How to Get Glow Sticks Out of Paint on Walls

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Glow stick residue
Glow stick residue (Image: blue glow image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com)

Glow sticks contain hydrogen peroxide and phenol, and when bent create a chemical reaction that produces a glow for an hour or so. Higher temperatures make them glow brighter but less long. If you bend them after activating the chemical reaction the plastic outer layer can crack or break, spilling the liquid inside, which will continue to glow for the remainder of the hour since they started glowing. Some people break them intentionally to put them on the wall, although the glow will still only last for an hour and has a strong odor. As you handle glow sticks and clean up the potential mess, be careful not to ingest the material, and try to keep it off your skin as it can cause skin irritation. According to the Glow Stick Factory, one of the main producers of glow sticks, the mixture washes off easily with water and soap, and for the safety of the paint on the walls you can begin with water.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic gloves
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Soap

Put on the safety gloves to protect your hands from the glow stick chemicals and roll up your sleeves to avoid getting it on your clothes.

Wet the sponge and wipe the glow stick residue with gentle circular motions. As the liquid is loosened, rinse the sponge regularly in the water and return to circular wiping.

Apply a small amount of non-abrasive soap to the sponge if the water is not cleaning enough of the mixture. Check the soap to see if it is safe to use on paint, and rub gently so you do not damage the paint.

Rinse the surface again with water to remove any soap residue and wash your hands and arms to ensure that no glow stick liquid remains on your hands.

Tips & Warnings

  • The chemicals in glow sticks can irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. Avoid breaking them open if possible.
  • The activated liquid can contain tiny shards of glass, so wear protective gloves to avoid getting them rubbed into your skin.
  • Glow sticks are not appropriate to give to small children (younger than 8). Explain to children not to bend the glow sticks once they are activated. Only give to children with adult supervision.

References

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