Now hear this: I'm considering boycotting Michaels and Dollar Tree. Not because of any scandals involving their CEOs, and not because of any controversies over their political leanings or policies. No, I'm steering clear of them because every time we pass one of their stores, my daughter fixes me with her most pleading expression and begs, "Can we please get some slime ingredients?" And I know that if I give in, I'll be dealing with a slime-related crisis in a couple of days, such as how to fix slime that goes hard.
Slime, in case you haven't heard (and if you haven't, your kids must be too young to be hooked on the stuff), is either a sensory dream or a messy nightmare, depending on your point of view. The blobby, squeezable, stretchy substance can be made from a few household ingredients, and provides hours of squishy satisfaction; think of it as a stress ball for the grade-school generation. Advanced slime-makers like to include glitter, tiny foam balls, and other substances to add a touch of glamour or crunch to their creations.
But slime is also, in essence, a science experiment involving chemicals that, when combined, develop the desired texture. So, like any experiment, it has the potential for disaster: Too much or too little of any ingredient, and your slime will be too sticky, drippy, or greasy to flatten and roll around in your hands. When the mixture is too thick or stands around a while, the result is a hardened or stiff mass that breaks apart too easily. But instead of tossing the chunk of gunk, try one of these quick hacks, and the only thing that will solidify is your rep as Super Mom.
There are lots of YouTube slime experts out there, and they have some nifty fixes for any slime disaster you can think of. One such expert, Talisa Tossell, has a tutorial that recommended adding hot water to the original slime mixture, then mixing until the clumps are gone. Next, add more of your slime ingredients to make a larger supply of slime (oh, joy!).
Most slime mixtures work by adding an "activator" like liquid starch to softer ingredients. When the slime gets too hard, adding more of the soft ingredient can do the trick. The YouTube channel Elsie's Life recommended adding two or three drops of baby oil to a small amount of boiling water, then adding them to the stiff stuff and mixing.
The stuff that helps get the fuzz off our legs and underarms is also a slime-maker's best friend. YouTuber Izabella Stress has a tutorial showing how to squirt some foam into your petrified blob and mix in until it softens. Still a bit stiff? Add a little hot water.
Slime expert andreaXandrea swore by this method to repair slime that's gone hard from too much borax (fast forward to 4:13). Add either clear or white liquid glue (depending on whether your slime is clear or opaque) and mix until the slime regains its proper consistency, she recommended.
The same bottle that helps keep your hair in place will also loosen up a hard batch of slime, according to YouTube slime guru Just Ameerah. She added that this is a great fix for clear slime, since lotion or shaving cream can turn the slime opaque. Add about a teaspoon of hair gel, mixing as you go, until the yucky clump transforms into the squeezable, moldable stuff your kids love.
Who knew that you could fix slime with the same liquid that keeps your breath minty-fresh? Elsie's Life has shown how to fix hard slime with just a tablespoon of mouthwash (she admitted she doesn't know why it works, but seeing is believing).
If you have a slime connoisseur, having a bottle of body lotion is a must for those hard-slime moments. Just Ameerah has tried a number of brands and found that most types work pretty well, though a cocoa-butter-based lotion is her favorite. She poured about a quarter cup of lotion into the stiff slime and kneaded it until it turns stretchy.
YouTube slime master Laila Bassem had a clever hack: When your slime goes hard, mix it with some too-soft slime (a mixture that has very little of an activator like liquid starch or borax). The two extreme textures will meld together to create that ideal stretch-and-squish consistency.