This may not be the most “zero waste” idea I’ve posted here; however the larger volume of bubbles made at home does save transportation costs of driving or delivery and the endless plastic bottles, plasticy-metal seals, and lame tiny bubble wands. So it’s “Reducing” virgin materials and waste.
I’m allergic to standard bubble solution. It’s not a hive or anaphylactic shock reaction, I just itch like crazy. Homemade bubbles take care of that issue, and if your children are anything like mine, all the spilling and pouring and dumping can really add up financially and trash/recycle-wise with standard bubble bottles.
Making large batches of bubbles with your own water can cut down on all the driving, order delivery, little plastic bottles, tiny little bubble wands and all the spilling of trying to open bubble bottles. You will still have a few bottles, and a few silver plastic-y bottle seals, but way less overall.
This is our homemade bubble recipe that my husband created for our son.
- 0.25 oz of collagen powder (or gelatin if you want to try that)
- 2 cups of room temperature water (we use it straight out of the sink)
- 1/4 cup of dish soap (we use Seventh Generation Free & Clear)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp glycerin (this is in the pharmacy/band-aid area of the grocery)
- Stir gently/slowly for 2-3 minutes trying to avoid bubbling.
- Ideally this will sit for 24 hours, but you can use it immediately. The longer it sits the stronger and bigger bubbles it can make later and 24 hours is necessary for bubble snow, see below.
- Refrigerate leftover or extra mixture if not using within 1-2 days, otherwise it will ferment. It will still be usable, it will just start to smell a bit like alcohol due to the sugar fermenting.
We normally use collagen powder, but it’s a little more expensive than gelatin, and the collagen we use doesn’t come in a recyclable container (grr!). So we tried gelatin that came in a recyclable container, and while it’s pictured as an option in lieu of collagen powder, I’m not going to recommend it. One has to stir gelatin slowly into cool water so it doesn’t gel, and while it makes decent bubbles they’re not as strong or long lasting as the collagen, the mix can gel a bit during use, and they don’t store well over several days like the collagen does. My gelatin mix turned into bubble goop. If it’s something you already have you can try it, maybe it will work well enough for you.
I am going to recommend Seventh Generation Free & Clear liquid dish soap since it’s fragrance free, dye free, and it’s EPA certified. It’s available at HEB and most grocery stores. If you like this recipe, or use dish soap a lot, I recommend the 50 ounce bottle to reduce plastic bottles and bottle seals.
We store our bubble solution in reused yogurt tubs. Our 3 year old son can get the lid off easily, it holds the entire recipe (this is one batch), the large bubble wands fit in nicely and it’s easy to hold and doesn’t get slippery wet like normal bubble bottles. I make the biggest mess with standard bubble bottles taking the wand in and out. That doesn’t happen with a yogurt tub.
For play dates, we pour half of this into another yogurt container.
We posted on our local Buy Nothing Facebook group for bubble wands since we didn’t have any (I’d recycled all the tiny broken ones from the few we’d been gifted). A neighbor replied with these awesome large wands.
This recipe makes really large, sturdy bubbles. They can land on things and stay intact, and they last a few minutes so you can run over and pop them.
Our favorite thing to do though with these bubbles is to use the “Flat” setting on the spray nozzle of the hose, hit them hard in the pool, and make bubble foam! Any “harder” setting on the spray nozzle should work. If you spray bubble solution that has sat for at least 24 hours, we get bubble snow!
The solution poured in the kiddie pool lasts several days. We just hit it again with the flat spray nozzle setting and it bubbles up again for another day of foamy play. We keep the lid on when it’s not in use. When the water gets too cloudy or develops a musty smell we dump it out in the yard. Mosquitoes don’t breed in soapy water, but flies and other bugs will land in there and drown so I do recommend you try and keep the water covered.
I haven’t tried this in any kind of bubble blower but the consistency seems similar enough to standard bubbles it would probably work well.
Happy bubbles to you!