Why You Need a Hot Water Bottle & How to Knit a Cover | Tutorial

Here are 7 reasons why you need a hot water bottle. I am including a tutorial how you can knit a hot water bottle cover in one weekend.

In our somewhat old-fashioned home, we love using hot water bottles for various situations and ailments.

Unfortunately, often when we have something going on in our body we tend to reach for a pill.

But what if I showed you not only how you can effectively use a hot water bottle for some common health issues but also how you can knit a beautiful and soft cover in just about one weekend?

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This post contains some affiliate links which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Some history of hot water bottles

A quick internet search will tell you that hot water bottles have been around since the 16th century.

However, my mom told me that growing up in Germany during the last year of WWII and after, they did not have any heat source in the children’s bedroom. So my grandparents would place clay bricks in the fire place until they were hot. Then, with tongues they would take them out, wrap them in newspaper and place them in the children’s bed under the duvet covers.

My mom remembers how warm and cozy her bed was in a freezing cold bedroom.

7 Uses for hot water bottles

To warm up the bed and stay warm in bed

If you live in an older home like we do, you may not have a heater in your bedroom. Since we didn’t, my husband installed wall-mount electric heaters. The problem with them is that they are loud and expensive to run.

Living in California, it doesn’t get below freezing very often. Also, we actually like to sleep in a cool bedroom. But sometimes we need a bit of extra warmth under the covers as we slip into bed at night. We are often surprised how long those water bottles with a luxurious cover stay warm!

staying warm in bed

• To alleviate stomach cramps & pains

Many of us periodically suffer from some sort of stomach cramps and pains. While you always want to check for an underlying health condition, sometimes these cramps and pains are just temporary. They also fall under irritable bowl syndrom.

Placing a hot water bottle right on your tummy can help a lot. Especially children love that warm feeling on their body.

• For period cramps

This is for my female readers, especially those who are prone to getting cramps during their monthly cycle. Again, placing a hot water bottle on your lower stomach area can really make a difference!

• To place on chest for coughs

Have you ever had one of those “unproductive coughs” where things just seem to be stuck in your lungs? Placing that hot water bottle right on your chest can help open things up and help with the urge to cough. In addition, you can try my herbal cough syrup recipe which is a great combination for children!

• For neck pain

Have you been suffering from “tech neck”? With modern technology we often put our bodies in an unnatural position that can lead to all sorts of aches and pains at the end of the day.

If your neck is sore, you can lie down on the couch or in bed with a hot water bottle right under your neck and feel the tension melt away.

• To alleviate low back pain

Sitting all day (blogging anyone??) in a not-so-good position can cause low back pain. While there are many stretches and moves that can help with low back pain, you can also simply place a hot water bottle right there. Give it a try!

• For cramps

If you experience leg cramps or foot cramps, try using a hot water bottle for that area in your body. The heat can help relax those muscles.

• For camping

Can you imagine how toasty and cozy it will be in your sleeping bag if you slide a hot water bottle in there with you? You could also place it right underneath your jacket or coat for extra warmth.

Where to find hot water bottles and how to use them

While hot water bottles may be tricky to find locally, they are really easy to find online. You can get my favorite one right here. We actually have three of them. I like them because the stay warm for up to 6 hours, are well-made, and made in Germany, and have lasted us for close to 2 decades at this point.

Once you have your own and want to use, heat up water. Do not boil the water! And don’t use boiling water in the hot water bottle. Fill it about ⅔ and squeeze out the air as much as possible. Tighten the lid and turn the bottle upside down to check for leaks. Put on the cover and use. It is as simple as that.

And when you’re done, you can use the cool water to water your plants, flush the toilet, or find any other good use for it.

German made hot water bottle without cover

How to knit hot water bottle cover:

Some hot water bottles come with covers and some don’t. Often they are just made out of cloth.


I love the feeling of soft knitted wool against my body, so I got some very luxurious Peruvian yarn. It is a super soft alpaca-wool-silk blend. You can find something similar here. Or go with a less expensive yarn but most likely you will only need one skein, anyways.

You will also need knitting needles in the appropriate size. For this tutorial, I am using double-pointed bamboo needles but you can also circular knitting needles.

knitted cover for hot water bottle

Making a swatch for hot water bottle cover:

Depending on the size of your hot water bottle, the yarn, and the knitting needles your are using, you will need to cast on a different number of stitches.

Therefore, you want to knit a swatch. I typically cast on anywhere for 20 – 30 stitches and knit about 20 rows in my preferred pattern. From there, I can count how many stitches in 2 inches, measure the circumference of my hot water bottle in inches and get the number of stitches I need.

You can also use a “knit-check” for that.

For example: I got 9 stitches in 2 inches. My water bottle’s circumference is 15,5 inches. I divided 15,5 by 2 = 7.75. Then I multiplied 7.75 by 9 = 69.75. I like even numbers of stitches so I went with 70 but I could have cast on 68 as well.

knit-check or stitch gauge

Casting on and knitting the body:

For this post, I am assuming that you know how to cast on stitches and knit. And for my cover, I used a basic stockinette stitch. However, you could use more than one color, or add your favorite stitch or pattern.

Now, you cast on the appropriate amount of stitches onto your knitting needles. I used 5 needles so I could knit in the round to create a “tunnel”.

casting on knitting stitches

Alternatively, you can knit a piece that is twice as wide as your hot water bottle and later close the bottom and the side.

Then you simply knit until you just about get to “shoulders” of your hot water bottle.

knitting hot water bottle cover

There you switch from the stockinette stitch to a rib stitch pattern of 2 knit and 2 purl. This will create a sort of turtle neck. You can continue knitting just to the top of the hot water bottle or keep going so that you fold over the turtle neck.

knitting hot water bottle cover, almost done

Cast off your stitches and close the bottom and the side, if you didn’t knit in the round.

You see how easy that is? You can most likely finish this project in one weekend. Once you get the hang of it, you might want to knit more as they make perfect handmade Christmas gifts. You could even personalize them by adding them recipient’s name on them or make it in different colors for different family members.

hot water bottle to stay warm in bed

Shop this hot water bottle cover post:

My favorite hot water bottle: https://amzn.to/35BCFhi

Alpaca-wool-silk blend yarn: knittingfever.com/araucania/yarn/E-LUJ

Alpaca-silk blend yarn: https://amzn.to/3kBAa2O

More economical alpaca-wool blend yarn: https://amzn.to/35CwGbU

Double-pointed knitting needles: https://amzn.to/3f3bdft

Circular knitting needles: https://amzn.to/3kD342u

Knit-check: https://amzn.to/2IGUouZ

Let me know if you have any comments or questions!

Pin for Later:

Why you need a hot water bottle & how to knit a cover | tutorial


  1. Pingback: Handmade Christmas Presents 2020 - Our Gabled Home
  2. I’ve been wanting an old fashioned water bottle for awhile now. I still remember the one I used at my grandparents house as a kid. Thanks for linking your favorites and the adorable sweater. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. Hopefully the hot water bottle and cover will bring back sweet childhood moments 💛

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