Alex Henry


As of 2021, the range of Elmer’s glue products appears to be made in both the USA and China.

The Elmer’s brand was sold in 2015 to Newell Brands and one of their first moves after purchasing Elmer’s was to shut down some USA based operations, which is an indicator that production may continue to be shifted overseas.

Which Elmer’s Glue Products Are Made in the USA or China?

It appears that Elmer’s liquid glue is made in both the USA and China, whilst Elmer’s glue sticks are now all made in China.

We have based this on customer testimony, by researching Elmer’s manufacturing locations, as well as by manually checking the products for their country of origin statement (often found on the rear of the bottle).

List of Elmer’s Products That Are Only Made in China

As mentioned previously, all Elmer’s glue sticks are now made in China.

  • Elmer’s School Glue Sticks (such as Elmer’s Disappearing Purple School Glue Sticks)
  • Elmer’s Home & Office Glue Sticks (such as Elmer’s Extra Strength Glue Sticks)
  • Elmer’s Crafting Glue Sticks (such as Elmer’s CraftBond Extra Strength Glue Sticks)

List of Elmer’s Products That Are Made in the USA and China

The products below are manufactured in both the USA and China. You’ll need to check the country of origin statement on the product to confirm where it has come from.

  • Elmer’s White School Glue
  • Elmer’s Clear School Glue
  • Elmer’s Glue-All

Please note that some products may state that they are assembled in the USA. This does not mean that they have been made in the USA, it could simply mean the glue was put into bottles in the USA. The actual glue and the bottles themselves may have been made overseas.

Is Chinese Made Elmer’s Glue Safe?

Chinese factories are not held to the same standard as USA based ones, so it’s understandable to worry about the safety of a product that you and/or your children might use.

Quality control issues are something that can affect a brand as large as Elmer’s. Whilst there have been no reported quality control issues with made in China Elmer’s products, it could still happen.

Take Mattel for instance, a multi billion dollar valued company, that faced a recall in 2007 because their Chinese manufacturer had used lead paint as the finish for their toy cars.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Made in the USA vs Assembled in the USA. What’s the Difference?

Made in the USA indicates that the product is “all or virtually all” domestically produced, manufactured and assembled within the USA.

Assembled in the USA is a very vague term and only refers to the final stage of manufacturing and does not require a company to explain where its parts come from.

Where Was Elmer’s Glue Made Previously?

It depends how far you go back. Originally, all Elmer’s glue was made in the USA.

Does Elmer’s Manufacture Glue Outside of the USA or China?

As of July 2021 we have not discovered any products that are made outside of the USA or China.

Update in 2023: A couple of their products are made in Japan.

How Can I Found Out the Country of Origin for a Product I Have Ordered?

The easiest method before purchasing is to ask the supplier. If you need to check after you have received the product then the country of origin will most likely be on the rear of the product (see examples below).

Want to keep your kids entertained by filling your bath with Orbeez but aren’t sure how many you’ll need? Lucky for you, we’ve gone to the trouble of working out how many are needed for standard bathtubs. We’ve also provided the calculations needed to work out exactly how many you need for your own bath.

How Many Orbeez Are Required for a Small Bathtub?

According to Badeloft USA, a small bathtub holds approximately 40 gallons of water.

This equates to 9240 cubic inches of volume.

It will take 64 000 Orbeez to fill a small bathtub.

How Many Orbeez Are Required for a Standard Bathtub?

According to Badeloft USA, a small bathtub holds approximately 80 gallons of water.

This equates to 18480 cubic inches of volume.

It will take 128 000 Orbeez to fill a standard bathtub.

How Many Orbeez Are Required for a Large Bathtub?

According to Badeloft USA, a small bathtub holds approximately 100 to 110 gallons of water.

This equates to 23100 to 25410 cubic inches of volume.

It will take 160 000 to 176 000 Orbeez to fill a large bathtub.

How to Work Out the Number of Orbeez You Need to Fill a Bath Yourself

If the above bathtubs aren’t what you have, then you can easily work out the number you need by taking some measurements and completing some basic math. This will provide you with the volume the bath holds and with this measurement you can exactly find the number of Orbeez you need.

For reference:

  • One measuring cup contains approximately 100 fully hydrated Orbeez.
  • One measuring cup contains 14.4375 cubic inches of volume.

How to Find the Number of Orbeez Required for a Square or Rectangle Bath

First step is measure the length, width and height of the bathtub. Make sure to measure the inside of the bath and not the outside. Measure in inches and not feet for accuracy.

Note the measurements.

Now multiply the length by the width, and then multiply the resulting number by the height. This number represents the volume in cubic inches.

Now we know the volume of the bath in cubic inches. We also know that one measuring cup contains 14.4375 cubic inches of volume.

To find the volume of the bath in standard measuring cups, we need to divide the volume of the bath by 14.4375.

Now we know the volume of the bath in cups. We also know that one measuring cup contains 100 Orbeez.

To find the number of Orbeez you will need, simply multiply the number of cups by 100.


Bath length: 60 inches
Bath width: 30 inches
Bath height: 14 inches

60 x 30 x 14 = 25200 cubic inches

25200/14.4375 = 1745.45454545 cups

1745.45454545 * 100 = 174545.454545 Orbeez

Final total = 174 545 Orbeez (more than one hundred and seventy four thousand Orbeez)

How to Find the Number of Orbeez Required for an Irregular Shaped Bath

An irregular shaped bath may be slightly more difficult to measure, or very difficult, depending on how irregular the shape is.

