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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Glow in the Dark Mountain Dew

By May 23, 2013

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Do you remember when I tried the instructions for making Glow in the Dark Mountain Dew? The instructions given in the video were shown to be fake but that doesn't mean you can't duplicate the glowing bottle of soda. In fact, the real project is as easy and inexpensive as the fake project. I've made a video debunking the myth and then showing you how to really make a Mountain Dew bottle glow. Here's how you do it:

Glow in the Dark Mountain Dew Materials
  • 20-oz bottle of Mountain Dew™ (but any bottle will work)
  • glowstick or lightstick
  • scissors or wirecutters
  • dishwashing liquid (I used Dawn™)
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • baking soda
Make It Glow
  • Pour out or drink all but a small volume of the soft drink (~1/4 inch). If your bottle is empty, add a little water.
  • Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid.
  • Use scissors or wirecutters to cut the glowstick. (I do not recommend using a steak knife, but if it's all you can find, it will work.)
  • Empty the contents of the glowstick into the bottle. I used a pair of tiny inch-long sticks intended for use as earrings, so I just cut them in half and tossed them in the bottle. If the liquid won't flow you can snip the glowstick into pieces and just add the pieces to the bottle.
  • Add 1-3 capfuls of hydrogen peroxide.
  • Add a pinch of baking soda and immediately seal the bottle.
  • Turn out the lights (if you haven't already) and vigorously shake the bottle.
  • You probably guessed this, but I'll say it anyway... don't drink the contents of the bottle. Keep it out of reach of children or anyone else who might be tempted to drink the liquid.
Things to Know
  • There's nothing special about Mountain Dew. In fact, you don't even need soda.
  • You can make the bottle glow any color you like. Just use the appropriate color of glowstick.
  • You don't absolutely need the peroxide or baking soda either. The project works if you add a little detergent and the contents of a broken glowstick to any near-empty 20-oz bottle.
  • However, if you add the peroxide and baking soda, you get an immediate bright glow. Enjoy the glow while you can because the chemiluminescence reaction proceeds rapidly. If you use peroxide you will notice the light starting to fade within about half a minute.
Glowing Red Dr. Pepper
How Lightsticks Work | Glowstick Colors
Photo: You can't drink glowing Mountain Dew, but that doesn't make it any less cool. One bottle is glowing Mountain Dew. The other is red-glowing Dr. Pepper. (Anne Helmenstine)


March 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm
(1) happydear says:

just a question;

after you make this happen is it reusable like a glow stick?
(if you recharge it with light, will it work again?)

March 5, 2008 at 9:02 pm
(2) chemistry says:

No, it’s not reusable. It doesn’t last as long as a normal lightstick, either, though it glows more brightly for a short amount of time.

March 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm
(3) Randall Schroeder says:

What are you saying “Making Glow” It sounds like you’re using a glow stick already?

July 9, 2009 at 5:20 am
(4) Jay Silver says:

Thats because you are using a glowstick. I tried this out earlier after receiving the Hoax Video in my email. You’re using the chemicals from the glowstick to produce the glow, the liquid is just to dilute and spread it around the bottle (as most party glow sticks dont hold enough liquid in them anyways) and the baking soda and peroxide, if you remember those fun bottle rockets you used to make as a kid, creates a fizz effect to make the glowing BRIGHTER, for however small of a period of time. Mine lasted somewhere among 30 seconds to a minute. What Im wondering is if you increase the volume of liquid, and also increase the volume of the other ingredients, how well will it work? As I’m not so clever to do the math on my own, anyone who comes up with these results please drop me a line. Also, if you know any other cool things to do with glow sticks, drop me a line for that as well, preferably titles like “Results on Increased Glowstick Volume” and “Fun things to do witha Glowstick” You can reach me at shade_hellraiser@hotmail.com

May 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm
(5) diana almanzar says:

wait soo when u tried to do this it didnt work?

February 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm
(6) Tatum A. says:

i believe that this experiment is actually jus about the best there is if ur like me and jus absolutley love chemistry

March 1, 2010 at 11:59 am
(7) tiffany says:

I want to use this for a science project but I am not sure how to make it into a question.. Please help me!! Thanks

September 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm
(8) sissywissy says:

people who pull these kind of scams are very rude and some of these scams can really hurt someones feelings. i tried this experiment with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and mountain dew. my experiment didnt work. but i found a reason why it didnt work this way. i needed to use more of the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. u need to use 35% peroxide and with the baking soda, u have to use 15mg. then hopefully u can get it to work too.

January 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm
(9) pearl says:

i was so disapointed.!!! i use this experiment because i was deeply convinced by the video. it is intended for my research. im haftway for submission when my show flaps just because “it didn’t work”. i condemn it. but anyway it give me reasonS and many more reasons to be more resourceful and well-tempered enough to continue my research for my major.

