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What are Some Uses for Hot Water Bottles?

A hot water bottle.
Some filled hot water bottles can be heated in a microwave.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 June 2014
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Once considered a household essential, the hot water bottle was replaced during the early 20th century by more modern solutions for many of its functions. Still, they continue to be useful devices, and in fact appear to be enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Here are a few of the uses that are provided by hot water bottles today.

As in times past, hot water bottles often function as bed warmers. Older models were often composed of a metal that could be filled with hot water, and then wrapped in a cloth shell. Today, newer models are often made of plastic and other materials that are microwave safe. When used as a bed warmer, the bottle can be filled with water and placed into a microwave oven for a short period of time. The result is a simple but effective means of warming the temperature of the bed covering so that climbing into a warm bed at night is accomplished without the need to use an electric blanket. People who wish to make use of an energy efficient bed warmer are finding that hot water bottles are excellent options.

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Hot water bottles can also be used as a means of offering soothing heat on a strained muscle. Many come in a variety of sizes and shapes. This makes it possible to use a smaller bottle to place directly on a thigh or knee, or use a larger model to provide soothing heat to an aching back. The water can either be heated on a range top, or the filled bottle warmed in a microwave oven. A good quality bottle will maintain a comforting temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, which is often ample time to provide relief.

These bottles remain a useful device in the administration of an enema. Generally, specific instructions are provided to convert a hot water bottle, which make it easy to conduct the enema quickly and efficiently. Fountain syringes are usually available specifically designed for this type of application.

Hot water bottles today come in a number of different colors and shapes. Hotties are one example of the modern designs. A Hottie may be purchased in a range of colors, and designs that are reminiscent of tufted pillows and hearts. Traditionally shaped bottles may also come in bright colors and with a wide variety of patterns on the body.

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Discuss this Article

anon268603
Post 5

Hot water bottles are undergoing a resurgence; 500,000 are sold in Australia alone each year. But do use a specially designed cover to avoid burns during use.

Jacques6
Post 4

The first time I ever even heard about hot water bottles was when I went in to get an enema. The doctor explained the process to me and mentioned that people still bought home enema kits -- which had hot water bottles in them.

All I could think was the whole time was "I could have done this embarrassing thing at home?" I had toxins building up in my skin and the enema helped my skin clear up.

So I asked my doctor about doing home enemas and he advised me about doing they too often and the risks -- which he seemed to think were rare -- so I bought a home enema kit. It's nice not to visit the doctor for it, but it definitely took awhile to learn.

tanner182
Post 3

I can't believe that the original hot water bottles were metal containers full of coal. Imagine the fire hazard those caused. Even after they stopped using coal, it was still boiling water in a metal pan thing. It would be hard to sleep next to that in bed, but I guess if you were cold enough -- you would manage.

I remember in the beginning of the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean," a maid is filling one of the classic metal and coal hotties to put in the main characters bed.

The slight error here is that the coal type couldn't stay in bed with the user -- that was the water kind.

ElbowTickle
Post 2

@MedicineBall - I always used hot water bottles too. Whenever my period rolled around, I would take an ibuprofen, make peppermint tea and snuggle up with my hot water bottle in front of the TV. It was a life saver!

Now I use my hot water bottle to save on heating. As small as it is, I can keep my bedroom cooler by using it. I just pop it under the covers while I brush my teeth and then I get to climb into a warm bed. Combined with the plush covers, it really makes a cozy nest to sleep in.

MedicineBall
Post 1

Hot water bottles were my best friend during high school. My menstrual cycles caused horrible cramps and not much would help. If I was at school at the time, I was literally on my side sick. So I always packed a hot water bottle in my backpack around that time.

But if I curled up with a hot water bottle in the nurse's office, it usually helped a lot. I could take a quick nap while my mom came to pick me up. I still use hot water bottles instead of heating pads -- they are easier to snuggle up under a blanket with.

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