Insta SnowThe last time I did the weather report on 9News, the switchboard lit up with confused viewers. I neglected to mention that the snow was faux snow… created by mixing water with Insta Snow. The request to do the Insta Snow demonstration came from a viewer who wanted to cover her lawn in fake snow. Is it possible? Sure… anything is possible, but the average person would probably be happy playing with a few gallons in a big container. If you're unfamiliar with Insta Snow, it's an amazing superabsorbent polymer that turns ordinary water into a white fluffy substance that looks like real snow. Add a little water and this fine white powder quickly absorbs the water and expands to 100 times its original size. One of the coolest things to do with Insta Snow is to let the snow dehydrate and watch as the fluffy powders returns to its original size and consistency… and you're ready to do it again.

Here are the most commonly asked questions about Insta Snow… 

What is Insta-Snow? Is it really safe?

Insta Snow Video Insta-Snow is a synthetic polymer with super, water-absorbing properties. It's the only faux snow on the market today that erupts when water is added. Similar superabsorbent polymers have been used in the past to absorb moisture in disposable baby diapers… without the incredible expanding property! Insta-Snow is so realistic that it is now being used in indoor snowboarding parks throughout the world.

Insta-Snow is safe to use around children and pets. Adult supervision is always recommended when using this product. Even though the product is non-toxic (it's 99% water), keep Insta-Snow away from the eyes and mouth. If ingested, be sure to flush with water. Insta-Snow is very slippery when wet. Keep the snow off of all walking surfaces, and clean up any spill immediately.

What are the best mixing proportions?
Mixing 1 teaspoon of Insta-Snow powder with 2 ounces of room temperature water produces the best quality snow. It is always recommended to make the snow in small quantities to achieve the greatest amount of mixing. Insta-Snow powder expands 100 times its original volume. Just a small amount of powder is needed to make an impressive quantity of snow. On a much larger scale, 1 pound of Insta- Snow powder makes nearly 8 gallons of fluffy snow!

How long does the hydrated snow last?
The snow will start to dehydrate after a few days due to evaporation. Just spray the top of the snow with water and fluff the snow with your fingers to give it a fresh, fluffy look. You can also let the snow completely dry out to use it again. The dry form of Insta-Snow powder will last forever!

Why does the snow feel cold to the touch?
Since the snow is almost entirely made up of water, and the water is bound to evaporate. The process of evaporation produces a constant cooling effect. That's why it's so much fun to touch!

Will the snow ever turn back into water? No, the fake snow will not melt since it is not really ice. However, the water can be released from the superabsorbent polymer by adding salt. The addition of salt destroys the water absorbing properties of Insta- Snow forever.

Does Insta Snow have to be on a special surface?
No, Insta-Snow can be used on almost any surface except untreated wood. Keep the snow off of any surface that might be damaged by water. Surfaces that are ideal include tile, plastic and glass. Insta-Snow will not stain fabric, but normal care should be taken when applying this water-based material.

Can Insta Snow be colored?
Yes! Just add a few drops of food coloring to the water before mixing it with the Insta-Snow powder.

Can Insta Snow be thrown away in the trash?
Insta-Snow is very easy to clean up and can be disposed of in the trash. Just brush the surface clean or use a vacuum to pick up the snow. Eventually the hydrated snow will turn back into the dry powder and can be easily swept or vacuumed. Insta-Snow powder is a non-hazardous, non-toxic, environmentally safe polymer.

Is Insta Snow safe to use outside?
Yes! Insta-Snow looks so real that it is being used by special effects artists in movies to snow outdoor scenes without damaging the plants and grass. Sprinkle the hydrated snow on evergreen trees to produce a realistic snow effect. In fact, the water absorbing properties of the snow are actually beneficial to the plants. Remember, Insta-Snow is very slippery when wet. Use special care to keep the snow off of any walking surface.

Is there more than one Insta Snow on the market?
There is only one Insta Snow® as indicated by that "circle R" thing. We don't use the ® everywhere because it becomes somewhat annoying, but the name Insta Snow is a federally registered trademark of Steve Spangler Inc. (Federal Trademark Registration #2928946). But that hasn't stopped the knock-off companies from branding their own versions of a snow polymer. Our favorite knock-offs are the companies who believe that Insta-Snow is the same superabsorbent polymer found in a baby's diaper. If this were true, every time the baby went potty, the diaper would erupt to an enormous size and explode! Might be a great way to potty train the kid, but it's not true. Insta-Snow® is the only polymer that instantly ERUPTS when it comes in contact with water. The knock-off "snow" companies tell their customers to "…add water and stir the mixture for 20-30 seconds to make snow." All you have after 30 seconds is a tired hand and a cup of baby diaper goo.Just stick with the original Insta-Snow® and you'll be safe, happy and amazed!

29 replies
  1. Jimmie Pittman
    Jimmie Pittman says:

    I was looking for a chemistry experiment to do for my chem. class at USC, University of South Carolina, when on the net I ran across the 9 news website and saw Mr. Spangler performing his experiments on the program. I am on my way to becomeing a middle school science teacher and thought that this kind of community involvement is an excellent way for parents to get involved with their kids to encourage an interest in science. Bravo to the tv station there for haveing such a segment on air to visually stimulate an interest in this field. Science is a critical needs subject here in SC and I am sure it is around the country. I just wanted to express, that it is great that Mr. Spangler does the things he does to promote and excite an interest in the field of science. GOOD JOB and thanks.

