Easy Clean Mud Recipe with Ivory Soap or Liquid Soap


Published: July 27, 2023 · Updated: December 13, 2023 by Sacha

Looking for a low-mess sensory activity to set up for your kids? Find out how to make “clean” mud for sensory play using either Ivory soap or liquid soap. This fun fake mud recipe is perfect for kids who love sensory play!

Child's hands holding a ball of white dough.

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It’s been years since we started doing this “Wash the Muddy Farm Animals” Sensory Bin, but our kids are still just as enamoured with it as they were the first time they tried it.

That being said, the chocolate “mud” that is used to cover the animals has a way of getting all over our table and our kids’ clothes, and there are days when I’d rather offer less messy alternatives.

Enter clean mud.

Clean mud (also known as “ghost mud”) has a similar texture to fake mud, but instead of being made with cocoa powder, cake mix or chocolate pudding, it’s made with soap.

Clean mud is perfect for sensory bins and, as the name suggests, it’s a lot cleaner than regular fake mud. Unlike other fake mud recipes, this one definitely won’t stain clothing!

So if you’re looking to make play mud for your kids, but you’d rather skip the mess, this easy recipe for clean mud is a great alternative!

(P.S. This is also a great way to channel your child’s destructive energies or use up toilet paper that has been torn up by your toddler.)

Related: 4 Ways to Make (Taste-Safe) Fake Mud for Sensory Play

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Should You Use Ivory Soap or Liquid Soap?

If you only have one type of soap on hand, use whichever one you have.

But if both are available to you, there are some textural differences between clean mud made with Ivory soap and clean mud made with liquid soap that you’ll want to take into account when deciding which one to make.

When we used a bar of Ivory soap, the mud developed a very squishy texture that felt closer to actual mud.

It’s difficult to describe exactly what it felt like, because the texture was pretty unique, but it was sort of like playing with mouldable skin lotion. The toilet paper disintegrated completely and you could barely tell it was there.

Hand holding a ball of white dough.

When we used liquid soap, the result was a little different.

The toilet paper didn’t disintegrate completely and the texture was a lot airier and more sudsy. It also felt a lot “cleaner” and less “mud-like” than the one made Ivory soap, and didn’t stick to our hands.

Child's hands moulding soapy white dough.

Both were pretty fun to play with, but personally, I preferred the texture of the clean mud made with Ivory soap, because it was so unique and super satisfying to squish.

That being said, my kids all preferred the airier texture of the clean mud made with liquid soap.

My five-year-old, who will spend hours playing with slimy Chia Seed Goop and Chia Seed Slime, and who up until now had never met a sensory activity she didn’t like, absolutely hated the texture of the Ivory clean mud and wouldn’t even touch it long enough for me to take pictures.

So if your child isn’t a big fan of things that are slimy or squishy, you may want to stick with liquid soap.

How to Make Clean Mud with Ivory Soap

Required Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make DIY clean mud with Ivory soap:

Ingredients to make clean mud with Ivory soap.
  • 1 roll toilet paper (about 120 squares)
  • 1 bar Ivory soap (or another similar bar of white soap)
  • 2 cups water

Note: The recipe quantities are for a single roll of toilet paper, so if you buy double rolls like we do, you’ll only need to use half.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Shred Toilet Paper

To make clean mud with toilet paper and liquid soap, start by shredding the toilet paper into one- to two-inch pieces using your hands, and tossing the pieces into a large bin.

Bin filled with shredded toilet paper.

You can definitely get your kids involved in doing this step, and it’s a great way to sneak in some fine motor practice!

2. Grate Soap Bar

Using a cheese grater, grate the bar of soap to turn it into soap flakes. If you’re making this recipe with older kids, they may be able to help with this, but you’ll probably want to do it yourself if you’re making this recipe for a toddler.

Grated bar of Ivory soap.

Since the soap flakes will be going into the sensory bin anyway, feel free to grate it straight into the bin.

3. Add Water

Once you have finished grating the soap and shredding the toilet paper, pour 2 cups of water into the bin. This will cause the toilet paper to get soaked and the soap flakes to dissolve.

4. Mix Ingredients Together

Here’s where the magic happens! Dig into the bin with your hands (or have your child do it) and smush all of the ingredients together until they have a “mud-like” consistency.

Child's hand holding a ball of white dough.

