Monday, March 18, 2013

Home Made Glow Sticks

"Making a Glow Lantern - Materials needed: Matches, bleach, 3% hydrogen peroxide, and a jar. Cut about 20 matches at the top to get only the match heads. Throw them in the jar and mix in 3 cap-fulls of hydrogen peroxide. One more cap-full of bleach will do the trick. Put the top back on the jar and shake. This setup will stay lit of hours"

People. Please. Please. Don't start mixing chemicals together because you saw it work online. "But there's a youtube video!" you say. Yes, and with a simple trick of camera work I too can make it seem like this would work.

Unlike other hoax videos involving harmless items like Mountain Dew, this is potentially dangerous.  First off you need about 20 matches and you need to cut the heads off them then place in a jar. Mix in a dash of bleach and a pinch of peroxide and voila! you have a glow stick in a jar!

But it doesn't work that way. Technically so I've read, the bleach could act as a catalyst for the peroxide to oxidize the phosphorous that is in the match heads. But also from what I've read (because honestly, this isn't something I'm going to personally test) this would have been something that would have worked perhaps 100 years ago - the type of ingredients, mainly the phosphates, in matches today are NOT the same as what used to be and won't work with this experiment. A similar phosphate is used in more modern strike anywhere matches, but those are far more dangerous than regular matches.  Everything I've reading online of people having actually attempted this have said it's failed.

Strike anywhere matches come with a list of dangers themselves - mainly they can catch on a lot of different things and POOF! Fire! Not to mention that when you mix bleach with hydrogen peroxide you get apparently straight up oxygen - which sounds lovely but is actually not the best thing to be around. (not to mention the perfect food for fire.. which you've just introduced to about 20 strike anywhere matches) If the bleach doesn't mix right with the peroxide you also face dealing with chlorine gas, which is a nasty substance and not something you want to be around.

So all in all - chances are this isn't going to work. and if it does work, it's still dangerous. Don't believe everything you read online. And if you want to have some fun with glowing jars, you're better off just picking up some cheap glow sticks, crack them open, and dump them into the jar. (but as we all know from one of my experiment  it won't glow like a lantern) However your best bet is to just make sure your home is stocked with batteries for flashlights or lanterns in case of a power failure and save those matches for lighting candles or a fire in case of an emergency.


  1. Anonymous20/12/15

    So you've never tried it. You claim no professional authority; i.e.. chemist, fireman, not even a self-identified DIYer or survival guru. However, having done some other Internet reading you're sure this Internet reading is both false and dangerous, the writer less knowledgeable than yourself and even likely trying to pull off a dishonest hoax likely to harm people. Suggestion: Maybe consider posts exclusively on topics you know something about. Also before denigrating someone elses posts and even maligning their character, maybe at least try what's suggested and see if it works.

  2. Anonymous7/9/16

    Saying the strike anywhere matches are are dangerous soaked in a 3 to 1 ratio of hydrogen peroxide are still likeley to strike randomly is about absurd as saying a candle can stay lit 7 hours after its put out. You repeatedly mentioned clues to your clulessnes and it all started on a blog against pintrest. Kind of funny it came from there isn't it. As a fire service and safety graduate and paramedic i feel comfortable sticking to the side of the original creator, maby you should stick to what you know to, like my little pony and world of warcraft facts.