Wheat bags

wheat bag being put inside a microwave

Wheat bags can bring relief and comfort to you when you use them properly, but as with any product involving heat, there is a danger of fire and a risk of injury to you if you do not use it properly.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to ensure a wheat bag is not heated in a microwave for too long, or at too high a temperature.

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.

Adding oils to wheat bags

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.

Overheating and fire risks

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.

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 then occur and the wheat may catch fire.

Safety tips


  • Buy wheat bags with clear heating instructions.

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Buy wheat bags which include a manufacturer’s contact details in case you have a problem.

  • Use only as a heat pack for direct application to the body.

  • Watch for over-use – an over-cooked odour, a smell of burning, smoking or charring.

  • Leave to cool in a safe area and on a non-combustible surface, like a kitchen sink.

Do not:

  • Do not use wheat bags as bed warmers.

  • Do not over-heat (recommended maximum is three minutes for manufactured bags).

  • Do not reheat the bag until it has completely cooled – which may be two hours after initial heating.

  • Do not leave the microwave unattended when heating a bag.

  • Do not store the wheat bag until it is cold.

  • Do not use the bag if you observe any problems – contact the manufacturer.

Carry out your own home safety check

Complete our online home safety check and you will get a personalised fire safety plan, which will offer advice on how to prevent fires in your home.

Do the online home safety check

Book a home safety check

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service will fit free smoke alarms for people who are aged over 65 and for people who are referred to us by partner agencies because they are considered to be at a particular risk.

If you are over 65 years of age and you live in Cheshire, you can arrange for a Firefighter or a Community Safety Advocate to visit your home for a free home safety visit. During the home safety visit advice will be given on how to make your home safer, what to do in the event of a fire and what to do if you are trapped by a fire. Free smoke alarms will also be fitted (if needed) with an explanation on how to maintain them correctly.

Book a home safety visit for over 65’s

Last updated: Wednesday 24 October 2018

Related images

wheat bag being put inside a microwave