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Green Fire Instructions

Brilliant Green Flames

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Green fire is easy to make and doesn't require any hard-to-find chemicals.

Green fire is easy to make and doesn't require any hard-to-find chemicals.

Anne Helmenstine
It's easy to make brilliant green fire. This cool chemistry project requires only two household chemicals.

Green Fire Materials

  • Boric Acid
    Medical grade boric acid can be found in the pharmacy sections of some stores for use as a disinfectant. It is a white powder. It's not the same chemical as borax. I used Enoz Roach Away™, which is 99% boric acid, sold with household insecticides.
  • Heet™ Gas Line Antifreeze and Water Remover
    Heet™ is sold with automotive chemicals.
  • Metal or Stoneware Container
  • Lighter
Instructions for Making Green Fire
  1. Pour some Heet™ into the container. How much you use will determine how long your fire will burn. I used about a half cup of Heet™ for approximately 10 minutes of fire.

  2. Sprinkle some boric acid into the liquid and swirl it around to mix it up. I used 1-2 teaspoons of powder. It won't all dissolve, so don't worry about some powder at the bottom of the container.

  3. Set the container on a heat-safe surface and ignite it with a lighter. I have a video of green fire, if you would like to see what to expect.
Green Fire Tips & Safety Information
  • Boric acid is a relatively safe household chemical. You can rinse the residue remaining in the container down the drain.

  • This is an outdoor project. There isn't a lot of smoke produced, nor is it particularly toxic, but the heat is intense. It will set off your smoke alarm.

  • Be sure to set your container on a heat-safe surface. Do not follow my extremely bad example and set it on your glass patio table. Similarly, don't use any container that might shatter dangerously. Use metal or possibly stoneware, not glass, wood, or plastic.

  • Heet™ primarily is methanol (methyl alcohol). You could try this project with other types of alcohol. Possibilities include ethanol, such as vodka or Everclear, or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). You might also try other common household metal salts for different flame colors.

  • For example, I susbstituted rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) for the Heet™. The result was a fire that alternated from orange to blue to green. It wasn't as spectacular as the Heet™ fire, but it was still pretty cool.

  • The green fire could be used as a stunning Halloween decoration in a cauldron or possibly inside a jack-o-lantern.

  • Keep the chemicals for this project out of reach of children or pets, since methanol is harmful if swallowed. Read and follow any safety precautions listed on the labels of the specific products you use.

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