Wheat bags 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.
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. If you follow the recommended heating time, the bag should not overheat, cause a fire or burn you.
Homemade wheat bags can pose a greater fire and injury risk, because the moisture content and volume is not known, and the proper heating time can’t be recommended. The use of a type of wheat other than buckwheat may increase the risks of overheating, fires and burns.
- If you want to use wheat bags, buy from a shop rather than making your own and make sure there are clear instructions.
- Ensure that the wheat bag conforms to British Standards and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions with care.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t add oils to wheat bags as, over time, you will saturate the cover cloth and create an added fire risk.
- 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.
- Don’t use wheat bags or heat packs as bed warmers – only use for direct application to the body.
- Don’t use if the bag shows any signs of over-use, e.g. discolouration, smell of burning or charring.
- 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).