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I inflated balloons recently for my child's birthday. After five balloons or so, I had bad taste in my mouth.

Drinking water helped a bit, but the bad taste stayed for few hours.

Any way to avoid it, e.g. some way to inflate the balloon without having it directly in my mouth?

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    Buy tastier balloons, of course – mgarciaisaia Feb 18 at 18:51
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Any short section of tube (a drinking straw, section of pipe, ball point pen with the ink cartridge removed etc) can be used to inflate a balloon without coming into contact with the rubber. Insert the tube into the neck of the balloon. If the tube is smaller than the neck, pinch the slack and then roll it so the balloon wraps the tube well. By leaving part of the tube sticking out of the balloon you can then inflate the balloon without touching the rubber

Before now I've had good success using one of those nozzles that comes with a cartridge of silicone sealant - It can be trimmed so it has a big hole in one end but still has a tapered section that makes it easier to feed into the balloon neck

If you fill balloons and other things often it would be worth investing in a double action inflator pump:

enter image description here

The rate these things inflate balloons is unbelievable; maybe 3 - 5 cycles. They're also great for paddling pools, air beds, water inflatables etc - all things that stay mold free longer if they aren't inflated with moist air from your lungs

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  • Many bicycle pumps also feature adapters for balloons (and (soccer) balls). If you have one, check if it has an adapter. Buying such a multi-purpose-pump may save some money, but using bicycle pumps for balloons will probably take more time than a dedicated balloon pump, as they have narrower cylinders suitable for producing higher pressure. – Erlkoenig Feb 19 at 15:43
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One solution would be

Use a plastic tube or buy an electric balloon inflator.

Or if you don't mind spending a little more, a hack solution could be

Fill the balloons with helium.

You can then involve the child and have fun getting squeaky voices.

You can get some more interesting balloons too such as these, and although they can be filled with air (without any pressure) they need to float the right way up (helium is lighter than air).

enter image description here

Image from Amazon

Edit – I quote part of the link to making squeaky voices:

Helium Voice Safety Helium is non-toxic, but this project can make you lightheaded from breathing in helium instead of air with oxygen. Don't breathe in more than a few breaths of helium. Exhale fully after each breath, then take a deep breath of regular air. Don't repeat the helium voice project over and over again. Never breathe helium directly from a compressed gas canister.

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    Don't waste helium on inflating balloons. It's a non-renewable resource and it's needed for vital medical equipment. – nick012000 Feb 19 at 12:52
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    @spikey_richie I have copied the safety advice from the link into the answer. – Weather Vane Feb 19 at 13:51
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    As an end user of helium in research, I know that the Wikipedia quote in the comment above, while not necessarily wrong, is optimistic to the point of irrelevance, unless you want to invest in new production. Some natural gas plants can collect He. Those that can't extract it waste it. Globally we can only collect so much per year without further investment (of time as well as money), and we've been subsidising our consumption with reserves – Chris H Feb 19 at 14:05
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    @ChrisH ours was very like this one. – Weather Vane Feb 19 at 14:08
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    @nick012000 we have many decades of helium left, and balloons account for <1% of usage. Let people have a bit of fun – Tim Feb 19 at 20:51
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  • make sure that you do not inhale any of the air escaping from the balloon; you need to close the "mouth" of the balloon (using your fingers) when you prepare to inhale again;
  • use any kind of pump (manual, electrical...); in this way, you avoid the hyperventilation also - especially if you need to inflate many of them; I guess you already have at least one, if you have any bike / car;
  • sometimes I do the following trick in order to not touch the balloon with my lips: I create a kind of a ring with my fingers (thumb and index), fitting the mouth of the balloon, my fingers being acting as a spacer; I would then blow the air touching the sides of my own fingers, instead of touching directly the mouth of the balloon; for not drawing in balloon air, I would use the middle finger to (temporarily) close the neck of the balloon;
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    I think the bad taste is from the rubber itself from which the balloon is made, not from the air. (So hyperventilation isn't the issue) – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Feb 18 at 11:40
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    I added to the answer, I forgot initially about this one ;) – virolino Feb 18 at 11:45
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    @Shadow9, the rubber or any lubricating powder in the balloon, which can mix with the air, making funny tasting balloon air. – JPhi1618 Feb 19 at 17:16

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