Make Your Own Elephant’s Toothpaste

Original source

*Adult supervision*


  • Safety goggles
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • Small bowl or petri dish
  • Spoon or mixing stick
  • ½ C 6% (20 volume) hydrogen peroxide*
  • Dish soap**
  • Funnel
  • Shallow glass baking dish
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • 2 tbsp very warm water
  • Narrow-necked bottle (sized around 15 ounces)
  • Non-metallic Glitter*** (optional)

*6% (20 volume) hydrogen peroxide is a bit hard to find. You will need to purchase at a nearby beauty salon supply store or click the link to purchase on Amazon. You can use the 3% version found in a drugstore or grocery store, but the reaction is much less dramatic.

**Don’t use antibacterial versions of soap as triclosan, the chemical added to make a soap antibacterial, should not be involved in this reaction

***Use plastic glitter instead of metal-based glitter – peroxide should not be used with metal.


  1. Combine yeast and water in small bowl or petri dish
    Combine 1 tsp of yeast into 2 tbsp of very warm water in small bowl. Mix well with spoon or mixer so there are no lumps remaining.
  2. Pour hydrogen peroxide, and optional ingredients, into bottle; add soap
    Pour ½ C 6% (20 volume) hydrogen peroxide into narrow-necked bottle (this step is best done by an adult for safety reasons), food coloring (optional), plastic glitter (optional) and a few squirts of dish soap.
    Swirl all ingredients in bottle around carefully (this step is also best done by an adult for safety reasons).
    Remember: Carefully follow all directions on the hydrogen peroxide bottle, and exercise caution when handling. The concentration used will bleach clothes and can irritate/burn skin.
  3. Place bottle into glass baking dish; add yeast mixture
    Place your bottle in a glass baking dish to catch the impending mountain of foam. Using a funnel, add yeast mixture. Quickly remove the funnel.

Watch the mountain of foam emerge from the bottle!
Kick it up: Ask your child to touch the bottle after the reaction has taken place to feel the warmth radiating out (double check the heat first to ensure it’s not too warm). The reaction gives off heat because it’s exothermic.


The yeast acts as a catalyst and speeds up the hydrogen peroxide’s release of oxygen gas. When that gas interacts with the soap, fluffy foam is released.

The foam is totally safe (and totally fun!) to touch because the peroxide (H2O2) is broken down in the reaction, so there isn’t any left. All that’s left behind is the water (H20) and oxygen (O2), which are both safe to handle.

Read more:

What’s an exothermic reaction?

What is the Periodic Table of Elements?

What happens when yeast interacts with hydrogen peroxide and soap?

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