Hot Water Bottles 101: Why and How to Use Them
I LOVE hot water bottles, and I always have. I think it's because, as my mom says, I've had "a headache or a stomachache every day of my life," and it's true. But you don't need my medical diagnoses...I'm here to tell you the prescription for YOUR woes, be they anxiety, tense muscles, a stomachache, menstrual cramps, or sadness and loneliness.The warmth and weight, along with the calming sensation of water, against your body is like a warm hug.
WHAT is a Hot Water Bottle?
A hot water bottle is a rubber or soft PVC bag/flexible bottle that is hollow inside to be filled with hot water and sealed with a screw cap. They are most commonly a rusty shade of orange-red, and tend to come in one most common size with is 2 liters. A smaller size of 1 liter is also useful for smaller areas of the body, for using on older children, or for traveling.
Most people in the United States think hot water bottles went the way of taking a spoonful of sugar with your medicine, and if you've seen one, it was likely at your grandma's house, dug out of the back of the cabinet, given to you in its plain rubber form when you complained of a stomachache. But in other countries, Canada and Britain in particular, hot water bottles are still in the realm of everyday use, covered in cozy hand-knitted covers or wrapped in soft towels, offered at teatime or bedtime to any soul in need of a bit of warming. That's the sort of hot water bottle use I condone, that of a friend reaching a hand out and saying, "Oh, you have an ache! You need a hug! You're feeling down! I can help with that."
WHY Use a Hot Water Bottle?
The main use of a hot water bottle is to keep warm. The secondary use of a hot water bottle is to help anyone not feeling well, with sore muscles or a stomachache in particular. A hot water bottle can help with anxiety, try it. Hot water bottles can help with IBS by releasing the contracting bowel muscles, it can help with any ache or pain by relaxing the muscles and offering concentrated heat therapy, and it does the same with cramps. I cannot live without mine, to be honest. I've tried. I've cut the cord a few times, but I always come back to it the next time I have an ache or pain. I use a hot water bottle almost all year-round except in the hottest of months. I use my hot water bottle when my office is cold in the morning, or for cramps or aches, or simply because I want to be cozy while I watch a movie. I've given hot water bottles to friends with anxiety, who found that it helps a lot! Hot water bottles can be put against any part of the body.
FILLING and USING a Hot Water Bottle Safely:
Now there is an art to filling and using a hot water bottle properly, and since I bet your mom didn't teach you, I'm here for you!
1.) Do not use boiling water!!! Boiling water can cause the seams of the bottle to stretch and possibly break, can splash onto your skin as you're filling the bottle, and can truly scald you with first-degree burns. Do not put water that is bubbling into the bottle. However, you should use water that has been boiled first, as opposed to hot tap water. Hot tap water will still contain mineral impurities which will damage your hot water bottle. So boil the water, then WAIT until it is no longer boiling and has reached a safe and suitable temperature.
2.) Fill the bottle only 2/3 full maximum.
3.) "Burp the Baby": After you've filled the bottle, with the cap off, squeeze out as much air as you can to create a flat bottle with the water almost reaching the top inside and replace the cap.
4.) Drain and Test the Seal: With the cap firmly in place, turn the bottle upside down over the sink to drain any excess water caught around the edges. There is almost always some extra water there, so this is a necessary step.
5.) You may need to release more air if your bottle is still feeling too round. Be sure to follow steps 3 and 4 again if you open the cap at all.
Hot Water Bottle Rules:
- Never use boiling water.
- Never put a hot water bottle in the microwave or oven.
- Never place the rubber/PVC bottle against skin directly.
- Always use a cover or wrap the bottle in a towel.
- Always inspect your bottle before and after filling before using, to make sure there are no weak seams or leaks.
- Replace your bottle regularly, depending on usage, when it feels it is becoming too soft or has been strained.
- Never sit or lean ON the hot water bottle. Always PLACE the hot water bottle on top of the area of your body.
- Never leave your bottle full of water. After use, drain it and let it dry with the top open upside down or at least sideways, over a sink or towel. There is a hole at the bottom tab of the bag to aid in this!
SHOP HOT WATER BOTTLES:
Navy Blue Knit Cover 2L Hot Water Bottle
A handsome devil, this navy hot water bottle is! A navy bottle is covered by a classy (dare I say...sexy?) navy turtleneck sweater. Also comes with a gray fleece liner if this bottle is too hot or cold for you....Read More
French Pink Knit Sweater Cover 2L Hot Water Bottle
The most adorable dark pink (also called "French Pink") sweater-styled hot water bottle. Comes with a fleece liner so you can adjust the temperature to your liking! -Max capacity 2L -Bottle is thick PVC -Cover is acrylic -Remove cover and...Read More
Gray Knit Sweater Cover 1L Small Hot Water Bottle
A smaller version of the classic sweater-cover hot water bottle in a nice gray. Comes with a fleece liner so you can adjust the temperature to your liking! See the last photo to see the size difference. -Max capacity 1L...Read More
Light Pink and Gray Striped Knit Sweater Cover 2L Hot Water Bottle
A classic beauty of a hot water bottle...pink, wearing a pink and gray striped sweater cozy. -Max capacity 2L -Bottle is thick PVC -Cover is acrylic -Remove cover and hand/spot wash -Stay warm up to 6 hours -Imported Read More