. Sooooo much more comfortable and pliable than those hard things! Thanks so much for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party today! 🙂

  5. What a great idea! Yep, boo-boos happen. I know what you mean about the novelty of the ice pack helping to dry tears. Your test subject looks like a sweetie! Have a lovely day!
    Neighbors About Town Blog

  6. heidi says:

    This sounds so easy. And it is such a practical thing to have around.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  7. Will definitely be doing this!

  8. Alison Bayne says:

    Seeing this practical post linked up at the Creative HomeAcre Hop was so helpful! Thanks for joining us and we hope you’ll come and party creatively again on Sunday at
    If you would like to write a guest post for Mumtopia, please let me know – I’m sure my readers would benefit from what you have to say.

  9. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing with the Tuesday Baby Link Up Community!

  10. Fantastic idea for Ice Packs. I never thought to use rubbing alcohol.

    I finally made it back from my trip so my comments are late…
    Thanks for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist! Looking forward to seeing what you share this week!

  11. Hannah says:

    I have been wanting to do this! Glad it works well. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! I hope you join us again today!

  12. What a sweet face! ‘So glad the ice pack was handy! Thank you for sharing this at last week’s Tuesdays with a Twist! ‘Can’t wait to see what everyone brings this week! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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  16. Mrunal says:

    Love this article. This ice pack is a better idea than anything that you can find in stores. Also very environment friendly. Thanks!