In the winter we keep our house colder than we do in the summer. As a result, my sheets are always colder than I'd like them to be before I get in them. I sleep in my boxers regardless of the time of year because it's the most comfortable for me, so my body comes in direct contact with the cold covers.

The only thing that has worked for me so far is when I get the sheets out of the dryer and then immediately get in bed, but I can't do this every night because it's a pain to dry and to put them back on the bed.

I would like to avoid the cost of an electric blanket or heated mattress pad. Additionally, I'd like to be able to warm up my bed when I'm camping outside in the cold.

What's a simple way to warm up the sheets before hand so I don't have to experience the cold of the sheets? If at all possible, I'd like to not remove the covers because it's a hassle to put them back on.

  • 10
    Have someone else sleep in them first Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 7:22
  • 4
    Commenting because this isn't really a hack: get some sheets made from a fuzzy material (rather than the standard cotton sheets): jersey, flannel, etc. They are excellent in winter- because of the material they're made from, they won't be stone cold in winter and you can slide right in and be toasty warm. There's a reason why flannel PJs are so cosy.
    – Trish Ling
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 4:15
  • Just get in your bed with pants on first for a few minutes before taking them off to sleep
    – Huangism
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 19:56

13 Answers 13


A really easy and simple way to do this is with a blow-dryer. Almost everyone has one, and you just pick the sheets up and blow hot air between them. It works great, and only takes a minute or two.


Ah, this is an age-old question!

In times of yore, folks would use a bed warmer to hold hot coals with which to quickly heat their beds. Hot coals are generally useful things to have around; you may remember them from such well-received answers as what is the fastest way to toast bread and the upcoming "How do I quickly obtain a delicious steak at 3AM?" Note that those less privileged would rely on items which could be warmed by a fire and hold a good deal of heat, releasing it over time to warm a cold bed; Laura Ingalls Wilder describes in her famed books the use of common household items such as bricks, flatirons and potatoes for this purpose. The Wikipedia article notes that the common rubber hot water bottle makes an excellent bed-warmer, and I would have to agree - just make sure you get the cap or cork on tightly, as waking up with cold, wet feet is never fun. If waiting for water to heat is ruining your bed-time routine, consider the options presented in Fastest way to boil water.

History out of the way, let's consider some other options; as a modern, life-hacky individual, I'm sure you've already discarded such quaint solutions, and rightly so. Here are some alternatives:

  • Adopt a dog. Dogs love laying in your bed to warm it up before you shove them out of the way. And their normal body temperature is higher than yours! If you find cold spots unacceptable, just adopt multiple dogs.

  • Light your bed on fire. Lighter fluid and fire extinguishers are inexpensive these days, and chances are you already have both just lying around doing nothing. Add a thick wool coverlet to protect your delicate sheets, and you've got yourself a recipe for a warm bed in no time! Extra points for playing some Midnight Oil while you brush your teeth.

  • Vigorous, missionary-position sex. This is an old remedy as well, but you may be unaware that while he was sending you to bed with a brick, your grandfather was warming his bed up using nothing but lots of friction and Grandma.

  • A vintage Pentium. Yeah, we're back to "put hot objects at your feet", but this one at least breaks us out of the 1890s and into the 1990s! Classic Pentium chips ran hot enough to require PCs to be redesigned for improved cooling; just the thing to keep your toes toasty!

  • 11
    – Mooseman
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 3:13

The old school way of doing this is with a hot water bottle.

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  • Thanks, but this answer was already mentioned in William's answer Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 2:06
  • If you have the heating or a stove warm, put a bag of cherry stones (washed and dried of course) on top to warm through all evening. This will then warm your bed nicely, without having to heat water. I gather you can use similar other stuff, but I have a cherry tree, so plenty of stones (pits?).
    – RedSonja
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 6:57
  • youtu.be/AjNvBAoNAbY DIY heat pack. Takes little effort, no money and lasts a long time.
    – M.Mat
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 3:05

An electric blanket would actually be cheaper than a bed warmer filled with water. I found a random electric kettle, this will heat 1.7 l of water to boiling in 207 seconds using 3 kW. That's 621 kWs. Say you heat the water to 50 °C instead, that's 310 kWs.

An electric blanket that draws 50 W can run for 6200 seconds before it's consumed 310 kWs. That's about 1.5 hours, way more than necessary: I usually run my electric blanket for 30-45 minutes (and then the entire bed is warm, not just the sheets).

This difference is 1 kWh in 24 days, so you can calculate how long it takes before the electric blanket has made up for its cost in power savings.


My mother-in-law makes these warmers as gifts. They're basically fabric that's completely sewn shut with feed corn inside. Throw it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and they stay warm for a while.

My wife and I have 2-3 of them that we use during the winter months. We'll put 2 where our feet go and one in the middle. Then pull the covers up.

Things are nice and toasty. We've also tried the rice and the tube sock thing, but it doesn't seem like it stays as warm for as long.

