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Do glow sticks last longer in the cold?

snowflakes - do glow sticks last longer in the cold

A lot of people are curious about whether or not glow sticks are temperature sensitive, and particularly ask the question ‘do glow sticks last longer in the cold?’. It isn’t a silly question, especially in relation to what is, through all its fun uses and attractive aesthetic, a chemical reaction in a tube.

Perhaps you have heard that placing your glow stick (activated) in the freezer will make it last longer? Maybe you’re genuinely curious about how your environment, when using your glow stick, will affect the strength of brightness, and the amount of time the stick lasts for?

Well, we’re here to answer your questions once and for all.

So, Do glow sticks last longer in the cold?


The short of it is yes, it is true that glow sticks last longer in the cold. No need to ask yourself ‘do glow sticks last longer in the cold?’ any more, because you now know it is true. Yay!

Chemiluminescence is a chemical reaction that occurs within a glow stick, it creates the glowing effect in any glow chemical product. Find out more about how glow sticks work in our blog post about the science behind glow sticks.

Temperature directly affects glow chemical products, whatever form they are in. The reason an activated glow stick lasts longer in colder temperatures is because the colder temperatures slow down the chemical reaction. By placing a glow stick in the freezer you freeze the chemicals, slowing the reaction right down. Freezing a glow stick is like ‘turning off’ the chemical reaction that causes the glow effect. This is the case for any glow chemical product. Do bear in mind though that prolonging the glow does in turn result in a dimmer glow effect.

Does Putting The Glow Stick In Cold Water Work As Well As Freezing It?

Putting a glow stick in cold water will also slow the process down, just not to the extent of freezing it.

How Does Heat Affect A Glow Stick

So, as you know cold slows down a chemical reaction in a glow stick, it makes sense that heat would do the opposite. Having a glow stick in a hot environment creates a brighter glow, which is great, but it does speed up the process, therefore shortening the glow effect of the stick exposed to heat.

Can I Defrost A Glow Stick In The Microwave?

No! Please don’t! This is extremely dangerous and could cause your glow stick to explode or melt. Instead run it or sit it in warm (not hot) tap water to defrost the chemicals inside.

How Long Will My Activated Glow Stick Last Without Freezing It?

If you just want to enjoy your stick for its natural lifespan, expect it to last for at least 12 hours. This is dependant on the manufacturer, the storage, the packaging and your use of it.

So, do glow sticks last longer in the cold? Yes they do! How great is that, a really easy way to prolong the life of your super-fun accessory. With this information, there’s glow stopping you!

2 thoughts on “Do glow sticks last longer in the cold?

  1. Thanks for your information . Would glo sticks work for luminaries in the midwest in December, a season of cold and snow? Would the cold temps minimize the brightness?

    1. They would work for that purpose but wouldn’t be as bright as in warmer temperatures, however would glow for a longer period of time.

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