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Why You Should be Wary of Using Wheat Bags for Warmth


In these times of energy prices rising, we are all looking for ways to save money while keeping warm whatever the weather.

One such way is to use wheat bags which can provide warmth, relief and comfort when used properly BUT, as with any product involving heat, there is a danger of fire and a risk of injury if care is not taken.

How to stay safe when using a wheat bag

Wheat bags available in shops usually contain buckwheat. Because the moisture content and volume of filling is known, the manufacturer can recommend safe heating times.

Therefore, if you follow the recommended heating time:

  • The bag should not overheat
  • The bag should not cause a fire
  • The bag should not burn you.

However, homemade wheat bags can pose a greater fire and injury risk, because the moisture content and volume are not known, and the proper heating time can’t be recommended. 

In addition, the use of a type of wheat other than buckwheat may increase the risks of overheating, fires and burns.

Top ten tips on how to use a wheat bag for winter warmth

  1. If you want to use wheat bags, buy from a shop rather than making your own and make sure there are clear instructions to use safely.
  2. Ensure that the wheat bag conforms to Safety Standards for your country and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions with care.
  3. Make sure that the wheat bag is not heated for too long, or at too high a temperature - and never leave unattended during the heating process.
  4. Check that the microwave turntable is working properly and is not obstructed in any way. This will ensure that the bag is heated safely, without ‘hot spots’ being formed.
  5. Avoid adding any oils to wheat bags as, over time, you will saturate the cover cloth and create an added fire risk.
  6. Continual heating and drying of the wheat bag may overheat it to ignition point. When heating it in a microwave, add a cup or bowl of water on the turntable to reduce this risk.
  7. Don’t use wheat bags or heat packs as bed warmers – only use for direct application to the body.
  8. Don’t use if the bag shows any signs of over-use - for example, discolouration, smell of burning or charring.
  9. Leave bags to cool on a non-combustible surface, such as a draining board, and never reheat bags until they are completely cooled (which could be up to two hours).
  10. If you are at all concerned about using a wheat bag, change to a hot water bottle instead!