Easy Stink Bomb Recipe

How to Make a Homemade Stink Bomb

Make homemade stink bombs using matches and household ammonia.
Make homemade stink bombs using matches and household ammonia. The smell is every bit as nasty as from commercial stink bombs. Lisa Kyle Young, Getty Images

Use this easy stink bomb recipe to make your own homemade stink bombs. They're just as stinky as the ones you'd get at the store and can be made with common household ingredients.

Make a Homemade Stink Bomb

  • A stink bomb is a device usually used as a practical joke that produces a highly unpleasant odor.
  • Leonardo da Vinci invented a stink bomb that could be delivered to enemies using arrows.
  • Most stink bombs contain volatile organic compounds. Compounds that contain sulfur (such as thiols) are particularly effective.

Homemade Stink Bomb Ingredients

You'll only need three materials for this project. The "stink" comes from the reaction between the chemicals in the matches and the ammonia. While any container that can be sealed will work, a plastic bottle is recommended because it won't break. However, another easy option is to use a plastic zip-top baggie.

  • Book of matches (20 matches)
  • Household ammonia
  • Clean, empty 20-ounce plastic bottle with cap

Making the Stink Bomb

  1. Use scissors or a knife to carefully cut the heads off of a book of matches. Don't cut yourself.
  2. Place the match heads inside the empty 20-ounce bottle. Add about two tablespoons of household ammonia.
  3. Seal the bottle and swirl the contents around.
  4. Wait three to four days before uncapping the bottle to allow the chemical reaction enough time to take place. After 72 to 96 hours, your stink bomb will be ready.
  5. When you're ready to release the stink, uncap the bottle.

Stink Bomb Facts and Safety

This stink bomb forms ammonium sulfide, (NH4)2S, which is the same chemical used in commercial versions of prank or trick stink bombs. The ammonium sulfide is produced as a result of a reaction between hydrogen sulfide and ammonia:

H2S + 2 NH3 → (NH4)2S

The vapor is flammable and associated with hydrogen sulfide gas (rotten egg smell that's toxic in high concentrations), so only make/use the stink bomb in a well-ventilated area, away from heat and flames. Adult supervision is recommended.

Classic Rotten Egg Stink Bomb

If you don't want to mess with chemicals, try making the classic rotten egg stink bomb. All you really need for this stink bomb is an egg.

  • Egg
  • Nail, needle, or pin

Start with either a fresh or hardboiled egg. Use a nail, pin, or needle to poke a hole through the egg shell. This lets air into and out of the egg. Just leave the egg and eventually it will release the classic rotten egg stench. The odor largely comes from hydrogen sulfide. While toxic in high doses, the amount released by a rotting egg is annoying, but not particularly dangerous.

Burning Hair Stink Bomb

Burning hair is another noxious odor that makes for a fine stink bomb. The smell comes from breaking the disulfide bonds in the hair keratin.

  • Hair (or pet fur)
  • Rubber band
  • Paper
  • Lighter or matches

Wrap the hair and some paper together with a rubber band. Ignite the paper. Either leave the stink bomb to smolder (on a fire-safe surface) or extinguish it. It smells whether it's burning or not.

More Stink Bomb Recipes

Sources

  • Bender, H.F.; Eisenbarth, P. (2007). Hazardous Chemicals: Control and Regulation in the European Market. Wiley. ISBN 978-3-527-60986-4.
  • Ellison, D. Hank (2007). Handbook of Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents (2nd ed.). CRC Press. ISBN 9781420003291.
  • McManners, Hugh (September 17, 2004). "Israelis invent stink bomb for riot control". The Independent.
  • Schwarcz, J. (2004). The Fly in the Ointment: 70 Fascinating Commentaries on the Science of Everyday Life. Ecw Press. ISBN 978-1-55490-399-3.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Easy Stink Bomb Recipe." ThoughtCo, Jun. 4, 2022, thoughtco.com/homemade-stink-bomb-recipe-605962. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2022, June 4). Easy Stink Bomb Recipe. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/homemade-stink-bomb-recipe-605962 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Easy Stink Bomb Recipe." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/homemade-stink-bomb-recipe-605962 (accessed July 1, 2022).