How Long Do Glow Sticks Last? A Glow Facts Guide

Glow sticks are a great way to add some excitement and energy to your party, concert, or all sorts of fun. They’re also easy and inexpensive, which is always nice. But how long do they last?

Keep reading to learn more about there life expectancy, what’s inside a glow stick, and how they work.

What’s Inside a Glow Stick?

whats inside a glow stick

Glow sticks contain hydrogen peroxide and phenyl oxalate, which react to form an unstable molecule called dioxetanedione. When the glow stick is cracked open (or broken) and oxygen enters the mix, this unstable molecule breaks down into two molecules of carbon dioxide gas and chemical energy. This chemical energy is what makes them give off that wonderful light that they provide.

A stick’s light output will fade over time but there are ways to make it last a bit longer.

How Long Do Glow Sticks Last?

how long do glow sticks last

Glow sticks that are “freshly cracked” will glow for four to eight hours and glow sticks that were not stored properly (in high or low humidity) can last as little as one hour. Glow sticks glow longest when stored in a refrigerator between two and eight degrees Celsius.

In order to make glow sticks glow for longer, you should store them at room temperature (or slightly above) before using them. After they have been used, don’t let the glow stick get too hot or cold as this will shorten their lifetime further!

How Can You Make Glow Sticks Last Longer?

how can you make glow sticks last longer

In order to make glow sticks glow longer, you can try a few different things!

  • Don’t open them in areas where there is air. Instead, break them in a plastic bag and seal them tightly when finished. This will help prevent oxygen from entering the mix prematurely
  • Store them at room temperature (not too cold or hot) for best results
  • If using outdoors, place glow sticks somewhere shaded so they don’t get exposed to sunlight directly as this would cause them to stop glowing quickly instead of fading over time like normal light sources do after being exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
  • Do not bend glow sticks before use and only crack once ready for use – bending and/or cracking glowsticks can affect their glow and fade it faster
  • If glow sticks are stored in the refrigerator, remove them about 30 minutes before use so they can warm up to room temperature.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

image of blue and green glow stick necklaces

Is it okay to throw them away?

Glow sticks can be thrown away as long as they are not broken open and glow stick liquid is present. If the glow stick does contain any of its contents, it should be disposed of properly (in a hazardous waste receptacle) to prevent chemicals from entering the environment.

Does putting glow sticks in the freezer make them last longer?

It is not recommended to put glow sticks in the freezer because if they are cold, it could shorten their lifetime. Store them at room temperature (or slightly above) before using. After they have been used, don’t let the glow stick get too hot or cold as this will also shorten their lifetime further!

What color glow stick lasts the longest?

Blue or green sticks will glow for the longest amount of time. Glow sticks that glow red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple can also glow very bright but their lifetime is shorter than those glowing blue or green.

Which colors have the brightest glow?

Green or yellow models are commonly the brightest color followed by orange. These colors contained less fluorescent dye than other colors. These are the purest and the brightest as they contain fewer fluorescent dyes than others.

How long is the shelf life of Glow Sticks?

The shelf life of glow products is 1 to 4 years, depending on how they are stored. Products that have been kept in foil packaging may survive for up to 4 years while those that haven’t will usually have a life of over 1 year.