January 26, 2011 at 8:06 pm
(10) jmccliff says:

i was disapointed.!!! i use this experiment because i was deeply convinced with the video. but sad to say it didnt work .im haftway for submission when my show flaps just because it didnt work. i condemn it”"”. but amyway it give me reasons and many more reasons to be more resourceful and well-tempered to continue my research. this is for my major.

March 11, 2011 at 8:50 am
(11) eliakim says:

this project is convincing., but can you give me the reason why or how does it works??? what are the contents of each materials why they react like that or why its glowing., pls answer my question honestly to those who know about it., :) because its our experiment in chemistry., thnx

April 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm
(12) kara says:

I am doing this for a science project (hopefully) but i need to know what the chemical reaction for it is. I have to explain it in my presentation. Could you please explain it to me?? Thanks!!

November 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm
(13) hll says:

hi umm can the mountain dew be cold or does it need to be hot or does it matter

December 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm
(14) ME says:

I was going to do a science fair project on this but i didnt work even my teacher said so i was upset

March 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm
(15) adsdsd says:

this doesnt work i tried some many times but it doesnt work

March 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm
(16) R says:

Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend drinking regular mountain dew either.

March 28, 2012 at 12:04 am
(17) mary says:

i need to explaine in front of my class and i dont what to do

April 20, 2012 at 2:12 am
(18) Anonymous says:

The Glow in the Dark Mountain Dew does work. Several people in our home school group tried it and it worked. I as well tried the experiment and it worked. Perhaps you did not put the correct amounts of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda into the dew or you had the incorrect amount of dew. I would invite you to retry the experiment using the following directions:

Pour out three quarters of a 20 oz bottle of mountain dew. So leave 1/4 of the dew in the bottle, then add 3cap fills of hydrogen peroxide, and just enough baking soda to fill the tip of a spoon.

May 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm
(19) some1 says:

can some1 tell me why it glows? (plz by email) wildoneshacker0pro@gmail.com

May 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm
(20) DebunkIt says:

Anyone claiming that the glowing Mountain Dew experiment works without introduction of a glowstick and/or luminol is lying, and in fact may be suggesting dangerous modifications (like the 15% hydrogen peroxide)!

May 21, 2012 at 9:02 am
(21) mohamed says:

for making a Permanent glowing things you can use a glowing paints because it contains an inorganic material like strontium illuminate which is the most powerful glow in the dark material and it can glow for many hours with high intensity and reusable for many other application

May 22, 2012 at 3:59 am
(22) kumar says:

excellent mam

July 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm
(23) Ellie says:

Whats the point of using a real glow stick if you are trying to make a glow stick? That kind of defeating the purpose isn’t it

July 28, 2012 at 11:27 pm
(24) aZzhole says:

For those of you … geniuses attempting this for a science project… go back to making volcanos with paper mache… baking soda… vinegar and red food dye.

July 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm
(25) learn to read says:

ignorant idiots keep asking all the same dumb questions that are clearly and easily explained if you READ THE ARTICLE.

July 31, 2012 at 1:19 am
(26) Jasper says:

What I remember about combining baking soda and peroxide is that that creates a pressure vessel out of the 20 oz. bottle, when the lid is closed, right? So what you are saying is fill a soda bottle with a whole bunch of baking soda, matching amounts of peroxide, reseal the lid, shake vigorously, hold tightly in hand and raise to within inches of my face? Does that not sound stupid to anyone else?

August 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm
(27) Happily Surprised! says:

Just tried it after seeing the fake one circulating on FB… and it worked! thanks for the fun (only lasted about a min to a min and a half as you stated is the case when using the peroxide, but it certainly did work)

November 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm
(28) thatguy says:

I really hoped this would work.

Oh well… Here’s an old trick that you can do with that bottle of mountain dew (that actually works).

Go to dollar store or walmart or whatever.
Pick up ‘The Works’ toilet bowl cleaner
A roll of aluminium foil

Tear a few strips of foil and drop them into the bottle.

Then quickly fill the bottom of the bottle with about a half inch to an inch with toilet bowl cleaner and get the cap on tightly!!

Give a few hard shakes and throw someplace (QUICKLY!!!) that won’t hurt people or animals.

Wait a few minutes at a safe distance and be patient.
Be ready to run. It is LOUD!

Have fun!

January 15, 2013 at 1:31 am
(29) Anna says:

Does this project result in a chemical change?

February 7, 2013 at 11:05 am
(30) Macie bollin says:

How long does it take to make one of these

February 12, 2013 at 7:21 am
(31) cindy says:

can i use coke-cola insted of mountain dew were all out of it?

