What Liquid is Used in Fog Machines: A Complete Guide

Fog machines use a liquid called fog juice, which is typically water and glycol-based or glycerin-based fluid. Some machines use atomized mineral oil to create the fog effect. The liquid is vaporized or atomized inside the fog machine to create the fog.

Fog machines have become a popular special effects tool in various settings, from theme parks to concerts and theatrical productions. They are relied upon for their exceptional output and airborne fog effects. However, to create these clouds of smoke, a specific type of liquid is required.

In this article, we will discuss what liquid is used in fog machines and explore the various types of fog machine liquids available in the market. So, let’s dive in and uncover the truth about the liquid used in fog machines.

What Liquid is Used in Fog Machines

Fog Machine Liquids: Behind the Mysterious Smoke

Fog machines have become a staple in creating an atmospheric effect in events such as concerts, parties, and theatrical performances. But have you ever wondered how this theatrical smoke is produced? The answer lies in the liquid being used in fog machines.

1. Glycol-Based Fluid

The most commonly used liquid in fog machines is glycol-based fluid. This solution is composed of two parts, propylene, and ethylene glycol, which creates a thick and viscous substance, vaporized by heat from the machine’s heating element. The resulting smoke produces a dense white cloud.

Glycol-based fluids have been in use for quite a while. They have been a staple of theatrical productions since as early as 1820, and it wasn’t until the 1950s they started being used for special effects, such as creating smoke screens and other atmospheric effects like fogging out rooms during live performances or film shoots.

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2. Water-Based Fluid

Fog machines also utilize water-based fluid or “fog juice.” This fluid is mainly composed of distilled water and other chemicals like propylene glycol and/or triethylene glycol (TEG). The heating process forms droplets producing clouds when they interact with outside cool air particles.

3. Mineral Oil-Based Fluid

For a more cost-effective and non-toxic option, some manufacturers use mineral oil-based fluids. These fluids are typically made up of paraffin waxes and other performance-enhancing chemicals like surfactants and emulsifiers.

How Does a Fog Machine Create Its Mystical Effects

Creating an atmosphere of mystery and suspense using a fog machine is a popular choice for theatrical performances, Halloween decorations, or simply for entertainment. The question is, how does a fog machine work to create such a mystical atmosphere?

1. The Role of Fog Juice

At the core of every fog machine, there is a special liquid called “fog juice.” This liquid is a mixture of water and glycol-based chemicals, such as propylene glycol or triethylene glycol.

2. How it Works

The fog machine’s heating element heats up the fog juice mixture and turns it into vapor. This vapor is then released through the nozzle of the fog machine under high pressure, cooling down quickly as it passes through the air. This rapid cooling process causes the vapor to form tiny droplets, creating the misty effect we know as “fog.”

3. Droplet Size Determines Density

The size of the droplets determines how dense and how long-lasting the fog will be. Larger droplets dissipate quickly, while smaller ones linger for longer. By experimenting with different settings, you can achieve the desired effect for various events or occasions effortlessly.

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Is the fog machine liquid safe?

Although many fog machine liquids are approved by the FDA, they still require careful handling and usage guidelines. It is essential to read and follow the warnings and regulations printed on the label of the liquid fog you are using. While some brands may contain pharmaceutical-grade ingredients and be relatively safe, others may have chemical compositions that can be harmful to inhale.

Can I use any fog juice in a fog machine?

Fog machines require a specific type of fluid to produce the desired effect. While a haze machine can use fog fluid, the thicker consistency of fog fluid increases the likelihood of clogging the haze machine. It is important to use only unexpired, fresh fog juice, as the fluid that has coagulated can cause clogs in the machine.

What is fog juice made of?

Fog juice is composed of two main ingredients: deionized water and an active compound. Propylene glycol, triethylene glycol, glycerin, or a combination of these substances can serve as the active ingredient.

Does fog machine liquid expire?

The shelf life of Fog Juice is 12-18 months when stored in a heat-sealed container. But, once you’ve opened it, the shelf life reduces to less than 12 months. Keep in mind that the lifespan can vary depending on the cap and storage environment.

Is fog juice flammable?

Fog juice is available in various types, and the flammability depends on its chemical composition. However, one of the popular options in the market is Antari Fog Liquid (FLG), which is non-flammable due to its water-based composition. FLG is safe to use as it is odorless, non-irritating, and non-toxic.


The liquid used in fog machines is a water-based fluid that typically contains propylene glycol as the main ingredient. This fog juice creates exceptional output and is safe for usage in both industrial and commercial applications.

However, it is important to note that exposure to glycol fog should be limited and safety training provided to handle fog machines properly. Homemade fog juice can be created, but it is recommended to use pharmaceutical grade ingredients to ensure the chemical composition is safe.