I hear rainbow pee is in this season
November 25, 2007 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Best way to die my urine all of the ROY G. BIV rainbow colors? [Not all at once, one color at a time.] The brighter and more vibrant, the better.

As part of an art project, I need to produce some colored urine (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Most of my googling has turned up results of people trying to avoid such a thing, or academic/medical articles that are hard to parse. I'm hoping that someone has some life experience or anecdotal evidence (or non-anecdotal evidence) that will help me produce a rainbow of pee.

These are my concerns, in order of importance:
Safety: Anything toxic, poisonous, carcinogenic, etc. is out. Even if 100 grams of aspartame gives me blue urine, I'm not interested.
Speed: I'm hoping to find stuff with near instantaneous results. A mouthful of food coloring and green pee that night would be awesome, eating carrots for a month for orange pee, not so much.
Body Side-Effects: I would prefer to do without discolored tongue and lips for days on end, or different skin tone or colored sweat or anything like that, but I'll do it if necessary.

Anyone know any foolproof, safe and easy ways to produce a clear, dramatic change in my urine from normal yellow to any of the colors of the rainbow?

P.S. I hear large quantities of blue curacao or creme de menthe work for blue and green... anyone know anything about that?
posted by davidstandaford to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Enough beets will give you pink/red urine. Can be startling if you have a history of... anything, actually.
posted by amtho at 9:54 PM on November 25, 2007

Best answer: Strangely enough, this came up in conversation this weekend. Apparently ingesting a few drops of methylene blue can turn urine anywhere from light green to dark blue, depending on how much you use. It's often used as a prank. I heard this from the boyfriend and looked it up myself to corroborate, but you might want to research a bit further just to make absolutely sure it's totally harmless.

I can't believe that *this* is the question I answer on AskMe.
posted by ilana at 9:56 PM on November 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You're not OK with consuming 100 grams of aspartame, which is sold over the counter as Nutrasweet; but large quantities of alcohol are OK? You ought to clarify what you mean by "toxic."

Anyway, neither of those will tint your urine, unless they're dyed with methylene blue. Methylene blue is the best and safest urine colorant, and it is remarkably safe. If your urine is watery-clear, it will turn blue; otherwise it'll turn green.

Riboflavin, a B vitamin, will produce a vibrant yellow color. You can overdose on riboflavin, so don't do that - it's not necessary, you get a vivid color from the RDA. Bismuth, as in Pepto-Bismol, can tint the urine, although it's more common that it darkens the stool. Some people excrete red urine after eating beets; this is called 'beeturia' and is fairly rare. I am reading on the internet that vitamin B12 can turn urine reddish but I think in order to absorb that much B12 it'd have to be injected.

I don't think there are safe ways to turn urine some of these other colors.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:57 PM on November 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here you go, just about any color you want.
posted by JujuB at 9:59 PM on November 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Berocca for the yellow. Beetroot for a red (more a deep crimson brown really, though).
posted by tellurian at 10:01 PM on November 25, 2007

For future reference and Googling - when you're talking about changing the color of something, it's "dye", not "die".
posted by amtho at 10:01 PM on November 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wouldn't it be easier to dye it "after the fact"? And safer, too?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:01 PM on November 25, 2007

You really just need to find the primary colors. Since this will be subtractive mixing, Red, Blue, and Yellow should do - beets & Methylene blue should give you a purple if in the right proportion. I guess you want to be drinking tons of water and avoiding things with riboflavin when you're doing colors that don't have any yellow.

I assume this has something to do with upcoming snowy season. Please post about your results!
posted by aubilenon at 10:10 PM on November 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

I cannot vouch for its safety in male users (IANAD), but women are frequently prescribed a medication called Phenazopyridine that acts as a local analgesic to counteract the discomfort associated with urinary tract infections. It is sold OTC in a lesser dose under the name Uristat.

