Cooler Chillers or Cheap Icepacks

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Introduction: Cooler Chillers or Cheap Icepacks

About: I think my interests tell a lot about me, I'm a multimedia artist which means I work in whatever medium grabs my attention, paint on canvas is very relaxing and acrylic paint can be mixed with paper to make ...

Here in Florida we seldom go anywhere without a cooler/icechest with cold drinks a damp cloth and some kind of snack or snacks, especially during the warmer months. Those commercially available gel packs and hard plastic icepacks are expensive and take a while to refreeze. This super inexpensive alternative refreezes quickly and keeps drinks cool and candy bars unmelted for several hours. I can't claim credit for the idea, I saw it on the internet and I tried it immediately. It works great and I thought I would share it here.

Step 1: Supplies

I went to the Dollar Store and bought a bag of sponges and a box of ziplock baggies. Total cost, $2.14us
 ( you see where this is going don't you!)

Step 2: Build It

take one or two sponges and get them wet, wring out most of the water, you want it wet and full but not dripping, place the sponges in the baggie and stick them in the freezer

Step 3: CHILL!

One thing I've found really convenient about these "icepacks" is the way you can mold them around bottles and cans and when it is REALLY hot and humid (102 w90%humidity today) you can squeeze some of that cold water on your neck or neck rag. This idea would probably work just as well as heat pads by simply microwaving the wet sponges to keep things warm in the winter ( of course I haven't tried that yet)

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    7 Discussions

    If you ad a little alcohol (rubbing alcohol, methyl alcohol whatever is cheap and available), it will serve two purposes, firstly lowering the freezing point by a couple of degrees, (like adding salt to the ice when making ice-cream), it will also make much smaller ice crystals allowing the frozen sponges to be more flexible even after freezing.

    1 reply

    The alcohol sounds like a neat idea. I keep rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, a couple of spritzes makes you feel cooler but you have to be VERY careful not to get it in your eyes or mouth and frequent use can dry your skin. When I come inside to the ac, I towel off and spritz the alcohol, it evaporates quickly taking the heat with it. Im going to try adding a little alcohol to the sponges and also a light salt solution to see if I get any longer cooling time...WAIT that sounds like science.. I HATE doing science = S

    Thanks so much for sharing this great idea! I'm in Orlando, and this technique will definitely get put to immediate use.

    1 reply

    Thanks Kid, although these don't last real long they do work well for those trips around town (although the traffic there in touristville probably turns a half hour trip into an afternoon expedition! )

    Yes, frozen bottles of water/sports drink/tea are an old standby "icepack" that usually last most of the day just to be careful to leave room in the bottle for expansion! These "sponge packs" are just an inexpensive and easy alternative for those quick trips around town. Thank you for leaving a comment.