If the bathtub is a square/rectangle shape and has a bench in it, then it is easy to account for this bench.

Simply follow the math for a square/rectangle tub – measure the inside of the bath as if the bench was not there.

You will now have the volume of the bath, but you will need to remove the space the bench is taking up.

Work out the volume of the bench by taking its length, width and height measurements.

Then subtract the volume of the bench from the volume of the bathtub.

Now you have the volume of the bathtub with a bench built into it.

However, if the bath is a hexagon shape, oval shape or a very irregular rectangle shape then it is much more difficult. You will have to estimate the number of Orbeez for these shapes or use a flow meter to find the volume.

Helpful Tips & Questions

How to Find Out the Volume of Your Bath Using a Flow Meter

You may already have one on hand as they are often used in the garden. If not, then you can pick them up from any hardware store.

Plug the flow meter into your hosepipe and then fill your bath as much as you can (you may not be able to fill past the overfill drain).

Once your bath is full, turn off the hose and check the measurement from the flow meter.

The flow meter will most likely measure in cubic feet or cubic meters so be aware of this as you will need to convert to cubic inches before you can follow the instructions above.

Can I Use Generic Orbeez (Water Beads)?

You can use any water beads you like. It’ll certainly be a lot cheaper to use the generic version (water beads) as there are often discount bulk packs that contain tens of thousands of beads.

Be aware that water beads come in various different sizes so be aware that you may find that more or fewer fit in a measuring cup when compared to Orbeez.

Will Using Tap Water, Filtered Water or Distilled Water Change Things?

Yes, Orbeez will grow to their largest size in distilled water (about 13 or 14mm)

Filtered water will likely still have some contaminants that won’t allow Orbeez to grow quite to their full size.

Tap water could result in your Orbeez growing to a smaller size due to its ionic/mineral content.

Remember to Leave Space for People to Sit In the Bath

You’ll need to leave space for people to actually get into the bath once it has been filled with Orbeez.

Obviously, if you fill it right to the top and then get in your bath will overflow with Orbeez. So, make sure you take this into account and reduce the number of Orbeez you use.

Also, you will probably want to reduce the total number of Orbeez and add some water so that you can more easily move around.

Can I Reuse Orbeez or Water Beads That Have Been Used in the Bath?

Yes, you can. But, be aware that bathing in Orbeez will make them dirty/contaminated and mold/bacteria may be an issue.

You can reuse your Orbeez outside (in flowerpots and such), but if you want to reuse them for playtime or in the bath again then you will need to clean then. Cleaning this many Orbeez may not be worth it!

I Don’t Live In the USA… What About Metric Measurements?

Metric measurements certainly make a lot more sense, but they aren’t used in the US which is why we don’t use them.

With a little bit of thought you can make the calculations work with metric measurements. Probably easiest to measure your bath in centimeters, find the volume in cubic centimeters, and then find the number of US measuring cups of Orbeez you need by finding how many cubic centimeters are in one measuring cup.

The brand owner and retailer of Orbeez is Spin Master, and their range of products are made in “China, Mexico, Vietnam and India among others”. Specifically, in regards to Orbeez, it appears that they are made in China as this is noted as the Country of Origin on their Amazon product page.

The term Orbeez is also often used to refer to other ‘grow in water’ type beads, such as water beads. Other brand names for water beads include Sooper beads, MarvelBeads as well as a myriad of other smaller brands. Our understanding is that all of these other brands are also made in China. We have not found a manufacturer that is based in the USA.

Note that there is a difference between manufacturers and suppliers. A supplier may well be based in the USA but this does not mean that they manufacture their products, they may just import them from overseas (as is the case with Orbeez and water beads).

Are Chinese Made Orbeez/Water Beads Safe?

In general they are safe. Orbeez (and water beads) are a very simple product made of sodium polyacrylate (with some colour pigments added). Sodium polyacrylate has been proven to be safe and non toxic.

However, it is important to remember that they are many manufacturers of water beads. Furthermore, there may even be many manufacturers of Orbeez. It is difficult for suppliers to audit manufacturers to make sure they aren’t using anything they shouldn’t be.

For example, the current owner of the Orbeez brand (Spin Master) had to recall the product Aqua Dots after children became sick when ingesting the product. The manufacturing had been outsourced to a Chinese company which had used dangerous chemicals in its production.

It’s important to note that Aqua Dots are not the same sort of product as Orbeez. They were a ‘stick with water’ toy that has now been re-released to the market as Pixos.

Are There Really No US Based Manufacturers?

Unfortunately, there are currently no US based manufacturers of Orbeez (or water beads). However, there are a few manufacturers of the base material – sodium polyacrylate.

Sodium polyacrylate has many different uses, such as in cosmetics when it works to improve the stability and feel of products.

You may be interested to know that sodium polyacrylate also forms the base for fake snow. Fake snow absorbs water and expands many times its original size in the same manner as Orbeez, except that it does so much faster. Best of all, some fake snow (such as the Let it Snow brand) is made in the USA from US made sodium polyacrylate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does It Sometimes Say That Orbeez Are Made by Maya Toys?

Maya Toys previously owned the brand but they sold it (along with some others) in 2019 to Spin Master. Spin Master is currently the brand owner. It is important to note that whilst they own the brand, production is done overseas and is most likely outsourced.

Are There Any Fake Orbeez?

