Orbeez (aka water beads) can be stored in their dehydrated or hydrated form, and the process for storing differs depending on which form they are stored in.
Storing hydrated orbeez is a good idea if you are thinking about using them in the near future, as you won’t need to wait 5 or so hours for them to grow again. However, storing dehydrated orbeez is a good idea if you have no immediate plans to use them and want them to last as long as possible.
- How to Store Hydrated (Enlarged) Orbeez
- How to Store Dehydrated Orbeez
- How to Dehydrate Your Orbeez
- How to Rehydrate Your Orbeez
- Common Questions:
How to Store Hydrated (Enlarged) Orbeez
We recommend storing your hydrated orbeez in an airtight container. This will help to keep contaminants away from the orbeez and increase their life expectancy. They should be stored with enough water to cover the beads, as otherwise they will shrink very slowly due to osmosis (the same mechanism that allows the water beads to enlarge in the first place). Keep the container out of sunlight to prevent the water beads from being damaged by UV rays.
Be aware that hydrated orbeez make a great environment for fungus and bacteria to grow. Thus, if you see any black spots appearing on them, or if they start to look cloudy, you should throw them out. It’s more likely that microbes will start growing in the container if you didn’t use distilled water when hydrating them, or, if you used/played with the water beads before storing them.
How to Store Dehydrated Orbeez
This is a much simpler process. If your orbeez have not been used then they can stay in the packet. Make sure the packet is left somewhere dry and out of sunlight and they will last many years.
If you have taken them out of the packet and not used them, then put them in a ziplock bag or any other airtight container before placing them out of sunlight and in a dry area.
If your orbeez have been hydrated, and then shrunk back down into their dehydrated state then the process of storing is pretty much the same as it is with beads that have never been used. You just need to make sure that you have shrunk them fully, as any water left in the orbeez will increase the risk of microbial contamination.
How to Dehydrate Your Orbeez
The process is very simple. Take your orbeez and place them on a flat surface, such as an oven tray (one with high sides is preferable to prevent the orbeez rolling off). Make sure your orbeez are only one layer deep, as this will speed up the process.
Note: You may use a dehumidifier to help speed up the process. Place it near the water beads and leave it running.
It’s best to leave your tray of orbeez out of direct sunlight as we have found that the sun, or more precisely the UV rays from the sun, degrades the beads and causes them to break apart.
After a few days they will have shrunk down to their original size. Be aware that some poor quality water beads might not survive the process, and become cracked or crumble.
How to Rehydrate Your Orbeez
This is done exactly the same as when you made them originally. There is no difference. Just make sure to use distilled water for best results (tap water is fine too, but it’s generally not as clean).
How Many Times Can You Reuse Orbeez?
Some websites state that you can keep on rehydrating them and dehydrating forever, but, realistically this isn’t possible. You’ll probably be able to do it 2 or 3 times before they become too damaged or contaminated with bacteria/fungus.
Can I Add a Little Salt or Rubbing Alcohol to Make Them Last Longer?
There’s no definitive answer for this yet. Some people recommend this, and it would work to an extent as both salt and alcohol are antimicrobial. But, the salt and alcohol will shrink orbeez slightly so take that into account. It might be worth trying if you plan on using them as decorations.
Note: The manufacturer does also recommend adding a little salt when growing them.
Should I Reuse Orbeez That Have Been Used Outside or With Plants?
It’s probably best to throw these away, as they will certainly have been contaminated with microbes.