Ever wonder what really happens when you place a bar of ivory soap in the microwave? If you’re thinking that it just melts, then you’re wrong. Let’s just say that the experiment ends with something that looks like whipped cream. Continue reading to see how you can try this experiment and a video demonstration.

Video Demonstration


Now that you see what happens, this is why. Simply put, those air bubbles in the soap (or the popcorn kernels or the marshmallow) contain water. Water is also caught up in the matrix of the soap itself. The expanding effect is caused when the water is heated by the microwave. The water vaporizes, forming bubbles, and the heat causes trapped air to expand. Likewise, the heat causes the soap itself to soften and become pliable.

How To

  1. Fill the bowl with water.
  2. Drop the bars of soap in the bowl of water. Notice how all of the bars of soap sink except for the Ivory brand soap. Why?
  3. Remove the Ivory soap from the water and break it in half to see if there are any pockets of air hiding in the middle of the bar. If there are, that would make the soap float, right? But there are no pockets of air. Hmm…
  4. Place the bar of Ivory soap in the middle of a piece of paper towel and place the whole thing in the center of the microwave oven.Cook the bar of soap on HIGH for 2 minutes. Don’t take your eyes off the bar of soap as it begins to expand and erupt into beautiful puffy clouds. Be careful not to overcook your soap souffle.
  5. Allow the soap to cool for a minute or so before touching it. Amazing… it’s puffy but rigid. Don’t waste the soap. Take it into the shower or bath. It’s still great soap with a slightly different shape and size.

[Sources 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5]