$0.04 Sports Drink, using Stoichiometry to reverse engineer the Gatorade and Pedialyte formula

Feel free to skip to the formula later in the article, the rest of the article describes the effectiveness and limitations.

Using College Chemistry 1 skills, you can calculate the amount of salt(NaCl), NoSalt(KCl), and Sugar needed to replicate Gatorade and Pedialyte.

This can be useful for rehydrating yourself after an intense workout, an intense night drinking, or an intense trip to the bathroom.

Inspired by Alex Harrison

Anecdotes on effectiveness

After running 6 miles in 90F+ sunny weather, water will not quench my thirst. I could drink 50oz of water and still be thirsty. This means you need salt. I have used this drink to quench my thirst.

After my friend accidentally drank what she thought was ~15% ‘apple pie moonshine’ but was closer to 30%, she was basically passed out. This ultra sugary drink was the recipe for a hangover. I made the World Health Organization rehydration drink and she hated it. But… no hangover, and we are in our 30s.


Some ingredients are more complicated than an element on the periodic table of elements. You can still get within the same order of magnitude by comparing the order of ingredients. If an ingredient is shown after salt, you can assume there is less weight of it. Using this, we figured out that there should be more citric acid than salt.

There also seems to be Sodium Citrate, which I occasionally will add. I consider it negligible. I suppose an improvement would be including it in the sodium calculation. I should note that the World Health Organization rehydration drink includes Sodium Citrate or Sodium Bicarbonate. The scientific article I read mentioned this is for the correction of acidosis. I’m not certain the purpose, especially in the presence of citric acid. My only guess is that it makes a buffer solution. As soon as we talk about Buffers, we leave General Chemistry 1, and find ourselves in late General Chemistry 2. The lazy solution is to sprinkle a tiny bit of sodium citrate, which I rarely do.

You can/should substitute ~5g of sugar for fructose, I’m sure my athlete friends will pounce on me for suggesting we just use sugar. Its what I use. You somewhat need sugar as it helps the rehydration process.

The Formula for Homemade Gatorade and Pedialyte

I used a gram scale to measure these, but I provided the measurements in typical cooking measurements, this loses some of the accuracy but after making a few I started eyeballing it.


591 ml Water or 2.5 cups
0.636 g Salt (NaCl) or 1/16 tsp
0.124 g NoSalt (KCl) or 1 large pinch (3 small pinches)
35g Sugar or about 2 tbsp slightly heaping
0.8g Citric Acid or 1/8 tsp

It should be noted, my wife loves when I add 1/4 tsp citric acid, it makes it more like a candy drink. You can substitute this with lemon or lime juice. As a note my wife told me “Let them know I’m picky and was reluctant to try this, but now its my favorite.”


360 ml Water or 1.5 cups
0.941 g Salt (NaCl) or 3/4 of a 1/8 tsp
0.534 g NoSalt (KCl) or 1/16 tsp
10g Sugar or a little less than 1tbsp

Bonus: World Health Organization rehydration drink. Warning this is absurdly salty, use this for emergencies only. This one is not fun, but it works. https://www.who.int/medicines/publications/pharmacopoeia/Oralrehydrationsalts.pdf

The Math – Calculate Your Own

Feel free to download the:

Sports Drink Calculator

to calculate your own size/strength sports drink.

Here is a photo of what you are going to work with, the green is the final answer.

Sports Drink Calculator

If you want this in Google Sheets format, or a request, shoot me an email. Contact Us is below.