The ultimate slime guide

I have been asked a lot lately about slime recipes that do not require borax powder (as it is difficult to source in Ireland at the moment); We have tried and tested some alternatives (it’s a tough job but someone has to do it 😉 ) and here are our favourite slime recipes.

Borax

Firstly, we do still love our slime recipes made with borax powder; our favourite is the glowing monster slime, you can find the recipe here. If you can get your hands on some borax powder, it is worth trying it out.

When people talk about slime recipes without borax they actually mean, without borax powder. These recipes (except for the silly putty one at the end) all contain borax in some form; I just wanted to make that clear as I feel many borax-free slime recipes are misnomers.

Making slime with contact lens solution

Luckily, when we can’t find borax powder, we can often find borax in other forms, in other products. One example is contact lens solutions that contain boric acid and sodium borate. If you can find those ingredients on the label then these recipes should work.

We tried out a number of different contact lens solutions (thanks to Elizabeth from Life on Hushabye farm for helping me out with this; Elizabeth is an optometrist). Thanks too to Sinead from Crafty Fun Kids for suggesting the boots contact lens solution, we have tried that one out too, as you’ll see below.

What solutions did we test?

For the purpose of this post we tried out three different contact lens solutions. If you want to try something similar just take a look at the label, ideally you want it to contain boric acid and sodium borate, but we tested one with just the boric acid and still got some results.

The quantities we state below may vary depending on the type of glue you use, the food colouring, contact lens solution etc so it is always best to add the contact lens solution in small amounts to ensure you don’t add too much.

These are the three contact lens solutions we tested:

  1. ReNu contact lens solution by Bausch and Lomb, containing boric acid and sodium borate. This one cost €8.50 for 120mls. Although expensive it we only needed to use a little so it will last a long time and it gave us the best results.
  2. Lens plus contact lens solution by OcuPure; this contact lens solution cost €4.50 for 120mls; it contained boric acid, but NOT sodium borate.
  3. All in one solution travel pack by Boots, containing voric acid and sodium borate. This one cost €4.99 for 60mls.

Basic slime recipe (with ReNu contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • ReNu contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring if using
  • Add ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 1 teaspoon of ReNu contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add half a teaspoon first, you get better slime if you don’t add too much contact lens solution.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

8/10

This gave a great slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container.

Glowing slime recipe (with ReNu contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Fluorescent paint
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • ReNu contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add I tablespoon (15mls) fluorescent paint
  • Add ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 3 teaspoon of ReNu contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add one teaspoon at a time and mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.
  • If you have a black light (UV light) then turn try it out in a dark room and see your slime glow!

Our verdict:

8/10

Again we got a really nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container.

Fluffy slime recipe (with ReNu contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Shaving foam
  • ReNu contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • Add 1 cup of shaving foam
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 3 teaspoon of ReNu contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add one teaspoon at a time and mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

The shaving foam allows lots of air pockets to be trapped in the slime mixture, making it supper fluffy!

Our verdict:

9/10

We really loved this one! It is so soft and fluffy you could literally play with it for hours. Although some of the air was released after storage, it still kept much of its fluffiness which was a big plus.

Basic slime recipe (with Lens Plus contact lens solution)

You will need: 

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Lens Plus contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring if using
  • Add ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 5 teaspoon of Lens Plus contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add half a teaspoon first; you get better slime if you don’t add too much contact lens solution.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

6/10

This gave a nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container. We just felt it required more contact lens solution that the ones that contained sodium borate and took a while longer to make. Although this contact lens solution was cheaper, we had to use a lot more so it was less cost effective.

Glowing slime recipe (with Lens PLus contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Fluorescent paint
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Lens Plus contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add I tablespoon (15mls) fluorescent paint
  • Add 5-6 teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 20 teaspoon of Lens Plus contact lens solution while continuing to mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.
  • If you have a blacklight (UV light) then turn try it out in a dark room and see your slime glow!

Our verdict:

3/10

It took a long time to get this slime just right and it required a lot of contact lens solution. We also found that the slime did not store well and was not much good the next day.

Fluffy slime recipe (with Lens Plus contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Shaving foam
  • Lens Plus contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add 5-6 teaspoon bread soda
  • Add 1 cup of shaving foam
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 10 teaspoon of Lens Plus contact lens solution while continuing to mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.

Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

The shaving foam allows lots of air pockets to be trapped in the slime mixture, making it supper fluffy!

Our verdict:

5/10

Again, it took a long time to get this slime just right and it required a lot of contact lens solution. We also found that the slime did not store well and was not much good the next day.

Basic slime recipe (with Boots contact lens solution)

You will need: 

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Boots contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring if using
  • Add 1 teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 1 teaspoon of Boots contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add this is small amounts, you get better slime if you don’t add too much contact lens solution.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

7/10

This gave a nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container.

Glowing slime recipe (with Boots contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Fluorescent paint
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Boots contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add I tablespoon (15mls) fluorescent paint
  • Add 2-3 teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 4-5 teaspoon of Boots contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add one teaspoon at a time and mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.
  • If you have a blacklight (UV light) then turn try it out in a dark room and see your slime glow!

Our verdict:

6/10

Again we got a really nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container. We took off a few points because it needed a good bit of contact lens solution and because the slime felt a little wet the next day.

Fluffy slime recipe (with Boots contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Shaving foam
  • Boots contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add 2 teaspoon bread soda
  • Add 1 cup of shaving foam
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 1-2 teaspoon of Boots contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add one teaspoon at a time and mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

The shaving foam allows lots of air pockets to be trapped in the slime mixture, making it supper fluffy!

