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201301015 HEC 2 CROP

2013 01 05 Session. HEC from 3:1 concentrate

This page has Edward's HEC-based recipes. Some versions of HEC (which include our recommended versions) are capable of creating world-class bubble juice. Despite what some might think, HEC is not an also-ran ingredient. The best HEC juice works as well or better than the best PEO juice.

2012 11 recipeEdit

As of May 2013, this is my preferred recipe for making giant bubbles (at least under cool humid conditions). Under cool, humid conditions (let's say 50-65F and 70% or better humidity), I have created huge bubbles that last a long time for their size (some 6 foot diameter bubbles have longer than 30 seconds in my semi-urban conditions). I have not yet had a chance to try it under warm or less than ideal conditions alongside PEO or guar-based solutions. I will not be surprised if those solutions will work better in those conditions, but only actual testing will determine if that is the case.

2013 01 05 HEC montage01:21

2013 01 05 HEC montage

2013 01 05 Session. Watch in HD on YouTube

I generally mix this up as a concentrate that is diluted with 3 parts water. I add the citric acid when diluting the juice rather than when making the concentrate as this seems to result in better performance.

Recipe - ConcentrateEdit

Yield - two quarts of concentrated solution

This recipe is for a concentrate that, when diluted 3:1 (water:concentrate) yields about 21:1 water:detergent, and about 2.3 grams HEC per liter of water. When using less detergent, the bubbles have not worked out as well as with detergent in this range.

This version of the recipe makes 2 quarts of concentrate (just under 2 liters), which in turn makes 2 gallons of bubble juice. (The reason for it making 2 quarts of concentrate is that my containers are 1 and 2 quart containers.) For 1 quart of concentrate, halve the recipe.

  • 16 grams HEC (QP100MH or Natrosol 250HHR -- if using a lower viscosity type, you might need slightly more HEC)
  • 1474 grams [52 oz (wt)] water
  • 8 grams baking soda
  • 340 grams [12 oz (wt)] Dawn Pro

When 1 part concentrate is diluted with 3 parts water, this juice has a 20.6:1 water:detergent ratio and  2.28 grams HEC/liter water. [16 grams HEC / (1474 grams water + 5526 grams water)]

Mixing InstructionsEdit

These instructions assume that you have a cold-water dispersible HEC (which is most of them). If your HEC clumps, when added to cold/room temperature water, mix it with enough glycerine, propylene glycol, or dry alcohol to make a slurry that is not too thick.

  • Add the HEC to about 500 grams (ml) of the water at room temperature (not warm or hot)
  • Heat up the rest of the water to near boiling
  • Add the warmed up water to your HEC/cold water mix while rapidly stirring
  • Stir for a minute or so
  • While stirring, add in the baking soda and stir for another minute or two
  • IMPORTANT! Stir the mix for about 1 minute every 5 to 8 minutes for 40 minutes. HEC will often look like it has fully 'dissolved' and then settle out overnight if you do not periodically stir
  • Add the detergent
  • Bottle and store

You can dilute right away (being sure to add citric acid as instructed below) or store it for months.

Dilution Instructions and Citric AcidEdit

Dilute 1 part of concentrate with 3 parts water to which (very important) citric acid has been added. Add 1 gram of citric acid per 500 grams of concentrate to the water. To be precise, you would add 1 gram to 459.5 grams  concentrate but 1 gram per 500 grams works just as well. If your water is normally acidic, you might want to try a little less than 1 gram.

Recipe - Fully Diluted (Non-concentrated) SolutionEdit

Yield - one gallon  of ready to use solution

This is essentially a half-batch of concentrate with the diluting water and citric acid added at the end.

  • 8 grams HEC (QP100MH or Natrosol 250HHR -- if using a lower viscosity type, you might need slightly more HEC)
  • 737 grams [26 oz (wt)] water
  • 4 grams baking soda
  • 170 grams [6 oz) (wt)] Dawn Pro
  • 2763 grams water
  • 2 grams citric acid

Prepare as instructed in the concentrate section, but you may want to add all of the water before adding the detergent to minimize foaming. Do not forget the citric acid!

So far, it seems that HEC solutions like a somewhat higher detergent concentrations than PEO or guar-based juice. While 25:1 or 32:1 works well with guar and PEO, slightly above 20:1 is about as dilute as I have been able to make this juice without giving up performance and friendliness.

