Claim: Boiling shampoo and inhaling the fumes to get high is a common practice among teenagers.
Example: [CNN iReport, September 2012]
Origins: Shamboiling (also referred to as bubbling), is the supposed practice of boiling shampoo and inhaling the fumes of ammonium lauryl sulfate (commonly used in shampoos as a foaming agent) in order to induce mild hallucinations and a feeling of euphoria. The process for achieving this cheap and simple high is commonly described as follows:
A small pot
1) Squeeze some shampoo into the pot.
2) Set the stove to medium high.
3) Put the pot on the stove and wait 3-5 minutes, occasionally stirring with the whisk.
4) Lean over the pot and wave your hand near your nose.
5) Deeply inhale the fumes for at least 5 minutes.
6) Enjoy your high!
We've found no news accounts or medical reports whatsoever dealing with the subject of shamboiling — not even as a reporting of rumor, much less documenting it as a common practice among teens. None of the law enforcement officials or medical professionals we consulted had ever heard of the notion, nor have we found any reliable information supporting the notion that the inhalation of ammonium lauryl sulfate fumes would produce any effect other than respiratory irritation.
The topic of shamboiling sounds a lot like a spurious rumor picked up and spread by alarmed adults despite a lack of evidence that the subject is genuine (similar to prominent warnings about jenkem circulated in 2007) or a rumor deliberately started to lure gullible kids into trying something ridiculous (similar to claims promoted in the 1960s that one could get high from smoking "banadine" scraped from banana peels, and spoofed in the "Major Boobage" episode of South Park that had schoolkids getting high from huffing cat urine, also known as "cheesing").
Last updated: 21 August 2013