The Exploding Ivory Soap Experiment

What kid doesn’t want to put something weird in the microwave and see what happens? Satisfy their curiosity with this easy (and super clean!) science experiment with Ivory Soap.


It’s important to use only Ivory Soap for this experiment. When Ivory is manufactured, they whip a lot of air into the bar creating little air pockets. When you heat it in the microwave, the air in those pockets expands and makes the soap grow and fluff up. Other soap bars will not have as much air and will not fluff up the same.

And while it doesn’t actually explode, it does look like it might at any moment as the bar at least triples in size and becomes a fluffy flakey white cloud-like blob. And you can still use it for soap afterwards!

The first thing I did was order this 3-pack of soap on Amazon for under $5, because if I can avoid driving to the store, I will. (affiliate link) I also wanted to have a couple extra bars so we could do it more than once and compare different blob effects.

Then you just remove the wrapper and put it on a plate and set the microwave for about two minutes. Our’s stopped growing just after one minute, but it depends on the strength of your microwave.

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It’s really neat to watch it grow! When you first take it out, it will be a little hot. Let it cool down, then try breaking it apart with your hands. This is the cleanest science experiment ever! The soap is still good to use afterwards if you don’t want to feel like you are being wasteful. You could sit it in a dish and have the most unique original soap sculpture hand soap in the neighborhood!

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We had a lot of fun with this one and it’s definitely the only science experiment so far that left the microwave smelling better than when we started!

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