One of the ways I keep myself warm during the winters is by using a hot water bottle. I do not like to use an electric blanket while sleeping since I don’t consider it safe to keep it on while sleeping, but that’s just me. Many people use an electric blanket at night and consider it very safe. A hot water bottle helps to keep the bed and the blanket warm.
Usually you pour the water into a hot water bottle. But since the water is very hot, you have to be very careful not to spill it on your hands.
To make things easier, I used to wonder whether a hot water bottle containing water be heated in a microwave. I did my research and as it turns out the traditional rubber hot water bottle should not be heated in a microwave. However if you’re using a silicone hot water bottle, you can microwave it as per the directions of the manufacturer.
Why you shouldn’t heat a hot rubber water bottle in a microwave
The temperature of the water inside the rubber hot water bottle needs to be sufficiently high so that you can feel the warmth through the bottle. The rubber is thick so the water also has to be heated to a high temperature.
If you place a pre-filled rubber hot water bottle inside a microwave for heating, there are chances that the rubber would melt. This will render the bottle useless.
Also if there are any metal parts, it can cause sparking in the microwave. This can damage your device.
Another undesirable effect can be that due to excessive heating, steam can build up inside the bottle. This steam can cause the bottle to bloat up and after a limit, the rubber bottle can burst. Not only will it rip apart the bottle, but it can also potentially destroy your microwave and who knows what not!
Adding water to your hot water bottle – Non-Microwaveable Hot Water Bottle
The above reasons clearly imply that you have to first heat the water and then pour it inside the hot water bottle. You can either heat the water on stove or heat it in the microwave. Just make sure that it is a microwaveable vessel. Else the whole point of heating water separately will be lost.
Now I have a tip for you for pouring water into the hot water bottle.
In case you have children in the house or elderly parents who live alone, there are chances they might burn their hands by spilling hot water on their hands. The best way to prevent this is by using a funnel to pour the hot water into the bottle. The water will directly be poured in the hot water bottle without any contact with the skin.
Microwaveable Hot Bottles
As I mentioned earlier, the traditional rubber hot water bottle is not microwaveable due to potential risks associated with heating them with microwaves. However, you have some microwaveable hot water bottles that can be heated by directly heating in the microwave. There are two main types of these bottles.
Silicone Hot Water Bottle
There are newer kinds of bottles that are made of a silicone material for storing hot water. These bottles have higher resistance to heat and are made such as not to include any metal parts. So they can be heated in a microwave to a sufficient temperature without any damage. However, you must take care that you do not super-heat the bottles.
Check out this silicone hot water bottle that is microwaveable and quite affordable.
Alternatives to Hot Water Bottles
With the rise in innovation, you don’t have to completely depend on hot water bottles to keep you warm during winters or for soothing muscular pain. There are some alternatives that have been designed to give you the warmth yet which do not require any water to be poured into them.
Wheat Bag Hot Bottle
These bottles do not need water to produce the heat. They are basically a wheat bag and can be heated in a microwave to the desired temperature. They are very popular these days as they do not need any water to be poured into them to obtain the desired heat.
Care must be taken however to ensure that you do not heat the bags in the microwave for a longer time than required. Else it can result in disastrous consequences as it happened for this British lady some years back.
Another alternative to hot water bottles are heating pads. These pads are filled with a polymer or silica gel and can be heated inside a microwave. As these materials can be heated to higher temperatures, there is less risk in using them.
A variation of these heating pads are the electric heating pads. These pads are connected to an electric supply and are heating electrically. The best part is that after getting heated to a certain temperature,, the electric supply to the pad is cut off automatically. Personally, I use these pads and they have not given me any inconvenience so far.
For what purposes can you use a hot water bottle?
A hot water bottle can be used for providing warmth in the bed during the cold winters. They can be substitute for electric blankets if you aren’t a fan of them. They also cost relatively less than an electric blanket and so you can place multiple hot water bottles in your bed for extra warmth.
They can also be used to provide hot fermentation in case of muscular pains and sprains. A combination of hot and cold fermentation works really well in case of muscular pains.
Can you put boiling water in a hot water bottle?
If you are using a rubber hot water bottle, you must avoid putting boiling water in it. Prolonged use of the bottle with boiling water will deteriorate the rubber and render the bottle useless.
In case you do happen to heat the water to the boiling point, mix some cold water so that the optimum temperature of the bottle is maintained to give sufficient warmth.
Are there any dangers in sleeping with a hot water bottle in bed?
Sleeping with a hot water bottle in bed can be risky in some circumstances.
If you have very sensitive skin or if you place the bottle near sensitive parts of the body in constant contact for a long period, it can result in minor burns.
Also if you mistakenly sleep over the bottle unknowingly, there can be chances of the bottle bursting and the water spilling over. This hot water can cause some serious burns.
Hence it is always advisable to warm the bed sufficiently with the hot water bottle and then removing the bottle before dozing off. But in case you’re the kind who doesn’t want to get out of bed once tucked in; just like me; you can wear socks and place the bottle near your feet. It will be safe and provide you sufficient warmth.
As explained in this post, it is not advisable to heat a rubber hot water bottle in the microwave. It can have undesirable results, something you do not want. A good alternative is to use a microwaveable hot water bottle which can be heated by putting it in the microwave and avoid the hassles of pouring in hot water.