"How long do balloons last? has to be one of the top five questions our customers ask. The answer is by no means straightforward and depends on a number of factors.
Here, we explore some of the factors affecting the life expectancy of latex balloons.
Helium-filled latex balloons
When filled with helium, an 11 inch latex balloon will generally float for between 18-24 hours, however if your balloon has a metallic or pearl finish, its average flying time reduces to 16-18 hours.
You can extend the flying time of your helium-filled latex balloons quite significantly by treating the un-inflated balloon with a product called ULTRA HI-FLOAT. HI-FLOAT contains a water-soluble plastic, which dries inside the balloon to form a coating which helps to retain the helium molecules.
Air-filled latex balloons
Air-filled latex balloons do not float, however, they have the advantage of generally having a longer life than helium-filled balloons. Air-filled balloons can last several days, even weeks, in the right conditions.
Exposure to ultraviolet light and air
Latex balloons are made from pure latex rubber, a natural substance which is biodegradable. As soon as a latex balloon is exposed to daylight or air, the countdown on the balloon's life begins, no matter whether or not the balloon is inflated. This is why it is important to store un-inflated balloons in an air-tight container or bag, which in turn should be kept in a drawer, cupboard or other darkened environment.
Once a latex balloon has been inflated, whether with air or helium, the balloon will slowly start to biodegrade.
Qualatex, the leading balloon brand, say their latex balloons biodegrade at approximately the same rate as an oak leaf, which takes about a year.
About the author
Melanie Allen is a balloon artist and the owner of Balloon Artworks, the Derbyshire-based balloon business specializing in high-quality balloon modelling and balloon decoration for parties, weddings and corporate events.