Link: https://happyandsimple.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/microwavable-hotcold-packs-made-from-corn-tutorial/


I was brought up using hot water bottles. They are still the best solution today, but not too easy to find good ones. The best one I ever bought was a 'Boots' brand from UK; it was shiny on one side to facilitate sliding around in the bed, ribbed on the other side to allow direct contact without burning. Sadly I cannot find a replacement anywhere. The ones currently available are 'ok' but not as good - too rough on both sides to easily slide around with your feet (some people may prefer this as the bottle 'stays put' - matter of preference).

The second best solution is a 'gel' filled heating pad, often supplied inside a fabric sleeve. You take the gel-pack out of the sleeve, put in microwave for a minute or so, then put back in the sleeve and then into the bed. You don't need to remove from the sleeve but I don't like the idea of having the fabric sleeve touching the inside of my microwave. This is a sample of the 'gel' component; I can't find one off-hand that has the matching sleeve but a pillow-case would suffice in a pinch. Be sure not to overheat the gel - watch it closely the first several times you use it to ensure it does not 'bubble'. If you overheat, it can burst and make a big mess.

The third best option in my opinion is a 'flax seed' filled pad; similar to the previous suggestion, but using flax seeds instead of gel. I don't personally like the associated aroma and feel weird about introducing 'seeds' into my bed, but I'm sure they are ok.


I've heard of a solar powered warming device. As long as there's been enough sunshine during the day it will warm up. Then place it on top of the bed cover and place a thick blanket or duvet, which is called a doona in some places, over it to keep the warmth in. It will however work much better if slipped under the covers. This device is very cheap and can even be used when camping.

What is it and where do you buy it? Some hardware stores have it. It's black all over, fairly thick and needs a bit of care during use.

Guaranteed no electricity required.

Guessed yet?

Okay, it's one or more large, strong and thick black plastic bags. Some hardware store stock them as garden refuse bags. Put some water in them and seal them. Lay them as flat as possible out in the sunlight. During the day they heat very nicely. Before dark take them inside, place them on the bed and cover them to trap the heat. Works a treat. Just make sure you don't prong them with anything sharp. Never let a cat in the room or you'll end up with a wet bet.

I even heat water for a shower by running some black agricultural pipe around the yard. Filled with water it heats up great. You can transfer the water to one of those camping showers or attach it to a pump and run it through a window etc. Free hot water. The kids even suggested putting thin ag pipes on the roof to get even more free hot water. But it wouldn't look very good.

Anyway, if it's too much trouble for most people to heat a bed this way, it's really no hassle when camping.

Remember, make sure the water doesn't leak out.

Hope this helps.


  • 2
    This seems to be a guaranteed way of soaking your bed with water.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 8:48

We have a small travel trailer that we take camping in the winter. We don’t like using propane for heat, so we’ve found that an electric throw works perfectly. They are smaller than an electric blanket, and use less energy. We plug the throw into a pure sine inverter that is connected to a deep-cycle battery. The battery is charged during the day with a solar panel, and therefore there are no costs to operate it. Maybe a bit more expensive than you were looking for, but if you buy the stuff used, you can probably get if for under $100. Then free warm bed for years until the battery craps out.


Put a large towel in dryer just before you plan to go into the bed. It wont disturb anything and just toss it aside without having to unplug anything or get out of the bed...............aaahhhhhhhhh.

  • 4
    I'm guessing you also take the towel out of the dryer once it's warm and put it on the bed? ;) Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 21:02
  • 2
    Surely heating a towel that way in a tumble dryer would use more electricity than an electric blanket.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 12:49

I use the hair blow dryer as previously mentioned. I pull back the heavier covers, put the nozzle under the sheet, kind of sealing around it with my hands and use it to "inflate" the top sheet; think "dutch oven" gag. You don't need to heat the rest of the blankets, just the sheets that are going to touch you, so it only takes a few minutes to get them toasty warm. Then jump in and pull the blankets over you, by the time the sheet loses its heat into the blankets, you are adding your own body heat.


Get a new, unworn tube sock and fill it halfway with regular rice. Tie a knot to keep it shut, and then stick it in the microwave for a minute and a half.

  • Then what? How does this relate to the question? Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 6:40

Whack the cover in the tumble dryer for a bit. It only keeps it warm for a short period, and there's the pain of putting the cover back on before you get in bed, but it stops you from being instantly freezing!

  • 2
    Downvote - OP specified he did not want to remove the covers from the bed.
    – hairboat
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 2:58

You could keep the sheets in your living room, or another room which is warmer than your bedroom, and thusly have warmer sheets when going to bed.

Another option, maybe not to hygienic, but could still be useful, would be to enter bed with some clothing to preheat before taking off your clothes. (Maybe best done in the outdoors)

My last suggestion would be to use extra blankets over the bed during daytime to keep the sheets underneath slightly warmer.

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