The shelf-life of guar-based bubble juice seems to be more variable than juice made with other polymers. As a natural product, guar gum seems to be more vulnerable to biological contaminants than artificial polymers. A great many people experience no problems and some people report a brief shelf-life. Since I experience great shelf-life with both unopened bottles of bubble juice (I've used some a year after mixing) or used juice stored in its dipping containers, I can't really study the shelf-life issues. See: Shelf Life
If you experience shelf-life issues with guar gum based mixes, you can help us enormously in understanding the causes of the problems.
If your problem is degradation of "used" juiceEdit
If your problem is that it goes bad only after being used, that is a different problem from going bad after mixing but stored in airtight containers. While used guar gum juice may deteriorate faster than some other juice, all juice is subject to this sort of degradation due to contamination.
When a juice is exposed to the elements, especially outdoors in an open dipping container, it collects bacteria, yeast and their spores. These vary considerably from place to place and even day to day. If the wands come in contact with hands or dirt or leaves, they are transferring contaminants to the juice. Guar gum juice is more prone to contamination than some other polymers, and this kind of exposure is worst case -- especially if temperatures are warm.
There is a lot of chance involved. If my juice isn't very dirty after a session, I put a lid on my dipping containers. I don't count on them being usable for more than a day or two afterwards, though I have generally had a lot of luck and can GENERALLY use them for a few weeks before they go bad. However, I have had occasions with used juice made with every polymer I have ever tried that goes bad a couple of days after it was used.
If you are able to re-use used juice without problems, consider yourself lucky.
Advice! Generally, you are best off storing your juice in closed containers and pouring juice into your dipping containers without ever pouring them back into the storage container. If the leftover juice in the dipping container continues to work, great. But don't count on it -- even if you have had good luck in the past.
Testing Shelf-Life of Unused JuiceEdit
The issue of greatest interest to us is the shelf-life of unused juice. The procedure described in this section is designed to help us determine what is contributing to poor shelf-life for those people that experience it.
The point of this test is to determine if contamination is due to avoidable environmental contaminants. It is primarily of use if your problem is unused juice going bad in storage. This is pretty rare, but some people do experience it, and we'd really like to figure out the likely sources of contamination.
Here is the test protocol.
- Make 2 batches of juice with distilled water, each stored in the container that the water came in.
- Make 2 batches of juice with your normal water source, each stored in a container that distilled water came in.
- Put away 1 of the distilled water juices and one of the normal water juices for storage. They will stay unopened.
- Open 1 of the distilled water and 1 of the normal water bottles and pour out a portion of each juice for use.
- Repeat previous step every 4 days until juice is exhausted or juice goes bad.
- If the juice goes bad during that time period, open the stored bottles and pour out some for use and then close the bottles. Test the juice that you poured out for viability.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- All the ingredients that you normally use for your juice
- 4 unopened gallon jugs (or whatever the closest equivalent is in your location) of distilled water. You are actually going to use just the jug from two of these. It is important that you don't use a used or previously opened jug for the test.
MAKING THE JUICE:
Make two identical distilled water mixes:
- Make two separate gallon batches of bubble juice using your normal recipe.
- Close them both.
- Mark the date brewed on both and mark them as having been made with distilled water.
- Mark one of them "for storage".
Make two identical with your usual water BUT store them in fresh containers from which distilled water was emptied.
- Empty the other two distilled water jugs (you might want to pour it into a jug for later use). These two jugs are being used to eliminate the possibility of used containers being a source of contamination.
- Make two separate gallon batches of bubble juice using your normal recipe and your usual water.
- Pour each batch into one of the empty distilled water jugs.
- Label the jugs with the date and "normal".
- Mark one of the jugs "for storage".
- Start a log on a piece of paper or on your computer to track your results.
- On the day that you make the juice, pour about 500 ml of each juice into its own dipping container and make bubbles with the juice. Preferably, use a different wand for each juice.
- Log whether or not the juice worked and if possible, temperature and humidity.
- If the juice failed, try again the next day.Make a log entry.
- Assuming that the juice works on the day you made it or the next day, repeat the following procedure every 4 days until you either run out of juice or the juice goes bad: pour about 500 ml of each juice into its own dipping container and make bubbles with the juice. Log your results.
If your juice goes bad, pour 500 ml from each of the jugs marked "for storage" into its own dipping container. Close the juice jugs back up immediately after pouring. Test to see if the juice works and log accordingly.
If the "for storage" juice worked, follow the same procedure every two weeks.
Report your results in the comments/discussion section of this page.