Ivory Soap Explosion – a microwave experiment that’ll knock your socks off!

Ivory Soap Explosion: A bar of Ivory soap and a microwave are all you’ll need to do this amazing science experiment at home!

Ivory soap explosion science experiment for kids

If you’ve never executed an Ivory soap experiment before, you HAVE to try it.  I guarantee it’ll knock the socks off your kids, and impress the heck out of any adults in your audience.  It’s awesome!

Ivory soap in the microwave

It’s quick and easy, and all it will cost you is the price of a bar of Ivory soap.

For your convenience, I’m including an Amazon Affiliates link in this post:

You have to use Ivory Soap because of the amount of air that it contains.  You can get the scientific explanation here.

We started by passing the bar of soap around so the Hooligans could touch it, smell it, and see how light in weight it is.  You could also cut the bar in half to have a look at how “airy” it is inside compared to other, more dense bars of soap.

Place your Ivory on a microwave-safe plate, and nuke it on high for a minute or two, and  watch the amazing transformation that takes place.  How cool is this?!

Apparently, you can heat it for up to 2 minutes, but by the one minute mark, ours had expanded so much that it was hitting the door and walls of the microwave as the turn-table revolved.

ivory soap exploding in microwave

Take it out and examine it.  Crazy isn’t it?

expanded ivory soap out of the microwaveblown up ivory soap after the microwave

Be careful!  It might be hot (ours was not after 1 minute).

Now, normally at this point, we would crumble this monster up, and use it to make a batch of our homemade laundry detergent, but not today!

We’re making Ghost Mud!!!  Pop over and this amazing sensory substance!  The kids LOVE this stuff!


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    • happyhooligans says

      Hi Andrea. I”m not really sure. You have too look for a soap that floats, because it’s the amount of air that’s whipped into the soap that makes it both float and expand in the microwave. I’ve heard that you can order IVORY from Amazon.com, but I’m not sure what the shipping costs would be. One of my readers left the link to this Swedish soap on my fb page. Would you be able to get that where you are? I’m not sure if it would work but it DOES say that the soap floats, so it might expand as well: http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Floating_Soap.html. If all else fails, do you know anyone in the U.S. or Canada who could mail you a bar or two? Or if you know anyone visiting North America, you could ask them to pick some up for you?

  1. Beth says

    Thank you!!! Grating the soap for the detergent was my hold up, for over a year…yes, I have had rea, um REALLY bad experiences with graters in the past, sure I was about 7, but I still remember. Thank you for taking the pain out of making my detergent at home. I am excited to do this with my 4 and 9 year old. I think they will love it!

  2. beth says

    I think Dove soap might work over here in the UK- not sure about the explosion but it’s deinfitely the one to use for ghost mud…

  3. Lynn says

    I have to tell you what a joy your site is. I work with a group called Books and Bannock. It is to promote the love of reading and spending time with your family. The only rule parents must come with their children. This site will give me many very wonderful idea to use. Thank You Lynn

  4. Samantha Bushnell says

    Thank you so much for all these great idea’s.Im a stay at home mom and live doing these with my kiddos.They can’t wait to do this.Also if you have the recipe for the homemade laundry soap that would be awesome.I love homemade everything.lol

    • happyhooligans says

      So glad you’re enjoying our activities, Samantha! The link to the detergent is there in the Ivory Soap post. The words “homemade laundry detergent” are underlined – that’s a click-able link that will take you to the detergent post. Any time you see coloured, underlined words in an article on the web, it’s usually because it’s a click-able link that the writer has put there for you to use. :)

  5. Ginny says

    I tried this with half a bar of Ivory. It didn’t expand much and started to smoke. It smelled burned and was melted into brown goo in the center. What happened??

    • happyhooligans says

      I’m really not sure, Ginny. I’ve heard of that happening with other brands, but not Ivory. How old was your soap? I’m wondering if it was dried out. I’ve used half bars before, and they expand rapidly. Sorry, but I really have no explanation for you!

  6. jennifer says

    I’ve read comments from other blogs that the soap ruins the microwave. Since we only have one at school (where I will be doing the project) that we use for food, is it worth the risk?

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