There aren’t any Orbeez fakes that we know of that are using the Orbeez logo. However, Orbeez is fast becoming a generic trademark and it is common to find retailers selling water beads and using the term Orbeez when doing so. Just be aware of this when ordering, especially so if ordering from overseas.

Who Invented Orbeez?

Tali Ben-Ezer and her husband, Oden Ben-Ezer, founded Maya Toys in 1992. It is their company that invented Orbeez.

When Were Orbeez Invented?

We don’t know exactly when Orbeez were invented. However, searching Google trends shows no search volume before August 2010, so it is likely the product was released to market in 2010.

Interestingly, the term ‘water beads’ has search volume all the way back to 2004. Perhaps water beads existed before Orbeez.

Why Do Some Sites Say That Orbeez Were Invented in the 1960s?

It’s most likely they are confusing the invention of sodium polyacrylate with Orbeez. Sodium polyacrylate was invented in the 1960s, but Orbeez were not developed until much later.

Orbeez guns, or as they are more commonly called – gel blasters – are a safe yet fun toy for children and adults alike.

Orbeez guns work a bit like like a Nerf gun, except that they use small gel balls as ammunition instead of Nerf darts. They are usually powered by built in lithium ion batteries, with some models being manually charged.

Other Names That Orbeez Guns Are Called

Orbeez guns go by many names, the most common by search volume are as follows:

  • Orbeez gun
  • Gel blaster
  • Water bead gun
  • Orbeez blaster
  • Water gel blaster
  • Hydrogel blaster

There are also many other names for the same product, as there is no fixed definition as to what an Orbeez gun is called. Generally speaking, they all use the same sort of mechanism and also use the same or similar ammunition (a small gel ball such as an Orbeez bead or a water bead).

Please note, for this article we will mainly use the terms Orbeez gun or gel blaster but in doing so we will be referring to all types of guns that fire gel balls. This is because they are pretty much the same thing to most people.

What Ammunition Does An Orbeez Gun Use?

This is actually not as easily answered as it would seem.

As mentioned, the term Orbeez guns can also refer to water bead guns, gel blasters or similar. Whilst these are all in the same family of toys they may use different sized ammunition as there are a wide variety of manufacturers.

They all use hydrogel beads for the ammo, but the size of the beads as well as the physical structure of the beads can vary depending on the model.

The Size of the Ammunition

Most Orbeez guns will use a 7 – 8mm (approx. 0.3 inches) bead size. This is the smallest size and is quite firm. These hydrogel beads won’t break apart easily.

Other models use larger 10mm (approx. 0.39 inches) beads. These beads are a bit softer and there is more chance of them breaking on impact.

It’s important to make sure you have the correct ammunition for your gel blaster. If you use a size that’s too large it won’t fire, or will fire broken bits of hydrogel everywhere. However, if you go too small then the beads may not shoot as far and the blaster will be less accurate.

The Physical Structure of the Hydrogel Beads

Generally speaking, the smaller the hydrogel bead (or Orbeez bead if you prefer the term) the harder and firmer its structure. Large beads will break apart much more easily when compared to small ones. However, some manufacturers sell ‘hardened’ beads, which are very firm and are more akin to airsoft pellets.

Other Names That Hydrogel Beads Are Called

The ammunition for gel blasters (Orbeez guns) also goes by a number of different names. These include:

  • Gel balls (most common)
  • Hydrogel beads
  • Hydrogel water beads

You will also find that simply searching for water beads or Orbeez will bring up possible ammunition options, but be aware that a lot of these options won’t be suitable (either too big to fit in the blasters, or not strong enough to survive being fired out of one).

How Is the Ammunition Prepared?

Once you have your Orbeez gun and ammo on hand, you need to soak the beads for a period of 4 to 6 hours. It’s best to use distilled water for best results. The beads will enlarge in size over this period of time.

The beads won’t grow any larger than they are specified to grow to, so you can leave them soaking overnight or longer if you wish.

Be aware that differing water quality can affect the size the beads grow to. Distilled water will allow the Orbeez to grow to their full size and filtered water will allow them to grow almost to their full size. However, tap water can have quite varied results as the quality of tap water is different depending on where you live.

Tap water with chlorine and other elements in it can cause the beads to grow to perhaps 80 to 95% of their specified size. Perhaps even smaller if you have water as bad as it was in Flint, Michigan!

How Are Orbeez Guns Powered?

Most Orbeez guns are powered by built in lithium ion batteries. These are generally easily accessible and replaceable, which is useful as they will eventually be recharge cycled to death (just like a phone battery will eventually die).

The most common voltages for gel blaster batteries are 6V, 7.4V and 11.1V. Higher voltages provide more power to the Orbeez blaster. Some users like to swap out lower voltage batteries with higher voltage ones to increase the rate of fire (and sometimes, to a small extent, the velocity is increase too). Be aware that in doing so you may damage the electronics inside.

If might be wise to purchase spare batteries so that you don’t have to stop playing when the battery needs recharging.

Some models are manually powered. These models often use a pump action or similar motion which primes the spring inside (it’s this spring that then shoots the bead out of the gun once you pull the trigger).

What are the Best Beginner Orbeez Gun/Gel Blasters?

We’ve decided to lay out the best beginner gel blasters, as opposed to the best gel blasters overall due to the cost of top tier models (which can set you back hundreds of dollars).

The best beginner models (in our opinion)are the Runqi P90 gel blaster and the Anstoy AEG AKM-47.

