How to clean water in snow globes

Written by megan shoop
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How to clean water in snow globes
Clean the water in a murky snow globe. (GLOBE image by brelsbil from

Snow globe collectors know that these shakeable decorations require proper care. They must sit in bright, indirect sunlight because too much or too little will encourage algae growth inside the globe. However, newcomers to snow globe care or very old snow globes may develop algae-filled or murky water over time. A simple solution to this is to simply change the water. As long as your snow globe has a plug in the bottom, changing the water is easy.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Towels
  • Small beanbag
  • Turkey baster
  • Cups
  • Distilled water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Eyedropper

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  1. 1

    Spread out a few towels over your workspace and set a buckwheat- or rice-filled beanbag in the centre. Press your fingers into the centre of the beanbag to make a small depression.

  2. 2

    Turn your snow globe over and hold it in the palm of one hand. Gently pry the plug out of the bottom of your globe. Set the globe upside-down in the centre of your beanbag, adjusting it so it sits firmly and steadily.

  3. 3

    Allow the snow or glitter to settle into the top of the snow globe. Stick the tip of a turkey baster through the globe’s opening and suck up a little water. Squirt the water out into a cup, sink or dustbin. Continue, sucking carefully when the water recedes to just over the glitter or snow; suck up water, not the snow.

  4. 4

    Fill a cup with distilled water and a second about halfway full of rubbing alcohol. Dip the tip of an eyedropper into the rubbing alcohol and drip it into the globe until the alcohol covers the pile of glitter or snow. Plug up the globe and shake it gently to swirl the alcohol around.

  5. 5

    Gently suck the alcohol out of the globe with your turkey baster. Clean your baster with a little rubbing alcohol and use it to fill your globe with distilled water. Plug the globe firmly and store in bright, indirect light.

Tips and warnings

  • You can’t change the water in sealed snow globes. Trying may result in broken glass. Instead, sit your globe in bright indirect light to kill the algae and clear the water.

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