I am producing a parody infomercial, specifically copying the style of the early 90's OxiClean/Billy Mays spots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTpXh33Mbeg

As it happens in the original commercial, we need to show a solution that begins as a reddish-brown color, and then when the powder is added, it becomes clear.

With some initial research, I came across the idea of possibly using a combination of phenolphthalein and thymolphthalein in a basic solution, and then adding something acidic enough to make them both go clear.

The main questions are:

  1. Is there anything inherently bad/dangerous with this approach?
  2. If we would like our actor to be able to stir this solution with their bare hands, what would be a safe base solution to begin with, as well as a safe acid to add for the final solution?

Thank you for any insights or guidance.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think it would be reddish-brown. More like purple maybe. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Nov 9, 2022 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ Why can't you actually use Oxiclean with a fruit juice? I know that bleaches pomegranate juice color in seconds. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Nov 9, 2022 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ Very dilute black tea might serve as the brown coloring + reddish fruit juices $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Nov 9, 2022 at 20:12


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