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How to Make Elephant’s Toothpaste

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Elephant’s toothpaste is an easy and fun experiment that you can do with your children. It has this name because so much foam is released in the process of a simple chemical reaction, that even an elephant would have enough of it.

5-Minute Crafts would like to share how to conduct the experiment of making elephant’s toothpaste, step by step.

What you’ll need

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml or 1 packet) of dry yeast
  • 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (20-volume is a 6% solution that is stronger than what you find in most pharmacies. It is typically used for lightening hair and is found in many beauty supply stores. You can use the 3% hydrogen peroxide found in pharmacies, but the reaction will be a bit smaller.)

  • 3+ tablespoons (15 ml) of warm water

  • Food coloring

  • Liquid dishwashing soap

Gear:

  • A clean, 16-ounce (473 ml) plastic soda bottle or water bottle
  • A deep baking tray
  • Chopsticks
  • A funnel
  • A spoon

1. Prepare your workspace. This experiment can produce a lot of foam, so clear the area thoroughly before you start.

Important: If you plan to conduct the experiment with your child, supervise the entire process and don’t leave the child unattended.

2. Take the bottle and hydrogen peroxide. Pour the peroxide into the bottle.

Important: The speed of the foam eruption depends on how tall the bottle is and how wide its neck is. The foam will creep out in slow cascades from a bottle with a wider neck and will gush out from a bottle with a narrow neck. Try experimenting with different types of bottles to see the different effects.

3. Add a few drops of food coloring to the peroxide.

Option: You can also add plastic glitter to the bottle to make the foam gush more beautifully. Make sure the glitter is metal-free.

4. Pour a bit of dishwashing liquid into the bottle after the food coloring (we used about 1 tablespoon). Stir the ingredients with a chopstick.

5. Mix warm water and yeast in a bowl.

6. Use a funnel to pour the yeast into the bottle with peroxide, dishwashing liquid, and food coloring.

7. Remove the funnel, and enjoy the foam eruption.

8. The foamy substance is caused by the rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, using yeast and warm water as a catalyst. Have fun playing with the foam after the experiment is over! It’s safe to touch because the foam is just soap, water, and oxygen.

Important tips

  • If you use a bottle with a narrow neck, foam can gush out of it. Therefore, it’s best to conduct the experiment outdoors or in a room with a washable ceiling. If you are conducting the experiment with a child, choose a bottle with a wide neck to make it safer.
  • Some food coloring can stain your skin quite badly. If you don’t want your hands to get dirty, wear rubber gloves before you touch the foam. And in order to protect your clothes, we recommend putting on an oilcloth apron.
  • Despite the fact that the experiment is called “toothpaste,” you shouldn’t taste the foam or brush your teeth with it.
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