No party setting is complete without a sprinkling of gravity-defying colorful balloons. However, helium-filled balloons often start drooping long before the party ends.
Things that will make helium balloons last longer:
- Use Hi-Float
- Apply Hairspray
- Fill with 60/40 mix
- Close balloons securely
- Store in balloon bags
- Keep cool
- Avoid sunlight
- Use light colors
- Select thick latex
- Keep pets away
- Keep away from hazards
- Weight them
- Use foil
Making your balloons last longer means that you can set up earlier, and if you take a few precautions, you might still be able to enjoy your beautiful balloons for a bit longer.
How to Make Helium Balloons Last Longer
If you have ever inflated a latex balloon with a regular balloon pump or by blowing, you will notice that the balloon does not float. However, they do last a long time compared to balloons filled with helium.
Helium gas is lighter than regular air, making it want to escape and travel upwards. This is why balloons filled with helium need to be weighted and remain almost magically suspended in midair.
The reason that helium-filled balloons deflate so quickly is because helium molecules are extremely small. Individual helium molecules are so tiny that they can escape through the minute holes in latex much faster than regular air.
All methods to make helium balloons last longer are attempts to slow down the rate at which helium can escape from the balloon. The slower it can get out, the longer your balloon will stay inflated.
The average lifespan of a helium-filled latex balloon is between 8 and 14 hours, so if you are having a party, you often need to schedule filling the balloons as one of the final tasks before the event.
Whether you need helium-filled balloons for a party or as a cheerful pick-me-up for a friend in the hospital, you want to keep them looking fresh and hovering about near the ceiling for as long as possible.
There are many easy methods to keep helium gas inside balloons for longer to extend their lifespan.
1 – Coat the Inside of Helium Balloons with Hi-Float
Hi-Float is a patented solution that dries inside latex helium-filled balloons to keep them floating more than 20 times longer than untreated balloons.
Latex balloons need to be treated with the Hi-Float solution before inflating. The liquid acts as a sealant and is inserted inside the balloon. It must be spread around before the balloon is filled with helium.
Hi-Float is safe and non-toxic, and if you have applied the Hi-Float liquid as per the directions, it will make your helium balloons last considerably longer, and you may be able to decorate a venue the day before. The only downside is that it will inevitably take a little longer to inflate the balloons because each one needs to be treated before filling.
2 – Spray the Outside Helium Balloons with Hairspray
Spraying your balloons with firm-set hairspray is another method you can use to extend the life of helium-filled balloons. Unlike the Hi-Float technique, which seals the latex surface inside the balloons, coating them with hairspray is a method to seal the outer surface.
The best way to coat the balloon in hairspray is to fill the balloon with helium and ensure that the closing knot is tight. Then using the firmest-set hairspray possible, spray the entire outside surface of the balloon.
Note that once a latex helium-filled balloon has been coated in hairspray, it may feel tacky and should not be handled excessively. Spraying hairspray on the outside will also result in the latex perishing more quickly if it is touched after spraying, so only spray them when they are in position.
3 – Use a 60/40 Mix to Fill the Balloons
A trick that will make your helium-filled balloons last longer and save you money is to use a 60/40 mix to inflate your balloons. This means that instead of using 100% helium, the balloons can be filled using a mixture of 60% helium and 40% air.
Using this mixture works best on balloons that are larger than 11 inches in size, and it can prolong the lifespan of your helium balloon by a few hours. Using a 60/40 mix is especially effective when used in conjunction with Hi-Float solution, and balloons will last several days longer.
4 – Ensure Helium Balloons Are Closed Tightly
Last-minute party decorating can often be a hectic time. In the rush to get everything looking perfect before the arrival of guests, we might take less time than we should when inflating the balloons.
When helium molecules are placed under high pressure inside a balloon, they immediately start trying to escape. Sealing the balloon as much as possible will help to keep it inflated for longer.
Besides tying off the balloon’s neck securely when it is inflated, it is always worth adding an extra layer of protection by tying it off with a ribbon or string. This will prevent any helium from escaping through the opening valve.
5 – Store Helium Balloons in Balloon Bags
If you are planning a function and have collected your inflated balloons early, or you need them for more than one event, it is recommended that you store them inside protective balloon bags.
Balloon bags are not only able to hold a lot of balloons, but they will keep them safe, cool, and dry during transportation and storage. You can purchase specifically manufactured balloon bags or create a DIY one using a mattress cover or joining two thin sheets.
Using a balloon bag will keep balloons clean and safe from unfavorable conditions. They are also less likely to gather fine particles and hair due to static electricity.
