Here in Seattle we’ve had some pretty nasty weather the last week; snow, freezing rain, wind storm and just plain cold. It was so bad that they closed the airport temporarily, tens of thousands lost power, and there were a ton of accidents.  Many from the East Coast think we are pathetic because we can’t drive or function with a little bit of snow.  The reality is, Seattle doesn’t have enough equipment to clear the snow because we get snow so infrequently, it doesn’t make economic sense to purchase more.  Furthermore, our cars don’t have snow tires and it doesn’t help that there are lots of hills and water, which turns into ice.  Put them all together and it equals problems.

Instead of venturing out, I decided to be safe and stay home. My comfort was, although we ran out of fire wood,  we still had power.  And I had my good ‘ol rubber hot water bottle.  This was bought a long, long time ago , that I even can’t recall where.  But, it still works wonderfully.

My son calls me “old school”, and says “no one uses a hot water bottle nowadays! Well, actually that’s not true.  I went over to an elderly Japanese friend’s house and she had two in different sizes!  In Japan, it’s called a yutanpo.

metal yutanpo

Traditionally, there were made of metal to retain heat, but today they use a durable hard plastic and it comes with a fuzzy cover.  My Chinese neighbor who popped in one evening, was delighted when she spotted  my American version hot water bottle, and reminisced on how she grew up using a metal one too.  Like the Japanese, they used it to warm their beds before bedtime.  Even though she’s lived in the U.S. for over 30 years, she had never seen a rubber one like mine and wanted one too.

plastic utanpo

So, how do I use my hot water bottle? Because I sit at my computer for many hours,  sitting in the same position without much movement isn’t really helping my circulation.  Inevitably, I get cold quickly.  By placing the bottle between the back of my chair and my lower back, it keeps me warm for hours!

my hot water bottle!

Honest!  The funny thing is, even though my hands and feet are cold, because my back and torso is heated, it doesn’t seem to bother me any more.  If you work at a desk for hours and feel cold, please do give this a try.  It truly works wonders.  You can’t beat the “old school” ideas; no electricity and eco-friendly!

8 thoughts on “Keeping Warm with a Hot Water Bottle”

  1. Hi, I came upon your site searching for hot water bottles on Google. Do you or any of your friends (whom you mention) have any idea where I can find a shop which sells such hot water bottles like you folks use in the Greater Seattle area ? I looked online but am wary of buying something with 20-30$ without getting a hang of what I am buying, I mean $25 for what is essentially a piece of rubber ain’t cheap ! Thanks in advance, keep warm !


  2. Hi Niru,

    Hot water bottles can usually be found at a pharmacy. Check your local pharmacy or if looking online Amazon has a variety of choices from about $10.00. The main thing is that they don’t leak! Good luck!

  3. I just bought one of the old metal hot water bottles, as featured above. Does anyone know when these were used? Mine is steel or tin as above. Any info would be much appreciated.

    Thank you

  4. I have a rubber one but lost the cover. It’s been a life saver as I hate to use the heater. I just saw the metal one today at the Japanese market and I think I’m going to buy it! I love the design!

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