  2. Keri B.
    Keri B. says:

    I am an Assistant Teacher at a preschool in my hometown of Raytown, MO. I recently came upon your website, and was inspired to bring your Insta Snow into my classroom.

    Making Math & Science fun and engaging for three year olds can be quite a challenge, but definitely something I wanted to do. Another challenge I find is educational sensory table experiences. As I was browsing through the NAEYC material for convention this year, I came upon your site and Insta Snow. Suddenly, I had an idea…I would replace the stagnant sand in our sensory table with Insta Snow!

    It was an instant hit…with the children, their parents, the other teachers, and our director!
    I feel I’ve just touched the surface of all the fun, engaging experiments and experiences to be had…you’ve just earned a lifelong customer…and FAN!

    Thanks again for making science FUN….
    Keri Brewster

  3. Greg
    Greg says:

    After putting salt into the insta-snow, much of the water drained out. Then, I tried to microwave the mixture. It began to spark and I ended the experiment. I don’t know what caused the substance to spark.

  4. Tiffany P.
    Tiffany P. says:

    I’m curious of how you clean up insta snow from outside? I’ve tried it indoors and it stayed snow like for more than a week! I’ve read that it is safe for outdoors, but I’ve not read what happens to it when left outside. If water replenishes it, will it ever go completely away?

    • Susan Wells
      Susan Wells says:

      Hi Tiffany – it is not easy to clean up Insta-Snow outside. It is safe for outdoors, because it is made of a similar polymer that farmers and landscapers use to keep crops, grass, etc hydrated while using less water. The polymer will eventually dry out when left outside, but any moisture like rain will re-hydrate it. If you do plan on using it outside, it will eventually break down and disappear, but it will take awhile.

      We covered the lawn of our COO one year and it took awhile, but the snow eventually went away.

      Hope that helps! Good luck and let us know what you end up doing. We’d enjoy seeing pictures.

  5. Jenner
    Jenner says:

    Hi Susan,

    How long is a while? We are considering covering our backyard lawn with this stuff for our son’s birthday party but are concerned about how long it will stay on our lawn afterwards.

    • Susan Wells
      Susan Wells says:

      Hi Jenner – I would say it isn’t the best idea to put it in your lawn. I can’t give an exact time, but it will be there and make a mess for quite some time, depending on how long it takes to break down and go into the grass. If you want to cover your lawn, I’d recommend putting down a tarp and putting the snow on top. That way, you can pick up the snow powder easily and get rid of it. Let us know if you end up covering your lawn (and how you do it) and share a picture! Good luck

  6. Susan
    Susan says:

    As anyone ever had a child ingest the insta-snow? I had a younger sibling eat it this afternoon and have a frantic parent call just now. I told them it’s 99% non-toxic and to drink a lot of water. Does anyone know anything else that should be done???

    Thanks! Susan

    • Susan Wells
      Susan Wells says:

      Hi Susan – yes, drinking a lot of water should flush it out and they will be fine. If you have any further concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-223-9080

  7. Susan Scharff
    Susan Scharff says:

    Has anyone ever had a child eat a little of the insta-snow? I have a child who’s sibling ate some tonight after we made it in class today. I told them it’s 99% non-toxic and to drink lots of water. Does anyone have any more help on this? OR has it happened before? If so, please let me know.

    Thanks, I really appreciate help!


    • Susan Wells
      Susan Wells says:

      Hi Susan – yes, drinking a lot of water should flush it out and they will be fine. If you have any further concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-223-9080

    • Susan Wells
      Susan Wells says:

      I would recommend not doing anything with the liquid inside a glow stick. Glow sticks are fine as long as they stay sealed. If you want your toddler to play with something that glows and is safe, use tonic water and a black light. Just don’t put the black light into the water.

    • Susan Wells
      Susan Wells says:

      Andrew – yes you could try skiing on it. The more water you add, the more compact and dense it becomes. If you set up a deep level on a run, it should work just like real snow. If you try this, let us know! We’d love to see how it turns out

  8. Vian
    Vian says:

    We love the InstaSnow – we have some beautiful pictures! I wanted to see if you have any experience on using this on turf? We are in Houston so the humidity is not helping but wondering if you have any tips or advice for removal? its globs of mush now.

  9. Tracey Diasinas
    Tracey Diasinas says:

    Can i store my 20kg of hydrated insta snow in a large tub and leave the lid off to let it dry or will it go mouldy, I have large lots drying at the moment but its taking so long, is there a quick method to get it to dry?

  10. Pam Lassila
    Pam Lassila says:

    I think artificial snow is so fascinating! I grew up in a warm place and some days you just wish you could go play in the snow! I still live in the south and I think I want to bring in artificial snow for my birthday party. It would be so much fun!

    • lisabrooks
      lisabrooks says:

      Was this the first time you used your package of Insta-Snow? If so, it should not be sponge-like. I am wondering if you received the Insta-Snow powder or the Water Gel powder. Water Gel looks the same, but it turns into a solid when you add the powder.
      As far as it changing color, it sounds like bacteria may have effected the Snow. If people are playing with the snow and have dirty hands, it is almost impossible to keep it clean since bacteria thrive in a moist environment. You can add a little bit of hand sanitizer from time to time, but there is no way to change the color back to white.
      If you purchased the Insta-Snow from Steve Spangler Science, please contact our customer service team at [email protected] to see about a replacement. If you can provide an order number, that will be very helpful.


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