Updated May 18, 2022 – Although glow in the dark products won’t emit as much as electric lights do, they can be very helpful when placed in a dark place to give you some guidance in the dark.
Glow-in-the-dark tape is similar to normal vinyl tape except it’s made with phosphors that absorb light radiation. This means that whenever the tape is exposed to any kind of light, it will begin to emit a glow. This can be helpful in guiding someone safely through an area, as the tape will provide a clear path even in low light conditions.
One thing we look for here at SeniorSafetyAdvice.com is life hacks and senior safety tips that can make things easier for seniors. For example, getting around in the dark is a safety issue, so if we can give you ways to do so safely, we want you to know about it.
My father kept a small flashlight on his nightstand so he could find his way to the bathroom in the dark, but what if that isn’t an option? Or what if the battery in the flashlight died?
Or what if the senior in question has dementia or Alzheimer’s and won’t remember to use a flashlight in the first place?
So, when we saw this photoluminescent tape that glows in the dark, we were hoping it could solve some of these issues.
Does it? Sort of…
I would not recommend relying on these glow in the dark products for natural light, as it would not be bright enough. However, it can help guide someone through an area in the dark.
We purchased GLOW tape from Purple Octopus (click here to see this product online) because it offered a long glow life of up to 12 hours.
Also, we liked that it was waterproof for use in the bathroom or in the kitchen near the sink.
It has an adhesive backing – you just cut the size you want to use, peel off the backing, and stick it where you want it. It is advertised as being removable, but I didn’t test that.
Instead, I used a couple of small pieces of double side tape to put it up because I wasn’t sure if sticking the entire piece to the wall would pull off the paint when I removed it.
For comparison, I also used a small amount of glow in the dark paint on an envelope (click here to see the product online), to see if it was superior to or lasted as long (or longer) than the photluminescent tape.
I put the tape around two bathroom light switch covers and also put a tape arrow on the floor in the hallway outside the bathroom, along with the envelope with the glow in the dark paint.
Then, I turned on the lights and left them on for 30 minutes, which is what the manufacturer recommends in order to fully charge the fluorescent paint in the tape.
12 hours later, here’s what I found:
Pros – None as far as the fluorescence. I could barely see the tape on the floor. The light switch already has a blue light in it and that was far more visible than the tape surrounding the switch. I wondered if the type of light bulb I was using was the problem.
One plus is that the tape stuck to the floor well, so someone with a walker would probably be able to get over it without tripping. Also I don’t think it will peel off too easily if they walked over it repeatedly, but I did not test that so I can’t be sure.
Cons – As I said, the tape was barely visible at 12 hours.
Now maybe you wouldn’t need to stay active that long (maybe only 6 or 8 hours if you were using it to guide you to the bathroom in the dark, for example). In that case, the tape would glow more, but wouldn’t be much brighter.
Also, the glow in the dark paint wasn’t any brighter than the tape was at 12 hours.
The tape is stiff (more like plastic than actual tape), so it might be hard to get around something curved or round.
Next – I tried the experiment again, but this time I hit the tape (and paint) with artificial light using a flashlight beam for two minutes after charging them for 30 minutes with the regular lights in the house. This worked much better – both the tape and the paint were visibly glowing after I did this.
However, they weren’t any brighter and the fluorescence wasn’t any better at 12 hours than when I didn’t do this.
And, frankly, how many people are going to stand there with a flashlight and charge their glow in the dark tape every night before they go to bed?
I tried charging the glow in the dark tape with a UV light, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. The tape was still only faintly glowing after 12 hours.
In many cases, the best way to charge glow in the dark tape is with ambient light or fluorescent lights. This can be done by leaving it in a sunny spot during the day.
In my opinion, the glow in the dark tape is a fail. It might be useful in certain situations, but not for what I’d hoped for, which was keeping seniors safer in the dark.
Here’s my YouTube video review of the tape:
A Reader’s Glow In The Dark Strips
One of our amazing readers sent us a few strips of a glow in the dark product that she uses and is very fond of. She wrote…
I have tested products from many companies, and found that the commercial companies that manufacture photoluminescent products for building fire exits were the best quality. Here’s one to check out: AmericanPermalight.com. I tested and compared a few brands, and found that a company in Texas called: Technoglowproducts.com – has the best tape! It is bright and lasts all night long! It is vinyl with adhesive backing.Daria
So, I tested out the strips that she sent me from Technoglow.com. I put the tape out under a bright light from a table lamp for 6 hours.
Here’s what it looks like on my staircase in my home with the lights on and with the lights off.
They definitely emitted a visible light throughout the night (9 hours). As you can see, it worked very well in total darkness.
I’m really happy with the luminous tape that I got from Technoglow.com. It’s been 9 hours since I put it on my stairs, and it’s still glowing brightly! I don’t think it would provide enough light for someone to walk safely by itself, but it’s a great way to help guide someone through an area.
But they can certainly be used to help guide someone safely through an area such as stairs or a pathway or other basic needs.
Other ways you can use this tape are…
- on light switches
- outdoor applications like steps, doorbell, doorknob, etc.
- remote control
- telephone or smart phone
- clothing, sneakers, backpacks (if you go out and about walking at night)
- and any other dark stuff you want to find when the lights are off
Thank you so much Daria!
Of course, you can also find other glow in the dark tapes in many hardware stores. Just make sure to get the right type of tape for your needs. You don’t want to end up with a product that doesn’t work well or isn’t safe.
How Does Glow Tape Work?
Glow-in-the-dark tape is made with the same materials as regular vinyl tape, but it also has a phosphor applied to it. These phosphors absorb energy from UV rays and then release it slowly over time, giving the product its “glow” properties.
The phosphors contain Radium, which is a radioactive element that energizes it to glow.
This type of luminescence is called radioluminescence. It is relatively safe compared to radium as it doesn’t emit alpha particles.findanyanswer..com
This phosphor absorbs light energy and then emits it back out, which is what causes the glowing effect. Whenever the tape is exposed to any kind of light, it will start absorbing the radiation.
Once it’s been exposed to enough light, it will continue to glow in the dark for a period of time. Depending on the type of phosphor used, the glow can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
The photoluminescent glow of the tape is definitely visible in the dark and provides a helpful guide for seniors or anyone else who might need it. It’s a great safety measure to have in your home.
When choosing a product, make sure to purchase a high quality product that offers you as many hours of glow time as possible.
Glow In The Dark Products To Try
Here are some other glow in the dark products that you can try.
These glow sticks were made for camping and emergency situations. These work great for any outdoor use.
Glow In The Dark Stars
If you want to have a bit more fun or decorate the bedroom for your grandchild, then consider these wall and ceiling stickers that glow in the dark.
Glow In The Dark Duct Tape
Maybe duct tape would be more to your liking than the vinyl tape. But if you need a 1-inch-wide tape, take a look at this one.
Best Glow In The Dark Tape
The Amazon ratings on this glow in the dark tape that come in bright colors are very favorable!
Glow In The Dark Paint
If you’re into crafts, then this type of paint may be useful if you want to create something with special effects that glows in the dark.
We hope that this article helps you to find the glow in the dark products that can help to keep you safe in your home and elsewhere.