February 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm
(32) Jeff says:

Another fun experiment is to fill a plastic pop bottle about a 1/4 of the way with warm water (wide mouth Mountain Dew bottles work the best). Then add a couple chunks of dry ice (use gloves, do not touch it with your skin), approx enough to fill your palm. Very quickly put the cap on tight and throw AWAY from anyone. Usually takes 5 to 20 seconds and produces an extremely loud and violent explosion (will completely shred the bottle). 2 liter bottles work also just increase amounts accordingly. Isn’t science fun…

February 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm
(33) Adam S. says:

umm…this isn’t science…well the glow stick is, the rest are just inert ingredients, everyone knows a glow stick will produce a glow, the amazement would be producing a glow without a glow stick…you don’t need soda, peroxide, baking soda, or dish liquid if you have a glow stick…

March 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm
(34) diamond says:

i really dont know if this works but it is kinda stupid

April 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm
(35) a says:

diamond this is not what you would call stupid this is awsome

May 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm
(36) Blowing stuff up is fun says:

Take a chlorine tablet for a swimming pool, crush up some of it, put it in a water bottle with some rubbing alcohol. Close the cap and throw that shizzle! Kaboom!

May 2, 2013 at 5:25 pm
(37) James says:

Here’s what you do… go to the store and buy a bunch of little glow sticks and crack each one and throw them all in the mountain dew bottle until full…cap it an shake that mug like crazy..presto a glowing mountain dew bottle!

May 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm
(38) olaoluwa says:

what is the principle behind the fluorescence of the mountain dew?

August 25, 2013 at 3:47 am
(39) Vermilion says:

You need a fluorescent dye to make a glow stick. You also need some pretty expensive chemicals to run a reaction that does involve hydrogen peroxide to transfer the heat energy into the dye to make photons or light (glow). Glow sticks come with the chemicals and the dye already mixed and the crunch sound you hear when you activate them is a glass tube full of hydrogen peroxide breaking and mixing in causing a reaction. This is just a trick to ruin a good Mountain Dew.

September 11, 2013 at 8:23 am
(40) rico says:

Yes this is a repost, i made a huge mistake on the last one

The glowstick reaction is made using a diphenyl oxalate derivative known as bis(2,4,6-trichlorophenyl)oxalate or TCPO. Additional ingredients include ethyl acetate as a solvent, sodium acetate as a base, 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene to give it the green color, and hydrogen peroxide to react with the TCPO and create light.

The exact proportions are:

15mL of ethyl acetate
3mg of 9,10-bis(phenyethynyl) anthracene
1g of sodium acetate
800mg of TCPO
3mL of hydrogen peroxide added last to initiate the reaction.

The exact same process is used in glow sticks. the expeeriament is NOT mountain dew. Mountain dew cannot glow like this, it does not have the crucial TCPO chemical or any chemical like that.

The reaction will glow in the dark for several minutes if you use ethyl acetate as the solvent. It will glow for several hours if you use diethyl phthalate as the solvent.

please visit our site at nurdrage.com for other videos if you like this one.

September 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm
(41) paul says:

Its days like this that I want to punch the internet in the face –

How to make a glow stick mountain dew -

1)cut open glow stick
2)pour in mt.dew

September 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm
(42) Bradford says:

Wtf? If I’m going to need a glow stick then why not just use the glow stick ? I could just dump the contents of the stick in the bottle and then crack open the second part of the solution that was in the glowstick allready!

October 22, 2013 at 10:59 am
(43) chris says:

this is the real deal here.

December 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm
(44) Kate Leone says:

Cheaper yet . . . any size empty bottle, water, light food coloring and tonic water. It will glow under a black light from the quinine in the tonic.

January 11, 2014 at 4:09 pm
(45) shelby says:

this didnt work

January 14, 2014 at 7:13 am
(46) Danie says:

hi, do you know what the detergent/dish soap does? I’m assuming it has the same purpose as the sodium acetate in a glowstick. Apparently, in the glow stick, sodium acetate is the base (not sure what that means??). My goal is to produce chemiluminescence with household materials. This sparked my interest. Right now, the only component in the glowstick not having a counterpart is the sodium acetate. So, match it up, dish soap?? Idk help

January 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm
(47) Lauren says:

I saw this on a vine and inmiediatly looked it up

February 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm
(48) Shylah says:

Can you use more than 20 oz of Mountain Dew? Will it still work? Also, can you use more than 1-2 glow sticks?

February 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm
(49) olisa says:

Jst tired of all the gibberish, I nee som1 to explain the chemistry behind the whole thing.

April 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm
(50) Sheryl says:

yep I agree. this is stupid. just use the glow stick. why a mountain dew bottle? I wanted this to work too. saw it on Facebook and lost the post. then was looking up the recipe and found this. oh and someone posted the chemical make up so stop asking for it!

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