Runqi P90 Gel Blaster

The Runqi P90 gel blaster (Orbeez gun) is probably the best value for the money blaster for a beginner. Modelled off a real P90 submachine gun, this blaster features a built in infra red laser and a magazine capacity of 250 hydrogel beads.


Battery: 6V 700mAh ni-cd battery
Range: 20 meters
Ammo size: 8-10mm (note that some stores state it uses 7-8mm, please check the correct size before buying the gel balls)
Colour: Usually black or graffiti (other colours are also sold such as white, yellow)

You can expect the battery to last up to 3500 shots when fully charged. Upgrading the battery to a greater voltage may be possible. 7.4V or 11.1V batteries allow for a faster firing rate. You can also upgrade the capacity of the battery for longer run time.

Note that there are other models of P90 gel blasters sold, such as the Bingfeng P90 gel blaster. The specs differ when compared to the Runqi model.

You can pick up the Runqi P90 gun from most online marketplaces. Try eBay or Aliexpress (we checked out Amazon too but couldn’t find it there). Expect to pay $50 to $100 USD depending on the seller. The reviews for this blaster are generally good.

Anstoy AEG AKM-47

The Anstoy AEG AKM-47 gel blaster (Orbeez gun) is currently the best available model that’s available through Amazon. With its grenade shaped ammo magazine on the top, this model certainly looks more like a toy when compared to others.


Battery: 7.4V 1200mAh li-po battery
Range: 20 meters
FPS: 150
Ammo size: 7mm
Colour: Red graffiti, yellow graffiti, green graffiti, blue graffiti (other colours may be sold too)

You can expect the battery to last at least 2500 shots when fully charged. It is likely that the battery will last longer than this but we did not test it past this point.

It may be possible to upgrade the battery to 11.1V for a faster firing rate. Note that the firing rate is already very fast, and going any faster may cause damage to the blaster.

Part of the reason we included this Orbeez gun as a great option for beginners is the fact it’s made by Anstoy (a reputable Chinese brand). The quality tends to be good, and customers are generally happy. Expect to pay $60 to $100 USD through Amazon, or you can directly purchase it from the supplier ( It might also be available on eBay and Aliexpress.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Orbeez Guns Safe?

With the right precautions they are perfectly safe. Most will shoot Orbeez in the 150 to 300 feet per second range and so long as you’re wearing eye protection you should be fine.

Expect to feel a slight ‘pinch’ if you’re hit by one of the weaker models, and maybe more of a small bruise if you’re hit with one of the more powerful models.

Still, hydrogel beads are nothing when compared with paintballs which are much more likely to leave large bruises.

As mentioned, eye protection is important. Your eyes are delicate and can be damaged if hit by a hydrogel bead.

Are The Lithium Ion Batteries Safe?

As with everything, this depends on the manufacturer. If you’re worried about a potential battery fire then make sure to remove the battery before storing your Orbeez gun. You can put the battery somewhere safe.

What About Shipping Lithium Ion Batteries From Overseas?

Many Orbeez guns that have lithium ion batteries that are shipped from overseas by air or sea freight can cause issues. As mentioned above, lithium ion batteries can be a minor fire hazard and many airlines won’t allow them to be shipped without paperwork proving that they are safe.

You may have to pay extra to have your goods shipped by DHL or a similar premium service (which is more lenient with potentially dangerous goods).

How Long With My Lithium Ion Battery Last?

This is a case of asking how long is a piece of string… There are so many factors at play that it would be impossible to say. You’ve got to account for the type of Orbeez gun, the number of beads fired, the battery size and health, as well as other factors.

Your best bet is to test it yourself by charging your battery to 100% and firing consistently until the battery is drained. Be aware that draining lithium ion batteries completely can damage them.

Can I Swap a Low Voltage Battery With a High Voltage Battery?

In general, you are able to swap out low voltage batteries with higher voltage ones. This will provide your gun with a faster fire rate. Some potential negative side effects of this include misfires and motor burnout (from being run outside of the correct voltage range).

You may also see a slight increase in the FPS (feet per second) of the hydrogel beads. However, the spring (which is what shoots the beads out of the gun) has the largest effect on FPS.

Can I Buy Spare Parts for My Gel Blaster/Orbeez Gun?

This depends on the model you’re using. Most shops will be able to source spare parts, but this is less likely to be the case for cheaper models, which are more of a throwaway item.

You should easily be able to purchase more batteries, and will of course have no issues buying more ammunition.

Is There Any Danger if the Beads Are Swallowed?

There is no danger if the hydrogel beads are swallowed. They are made from sodium polyacrylate – a non toxic material. Your body won’t digest them and they will safely pass through the human body.

If you read reports about Orbeez or water beads being you should know that this almost always refers to larger beads (bigger than 10mm) being eaten by young children (larger Orbeez/water beads are a choking hazard).

Will Gel Blasters/Orbeez Guns Be Banned in the Future?

Sadly, there a few countries that have banned gel blasters. The most significant is Australia, which has banned them in most states due to their likeness to real firearms.

The majority of countries still allow you to own one without any special permits.

It’s unlikely that the USA will ban them going forward, as the USA has relatively lax gun laws. You may find other Western countries limiting or banning them entirely if their popularity takes off.

If your country has already banned airsoft, then there is a good chance gel blasters will be banned at some point too.

Orbeez are a lot of fun to play with, but what do you do with all those leftover water balls? Instead of throwing them in the bin you can give them a second lease on life as decorative scent diffusers.

