Throughout my childhood, I looked forward to rainy days when my mom would pull out her recipe for flubber, the substance that changes from liquid to a sticky sort-of-solid before your eyes when you combine glue, water, and borax. We'd search aisle after aisle for the key ingredient, an old-fashioned laundry detergent that came in a cardboard box. But as slime has steadily gained popularity, reports have surfaced that borax, the magic powder that transforms glue into slime, can cause serious burns. Fear not: we can tell you how to fix melted slime without borax.
Before you can fix your soupy slime, you need to know how it works. Slime is essentially made of three parts: glue, water and some sort of "activator," which is typically borax. The molecules present in glue are positioned in long chains called polymers, allowing them to slide past each other and flow like water, according to the American Chemistry Association. The activator reacts with the glue by causing the polymers to link so that they can no longer slip past each other. When they do, the mixture becomes more of a squishy solid than a flowing liquid.
So how do you fix watery slime? Just add more activator.
If you're worried about using borax as your activator, first of all, know your concerns are justified. Today reported that an 11-year-old from Massachusetts suffered third degree burns after making slime with borax. While the packaging clearly states to keep borax out of reach of children, Dr. John Torres told Today that this case was extreme and that borax does not generally present a huge danger. But with so many alternative recipes and slime fixes out there, there's no need to risk it.
Courtney Lundquist, a well-known slime YouTuber with over 400,000 subscribers, suggested adding Sta-flo ($10, Amazon), a type of liquid starch, to your runny slime. But liquid starch can also be made by dissolving cornstarch in water. Bren of Brendid recommended on her website that you should try mixing 1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch with two cups of water for a homemade liquid starch that can also be used on laundry.
If you're looking for something simple that you likely have on hand, Courtney Lundquist also recommended using laundry detergent. She suggested on her YouTube channel that you add a small amount at a time, and continue to mix or knead the slime until it no longer sticks to the sides of your bowl.
Another household product that can fix soupy slime is gel dish soap, noted Slime squishy life on YouTube. Still not satisfied? Alyssa DIY, a YouTube channel with over 4,000 followers, showed viewers how to make a baking soda solution to thicken up watery slime. Just add one tablespoon of baking soda to a small dish of warm water and stir. Then take the baking soda solution and add it to the slime, one tablespoon at a time, kneading in between until it reaches the desired consistency.
If you want your slime to be super fluffy, you can use shaving cream as your activator, noted YouTuber Tofu Shan. Just squirt it onto your slime and stir, and soon enough you'll have slime more voluminous than before. Be warned that this type of slime will fall, but you can replenish it with more shaving cream.
However you choose to make slime, follow some simple safety tips to keep your crafting fun and free of harm. First, if you do choose to use borax, make sure it's properly diluted, about 1 teaspoon of borax per half cup of water, according to PBS. People reported that doctors determined 11-year-old Kaitlyn's burns were probably the result of borax that wasn't properly diluted prior to her exposure. You should also make sure to wash hands after playing with slime, as ingredients like laundry detergent can irritate skin and be harmful if accidentally rubbed into an eye, noted People. Lastly, keep a close eye on young children, lest they think slime an appropriate snack. If they should ingest any, Dr. Jason Hack told Parents that you should immediately call the American Association of Poison Control at 800-222-1222.
Whether it be glittery or full of sprinkles, gold or fluffy, clear or rainbow, happy safe sliming!