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After seeing a Facebook post about how you can blow up balloons without using helium, we wanted to try this trick for ourselves because, really, how convenient would this be for party prep? A small helium tank can set you back about $50. So the idea that we could blow up balloons without one, using ingredients we already have in our home, piqued our curiosity.
Here’s what we found.
The Facebook post says you need white vinegar, baking soda, an empty plastic water bottle, a funnel and, of course, a balloon.
First, fill the water bottle about 1/3 of the way full with white vinegar.
Next, put baking soda into the un-inflated balloon, filling it about halfway. Ideally, you’d have a funnel handy for this process but, because I didn’t have one, I made one out of construction paper rolled up, and tape. It did the trick!
So now you have an empty plastic water bottle filled 1/3 of the way with white vinegar, and a balloon filled about 1/2 of the way with baking soda.
The next step is to carefully put the balloon over the top of the water bottle, making sure the baking soda doesn’t spill into the bottle.
And now for the fun! When you’re ready, tip the un-inflated balloon up so the baking soda starts to spill into the water bottle. Immediately, the mixture will start to fizzle and foam, and the gases released from the two ingredients interacting will blow up your balloon!
The entire process only takes a minute or two, but once the baking soda hits the vinegar, it only takes about 30 seconds or less to blow up the balloon before the mixture starts to fizzle down.
Easy enough, right? Here are some takeaways we had from conducting this experiment:
First of all, while this could potentially be a great money-saving idea, unfortunately, filling a balloon with the gases emitted from a vinegar and baking soda mixture does not allow it to float. In addition, don’t be surprised if your balloon fills up with part of the foamy concoction before it fizzles out.
Just to be sure my conclusions were accurate, I tried this experiment multiple times and, each time, I had the same results. I also tried it using the exact amount of vinegar and baking soda from this post, but also attempted it with measurements found on Mental Scoop.
While the idea is clever and, yes, you can blow up a balloon this way, it might be easier to either invest in a helium tank or blow up your balloons with a little lung power.