Clean mud is a sensory play material that we hadn’t got around to making until recently, but R had so much fun with it I feel like I should have made it earlier. We made it as part of the 12 months of sensory dough series, which is a great series to follow along with if you’re looking for ideas beyond the typical playdough.

Clean mud is a really simple play dough recipe for sensory play. It’s super easy to put together, so much so that R pretty much made it himself – and he is only 3!

Squishy soapy clean mud. Only 2 ingredients to make and lots of fun for sensory play


Clean mud is sometimes also referred to as ghost mud, and there are lots of variations on how to make it but this is the method we tried.

All you need to make your own clean mud is these two ingredients (plus warm water)

  • Toilet paper
  • Bar of soap

We also used a clear tray from ikea as our surface to make, play and contain the mess of the activity, and you will need a grater to grate your soap.

IMG_7419I’ve read some methods that require “ivory soap” only but ours was a different brand and it came out totally fine. We don’t normally use bar soap, so I just bought the one that was available in our corner shop for about 39p.

How to make clean mud

First, take the toilet paper and rip into small pieces. If a toddler is helping to make this dough, this is a good job for them.

IMG_7426Next, grate up your bar of soap. We used about 1/4 of the bar, and under 1/4 of the roll of toilet paper which was enough to make plenty of the clean mud for one child to play with. The quantities don’t need to be exact, you can adjust to get the consistency that  you want.

To grate, we used a handle grater (this one) so that R could grate the soap himself more easily. This way little hands are not near to any blades or sharp bits.

IMG_7429You will end up with a pile of ripped toilet paper and grated soap like this

IMG_7433Pour over a cup of warm water and the whole thing mushes together into a squishy dough

IMG_7444You can compact it together in your hands to form a round ball and build from it

IMG_7463But when you squash it and squeeze it, it becomes more liquid-ish again with a kind of soapy foam.

IMG_7449R and I had lots of fun making balls and then dropping them onto the tray from a height and watching them splat. We also rolled our clean mud balls across the tray to have a race, and spent lots of time just squishing and squooshing it all to explore the texture of the material.

This is a sensory play material that is pretty wet and is a little sticky and gloopy, so it’s best for those who don’t mind getting their hands messy.

R is very comfortable with messy things so we even buried our hands in it. It feels heavy like when you bury your hands or feet under wet sand at the beach.

IMG_7471Since this was our first try with clean mud, I just kept it really simple and left the colour plain white and explored the clean mud without any additional toys, or theme, or any other materials at all. The clean mud on it’s own was plenty of fun for R and kept him busy for a long time. When I suggested putting it away and moving on to something else, he asked to keep going with it.

I will experiment with colouring it and scenting it in different ways in future though, and share some of those ideas with you. This plain basic clean mud does have a really soapy clean scent, which I guess can easily be varied by using different soaps.

If you want to see more variety on how this sensory play material can be used, check out these fun ideas from other bloggers participating in this months 12 Months of Sensory Dough Clean Mud challenge.

12 months of sensory dough

The Science Behind Clean Mud | Lemon Lime Adventures

Clean Mud Garden Sensory Bin | Study at Home Mama

How to Make Clean Mud Recipe (Taste Safe) | Powerful Mothering

Music Inspired Clean Mud | Witty Hoots

Clean Mud and Flowers| Peakle Pie

Clean Mud Bubble Dough | Bare Feet on the Dashboard

Clean Mud Sensory Tray | Creative World of Varya

Lego Clean Mud | Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail

Gone Mudding! Clean Mud Sensory Dough Play | Stir the Wonder

Clean Mud Fine Motor Gem Dig | Still Playing School

Clean mud, clean paper? | Glittering Muffins

Rainbow Clean Mud | The Pleasantest Thing

Soapless Clean Mud | Squiggles and Bubbles

How to make Edible Mud for Play | Wildflower Ramblings

How to Make Stovetop Clean Mud| Sugar Aunts

Clean Mud Princess Garden | It’s A Long Story

Don’t forget to pin this play recipe so that you can come back to it. 

How to make clean mud for sensory play. Only 2 ingredients, and really easy to make!