The exact texture of your soap mud will depend on the brands you used and can be adjusted according to your preference.

If you prefer more watery mud, mix in some more water until you’re satisfied with the texture. If you would rather create a more mouldable “mud dough”, add some more shredded toilet paper and keep mixing until you are left with a sensory dough-like material.

Personally, I thought 2 cups of water was perfect, and it gave the clean mud a super cool and unique texture. The toilet paper disintegrated completely, and when we pressed our hands into it, the mud squished up in between our fingers. So satisfying!

Hand pressing down into white dough.

That being said, my kids all preferred the second batch of clean mud that I made using liquid soap instead of Ivory soap. Keep scrolling past the recipe card to get the details!

Child's hands holding a ball of white dough.

Clean Mud with Ivory Soap

The Craft-at-Home Family
Looking for a low-mess sensory activity to set up for your kids? Whip up a batch of "clean" mud for them to play with using just 3 household ingredients!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sensory Bin
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 1 cheese grater

Ingredients
  

  • 1 roll (120 squares) toilet paper
  • 1 bar Ivory soap
  • 2 cups water

Instructions
 

  • Shred toilet paper into 1- to 2-inch pieces using your hands.
  • Grate the soap using a cheese grater.
  • Place the toilet paper and grated soap in a large bin. Pour in the water and combine the ingredients by kneading them with your hands. Add water or toilet paper as needed to adjust the texture, then give it to your child to play with.

Notes

Clean mud can be stored in an airtight zip-top bag when not in use.
Keyword clean mud, ivory soap, sensory play
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How to Make Clean Mud with Liquid Soap

Required Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make DIY clean mud with liquid soap:

Ingredients to make clean mud with liquid soap.
  • 1 roll toilet paper (about 120 squares)
  • ¼ cup liquid dish soap or liquid hand soap
  • 2 cups water

Note: Once again, the recipe quantities are for a single roll of toilet paper, so if you buy double rolls like we do, you’ll only need to use half.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Combine Soap and Water

Start by pouring water into a large bin, along with ¼ cup of soap.

Hand pouring soap into a bin of water.

If you’re making this recipe for the first time, you may want to consider only pouring in about 1 ½ cups of water and adding more later on if you find the texture too dry.

2. Shred Toilet Paper

This step can definitely be done by kids, and it’s a great way to sneak in some fine motor practice!

Simply have them shred the toilet paper into one- to two-inch pieces using their hands and toss the pieces of shredded toilet paper straight into the bin containing the soap and water.

Bin filled with shredded toilet paper, soap and water.

3. Mix Ingredients Together

Dig into the bin with your hands (or have your child do it) and smush all of the ingredients together until they have a “mud-like” consistency.

Child's hands moulding soapy white dough.

As stated in the previous section, the exact texture of your soap mud will depend on the brands you used, but you can adjust it according to your preference.

For a more watery mud, add some more water. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to create  more of a “soap dough” or “bubble dough”, add some more shredded toilet paper until you’re satisfied with the consistency.

This batch of clean mud had a much airier texture, and it was a lot wetter and bubblier than the one made with Ivory soap. It was also less sticky and much easier to clean off hands and surfaces.

Child's hands moulding soapy white dough.

It didn’t feel as much like real mud as the Ivory soap mud, but while I preferred the first batch, my kids liked this one better and played with it for a lot longer. So if you’ve never made this before, you may want to try both to see which one your kids prefer!

Hand holding a ball of white dough.

Clean Mud with Liquid Soap

The Craft-at-Home Family
Looking for a low-mess sensory activity to set up for your kids? Use 3 simple household ingredients to create some "clean" mud for them to play with!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Sensory Bin
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 roll (120 squares) toilet paper
  • ¼ cup liquid dish soap or hand soap
  • 1 ¾ – 2 cups water

Instructions
 

  • Combine soap and water in a large bin.
  • Shred toilet paper into 1- to 2-inch pieces using your hands.
  • Combine the ingredients by kneading them with your hands. Add water or toilet paper as needed to adjust the texture, then give it to your child to play with.

Notes

Clean mud can be stored in an airtight zip-top bag when not in use.
Keyword clean mud, dish soap, hand soap, sensory play
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Related Sensory Play Ideas

Looking for more fun sensory activities to do with your kids? Check out these articles:

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