Use them with various water soluble fragrances and scents, or try them with essential oils – our guide will show you how to put your leftover Orbeez to good use.

What You Will Need

  • Orbeez (aka water beads)
  • Fragrance or essential oil
  • Container for the Orbeez

We recommend a glass jar or similar as your container as this will allow you to show off the Orbeez.

A Quick Note Before We Begin

Before we begin, we need to check whether the fragrance is water based or oil based. Oil won’t mix with water, and it also won’t be absorbed by the water beads (instead, it will sit on the surface of the beads).

However, water based fragrances will mix with water and will more easily be absorbed by the beads.

This is a limitation of the material the beads are made from (sodium polyacrylate) and there’s nothing that can be done to make them absorb oil.

The only difference in the directions is whether we pre mix the water/fragrance and then add the beads, or just sprinkle the fragrance over the Orbeez once they have fully grown. The former option is for water based fragrances and the latter option for oil based fragrances.


1. Let’s start by preparing your Orbeez (or water beads if you have gone for the generic version). Place them in water for at least 4 hours (best to try for 6 or leave overnight) to ensure they have grown to their full size.

Use distilled water for best results. Filtered water is OK too. Tap water can be a bit iffy depending on where you live.

Note: If you’re using water soluble fragrances then feel free to mix it in with the water before you grow your Orbeez.

2. Pour your water beads into a jar or container (one with a lid is a good idea). Use one which will allow the scent to freely mix with the air.

3. If you’re using oil based fragrances (such as essential oils) then you should sprinkle the oil over the top of the beads.

Note: The amount of oil depends on how many Orbeez you’re using. Around 15 drops is a good start. Add more if necessary.

4. Mix the beads and then sprinkle some more on to ensure you have fully covered the Orbeez.

5. Place the container of Orbeez in a location out of direct sunlight and enjoy the aroma!

Note: Orbeez (water beads) should not be placed in direct sunlight as they will shrink too quickly. If your Orbeez have shrunk just add some more water to hydrate them.

Note: If you’re using the Orbeez air freshener at night time only, make sure to shake well before use to ensure the fragrance is free to mix with the air.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Orbeez Absorb Essential Oils?

No, Orbeez won’t absorb oil. This includes essential oils. However, they will absorb water based essential oils (be aware that water based essential oils are synthetic in nature).

Why Won’t Orbeez Absorb Essential Oils?

Orbeez (and water beads) are made from sodium polyacrylate. It’s simply the nature of sodium polyacrylate to absorb only water, and not oil. If you want to test this out, try adding some vegetable oil to your Orbeez and see what happens (spoilers: nothing will happen).

Do the Essential Oils Need to Be High Quality?

You’re using them in your scent diffuser, and not on your skin so they shouldn’t need to be top tier quality.

How Can I Prevent Mold From Growing?

Always use clean Orbeez. Your best bet is to grow fresh Orbeez in distilled water. However, we understand you may want to reuse Orbeez that have been played with, and if this is the case then you should make sure to have cleaned them before reusing them.

How Should I Store Orbeez When They Are Not in Use?

Orbeez will lose water slowly over time. You should ensure that they are stored out of direct sunlight and kept in an airtight container when not in use.

Can I Use Any Color of Orbeez?

Yep, the color shouldn’t matter at all. Perhaps try blue or purple Orbeez to go with a lavender scent.

How Long Will an Orbeez Air Freshener Last For?

It depends on how often it is used (with the lid off) and where it is kept (in sunlight or out of sunlight). You should expect them to last two months or so (but you may need to add a little water to rehydrate the beads).

Orbeez (aka water beads) have long been used by parents looking to keep their children busy, or DIYers looking to add a bit of decorative flair to a project. Starting off as tiny beads, they grow many times their original size when added to water.

Harmless in most cases, they do have the unfortunate ability to clog up your pipework if too many of them make it down your drain at once.

Thankfully, in most cases it’s possible to unblock your Orbeez blocked wastewater/drainage system without needing any special tools.

Unblock Your Orbeez Clogged Drain Using Salt

This is probably the easiest method of clearing an Orbeez (water beads) blockage.

If the blockage is immediately below your sink or bath, then pouring salt directly onto the Orbeez will shrink them considerably.

If the blockage is further along then it won’t be possible to pour salt directly onto the Orbeez. Instead, you could try a high salt solution. Mix 3 parts hot water with one part salt and pour the resulting mixture down your drain.

This won’t be quite as efficient at shrinking the Orbeez as pure salt, but it will allow you to shrink blockages that are past the water traps in your drainage system.

How Does This Work?

Orbeez are made from sodium polyacrylate, a superabsorbent polymer that absorbs water by osmosis.

 It is a cross-linked (network) polymer that contains sodium atoms. It absorbs water by a process called osmosis. When the (sodium-containing) polymer is placed in contact with water, there is a tendency for the sodium to distribute equally between the network and the water. That means, some of the sodium atoms want to leave the network and move to the water. When these sodium atoms leave, they are replaced with water molecules. Water swells the polymer network to try to keep the sodium concentration balanced between the polymer and the water. The cross-links that connect the chains together prevent them from dissolving/breaking apart in the water.

When salt is added to enlarged Orbeez it reverses the swelling process – water is diffused out of the Orbeez as it is no longer needed inside the polymer to balance the salt concentration.

