How to Make Gel Ice Packs – The Best Homemade Ice Pack There Is!

Sep 22, 2021 | DIY, Health

You know those gel ice packs you use for headaches, sprains, bruises, scrapes, and more? Well, you don't have to buy them! We'll show you how to make a homemade ice pack for pennies with this genius DIY ice pack tutorial.

woman using gel ice pack on foot, from Fun Cheap or Free

“Put some ice on it.” Boy, do we wish we had a nickel for every time we've said that! If you have kids, then you know that gel ice packs are a necessity. But the high-quality ones? Well, they can be dang expensive!

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Lucky for you, we've got some good news, mama! By making your own gel ice packs using dish soap you already have at home, you can make a medical-grade DIY ice pack on the cheap! It's pretty much magic. Are you ready for this?!


Alright, before we get started, gather up the supplies you'll need for a homemade ice pack. Here's the quick list:

That's it! We have (and love) a vacuum sealer, and it really helps add a layer of protection, but if you don't have one, it's totally fine! Now, ready to make gel ice packs?!


man using a gel pack, from Fun Cheap or Free

If you're wondering how the magic happens, we'll give you a little hint. The soap doesn't solidify in the freezer, so it molds to the shape you need; it gets colder and stays colder longer. Pretty cool, eh?! Here's how to make your own homemade ice pack:

  • Step One – Grab a Ziplock bag in the size of your choice (we'd probably steer clear of a gallon-sized bag). Double or triple-bag it to protect against leaks over time.
  • Step Two – Fill it 1/2 to 3/4 full with cheap dish soap.
  • Step Three – Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the mix. This will help your DIY ice pack stay nice and pliable.
  • Step Four – Close the bag, squish all the air out, then freeze it!

You can freeze the bag entirely and then vacuum-seal it for added protection if you have one. Again, if you don't have a vacuum sealer, no worries!

Pro Tip: Don't want to use dish soaps? Several Freebs have told us that 3 parts water mixed with 1 part rubbing alcohol works well, too.


Just like any gel ice packs you'd buy, your homemade version will wear out over time. We've seen them last well over a year, so it just depends! As you're using them, you may want to wrap them in a towel before you apply them to your skin.

When you've gotten all the mileage out of yours, start over and make a new batch! When you're ready to toss your old homemade ice pack, pour the contents around the base of your fruit trees and bushes. Bugs hate soap, but your plants will love it! #FrugalHack

Just keep your eye on those ice packs and be careful with the storage. Who wants soap everywhere?? 😉


Isn't this project fun and easy? Because all the ingredients are totally safe, get the kids in on the action, too. It's a fun little science experiment or rainy day activity!

Have you ever made your own gel ice packs? Do you have other quick tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

image with text that reads "easy homemade gel ice packs", from Fun Cheap or Free

Want to try your hand at a few more DIY projects?

Happy Icing!


  1. Katie

    I made some of these last year with the rubbing alcohol. But I used my food saver to seal up some of the solution. It worked great! I need to make some small ones perfect for owies on the littles… But the plastic is thick and durable and the seal permanant. It’s perfect!


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