Our verdict:

8/10

Again we really liked this slime , it made fantastic fluffy slime but it didn’t last in storage. If you are OK with that then it’s definitely worth making.

The Science bit:

We make slime from PVA glue if borate ions can combine with the glue, forming additional links between the molecules and creating the polymer we call slime.

This contact lens solution contained boric acid and sodium borate; in order for them to release the borate ions to allow them bind with the glue, we needed to add bread soda.

The bread soda reacts with the boric acid and sodium borate in an acid-base reaction, releasing the borate ions.

Making slime with liquid laundry detergent

This one took a lot of wrongs to get a right! I tried Aldi’s non-bio gel repeatedly, and with every alteration and variation I could imagine but I couldn’t get it to work.  Using washing detergents is a lot more tricky as borax is not listed in any form in the ingredients, instead it comes under the general term of optical brightener. My guess is that Aldi have changed the optical brighteners they use in their non-bio gel so the product no longer contains borax.

The good news is that I did find an alternative that does work… Lidl’s Formil bio liquid detergent (not the gel). We got the 3 Litre bottle for less than €5 but I believe there is a 1.5L option as well. Just make sure you get non-bio and liquid not gel!

Like the contact lens solution, a little goes a long way, so this will last us years!

Basic slime (liquid laundry detergent)

You will need: 

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Lidl Formil liquid laundry detergent
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add about 1 teaspoon Lidl liquid laundry detergent (try and add this a little at a time as you make not need it all)
  • Mix all together
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

8/10

This gave a nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container.

We combined this basic slime recipe with a variation on the glowing slime recipe below to make a mix we call… Cosmic slime; take a look at the video to find out how…

Glowing slime (with liquid laundry detergent)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Fluorescent plaint
  • Lidl Formil liquid laundry detergent
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add 1 tablespoon (15mls) fluorescent paint
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon Lidl liquid laundry detergent (try and add this a little at a time as you make not need it all)
  • Mix all together
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

8/10

This great slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container. This recipe worked the best with the paint. We also changed this around a little, adding other coloured (tempura) paints and combining colours.

You can change around the recipe to make your own creations; in this one we made two bowls of different coloured slime (using tempura paint) and them combined them for this cool, marbled effect.

Fluffy slime (with liquid laundry detergent)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Lidl Formil liquid laundry detergent
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add 1 cup of shaving foam
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon Lidl liquid laundry detergent (try and add this a little at a time as you make not need it all)
  • Mix all together
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

9/10

It’s like candy floss slime… what’s not to love!

The science bit

This is another slime recipe that relies on borate ions. This time they are in laundry detergent. As we don’t consume laundry detergent the ingredients are not listed in the same way; they do not need to be named as specifically as for foods. I assume that the borate ions are present in some form as the optical brighteners listed in the ingredient.

Pros

This was quick, easy, fairly forgiving and made fantastic slime. We preferred it to the slime we made with the contact lens solution. You can literally make slime with just two ingredients, and it is great slime!

Cons

You really only need a small amount of liquid detergent which can be hard to add in such small quantities. If you add a little too much the slime can be a little more rubbery, but it’s still cool!

To make the best slime you need to add a little less liquid detergent and just knead the slime very well in your hands; this makes for a messier process but you’ll be rewarded with some really great slime!

Silly putty (no borax at all)

This is a fun alternative to slime that requires no borax in any form and you probably have the ingredients you need right in your kitchen.

You will need:

  • Dish washing liquid or liquid soap
  • Food colouring
  • Cornflour
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Place ½ cup of cornflour in the bowl
  • Add ¼ cup dish washing liquid or liquid soap
  • Add a few drops of food colouring of your choice
  • Mix well then remove from the bowl and knead and that’s it!
All the colours of the rainbow – silly putty

Pros:

This is very fast and easy to make and kids love it! It is a great activity for sensory play for children. You can mix it up too, add glitter or be really adventurous and make rainbow silly putty, you’ll find how here!

Cons:

This silly putty doesn’t tend to last as long as regular slime (about a week) so you usually have to remake a batch anytime you want some.

A bit about safety

Firstly, we do not recommend that children do these experiments unsupervised! Some of this slime may look good enough to eat… make sure they don’t! Each one of these recipes contains something that may irritate sensitive skin (contact lens solution, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid and liquid soap can all cause irritation) so get the children to wear gloves, if in doubt. Both of my boys can suffer with eczema and can only have their clothes washed in one type of laundry detergent but none of these recipes affected them. Remember to get them to wash their hands afterwards and limit the length of time they will play with the slime, if you think it may irritate.

Our overall recommendations

If working with young children we’d definitely recommend starting with the silly putty.

If going for a contact lens solution try to get one with both boric acid and sodium borate, you’ll get a lot more slime for your buck at the end of the day. Our favourite was the ReNu contact lens solution, we felt it made the best slime and we needed very little of it so it will last us a long time.

Our favourite overall slime was probably the any that we made with the Lidl Formil liquid laundry detergent; it was the most simple recipe, the slime we made was really great and it will last us for a VERY long time.

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND making the fluffy slime… it’s like marshmallows or candy floss. It was definitely the favourite one… just remember not to eat it!

Remember, once you get the basics you can adjust the recipes to customise your slime whatever way you like. Adding some glitter to any of the recipes is a great place to start.

Enjoy and let us know how you get on 🙂

 

nao

Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

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