Random things that glow in blacklight: A list of reasons

Many everyday things have interesting elements inside. These elements get ignored because they may not be visible to the human eye during normal circumstances. This article includes different things that glow in blacklight due to the fluorescent elements inside them.

Also known as an ultraviolet lamp, black light has UV components that pronounce the fluorescent particles within anything that makes it flash in bright neon light. It is known as black light because the light that emits from it is not visible to a human eye, leaving the premise in darkness. This helps pick out anything that has fluorescent elements within it. Let’s look at some common and other strange things that glow in the dark, courtesy of the blacklight:

Leaves – Chlorophyll

The properties of plants include a fluid known as Chlorophyll that is their main form of energy, keeping the plant alive. Chlorophyll also helps plants keep their green color. This is how when leaves turn yellow or start to burn away, you know the plants are unable to make proper Chlorophyll.

Apart from the basic plant-related functions that chlorophyll carries out, it also has a fluorescent ability, making it glow under a blacklight. Quite contrary to the original green of the leaves, it radiates a bright red under a black light.

Teeth whiteners

We already know there are many chemicals in everyday consumer products in our routines. One of those products is a toothpaste or tooth whitener as some people prefer to actively seek shining white teeth.

Some tooth whiteners have a chemical compound that makes your teeth radiate bright blue under dark black light.

Petroleum jelly

Another very common, everyday use product, petroleum jelly also can glow bright blue under UV light. Yes, the vaseline you use to keep yourself moisturized can also do that.


This is more common knowledge among experienced makeup artists who have been dealing with various kinds of makeup for a while. Apart from specific neon makeup products, your regular makeup can also include some fluorescent components.

Many makeup products do not include a comprehensive ingredient list on the packaging, but they have phosphorescent powder for making the product appear lighter.

Gems and Fluorescent Minerals

Some natural rocks and gems have fluorescent abilities such as fluorite, ruby, calcite, quartz, gypsum, talc, opal, and agate. Many people don’t know the reason some gemstones have a neon light is because of the impurities they possess. 

Laundry detergent

Just like teeth whiteners, laundry detergents are another cleaning agent that uses fluorescent components to make clothes look fresher and brighter after a wash. This can stay on your clothes even after you rinse and dry them, making your clothes occasionally appear fluorescent under the blacklight. Other softening fluids and bluing agents people use post-wash can also have these glowing properties.


Apart from some random things that are found around us every day, some rare things also have a fluorescent ability, such as scorpions. Not all scorpions have this ability, but some do, rather enthusiastically.

Certain types of scorpions glow a bright green/blue color under UV light. The bark scorpion, European yellow-tailed scorpion, and the emperor scorpion are some of the scorpion species that glow in the dark.

Bank notes

Some banknotes are manufactured with neon bits and bobs on the surface for specific reasons. These include security strips or such things included in the note material that glows under ultraviolet light. For example, the US $20 note has one of the fluorescent strips on it.

Fluorescent plants/animals

Another commonly witnessed glow-in-the-dark thing is a jellyfish. Some jellyfishes excrete a fluorescent agent internally making them glow. Other than that, many flowers, fungi, and some corals found in the ocean have some proteins that give them the ability to glow in a dark environment.

Body fluids

The most common encounter with the use of a UV light is witnessed in crime scenes in movies and TV. Often you see detectives wanting to inspect a room with a blacklight during investigations. This is because most body fluids, such as blood, vomit, urine, and semen are detectable under UV light. Officers use these elements found in any crime scene to trace people who might be connected to the case.

There are so many more things such as rock salt, turmeric, canola, and olive oil, some postage stamps, certain bananas, and much more that could not be included in this list. These were some common and some strangely rare things that glow in the blacklight. Some of these have natural fluorescent abilities making them glow in any kind of dark, without the help of a UV light to react.

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