Making and playing with slime isn’t only a fun way to spend an afternoon. It’s an excellent way to introduce the scientific method to kids as well as being a lesson in patience and trial and error.
However, many slime recipes require borax, which is a natural but potentially dangerous substance. Why should you avoid borax? We’ll give you the lowdown on that and offer our top five borax-free slime recipes.
Learning how to make slime without borax is a crucial thing for parents to do. A slime recipe without borax will help your child have all the fun this activity can introduce without a lot of the dangers.
How To Make Slime Without Borax
There are some surprising benefits to making and playing with slime, but one ingredient, borax, can be dangerous. We’ve curated five tried and tested borax-free slime recipes that are both kid- and parent-approved.
- Shampoo and cornstarch slime.
- Glue and cornstarch slime.
- Shaving cream, glue, and baking soda slime.
- Powdered fiber slime.
- Baking soda, glue, and contact solution slime.
What Is Slime?
Slime is a non-Newtonian liquid. This means it acts as both a liquid and a solid, depending on the amount of force applied to it. That is why you can scoop slime up and hold it, but the slime will also flow like extremely thick water.
The most common ingredients for slime are glue and water. These are mixed to make a “slime base.” Next, an ingredient known as an activator is mixed into the base to create the slime. The specific activator depends on the slime recipe you use.
The ratio of base and activator can be adjusted to make your slime thicker, stickier, and more rubbery. Glitter, color, toys, scents, and other objects can also be added to your slime.
Making and playing with slime is an excellent way to teach some of the basics of the scientific method (1).
Different colors of slime can be used to teach color recognition and demonstrate what happens when the colors mix. Meanwhile, adding toys, beads, and other items stimulate the senses, promoting sensory integration.
Why Is Borax Bad?
Borax is not inherently bad. It is in many everyday products, and many children make slime with borax and never experience a single problem. However, for sensitive children through overexposure or when used incorrectly, borax can cause:
Skin, Eye, and Respiratory Irritation
Pouring borax into your mix can send molecules into the air, which are then inhaled. This can cause irritation in any child, but it can be particularly problematic for kids with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
When playing with slime, children with sensitive skin may be prone to rashes and dry skin. There is some evidence, in extreme cases, of chemical burns.
Ingesting borax, or a substance that contains borax, can cause stomach upsets, diarrhea, shock, and even kidney failure (2). A child does not have to eat a great deal to be sick.
Does Borax Kill Humans?
Homemade slime recipes usually use around one tablespoon of borax, which is approximately 14 grams. As little as 5 grams of borax can be fatal for a child if it is swallowed (3). Between 14 and 20 grams can kill an adult.
How to Make Slime Without Borax
Be careful about which borax-free recipe you use. Some supposedly borax-free slime recipes use liquid starch or liquid laundry detergent. However, liquid starch and some liquid laundry detergents contain borax or one of the many closely related minerals and chemical compounds.
Do not use any items which list boric acid, sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate on the label.
Shampoo and Cornstarch Slime
This recipe includes ingredients you likely already have in your home.
- 1 cup of shampoo, any brand will do.
- ½ cup cornstarch.
- 6 tablespoons of water.
- Mix the shampoo and cornstarch in a bowl.
- Add one tablespoon of water and knead until it’s well mixed.
- Add the remaining water a drop or two at a time until you have the desired consistency.
- Knead the slime for approximately five minutes before playing with it.
Glue and Cornstarch Slime
This version is less jelly-like than some other slimes, but it still acts in the same way.
- 1 cup of water.
- 1 cup of white craft glue.
- 1/2 cup of cornstarch.
- Food coloring.
- Mix the water and glue in a bowl.
- Add food coloring a drop at a time until you get the color you’re after.
- Slowly add the cornstarch a little at a time, until the mixture becomes the consistency of slime.
Shaving Cream, Glue, and Baking Soda Slime
Kids often enjoy this recipe because of the foamy shaving cream they get to use.
- 1 cup of white glue.
- 1 cup of shaving cream.
- 2 teaspoons of saline solution.
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Food coloring.
- In a bowl, thoroughly blend the glue and baking soda.
- Add the shaving cream and blend until it is fluffy and thick.
- Add one or two drops of food coloring at a time into the mix, until you create the desired color.
- Add the saline solution.
- Knead the mixture with your hands and enjoy.
Powdered Fiber Slime
Any powdered fiber brand that contains psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid will work. The slime thickens in response to heat, so each time you heat and cool the mixture, it will thicken further.
- 1 cup of water.
- 1 teaspoon powdered fiber.
- Food coloring.
- Mix the fiber, water, and a few drops of food coloring in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat the mixture in the microwave for approximately four minutes. Watch the mixture carefully and if it begins to boil, it is ready, so turn the microwave off.
- Allow the mix to cool for three to four minutes.
- Repeat steps two and three until the slime reaches the desired consistency.
- Allow the mix to cool before playing with the slime.
Baking Soda, Glue and Contact Solution Slime
Before making this recipe, you need to know that contact lens solution does contain trace amounts of boric acid. However, by using this instead of other ingredients that contain borax, you will reduce the amount of borax to which your child is exposed.
- 12 oz. of Elmer’s white glue.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda.
- 2 tablespoons contact lens saline solution.
- Combine the glue and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Add the contact solution and mix it until you have slime.
- You may need to add extra contact solution, one drop at a time to reach your desired slime consistency.
Tips for Making and Playing With Slime
- Ensure that your kids don’t put slime in their mouths and that they wash their hands thoroughly when they have finished playing. This is important, even with borax-free slime.
- If you get slime on your clothes or other fabrics, scrape off any excess and clean immediately to avoid staining.
- Replacing the water in your slime recipe with tonic water will make it glow in the dark. However, using tonic water means that to get the correct consistency, you may have to tweak the amount of glue, fiber, or other ingredients slightly.
- When you are not playing with your slime, keep it in an air-tight container. This will help it last for much longer.
- Regular food coloring can stain hands, clothes, or surfaces. To avoid this, either leave out the food coloring or use a non-staining dye.
- Some recipes suggest using powdered juice crystals to give an appealing color and smell. However, this is best avoided as it may encourage kids to put the slime in or around their mouths.
Go With The Flow
Making slime can be a mucky, and sometimes frustrating, process. However, think of that as all part of the fun because once you get it right, making and playing with slime can give your child hours of pleasure.
It is also a fabulous science fair project, and many budding entrepreneurs try their hand at making and selling slime. Who knows? Slime might inspire something great in your child.