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A warm car seat in winter time (or: how to make a microwavable heating pad)

Starting your morning commute in a cold car can be uncomfortable especially when the car was outside all night at -15'C or colder.

I really hate it to see cars running idle during the winter time. That is when the cars produce the most carbon monoxide and other toxins. The catalytic converter takes much longer to warm up and function when the engine is just running idle and it is a waste of fuel.

I agree that is very uncomfortable to sit in a cold car at -15'C or colder even when you have a winter jacket on. There is however a really good solution: Take a large microwavable heating pad with you.

Microwave ovens are these days available almost everywhere in homes, hotels and offices.

Such a heating pad is wonderful. You just place it onto the car seat and you sit on it. You can as well place it between your back and the car seat. That's what I do. It makes you feel warm and there is fresh air around you. No need to overheat the car and no need to have the car in the morning idling in front of your house until it is warm.

A homemade heating pad

Microwavable heating pads are very easy to make. You need a good and stong pice of cotton cloth (an old jeans) and you fill it with rice or lentils.

A piece of strong cotton fabric cut from the leg of an old jeans.

We just cut out a large piece from the upper leg part of an old jeans, close it on one end and divide it into 1 1/2 inch (4cm) wide chambers. This can be done very easily with any sewing machine. I have drawn the lines where you need to sew in orange in the below picture. I added the orange lines into the picture on the computer to to illustrate it better.

We divide the jeans into several small pockets.

Now we just have to fill the pockets and then close them carefully on the sewing machine without spilling anything. Lentils are in this respect easier to handle than rice.

Rice and lentils to fill the heating pad

You can either use white rice or lentils or a mixture of both to fill the heating pad.

The heating pad is ready.

Now the heating pad is ready. To warm it up you just heat it in the microwave for 90sec - 120sec before using your car.

You place the warm heating pad on your car seat and you drive off.

I have tested this in Canadian winter weather during the month of January and February and it worked really well. The pad stays warm for 30-40 minutes and it's really nice. I put it usually between my back and the seat and it gives you immediately a warm and cosy feeling.

Some people make small hating pads to cure colds or aching muscles and add a bit of lavender to the filling. I would not recommend to do use such pads or add anything extra to the pad when you make it. Any spice, herb, even lavender, is nice at first but becomes annoying when used every day. Just use a plain un-scented filling for the pad.
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© 2004-2024 Guido Socher