How to Make Glow Sticks Light Up Again

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Whether used for safety, night diving, night sports, concerts, parties or special events, glow sticks provide convenient sources of light without the use of electricity or heat. The glow stick, sometimes called a light stick, contains a thin glass tube suspended in hydrogen peroxide and filled with phenyl oxalate and fluorescent dye. When the stick is bent, the glass tube breaks, and the substances mix, causing a light-emitting chemical reaction. Glow sticks last about 5 to 12 hours, or longer, depending on the product. However, you can make glow sticks light up again with the use of heat.

Things You'll Need

  • Used glow sticks
  • Water
  • Pot
  • Tongs

How to Make Glow Sticks Light Up Again

Fill a pot with water and heat the water to just under boiling. It is not necessary for the water to simmer. Ideally, the water should be scalding hot.

Place the used glow sticks in the water. Leave them in for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The glow stick should begin to glow increasingly as the chemicals inside react to the heat.

Use tongs to remove the light sticks from the pot of water. Allow the sticks to cool so they can be comfortably held.

Use the glow sticks promptly, as they will lose their glow rapidly. The luminescence will last about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prolong the luminescence of a used light stick by placing it in a freezer until used again. This slows the chemical reaction that causes the light stick to glow. While cold, the glow stick will not glow. As the stick warms to room temperature, it will begin to light up again.
  • Intensify the luminescence of a new glow stick. Remove it from its packaging and immerse it in hot water, as stated above. This will cause the glow stick to glow very brightly, but it will also reduce the life of the glow stick.
  • Do not heat glow sticks in the microwave.
  • Check glow sticks for any damage that could cause leaks. The liquid inside the glow stick can permanently stain clothing, furniture and carpet.
  • Do not open a glow stick with the purpose of applying the luminescent liquid to the skin or clothing. Also avoid contact with mouth and eyes, as the chemicals inside the glow stick can be harmful.
  • Use caution when handling a broken glow stick. The activated glow stick includes thin shards of glass that can be hard to see.

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