Bender is (mostly) powered by alcohol. We also know that if he doesn't drink he grows a rust beard and acts similar to how a human would once they partake in too much alcohol. How long does Bender need to go without alcohol before he starts growing a rust beard and/or feeling the effects of not drinking?

  • I know this was addressed directly in the series, but I'm having a hard time finding the episode... I'm almost sure that the answer is one day. Mar 9, 2013 at 21:38

3 Answers 3


In Season 1 episode 2 "I, Roommate" Bender leaves for the night, then after Fry decides to kick Bender out of the apartment, Bender stumbles into Planet Express the next day with a rust beard. The exact quote:

Leela: Look at that five o'clock rust. You've been up all night not drinking, haven't you?

Bender: Hey. What I don't do is none of your business.

From this we can assume as little as one day of not drinking is enough to get the iconic "rust beard".

Another episode that features bender sober, is the "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz", the 9th episode of the third season. In this episode Fry and Bender are at odds over captaincy of the Planet Express ship, Fry walks out, and in the next scene we see Bender piloting soberly with the rust beard once again, not much longer after Fry left him.

Seems like the correct answer is "not much time at all" although Futurama has never been known for being consistent in these matters.

  • 2
    Even after three paragraphs, it took me surprisingly long time to figure out what you meant by "piloting soberly". Great answer.
    – Plutor
    Mar 12, 2013 at 0:09
  • 3
    Piloting while under the influence of sobriety is not recommended for robots :-) Mar 12, 2013 at 1:51
  • Can we also add the island episode where Bender ran out of Booze one evening and didn't start developing rust 'til the next day (But also kept his rust until his downgrade to wood)?
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 10, 2014 at 16:53

I think the "rule of funny" (warning: TV Tropes) applies here. It takes as long as the writers of the episode need it to take to be funny.

Edit: My bad. Should have warned about the link to TV Tropes. Then again, you didn't really want to be productive for the next two hours, did you?

  • 4
    Mark your TVTropes links, man! Some of us have stuff to do, and can't lose an entire day.
    – Jeff
    Jun 7, 2013 at 15:58

In "Crimes of the hot", the team gets exposed to chlorine gas. Bender laughs at the "meatbags" suffering from poisoning then suddenly realizes: "Wait. Chloirne?" And then he gets covered in rust in a second.

  • 2
    This isn't really due to not drinking though...
    – Dason
    Mar 11, 2013 at 22:02
  • 1
    Indeed, the uniform accumulation of rust due to oxidization or other interactions with gaseous compounds, as we can see from that very example, is wholly separate from his specific accumulation of rust around the mouth (The latter of which is the focus of this question).
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 10, 2014 at 17:11

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