Once the Orbeez have had time to shrink (allow 4 hours for the salt to have its full effect) you can flush the now shrunken Orbeez through your system using a salt solution. Try a 10 parts hot water to 1 part salt solution for this stage of the process.

If you believe it safe, you could also just use tap water at this stage. The tap water will re enlarge any Orbeez remaining in your system, but hopefully the tap water will clear them into the larger sewer network before they have time to grow in size. Once in the sewer network there should be almost no chance of a blockage unless you have put many thousands down your drain at once.

Unblock Your Orbeez Clogged Drain Using Vinegar

Vinegar is another simple DIY method of shrinking Orbeez. You can pour Vinegar directly over the Orbeez to shrink them. You can also use a vinegar and water solution if you don’t have enough vinegar on hand. However, be aware that this will not be as effective as pure vinegar.

This method works due to the acidity of vinegar – it reduces the osmotic effect and also lowers the ionic character of the polymer that the Orbeez are made from.

Unblock Your Orbeez Clogged Drain Using Baking Soda

As with salt, you can try pouring baking soda directly over the Orbeez (water beads). The water molecules in the Orbeez will rather bond with the baking soda, and this will cause the beads to dehydrate.

We haven’t tested using a baking soda water solution as a means of getting past drain water trap, so salt may be a better option for blockages further along your system.

Unblock Your Orbeez Clogged Drain Using Bleach

This is an interesting one. We have not tested bleach as a method of unblocking a drain that has been blocked with Orbeez. It is recommended on a few websites as a means of clearing an Orbeez blockage. However, these sites all seem to be referencing each other or just blatantly copying each…

We would not recommend bleach due to the lack of evidence.

It is true that bleach will dissolve the beads into a mushy slime over time, but this process takes much longer. This Orbeez filled slime might have a different and possibly negative effect on your plumbing system.

We would strongly recommend salt, vinegar or baking soda over bleach.

Unblock Your Drain by Dismantling the Pipework

As your blockage is most likely going to be in the trap immediately under your sink or bathtub this method may work so long as you have access to the water trap.

Your pipework here needs to use push fittings, and they need to be push fittings that are easily taken apart. Some push fittings require special tools, or simply can’t be taken apart. If you’re pipework is glued together it won’t be possible to use this method either.

Place a bowl under the water trap and dismantle the pipework. You will now be able to manually remove any Orbeez.

Call the Professionals to Clear the Orbeez Blockage

If none of the above methods have worked to clear your Orbeez (water beads) blockage then it must be serious and a plumber will be required.

They’ll send a long camera down the drain (called a borescope) to inspect the blockage. They may need to remove parts of your plumbing to get to the problem, or they may try blasting the blockage with jets of water to clear it.

Helpful Tips:

What Is a Water Trap?

A water trap contains water and prevents bad smells from making their way from your pipework into your living spaces. It is the most likely place for a blockage to occur.

The most common type of water traps are U traps, S traps and P traps (so called due to their shape).

Should I Try Clearing the Blockage With Tap Water?

Fully enlarged Orbeez shouldn’t even be able to fit through the sink or bath strainer, so your blockage is most likely caused by dry beads or semi enlarged beads making their way into the drain before expanding in size.

Flushing more tap water through may just cause the Orbeez to swell in size even further. We don’t recommend this as a safe way to clear your blockage.

I Thought Orbeez Were Easily Biodegradable?

Actually, Orbeez (and also the generic version called water beads) are not easily biodegradable. You’ll have to wait at least a few decades for the beads to degrade and for the blockage to clear itself.

Will the Methods Listed Above Work With Fake Snow Too?

Yes, fake snow (also known as insta snow, instant snow) is also made from sodium polyacrylate and the methods described in this article will work for this too.

Cyril Schreiner: The Guy Who Destroyed His Neighborhood’s Drain System

If you’re interested, you can read about a French YouTuber who managed to block up his entire neighborhood’s wastewater system with millions of Orbeez!

We’ve put together this list to help you learn about Orbeez (also known as water beads). If you have a question that is not on this list, please send us an email. We will endeavor to respond with an answer within 12 hours.

Thank you for all of those who have already asked questions and allowed our knowledgebase to grow ever larger!

The short answer is no! It’s not safe to put Orbeez (also known as water beads) in a fish tank, fish bowl or aquarium.

This is case regardless of whether the Orbeez are hydrated (enlarged) or dehydrated (in their dry state). It’s also the case with all water beads, no matter their size (as there are many different sizes sold).

What Might Happen If I Put Orbeez In My Fish Tank?

Your Orbeez may be mistaken for food and eaten by your fish. They may also break apart over time, and then the slush that forms may be mistaken for food. They may not be eaten at all, and instead become a breeding ground for bacteria (aquariums are obviously not sterile).

What Will Happen If My Fish Eat Orbeez?

This depends on whether your fish eat them in their dry state (just after adding them to water). Or whether they eat them once they are fully hydrated (after they have been soaked for a good 4 hours).

It also depends on the size of the fish as smaller fish are at much greater danger.

If eaten in their dry state, then death is the most likely outcome for almost all aquarium fish. The beads will swell up inside the fish and block it’s digestive tract. The beads may swell to the point that the digestive tract ruptures.

If eaten in their fully hydrated size then the chances of survival are better, but still not great. If your fish has eaten a hydrated Orbeez then there is a chance it has broken it down into smaller chunks with its teeth, and then these smaller bits might pass through your fish safely.

