Summer Fun: Microwaved Ivory Soap

by Wendy Copley on July 20, 2011

What happens when you microwave Ivory soap? SCIENCE happens!


When I came across the idea to microwave Ivory soap on The Cyber School Mom Diary’s fantastically comprehensive Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer list,  I was instantly intrigued.

“What happens when you microwave Ivory soap?” I asked.

“Try it and see!” Chrissi told me. “It doesn’t damage anything and it’s cool.”

Cut a bar of Ivory soap in half and put it in the microwave for a fun science project. The kids would love this.

I immediately added it to our summer fun list and once Wyatt saw it he was dying to see what happened.

Soap! A microwave! What could be better?

It definitely did not disappoint. PLUS: there’s science!

Cut a bar of Ivory soap in half and put it in the microwave for a fun science project. The kids would love this.

We started off with a hunk of plain old Ivory soap. We cut a bar of soap in half, but you could cut it into quarters and still get a dramatic effect. You may recall that Ivory soap floats in water. The reason for that is that unlike other soap, it has a a bunch of air whipped into it. This is important because when you microwave it, all those tiny air bubbles expand and make your soap look like this:

Microwaved Ivory Soap

How cool is that? It took 90 seconds of microwaving to get the soap to this stage the first time and 30 seconds the second time. After it balloons up, the soap feels simultaneously crunchy and squishy to the touch. It isn’t particularly hot when it comes out, but please use common sense when handling it — steam burns are not fun.

I’d also like to take a moment to note that I’m mortified by how dirty my microwave is in this picture. On the plus side, it is sparkling and shiny now that I’ve cleaned a bunch of fluffy soap out of it.

Soap before the microwave

Anyhoo, the kids were thrilled by this project and have been begging me to do it again since the first exciting result. We’ve placed the fluffy soap next to our bathroom sink and we break little chunks off to use when we wash our hands.

Have you ever microwaved Ivory soap? What else is fun (and safe!) to microwave?

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  • RodgertheTroll

    REALLY? REALLY? No, dear sir or madam.The real trolls are the ignorant ones who know nothing about what they are writing, yet still write it becausethey think they are right. An exampleof one of these “trolls” is the person talking about children being beaten in defense to them staring at microwaves.

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  • Hmp630


  • Axel


  • Axel

    Bad programming

  • Victoriabeach26

    Hahaha wtf

  • Tnass9786

    This is great!! I also noticed on your 2011 Goals list that you want to bake bread…I just recently found a VERY easy bread recipe that’s delicious, fluffy, and perfect!! Here it is for you!! Good luck!

    1 package dry yeast
    1 tbsp butter
    1 1/2 c  warm water
    2 tsp salt
    2 tbsp sugar
    3 c all purpose flour

    Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix butter, sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 c flour in a large bowl. Add yeast, stirring constantly. Beat vigorously as you add the rest of the flour. 

    Cover with cloth or damp paper towel and let it double in bulk in a warm, but not hot place (about 30 minutes). Do not punch but stir down. 

    Let rise another 30 minutes then spoon batter into a 10-in loaf pan and pat with a floured hand to shape. Bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool slightly and remove from pan. Loaf should have a “hollow” sound when thumped on the bottom. 

  • Audi17

    this is a awesome experiment but make sure to use unscented soap. I did this with Irish springs and the smell made use leave the house for hours :p.

  • Rystalka07

    All soap does that, I did it with a bar of zest

  • :)

    Place two peeps in the microwave.  Have the peeps ‘hold’ tooth picks.  Watch as peeps start to blow and begin to poke each other.  Make bets on which peep will deflate first.  We call this peep jousting.
    Also, not sure if this is safe or not (probably not), but if you put cheeto or chip bags in the microwave for ~10 seconds, they shrink and crumble.

  • Regina_mortis

    where in the manual is that? I can’t find it…

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  • Nottellingyou

    Be careful what kind of soap you use for this – I used carrot soap, and my house and microwave stink! Off to boil some cinnamon.

  • Try microwaving an empty bag of doritos!

  • Amber Butler

    I used to microwave dorito bags. They just shrink to the size of a keychain and become really hard. 🙂 (This is cool by the way! My husband is a fifth grade teacher, he’s going to use this in his class!)

  • Ladywillow

    I love you too.

  • victoria fallon

    good ad for ivory soap…show your microwave before and after and give credit to the soap!  a little ivory goes along way!

  • Willsmomali


  • I’m going to do this as soon as I can get to Target to buy the soap.  That is better than awesome.

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  • alysehassell

    Put two carrots in and make a T like so and make sure they are touching. Sparks fly! My husband and I tried it out for a date in college. I think the kids will like it. The reason they spark is because food has energy! 

  • Wendy, I’m speechless. I missed this post last summer I guess because I had no idea you’d tried the Ivory soap trick! So glad it worked out for you guys! (And thanks for pimping my blog! It’s been on hiatus since my father-in-law’s passing early last summer due to Spawn’s reaction to Paw-Paw’s passing, so I guess I’ve been out of the loop. =O)

    Chrissi, The Cyber School Mom

  • Chrissi! I’m so sorry to hear about your father-in-law’s passing. Best thoughts to you and your family.

    Thanks so much for the idea to try this. We’ve done it several times and it’s so fun. The traffic on this post has been NUTS! I hope you’ve enjoyed an up-tick in traffic on your site as a result.

  • PixySnot

    I hope you know that we are surrounded by all sorts of radiation all day every day, it’s completely unavoidable. *IF* the manual says that anywhere, it’s only because it’s a standard C.Y.A. procedure all companies do. All medicines say “Ask a doctor before use if breastfeeding or pregnant.” Even the ones that are completely harmless, and routinely prescribed to pregnant/breastfeeding women (like Ibuprofen). They say that, not because there is any risk to the baby, but because it limits their liability in a sue-happy world. My Walgreens camera says only to use Walgreens film in it, but putting another kind of film in it isn’t going to cause cancer or cause the camera to catch fire. Walgreens put that on there to sell more film. I hope you believe everything that corporations tell you ROFL

  • Randy

    Yes. Yes, you can spout information – unfortunately it’s the wrong information. From whining about a shirt to dictating the safety protocols of microwave oven use…

    Pathetic.Sad, sad little person…

  • Mandy Robinson

    Wow so cool!

  • this is so cool looking. I don’t have kids, and i’m definitely an adult…however, I HAVE to try this! Thanks for the post!

  • Bmpryde

    We tried this JUST NOW and it is very very cool!  We cut the bar in four pieces so my son could do it multiple times.  We are in scouts and he can’t wait to show everyone in scouts!

  • Concerned Citizen

    ill tell you thing thats nor fun and safe to microwave… your food… unless your just ignoring the recent science that proves microwaves change the DNA of food therefore having the strong potential to mutate your own DNA…. AKA CANCER
    if you dont care about your own health at least please dont microwave your kids food… let them choose if they want to get cancer once there old enough to make concious decisions

  • Concerned Citizen

    DNA changes in food is the proven concern…. We are what we eat.

  • Pandorasbox_318

    Just “stumbled” across your post, Wendy.  What wonderful memories it brought back.  When I was little, my mom would microwave Ivory Soap at Christmas and we would dab it on our Christmas tree.  It looked like snow and made the house smell so good.

  • That looks like so much fun, haha!

  • Microwave glow sticks for 8 seconds… they get SUPER BRIGHT!

  • Joeknee

    marshmallows inflate like that, and imho, taste better afterwards!

  • Alicia

    try lightbulbs, there are tons of youtube videos about it (and it was done on myth busters) … you can stick a plain old lightbulb in the microwave with no issue… but on myhtbusters they suggested sticking the metal part of the lightbulb in a bowl of water (because it isn’t good to “dry microwave” things so I have heard)… very cool effect. My favorite youtube video of it was done with hundreds of christmas lights.

  • Guest

    Lightbulbs are fun. You put it in a cup of water and microwave, and it lights up! Be careful though, its hot!

  • Jenessalenore

    NOTHING. i repeat-nothing is safe to microwave.

  • Catlover77

    Have you microwaved Peeps?  Very cool. lol

  • SarcasmAlert

    Rahhh all these commies trying to get us to let our kids stand in front of microwaves! Who do they think they are! Why, back in my day, we wouldn’t even have microwaves in our homes because of the gosh darn radiation! But they are convenient….so I built myself a lead box to put mine it! Yup! put the microwave in there so now I can just put my food in, shut the door, turn the timer knob, and then shut the lead box real quick!!! Have to time it myself though cuz I can’t hear the beeps through the lead but gosh darn it if I’m not going to get cancers every time I want some jiffy pop!  Keep fighting the good fight, son! ‘Merica needs more folks like you. Now I’m gonna drive my Packard on down to the pharmacy and get myself a nice pop! 

  • Ash

    BETTER YET! Use the blown up soap to then clean the microwave with! Cleaning is going to be so much more fun now….

    (B T Dubs, I think you missed it, but in her post up there she mentioned how clean her microwave was after cleaning the soap out of it AND she apologized for it looking dirty….you’re one of those only-looks-at-pictures-because-they-can’t-be-bothered-to-read types aren’t you?)

  • Haha, who would have thought that this would happen! This is so cool! I bet it made your microwave smell very fresh 🙂

  • Nikkers887

    I have found this website the safest (and cleanest) way to see what things do in the microwave. I am a teacher and as a break sometimes we put the site on the projector and watch a few videos and make predictions as to what will happen and why. So much fun!!!

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  • BloomingDaisy

    This is a great comment!! haha 🙂 Why do people like you, @14d3e44037c87799d3dda7300a526654:disqus , have to be such a dick on a perfectly sweet blog?? Good grief!

  • sukamonastir

    try this with microwave meringue mix not only do you get the same results but they are also edible!….….great fun for the kids

  • Rachel

    No! You have to Peep-joust! Put two peeps in the microwave with toothpicks in the front. Then microwave until one of them pops the other! So fun… 🙂

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  • Sharnan Juicho

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