The Original recipeEdit

20110322 01 HEC lehigh 1

A 45-foot bubble made with this solution on a windy day.

This is a great recipe. Very reliable for bubbles of any size. While I really like this recipe, I prefer the 2012 11 Recipe (found above) even better. This recipe has a 16:1 water:detergent dilution. The 2012 11 Recipe is a hair above 20:1 which results in richer colors.

This is a super-friendly recipe, and you can't go wrong with it as long as you mix it correctly (which is easy).

This recipe uses no PEO (the active ingredient in J-Lube) and yet can create giant bubbles that rival PEO-based solutions.

HEC (the key ingredient in KY Jelly) is very easy to work with and this recipe can be mixed up shortly before it is used.

You don't need to mix this up as concentrate. The amount of QP100MH is about 0.2% by weight.  


  • 16 parts very warm tap water
  • 1 part Dawn Pro dishwashing liquid
  • 8 grams of Dow Cellosize QP100MH (HEC) per gallon of water (not per gallon of juice)
  • 3.2 grams of baking soda per gallon of water
  • 1.6 grams of citric acid per gallon of water
3029 HEC ONLY micro top 2strand bottom 16 CROP
Stir the warm water with a spoon and slowly add the dry ingredients until they are mixed. Gently stir in the detergent. The solution can be used right away but seems to improve over 15 minutes or so. This solution seems to work well in dry conditions when other mixes don't work -- probably due to the large proportion of water.

Other types of HEC can be used but you will probably need to use a bit more of other types than when using QP100MH. This solution is not terribly viscous but is more viscous than Jumbo Juice. It isn't clear how important the baking soda and citric acid is. My tap water has a pH between 8.5 and 9.1. It remains to be seen whether the solution behaves differently if the dry ingredients are added directly to the water or if they should be added to the water detergent mix. It has been suggested that the baking soda be added to the water and the citric acid added after all other ingredients have been mixed. But this has not yet been tested.

This is a new recipe. Please let us know about your results with it.

Read more here.

NOTE (April 3, 2011): Thommy is reporting that Natrosol 250HR is working nicely at 8 grams per gallon (actually 2 grams per liter) with 1 gram baking soda and .5 grams citric acid per liter. Since I don't have Natrosol 250HR, I can't say how this compares to the results that I am getting with the Cellosize QP100MH. I will update this entry when I have tested it.

NOTE (April 3, 2011): It is looking like the baking soda and citric acid make a difference -- at least when the humidity is low. Read more here.

Cost: One pound of the QP100MH makes roughly 60 gallons. So far, I have not found a source for the Dow Cellosize in reasonably small quantities (around a pound). I have found a few types of Natrosol available in small quantities. If the price is $30 for a pound ($20 plus shipping)(including shipping), that is 50 cents per gallon of bubble juice plus the cost fo the other ingredients (which is fairly nominal). Natrosol of various types is sometimes found on Ebay for as little as $10 per pound with shipping. Which lowers the cost to less than 20 cents per gallon. Of course, I am not yet sure how equivalent the Natrosol varieties are. I will update this as I get better information.    

NOTE (October 28, 2012 - Edward Spiegel) My guess is that you would want to use about 1.25 grams Natrosol 250 H4R for each gram of QP100MH in my recipe. Natrosol 250 HHR can substitute at more or less 1:1 for the QP100MH.

Natrosol 250 H4R is made to be cold water dispersible. So, there is no need to slurry. You can but there isn't any benefit. It is treated so that it doesn't hydrate until the temperature or pH (or both) rise. If you leave it too long without stirring it would hydrate.

The fastest way to mix it up is to do a cold/hot mix. Add the natrosol to 1/3 of your water at room temperature. Stir to disperse. Add the rest of your water as hot water. Really hot water will speed things up considerably. If your water is not alkaline, adding some baking soda will speed things up.

If you don't use a mechanical stirrer, make sure to stir periodically (30 seconds every five minutes is fine) over a period of about 20 to 40 minutes with Natrosol. Otherwise, you may end up a day or two later with a layer of gel. You probably won't run into the problem with a stir-and-go situation. But, you can run into it if the mix sits around. Dow Cellosize is a lot friendlier in this regard but a lot harder to come by at a reasonable price.

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