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Glow In The Dark Tape For Stairs

Navigating stairs, especially in low light conditions, can be a challenge and sometimes a safety hazard.

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.

glow in the dark tape

We purchased GLOW tape from Purple Octopus 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 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: I tested and compared a few brands, and found that a company in Texas called: – has the best tape! It is bright and lasts all night long! It is vinyl with adhesive backing.


So, I tested out the strips that she sent me from 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.

glow in the dark strips that work
Glow in the dark tape by

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 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!

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.

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.

Glow Stick

30 Ultra Bright Glow Sticks in Bulk – Multi Use Glowsticks for Parties, Camping, Emergency Light and Survival Kit with 12 Hours Duration (Multi Color)
  • BRIGHT GLOW THAT CAN BE SEEN FROM A MILE AWAY – These glow sticks are ultra-bright and will light up your event. Whether you’re celebrating a public holiday such as Halloween, New Year, Easter or 4th of July, or your own birthday celebration, pool party or wedding, our glow sticks gets you covered

These glow sticks were made for camping and emergency situations. These work great for any outdoor use.

Glow In The Dark Stars

Glow Stars and Full Moon Wall Stickers for Starry Sky,Glowing Star Beautiful Wall Decals for Any Room,Beautiful Wall Decals for Kids Gift,Glow in The Dark Stars Light Your Ceiling
  • Includes 167 glow in the dark star stickers in 5 sizes and 1 large 10.4 inch full moon sticker to create a starry night sky

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

Glow in The Dark Tape Oumers 33 ft x 2 inch Green High Bright Luminous Tape Sticker Removeble Waterproof and Photoluminescent
  • GLOW LAST A LONG TIME: The luminous tape sticker can glow in the dark all night after exposing it to the strong artificial lights 30 minutes.

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

GreyParrot Tape UV Tape Blacklight Reactive, (6 Pack), (6 Colors), 33ft Per Roll, Fluorescent Cloth Tape, Glow in The Dark Tape Under UV Black Light

The Amazon ratings on this glow in the dark tape that come in bright colors are very favorable!

Glow In The Dark Paint

neon nights 2-IN-1 Glow In The Dark Acrylic Paint Set Glows in the Dark & under UV Blacklight – Set of 8 Self-Luminous Neon Paints for Halloween – German Premium Quality – 8 x 20 ml /
  • BRIGHT DAY & NIGHT – Our glow in the dark outdoor paint can be seen day or night, indoors or outdoors, on most outdoor surfaces! Perfect for Halloween decor and more.

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.

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