Clean mud is one of our favorite sensory play materials – using just two everyday ingredients to make a squishy, sudsy sensory bin that leaves hands cleaner than when the kids started playing!
Clean Mud Sensory Bin
One of the most fun and satisfying sensory experiences for kids is to sink their hands into fresh, squishy mud.
… It’s also one of the most horrific sights for moms who are worried about germs or laundry.
This clean mud allows kids to have all of the fun of digging in mud and feeling that amazing, squishy texture, without any of the mess that the real thing creates and you don’t have to worry about unknown germs or contaminants (especially if you live in an area with a lot of wildlife like we do). You can also bury little toys or objects for the kids to dig up in the mud.
You can alter the texture and consistency of the mud by changing the amount of water that you add. Less water will result in an almost clay-like material that can hold different shapes, while more water will result in the muddy texture you see in the pictures here.
I also really enjoy the fresh clean scent of this sensory bin – the whole room will end up smelling like soap!
The only thing I dislike about making clean mud is that it takes quite a while to rip up all of the paper. Usually, the kids will help me tear up a bit but it’s a time-consuming process and even their enthusiasm for getting to rip up paper wanes. If you watch TV at night, it would be the perfect, mindless task to accompany it – you’ll be done ripping it up in no time!
A secret trick that I’ve learned to make clean mud even easier to whip up: I used to always grate my soap by hand but it occurred to me after our Ivory Soap Microwave Science Experiment that the soap crumbled easily after pillowing up in the microwave. You have to use Ivory Soap (no other brand that I’ve tried works the same) and once it has cooled from heating, it will easily crumble up in your hands, removing the need to grate it with a cheese grater.
To dispose of clean mud, we just toss it in the compost bin. (Yes, clean toilet paper can be added to compost bins and Ivory soap is one of the few soaps that can also be safely composted.) If you don’t have access to a compost bin, you can place the clean mud in a colander and press out as much water as possible before tossing it.
Be sure to use a sensory bin that can be covered well, like a storage bin. I tend to only let the kids use the clean mud for a week to avoid mold or germs developing.
Check out our quick video to see how easy it is to make clean mud – and what the finished product looks like when kids go to play with it – and then don’t forget to scroll down to grab your free printable instructions:
Clean Mud Sensory Bins
- Rainbow Clean Mud (with Video)
- Muddy Worms Clean Mud Sensory Bin
- Garden Clean Mud Sensory Bin
- Frozen Clean Mud
Clean Mud Ingredients
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: adjust the texture of your clean mud by adding more or less water. Less water will result in a pulpy material that holds shapes, while more will be more squishy and mud-like.
You can also add in different toys, like shovels, sand castle building toys, little “treasures” to bury and dig up, etc.
How to Make Clean Mud
Shred the toilet paper into 1″ to 2″ pieces. This is the most time-consuming part of preparing the sensory bin. The kids love getting to help shred the toilet paper but you will likely need to do most of it.
You can either grate your soap using a cheese grater or place the Ivory soap on a plate and microwave for 1 minute until soap puffs up. Allow the soap to cool, then crumble it with your hands.
Sprinkle the grated soap over the shredded paper. Pour in 4 cups of water and squish to combine. Add more water, until the paper cannot absorb any more.
Pin this Easy Clean Mud Sensory Bin for some squeaky clean sensory play:
Grab your free printable instructions for how to make clean mud:
- Toilet Paper, ripped into small pieces
- Ivory Soap Bar
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Cheese Grater
- Large Storage Container
- Shred the toilet paper into 1" to 2" pieces.
- You can either grate your soap using a cheese grater or place the Ivory soap on a plate and microwave for 1 minute until soap puffs up. Allow the soap to cool, then crumble it with your hands.
- Sprinkle the grated soap over the shredded paper.
- Pour in 4 cups of water and squish to combine. Add more water, until the paper cannot absorb any more.
Adjust the texture of your clean mud by adding more or less water. Less water will result in a pulpy material that holds shapes, while more will be more squishy and mud-like.
You can also add in different toys, like shovels, sand castle building toys, little "treasures" to bury and dig up, etc.
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I hope your kids love getting to squish and plan with this clean mud as much as mine do! Let me know if you end up giving your clean mud sensory bin a fun twist!
For more fun sensory play ideas for kids, check out our full sensory play collection here: