Play-dough is a fabulous toy that all children absolutely adore!
This is why it can be frustrating when it dries out super quickly and needs to be thrown out.
I can’t remember the number of times I’ve gone to get the play-dough out for the kids and it’s all dried up and unusable!
This can be so frustrating, especially when you were looking forward to those few minutes of peace while your kids are distracted by the dough!
Read on for some great ways to soften play-dough so that you can use it again (see also ‘What To Make With Play Doh?‘)!
Table of Contents
Softening Play-Dough With The Kneading Method
The quickest way to soften your Play-Dough is by kneading the dough. This will rehydrate your Play-dough, bringing it back to action.
Follow the steps below to successfully soften your Play-dough using the kneading method:
- Place the Play-Dough on a hard surface.
- Add water to the Play-Dough one drop at a time. It is important not to over-hydrate the play-dough, so make sure that you are working with a small amount of water at a time.
- After adding the water, you will need to play with the dough. You will need to do this by rolling, kneading and squashing the dough into itself! Don’t hesitate to get the kids involved with this part – they can come in useful sometimes! Do this for at least 20 seconds before you add more water.
- Eventually, the dough will become soft. You will need to continue doing this until it is how you want it (see also ‘How to Make Play-Doh Slime‘).
Tip: If your dough ends up getting too wet and slimy, you will need to keep working the dough until it is soft and pliable.
Softening Play-Dough With The Plastic Bag Method
You can also soften Play-dough using an air-tight plastic bag. Follow the steps below:
- Place the Play-dough in a plastic bag and seal it. Make sure to release half of the air before you seal it.
- Break up the dough into smaller pieces as this will allow them to rehydrate better.
- Next, add a small amount of water to the bag.
- Seal the bag and knead the dough within the bag.
- As the dough begins to get softer, you should leave it overnight to continue soaking up the water that you placed in the bag.
- Make sure that the dough looks as it should before opening the bag. Otherwise the dye can bleed onto your hands.
Softening Play-Dough With The Dunking Method
You can opt to soften your Play-dough with the dunking method.
And yes, it is as fun as it sounds! Follow the instructions below to soften Play-dough using this method.
- Fill up a container with water. It is a good idea to use gloves with this method as the dye will get on your hands otherwise.
- You should then dunk the ball of hardened Play-dough in the water.
- After you have done this, you should hold the Play-dough under the water for a minute. Do this until the Play-dough can be kneaded while it is underwater.
- You should continue to do this for at least 15 minutes. The dough may get on your hands during this process unless you are wearing gloves.
- You should then remove the dough and pat it dry with a paper towel.
- After this, leave the dough to dry out on the towel.
Softening Play-Dough With A Steamer
For this method, you can either use a stand-alone steamer, or a stovetop steamer.
- Flatten out the dough and add some water. When you have done this, you will be able to increase the size of the surface which allows for better absorption.
- You will then need to place the dough into a steamer and leave it in there for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the steamer after this time, and knead it for 5 minutes. You may need to do this a few times, but don’t complete the process more than 3 times.
Why Is My Play-Dough Dry?
It can be super disappointing when you’ve thought of a way to entertain the kids for an hour, got out the play-dough, and it’s all dried up and unusable!
This can happen for many reasons. Play-Dough is made from flour, salt and water, as well as food coloring.
Over time, the water will evaporate and become too hard to use.
This may happen when you leave the play-dough out in the open, and not in a sealed container.
Tips When Softening Play-Dough
When you are softening Play-dough there are some important things to remember. These include:
- Make sure that you add some more flour or continue to knead the dough if it gets too wet and slimy. You want it to resemble the Play-dough that you purchased in the first place.
- Adding lotion can also help to get the dough back to its original suppleness. You should ensure that you don’t add too much, though, as this can cause the dough to become sticky.
- If your Play-Dough has a bad smell or is discolored, it may have started to grow mold or bacteria. In this situation, you should throw it out straight away and wash your hands!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Method For Softening Play-Dough?
The kneading method is the quickest and easiest method for softening Play-Dough.
All of the methods above are great and work very well, so you can pick your method of choice!
How Do You Rehydrate Play-Dough?
In order to rehydrate Play-Dough you need to add water one drop at a time. This is to ensure that you don’t over-hydrate the dough.
There are lots of different methods to rehydrate the dough, and some will work better for you than others.
The most simple way is the kneading method as you don’t need any equipment.
It is a good idea to wear gloves when you are hydrating the dough because the dye can come off on your hands.
There are many different methods for softening Play-Dough, so give one of these a try so that you can catch a moment of peace while the kids are distracted!