Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

There’s a new viral film breezing through the internet, demonstrating what appears to be a way to make ordinary soda glow. Only one problem, its a big fake.

The video claims that just adding baking soda and some hydrogen peroxide to Mountain Dew will result in the over-caffinated beverage achieving an eerie glow. However, closely watching the video, which is available on YouTube, shows that in addition to these ingredients, theres another item added to the Dew– the contents of a glowstick. The glow fluid goes into the soda, using sleight of hand, and the hydrogen peroxide activates the glow fluid.

Snopes debunked the prank with their own film.

So, while Mountain Dew might give you a huge caffiene buzz, it certainly won’t glow with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

Side note: If you’ve ever made a glowstick “glow,” you know it involves bending the stick to break a glass ampuole inside, releasing the contents into the fluid outside the ampuole. It is the reaction between these two fluids that produces the glow. The glow fluid contains:

sodium carbonate
ammonium carbonate
copper sulfate pentahydrate

And guess whats in the glass ampuloe? Yeah, hydrogen peroxide. Thats why the prankster needed to include the hydrogen peroxide in the Mountain Dew “experiment” as that is what activated the luminol chemical reaction. Nice try!

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And check out what a reader over at Pharyngula made for me!


  1. #1 SMC
    October 14, 2007

    […]will result in the over-caffeinated beverage achieving an eerie glow.

    I object!

    55mg per 12-oz. serving is far, far, too feeble to qualify as “over-caffeinated”.

    Still, as someone who’s never lost the childish fascination for things that glow in the dark – Good post!

  2. #2 mark p.s.
    October 14, 2007

    I saw this video and knew it was a trick. What is dangerous is kids could try this and the mixture could explode the bottle if enough gas is produced and the lid is on tight. It should have been pulled

  3. #3 Charlie (Colorado)
    October 14, 2007

    However, tonic water will glow niecly in UV light.

    Another bit of trivia coming from being a teetotaller even in my misspent youth.

  4. #4 Dan
    October 14, 2007

    Don’t know about the Mountain Dew, but here’s how you make a tomato glow.

    Seems kind of neat.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    October 15, 2007

    shelly’s coming up strong, at the beginning of yesterday, she was over 2k votes down, now less than 1k.

    it’s gonna be a tight race after all, looks like.

  6. #6 Texas Reader
    October 15, 2007

    SMC – I use caffeine to stop migraines and Mountain Dew has worked well for me. This may be because I’m not a coffee drinker and thus don’t have the caffeine tolerance that a coffee drinker would. My nephew uses it for his ADD.

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