Wheat bags

Wheat bags pose a risk of fire or injury if not used properly.

The basics

Wheat bags can bring relief and comfort to you when you use them properly. As with any product involving heat, there is a danger of fire and a risk of injury to you if you don't use it properly.

Before you buy a wheat bag

Buy wheat bags that have clear heating instructions. Choose wheat bags that include a manufacturer’s contact details in case you have a problem.

Manufactured wheat bags

Wheat bags available in shops usually contain buckwheat, which has a known moisture content. Knowing this moisture content and the volume of the wheat bag means that the manufacturer can recommend proper heating times. If you follow the recommended heating time, the bag should not overheat, cause a fire, or burn you.

Homemade wheat bags

Homemade wheat bags can pose a greater fire and injury risk because the moisture content and volume of these bags 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.

Using wheat bags safely

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Don't overheat (the recommended maximum time is 3 minutes for manufactured bags).
  • Watch for an over-cooked odour, a smell of burning, smoking or charring. Don't use the bag if you observe any problems — contact the manufacturer.
  • Don't leave the microwave unattended when heating a bag.
  • Do not reheat the bag until it has completely cooled, which may be 2 hours after initial heating.

Add water to reduce the fire risk

Continual heating and drying of the wheat bag may overheat it to ignition point. When heating it in a microwave, place a cup or bowl of water in with the wheat bag to reduce this risk.

Adding oils to wheat bags creates an added fire risk. If you add oils to wheat bags, over time you will saturate the cover cloth and create an added fire risk to the existing danger of overheating and fire.

Don't cover or leave in the sun

  • If the wheat bag is kept insulated after initial heating (for example, placed under bedclothes, or on a car seat in the sun), spontaneous heating can occur and the wheat may catch fire.
  • Leave to cool in a safe area and on a non-combustible surface, like a kitchen sink.
  • Don't store the wheat bag until it's cold.

Use wheat bags for their intended purpose only

  • Use only as a heat pack for direct application to the body.
  • Don't use wheat bags as bed warmers.