Can You Put Glowsticks In A Pool? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Back when I was still in my 20s, some acquaintances of mine threw a rave in New York. They decided to fill up a pool with glowstick juice to add a glowing pool. Not long after, they got sued for damaging the vision of partygoers who swam in the pool. While you shouldn’t put glowstick juice in a pool, glowsticks themselves might be a different story.

Traditional glowsticks are totally waterproof and actually can float in a pool. They are perfectly safe as long as you are not breaking them open and pouring the liquid into the pool. Electric glowsticks, however, are generally not pool-safe.

As a rave aficionado, I feel like I’m uniquely qualified to explain what you should know about glowsticks in your pool. So, let’s get started.

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What Happens If You Put A Glowstick In Water?

It depends on the glowstick, really. Assuming that you’re using a traditional glowstick, you’ll see a nice glow in your pool. It’ll look surreal and neat. Glowsticks also tend to last longer when they are dunked in cold water or left in cold temperatures. It slows down the chemical reactions that make your stick glow.

How Long Do Glowsticks Last In Water?

Once they are cracked, a glowstick will last for anywhere from 8 to 12 hours in cold water. So you’ll have plenty of party time to enjoy the glowing goodness.

Are Glowsticks Safe For Pool Use?

This all depends on the type of glowstick you’re using. For the sake of this article, I’m going to divide glowsticks into two main categories. The overall answer will depend on the type of glowstick you’re using.

Traditional Glowsticks

Traditional glowsticks are the ones that are made of waxy plastic, get filled with liquid, and have to be “cracked” to start their glowing. You might see them at Halloween stores or just buy them from your local party shop. These glowsticks are waterproof thanks to their strong plastic exteriors and are totally safe for pools.

When in doubt, go for traditional glowsticks. Even those glowy bracelets are waterproof and great for pool use. Some party planners even shove cracked glowsticks into blow-up balls. This makes for a party-ready pool accessory in a pinch.

Electric Glowsticks

As of late, electric glowsticks have gained popularity. These are battery-powered glowsticks that are typically turned on via a button. They might flash, glow, or even change colors. These are electricity-powered and usually don’t have protective gear around them. This means they are not waterproof and can cause injury if they are submerged in water.

With that said, not all electronic glowsticks are off-limits. Some electric glowsticks can be used in water, but they are generally marked as waterproof. (Actually, some are even made strictly for pools and water use. Use those if you want to go through this route.)

Safety Rules For Using Glowsticks In The Pool

While glowsticks are made to be safe to use, the truth is that you should still do things the safe and smart way. Here’s what I’d suggest that you do when you’re using glowsticks to decorate poolwater:

  • If you want the water to glow, don’t use glowstick juice to do it. A safer option would be quinine, also known as tonic water. It will glow when you put the water near a black light.
  • Don’t put broken glowsticks in the pool. By “broken,” I mean glowsticks that have fluid leaking in them. If you open a glowstick, glass shards will come out along with the dangerous chemicals.
  • Always double-check the glowsticks before you toss them in the pool. A cracked glowsticks is not supposed to be a leaky glowstick. Those leaks might seem innocuous, but they can irritate sensitive skin. (They also taste bad, too.)
  • If you want to use glowsticks that are electronic, make sure they’re waterproof. They make some really neat waterproof ones, including glow-in-the-dark ice cubes. (Don’t worry, they’re not actually cold.)
  • If you want multi-day glowing, then consider getting a phosphorescent gel coat for your pool. Yes, they make non-toxic phosphorescent gel coats that will allow your pool to glow in the dark without the use of black light. Yes, it’s also super expensive. It’s worth it and non-toxic, though. So, it’s a win-win.
  • Don’t be afraid to accent your pool with other glow toys. There is a growing market for glowing pool toys and bath bombs. If you want to jazz it up, don’t be afraid to ask for more goods.

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Related Questions

What should you do if glowstick juice gets in your pool?

It all depends on how much got in. Glowstick juice is a skin and eye irritant. In some cases, it also can have glass shards present in it. A small amount of juice (and only juice) won’t be too bad for your pool. Larger quantities (like the ones from multiple jumbo sticks) can pose a health risk. We suggest diluting the pool and running the pool vacuum to remove any shards that could have gotten in there.

Is glowstick juice toxic?

Though it is labeled as non-toxic, the meaning behind it is tenuous at best. You (or your kids) won’t die if you swallow some glowstick juice, but it tastes awful and soapy. It’ll also make your mouth go numb. In larger quantities, it can irritate and burn your skin. Contact with eyes can lead to blindness. So, don’t assume that your glowsticks are edible or worthy of body paint.

How can you tell if a cracked glowsticks dropped broken glass in your pool?

Hopefully, this is not going to be the case with your pool. Broken glass is very hard to get out of a pool without scratching the surface liner. Your best bet is to run a pool vacuum and ask everyone to leave the pool while the area is cleaned out. Those little nicks that glowsticks can have are shockingly painful.Thankfully, a lot of glowstick companies no longer use glass vials in their sticks.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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