If you are purchasing a balloon bag, the added cost might put you off, but keeping the balloons inside a bag will keep them safer, and they will last longer. Remember that latex balloons are incredibly fragile, and unprotected balloons might even pop during the car trip to the venue.
6 – Keep Them Cool
Helium is a gas that is sensitive to temperature change. As it heats up, it expands, putting pressure on the outside walls of the balloon.
Helium balloons tend to burst more quickly than regular air-filled balloons, particularly if they are displayed outside or in places where the balloon’s contents can become warmer than the ambient temperature.
If it will be unavoidable that your balloons need to be outside or in a warm area, a quick trick is to overinflate the balloons when filling so that the latex stretches. Then release a tiny amount of helium before tying it off. This provides a small expansion space and may buy some time before popping as the helium inside the balloon heats up.
7 – Avoid Sunlight
The combination of high light and warm rays from the sun will negatively affect helium-filled balloons. Sunlight has a detrimental effect on latex balloons, making them more porous so helium molecules will escape faster.
If you want your helium balloons to last longer, it is important to keep them out of the sun, especially if they are latex balloons.
8 – Use Lighter Colored Helium Balloons
If your helium-filled balloons are intended for outdoor use, try to display them in a shaded area so that they stay cooler.
If it is not possible to keep them undercover, then you can reduce the rate at which a helium balloon deflates by choosing lighter-colored balloons. Darker colors tend to heat up faster, increasing the size of the gaps in the latex, and helium will be able to escape more quickly.
9 – Use Thicker Latex Balloon
Helium molecules are lighter than air, and they are also tiny. This allows them to pass through the walls of a latex balloon.
Thicker, higher-quality latex balloons maybe a little more expensive, but they are less permeable and will offer greater resistance to helium molecules. Thicker balloons are also less likely to pop while being moved and handled.
10 – Keep Them Away from Pets
Balloons that hover in the air and dangle long strings just above the ground can be a great source of interest and entertainment for pets.
To make your helium balloons last longer, move them to areas where they are safe from all pets, including pet birds like cockatiels and parrots. Curiosity and a sharp beak might spell the end of your beautiful balloon décor.
To keep balloons airborne for longer and prevent any injury to your pets, always keep them out of reach of animals. It is not only that they might chew and choke on the rubber and string; a sudden popping sound can be frightening and terrified animals who often injure themselves while trying to flee.
11 – Avoid Hazards
Helium-filled balloons are popular because of the way that they magically stay afloat in midair. They defy gravity and bob about cheerfully, adding a lovely spontaneous atmosphere.
One of the most common hazards that significantly shorten or even instantly end helium balloons’ lifespan is ceiling fans. Before setting out your helium balloon décor, take a close look around the venue.
Avoid setting out helium-filled balloons in any area where they may get tangled with any light fittings, fans, or even a favorite mother-in-law’s tongue plant. Check around for any obstacles that may pop the balloons as they sway about in the air.
12 – Keep Them Weighted
Helium balloons are special backdrops for any number of events. Parties or even family photoshoots often feature bunches of helium-filled balloons.
When working with helium balloons, particularly when outside or in places with high ceilings, it is essential to weight them. Many a bunch of balloons have slipped out of someone’s hand and drifted away into the sky during a photoshoot in the park, or at an outdoor event.
You can use anything to weight helium balloons. Specific balloon weights can be purchased from any party shop, but you can also be practical and use fishing sinkers or toys to anchor the balloons.
So long as the weight you use can counter the upward pulling action of the helium gas, any number of items will work perfectly as weights. Keep your helium balloons safe and where you can reach them by always keeping them anchored.
13 – Use Helium Filled Foil Balloons
Using a foil balloon is probably the answer if you need your helium-filled balloon to last a long time. Foil balloons are also sometimes called Mylar balloons.
Latex balloons are fairly porous, which allows helium molecules to escape quite quickly. Foil balloons are non-porous and therefore keep the helium trapped inside the balloon for a much longer period.
Helium-filled foil balloons won’t last forever as the helium molecules will eventually escape through tiny gaps in the seams or stem. However, in contrast to a 24-inch helium-filled latex balloon that will last for around 24 hours, a foil balloon of the same size could last for two weeks.
Foil balloons are significantly more expensive than latex balloons, and they are also much harder on the environment. However, if you only require a few balloons that will be disposed of responsibly, foil balloons do outperform latex balloons in terms of staying afloat for longer.
Helium-filled balloons are a beautiful addition to any party. They add color and another dimension to any setting as they hover above the ground. Keeping helium balloons looking good for longer is a challenge, but fortunately, there are several things you can do to increase their lifespan.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.