The same applies for Orbeez that have broken down into a slush (this happens if the Orbeez are left under sunlight for prolonged periods of time – the UV radiation causes them to break apart). The slush may be mistaken for food, but will hopefully pass through your fish as it won’t expand any larger.

How Can I Tell If The Digestive Tract of My Fish Is Blocked?

If your fish stops eating then this is a sign that there is a blockage somewhere along the digestive tract.

If your fish visibly appears swollen/bloated then this can also be an indication of a blockage.

What Should I Do If My Fish’s Digestive Tract Has Been Blocked By An Orbeez?

You can either have your fish humanely euthanized, or you could try to help your fish pass the Orbeez. We do not have experience with this, so cannot recommend a method. However, Epsom salt has been used to treat constipation in fish so this may be an option.

How Should I Euthanize My Fish?

We recommend using clove oil as it is a sedative at high doses.

Place your fish in a small container and add clove oil before mixing. The amount of clove oil will depend on the container and also the size of the fish. Generally, 10 drops per liter is a good amount.

The clove oil will euthanize your fish within two hours. However, you can ensure death by then placing the container in your freezer until it is frozen.

Don’t skip the clove oil step and go straight to the freezer as this is not humane for the fish.

What Can I Use Instead of Orbeez?

Your best bet is marbles, as these have the same shape as Orbeez. They also come in different colours. They won’t float in the water or look quite as pretty, but the won’t get eaten and are much safer!

It’s important to note that marbles don’t make a good substrate for fish tanks or aquariums. So make sure you use something suitable for the fish you have (sand, gravel etc) and then use a few marbles to make it pretty.

Making your Orbeez (aka water beads) glow in the dark can be a fun sensory play experience for your children.

That’s why we put this guide together – it covers the DIY method getting your orbeez to glow by easy to find using fluorescent materials (such as tonic water).

Fluorescent materials only glow in the dark under a black light (often referred to as a UV or UVA light).

We’ll also discuss phosphorescent materials such as zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate (think glow in the dark stars).

How to Make Orbeez Glow In the Dark with a Fluorescent Material and A Black Light?

This is the simplest way of getting your water beads to glow in the dark.

You’ll need three things:

  • Transparent orbeez/water beads (also referred to as clear water beads)
  • A black light (also referred to as a UVA light)
  • Fluorescent material that is dispersible in water (easier to get than you would think)

What Is A Fluorescent Material?

A fluorescent material glows when exposed to UV light, but this glow ceases as soon as the light is removed.

What Fluorescent Material Should I Use?

Tonic Water As The Fluorescent Material:

The easiest method is to use tonic water that has at least 5% quinine. You should be able to find it in any supermarket (try Schweppes or Canada Dry as both these brands contain more than 5%).

Helpful tip: Try diet versions of tonic water to prevent your orbeez being sticky to the touch.

Quinine is the ingredient in tonic water that glows when exposed to UV light.

Simply grow your orbeez in tonic water until they have expanded to their full size. They won’t grow as large as they would in pure water, so leave them for a good 4 or so hours to ensure they have reached their maximum size, and then drain the excess tonic water.

This method will make your water beads glow blue under a black light.

Highlighter Fluid As The Fluorescent Material:

Most highlighter ink is non-toxic, however, it’s best to buy highlighters that specify they are non toxic to be on the safe side.

Even with non toxic ink, it’s also important to make sure your kids wash their hands after playing.

Helpful tip: Choose yellow or green highlighters for the best results.

Once you have your highlighter ready, you’ll need to carefully break it open to retrieve the sponge from the inside (this is what contains the ink).

Then cut the sponge open and mix the ink in a container of water. You don’t need much ink but you can’t go wrong by using more than you need. So, make sure to squeeze all the ink out. You can use a second highlighter if you plan on making a lot of glow in the dark water beads.

Now you can grow your orbeez in the water until they have expanded to their full size. As with tonic water, they wont grow as large as they would in pure water, so make sure to leave them for at least 4 hours to get as large as possible. Then drain the excess fluid (or keep it for now just in case you need more water beads later on).

This method will make your water beads glow yellow or green under a black light.

Vitamin B12 As The Fluorescent Material:

Vitamin B12 is a safe, non toxic and water soluble vitamin. It’s probably the safest method of making glow in the dark orbeez.

Just make sure you get it in a form that is easily dispersible in water. You don’t want to have to spend time breaking tablets apart with a hammer!

Once your have your vitamin B12 tablets, simply dissolve them in water. Mix well and add the water beads. Allow them to grow for at least 4 hours and then drain the excess liquid.

This method will make your orbeez glow yellow under a black light.

What’s Next?

Now that your orbeez have been prepared you’ll need to get your black light ready.

You can go with a battery powered black light torch or a more powerful mains powered unit. Be careful if the latter is used due to the dangers of mixing electricity and water.

Close the curtains so the room is dark and then light up the water beads with your black light! They’ll glow as the light shines over them. Turn off the light and they’ll immediately go dark.

This makes a fun learning experience for your kids. Not only can you teach how osmosis works (from growing the beads) but also how fluorescence works. You’ll be introducing a number of great scientific words to their vocabulary too – ultraviolet, transparent, quinine and so on.

What About Phosphorescent Orbeez?

Phosphorescent glow in the dark water beads don’t need a black light to make them glow. They soak up sunlight and then emit it a glow over time. They can be made by using zinc sulfide or strontium aluminate.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to make water beads glow in the dark with a phosphorescent material like zinc sulfide or strontium aluminate. These compounds don’t mix well with water and they are beyond our DIY level!

