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Glow in the Dark Mountain Dew

Chemiluminescent Soda

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Glowing Mountain Dew is a fun glow-in-the-dark project.

Glowing Mountain Dew is a fun glow-in-the-dark project.

Anne Helmenstine You can do the Glowing Mountain Dew project with other soft drinks or even using an empty bottle.

You can do the Glowing Mountain Dew project with other soft drinks or even using an empty bottle.

Anne Helmenstine If you have too much liquid, you won't get an evenly distributed glow.

If you have too much liquid, you won't get an evenly distributed glow though the glow of the liquid will be intense and eerie.

Anne Helmenstine

Do you remember back in October 2007 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. Here's how you do it:

Glow in the Dark Mountain Dew Materials

  • 20-oz bottle of Mountain Dew™ (but any 20-oz 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. Modern glowsticks are nontoxic, but that doesn't make them good for you to eat. Similarly, dishwashing liquid is not edible.
Things to Know
  • There's nothing special about Mountain Dew™. In fact, you don't even need soda. The glowing red bottle was made using a bit of water (I used too much... you shouldn't be able to see the liquid level), a squirt of Dawn™, a broken red glowstick, a couple of capfuls of hydrogen peroxide, and a pinch of baking soda.
  • 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.
  • Avoid contact with the contents of the glowstick. Clean off any residue from your scissors or other cutting tool. If you get any of the product on your skin, rinse it off immediately with warm soapy water.
Watch a video of this project.

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