How to soften Play doh

It is surprising how quickly play doh dries up. And then you need to go and purchase another bag for your children. If you are an artist, then your entire stock gets wasted. Is there no way to reen a hard Play-Doh pack and use it?

In fact, yes, there is.

Softening Play-Doh, which is hard, can be because of Play-Doh containers having dried up, but it can also be because of projects that have deliberately hardened and now are of no use.

However, it should be remembered that Play-doh, which has completely dried up, cannot be reduced back to its original soft state anymore. However, those containers or projects that are yet not fully gone can be brought back using various methods.


This article is dedicated to exactly that. We will explore why play doh dries up. What does Play-doh consist of? How can we soften Play-Doh? Why should we think about doing it?

What is Play-Doh made up of?

It might surprise you when we tell you that the most important ingredient in Play-doh is flour. Even to this date, this part of the manufacturing process has not really changed. If not flour, they use starch-based binders, which are similar in consistency.

Therefore, since flour dough starts drying after some time, Play-doh will also start drying. The modern Play-Doh manufacturing process also includes other ingredients besides flour, however.

  • The most important ingredient to keep the dough moistened: water
  • A retrogradation inhibitor
  • Lubricant and humectant (also important for keeping the Play-doh soft)
  • A surfactant
  • A hardener (probably not the best for us in this case, but it is important to hold the materials together)
  • Borax is a preservative and helps the Play-Doh mold
  • Other preservatives
  • Fragrance
  • Colour

Why does Play-Doh dry up?

There can be many reasons behind the drying up of Play-Doh. Some of these are easily fixable, while others are simply outside our control.

Kept in the open for too long

Air can prove to be a huge factor behind the hardening of Play-Doh. Children as well as adults have attendance sheets to be messy from time to time and can leave their Play-Doh in the open or even the lid of the container open in which the Play-Doh is kept.

If this happens multiple times, there might be a huge chance of losing the softeners of your Play-Doh.

Extremely dry and hot weather

Although the weather is not something we can control, it is also true that a Play-Doh will remain soft better in your made weather than in extremely dry and hot weather.

It is because extremely dry and hot weather will evaporate moisture from its surroundings, and play doh needs a lot of moisture in its surroundings and within itself to stay soft.

Torn into very small pieces

Usually, you can tell in any manner you want, and it will still come back together when you make it.

However, in some cases, when the Play-Doh is turned into very small pieces, and those pieces are kept separate from each other for a very long time, the surface becomes hard, and the play-doh will not come back together. It is also a manner in which play doh starts becoming brittle.

Lack of moisture in storage surroundings

Play-Doh needs humidity and moisture in its surroundings. If there is a lack of moisture in the container or the place where it is kept, it might be a good idea to artificially add water in that area to make sure the Play-Doh does not dry out.

Even in cold places like refrigeration or air conditioning, a stark lack of moisture for a very long time will affect the storage.

Is softening Play-Doh a good idea?

Is it even worth it to soften Play-Doh and use it? The question is complex since, although you want to soften Play-Doh, you should also remember that sometimes the results will not qualify as professional materials.

The trick is to start softening Play-Doh routinely after a few weeks old.


When it comes to Play-doh for children’s playing purposes, yes, softening Play-Doh is the best idea to save yourself some bucks.

It would help if you softened Play-Doh for several reasons to avail many benefits.

It is inexpensive

As we have mentioned, one of the main reasons people want to soften Play-Doh is because it is an expensive method to save money and reuse the Play-Doh already available at home.

The softening process by itself does not need you to spend any money. In some extreme cases, you might want to try buying some glycerine which we will discuss later.

It preserves Play-Doh for a longer time.

Continue a softening of Play-Doh even when it has not started becoming hard yet can preserve it for a longer time. Indeed yes, you can make play dough last longer by using Play-doh softening methods as a preservation against what is about to happen eventually.

It can be done through very simple steps.

As we mentioned before, softening Play-Doh is not hard at all.

At most, it might take three to four steps to soften the Play-Doh or to repeat a single step an endless number of times for it to bring any results. Sometimes none of the steps bring results, and at that point, you need to give up and look for a new pack.

You do not want your Play-doh talk to go to waste.

Another important factor that bugs people is how much Play-doh will go to waste. It is particularly true for those artists that use play as permanent material in their work and cannot afford to lose so much raw material.

Using these techniques you can now bring your Play-Doh to use every day and slowly MP3 the containers of the Play-Doh going bad.

How to make Play-Doh soft?

Thankfully, you can soften Play-Doh in several ways without having to rack your head over it. Some of the most popular and effective ways of softening Play-Doh for everyday to professional use include

Starting from the beginning

As mentioned before, a huge way to keep Play-Doh soft is to use softening steps as prevention methods against the very act of the play-doh becoming hard.

It basically means that play doh requires a great amount of moisture to remain intact. If we start storing them in airtight containers and offering them a few sprays of water every time we bring them out, we can make the Play-Doh containers last long from the beginning.

Airtight bag and water

Our first refers to what we just said. You can bring back the softeners of a Play-Doh by storing them in an airtight container with many water droplets. Simply spray a zip bag with water and store the Play-Doh in it.

The Play-Doh might take a long time to absorb the water, but it eventually will. This way you can remove a slight hardness that has come into your Play-Doh.

Add glycerine

Depending on the intensity of the hardness, You might also want to add glycerine to the Play-Doh to soften it. Glycerine can be a huge source of artificial moisture to any material or product. However, in most cases, glycerine is not child-safe and can make your Play-doh toxic.

However, adding glycerin is the best option for professional projects because it will bring back a wonderful consistency to your play-doh.

Overnight dunk in the water

The basic concept we have established is that Play-Doh needs moisture to bring back its softness. Therefore if nothing else works, you need to dunk it in a tub of water overnight.

A dunk in the water is for extreme cases, but if your Play-doh needs immediate correction, you can always try it, as water is a non-toxic material. No harm can come out of this method, unlike previously mentioned glycerin.

Microwave it

This one is a controversial step and quite a hard one as well. You can microwave your Play-Doh for some time or heated for 10 minutes in a preheated oven of 150 degrees to see immediate results.

However, this can remove the non-toxicity of Play-Doh as overheating releases sulfur fumes which are harmful not only for the children but also to you.


Therefore, Play-Doh can be made into its original soft consistency and reused by both children and artists. Some artists also used this softening method on their completed projects to create more details on them during the final inspection stage.

You can easily use the above mentioned techniques to bring your Play-Doh back to its original state. They are simple, cheap, and effective.

kids playing with play doh


Is it better to soften clay or buy a new set?

Even if you soften Play-Doh clay, you might not get complete results. In that case, it is better to buy a new set, especially if you are working on commercial projects. However, softening Play-Doh is inexpensive, and if it works, it can save a lot of money.

How long does Play-Doh remain soft?

Play-Doh remains soft up to an average of 3 months.

How can we store Play-Doh properly?

Play-Doh should be properly stored in an airtight container and routinely spread with water or other sources of moisture. It will keep it in the next shape.

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