However, you can purchase water beads/orbeez which have been manufactured using one of these two compounds. The materials are non toxic and safe.

Zinc sulfide is the most common phosphorescent compound used in glow in the dark toys. You have probably seen it used before in glow in the dark stars.

The upside of zinc sulfide is that it is very cheap. The downside is that it doesn’t glow for very long and it’s not that bright.

Strontium aluminate is a newer and less common compound. It’s more expensive but it glows up to ten times brighter and longer than zinc sulfide.

It’s up to you which type of phosphorescent glow in the dark water beads you get. You can find them on many online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Aliexpress.

How to Make Glow in the Dark Water That’s Safe to Bathe In?

You might want to try skipping water beads entirely and just use the glow in the dark water as a fun bath time for your kids. As this will allow your children the opportunity to drink it we’ll have to stay away from using tonic water and highlighter fluid for the fluorescence.

Instead, we can use vitamin B12 as we did before. This is a completely safe vitamin with no tolerable upper limit set (meaning you can have as much of it as you like without any negative effects). Any excess B12 leaves the body in urine. You won’t need to worry about your child absorbing it through their skin or drinking it (although it’s best not to drink bath water in general!)

Hopefully, you’ll have some easily water soluble B12 to mix into the bath water. If not, then make sure you crush the tablets into a fine powder before mixing them into the water. You don’t need much to achieve a decent glow under a black light.

What Other Things Can I Do With My Blacklight?

You can show your children all sorts of everyday items that glow under a blacklight. Some interesting ones include:

  • Bank notes
  • Banana spots
  • Tomato sauce
  • Laundry detergent

There are many other everyday household items that glow in the dark. Have fun finding them!

Thinking about filling up a bath, paddling pool, or maybe even an actual swimming pool with orbeez (aka water beads)? The answer is different depending on the quantity you need.

It’s important to remember that orbeez is a brand name so you’ll have to buy water beads, which are the generic version of the same product.

Note: Be aware that some suppliers will overestimate the number of beads in a packet.

Where can I Buy 10,000 Orbeez?

Ten thousand orbeez aren’t a lot. If you’re in a rush then check out Amazon as you can get 10,000 for less than $10. If you’re not in a rush, then try eBay or Aliexpress, which are cheaper but slower options. Be aware that these other two marketplaces will have sellers who might promise 10,000 but then only deliver half that!

Where can I Buy 100,000 Orbeez?

You could get this quantity from Amazon too. Expect to pay $25 or so. As before, if you’re not in a rush then try eBay or Aliexpress.

Where can I Buy 1,000,000 Orbeez?

A reasonably decent quantity! For one million orbeez, you might want to try going direct to a Chinese supplier (most water beads are made in China). You won’t be able to deal with a manufacturer as this amount is relatively small.

You could try DHGate, Alibaba, or sticking with Aliexpress.

Note: If you require them very quickly then your best bet is still Amazon, but you should expect to pay quite bit for this quantity.

Where can I Buy 10,000,000 Orbeez?

Ten million orbeez. Now that is a lot. You should definitely be looking to order from Alibaba.

This quantity could be shipped by air freight, or by sea freight (10 million will easily on a single pallet). But, the cost would probably work out to be about the same so it’s better to go with the faster air freight option.

Where Can I Buy 100,000,000 Orbeez?

This is a huge quantity. You should be looking at dealing direct with a manufacturer (see Alibaba) and shipping by sea freight. One hundred million Orbeez will require more than one pallet as the weight will be over one tonne (more than 1000KG or 2200LBS).

Where can I Buy Orbeez For Resale?

Well, the word orbeez is actually trademarked, so you’ll actually only be able to get water beads.

If you’re looking to buy for resale then Alibaba is definitely the right way to go. Most of the water beads sold on Amazon by reputable US brands are actually just made in China and packaged differently.

You can buy packets in any size you like, so long as you’re willing to buy enough. You should expect to have to order a minimum of about 100KG (220 pounds) of water beads. The Chinese supplier/manufacturer will then package them as you like (2oz size bags are quite popular) and ship them to you.

Note: 2oz bags should cost you about $0.50 each in bulk. Larger bags will cost more, but the price is not linear with the quantity. For example, a 4oz bag might cost $0.90.

You should get a design sorted beforehand as this will go on the packets and help you differentiate your product. A custom design might add 15 cents or so to each packet.

Then you must take into consideration the cost of freight and duty once the product enters your country. This can vary considerably depending on where you live.

Some Helpful Tips

  • Make sure you check the size of the water beads (orbeez) you’re purchasing. There are a number of different sizes available for sale and the most popular size tends to be slightly less than 1/2 inch in size (about 11mm) once hydrated.
  • Be aware that sellers may dishonestly note the quantity. This is more common with Chinese suppliers. You should also check the weight and compare the weight with other suppliers.
  • When ordering in bulk from Alibaba you should ensure your supplier is legitimate. Always ensure your order has ‘Trade Assurance’ and pay for your order with your card (and not wire transfer).
  • Shipping from overseas via air freight is very simple. Shipping from overseas via sea freight is more complicated – you may require extra permits, import codes etc. You may also need a freight forwarder in China as well as one in your own country. You will need a customs agent too.
  • The rainbow mix of water beads is the most popular type. Important to note if you’re looking to resell.