This stuff will turn your urine anywhere between a bold, rusty orange to a bright canary yellow (depending upon the amount still in your system). If you are unprepared for this dramatic color change (despite the pharmacist's warnings of such), I can assure you that these affects can be quite shocking.
posted by numinous at 10:35 PM on November 25, 2007

i second dying it "after the fact" but given that it's an art project i can understand how that might not appeal.

others have already given some valuable information, but given that you want to do several colours, and that some of them will take some time to work through your system, some of them will end up sitting for a while. i doubt all of the chemicals will be stable in urine for a period of days, bear in mind.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 11:02 PM on November 25, 2007

The caveat with phenazophyridine/Uristat: it'll also turn your skin orange.
posted by soviet sleepover at 11:36 PM on November 25, 2007

In the mid-90's, I had a pile of crazy mates who didn't have all that much in common other than that we hung out daily at the same bar. It was our tradition upon someone's big event (college graduation, new job, fired from old job, finally DTMFA, and so on) to "buy them a Tattoo."

Tattoo was this schnapps-like liqueur that came in blue, red and green. Ostensibly it had flavors -- but we ordered by blue, red or green. Everyone said the stuff tasted terrible, so you wouldn't just get one on your own to sip, even out of curiosity... but thanks to peer pressure, it was absolutely mandatory that if there was good cause and someone bought you a Tattoo, or two, you were to take them in good health and gratitude.

What no one ever mentioned aloud, for fear of ruining the fun, is that the "Tattoo" in question is what the liqueur did to your insides. Bright green urine that night. (Scary!) Bright blue poo the next day. (Scarier!) Bright red vomit, if you had the misfortune to Red Tattoo as part of an overall binge. (Call the hospital!)

And of course if you're drunk or wildly hungover, and something Technicolor comes out of your body, you call your closest pal and say, "Holy Christ, something's wrong, something's really wrong, I think we --" ...and you hear the silence on the other end explode into raucous laughter. And you realize that "it's time for Jenny to get Tattooed" or "New job! Dave gets Tattooed" does not, in fact, mean that your best friends merely want to celebrate by buying you this slightly cough-syrupy mostly-unpleasant-tasting shooter -- and that pounding said shooter isn't actually what initiates you into the club.

But of course you don't spoil it for next time, once you've been Tattooed, because you can't wait to be on the side of the knowing victims who've experienced the green urine or the blue poo, and you chip in a few bucks to buy Jenny a Tattoo and clink your totally harmless vodka with her in conspiratory celebration.

If Tattoo is still out there, I swear it's the exact stuff you want. Whatever color you pick, it will turn that color everything that your body emits, exudes or evacuates for the next couple of days. Use it wisely.
posted by pineapple at 11:59 PM on November 25, 2007 [6 favorites]

Cook and eat this delicious Beetroot and Feta soup for truly deep purple wee, and as an added bonus, poo.
posted by biffa at 2:29 AM on November 26, 2007

The caveat with phenazophyridine/Uristat: it'll also turn your skin orange.

Not in a single (urine-dyeing) dose, it won't.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:57 AM on November 26, 2007

Best answer: This question reminded me of a prank allegedly pulled by a colleague of mine when he was at medical school. One of his best friends impregnated his girlfriend while they were still final year medical students. They decided to get married right away. On the night before the wedding the bridegroom went out for a stag night with his medical school buddies. They got him absolutely sh*t faced as per protocol. They took him back to the student residence. Just as he was about to pass out they persuaded him to let them insert a drip so they can give him some saline overnight, so he won't be too hungover for the actual wedding. The prank part is that after he did pass out they injected methylene blue into the saline bag so his eyes and lips were totally blue for the wedding.

As for my actual answer to the question, here's a list of mostly prescription drugs that change your urine colour: link
Professionally (urogynaecologist) we use methylene blue administered via a urethral catheter rather than oral phenazopyridine. Depending on how and when you need the rainbow urine, and how many colours you need, I think a catheter and some food dye would probably be most effective. It's relatively safe, very quick, and you get to pick the exact colours you want. There are some risks of catheterisation including urinary tract infection and injury to your urethra, but you've got to suffer for your art. You'll need some Instillagel and someone with appropriate training to help you insert it.
posted by roofus at 6:38 AM on November 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

Pepsi Blue made my pee turn greenish. (Yellow pee + blue Pepsi = green)
posted by IndigoRain at 11:22 AM on November 26, 2007

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