How to Extend the Life of Helium Balloons

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Helium balloons are great for parties, but their lifespans can be increased to last long after the party.
Helium balloons are great for parties, but their lifespans can be increased to last long after the party. (Image: Balloons image by elmgrover from Fotolia.com)

Helium balloons are a common decoration for all types of parties. They float in the air, which allows for greater decorative versatility than air-inflated balloons that simply scatter on the ground. You can purchase inflated helium balloons or rent an inflation kit that allows you to blow them up right before the party for a longer-lasting decoration. The main problem with helium balloons is that the helium loses its efficacy over a period of time, resulting in deflated balloons or balloons that won't stay in the air. There are steps you can take to extend the length of helium balloons.

Things You'll Need

  • Helium tank
  • trash bag
  • Super Hi-Float
  • Hi-Float
  • Hairspray

Inflate the balloons with air first, deflate them and then inflate with helium. By inflating the balloons with air first, you will stretch the balloon, which ensures that you are getting maximum helium coverage when it's time to inflate with helium.

Use Mylar balloons instead of latex because latex is more prone to shrinking and deflating.

Store inflated balloons in a trash bag before and after use to protect from sunlight, dirt and wind. Oxygen will also corrode the balloon material, so the trash bag will help to protect it from oxygen damage.

Coat the inside of the balloon with Super Hi-Float gel and allow to dry before inflating. This gel is known to increase the length of helium balloons by several weeks.

Spray the outside of the balloon with a protective coat to prevent oxidization, a major factor in balloon deterioration. You can use a product such as Hi-Float or a household product like hairspray to firm and seal the surface.

Inflate the balloons in an environment similar to the temperature where they will be used. If you are going to use the balloons in a warm room, inflate them in a room of about the same temperature to reduce the impact of expansion and deflation caused by temperature change.

Use lighter colored balloons in place of dark balloons whenever possible. Light colors reflect light and heat, while dark colors absorb light and heat, increasing the risk of fading and deflation.

Tips & Warnings

  • If possible, rent a helium tank and inflate the balloons on the day of the party to ensure that the helium is fresh inside the balloons. Store-bought balloons may have been inflated several days beforehand and won't last as long.
  • Mylar balloons will not decompose, so avoid letting them float away into the atmosphere.

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