Reconstituting Play-Doh

Containers of Play-Doh in pink, green, purple, and orange

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Add Paper Towels, Not Water

Containers of Play-Doh in pink, green, purple, and orange

  • What: Make play dough soft again
  • When: Dough dries out
  • Why: Reuse it instead of tossing, costs nothing
  • Where: At home

Whether you buy your Play-Doh or make your own, whether you love the stuff or hate it, one thing goes without saying. Your kid will leave the dough out or the container open and, invariably, the molding stuff of millions dries out.

You haven’t read anything from me on this sticky subject because I have a love-hate relationship with the material. I keep it out of reach and only let me kids play by request. That means it keeps them entertained AND quiet for big chunks of time, but I still have to help with the clean up one way or another.

Play dough in container wrapped in moist paper towel
Wrap dried dough in a wet paper towel and store as usual.

Having tried on my own to get the correct consistency back (how hard can it be to add moisture?), take my advice. Don’t just add water. If you add water to the container and hope for the best, the next day you’ll open the container to a sticky, tacky colored mess. Instead, moisten a piece of paper towel. Wrap the offending dried material in the wet paper towel and put the entire ball back in the container.

Play-Doh ball on top of dry paper towel next to container
Next time you open the container, the paper towel will be dry and the dough will be moist again.

You can leave it for an hour or a day or several weeks until you get over all the Play-doh you’ve picked out of your upholstery and off the dog’s nose, but the dough will come out magically restored to just the right consistency. Toss the paper towel, remind your progeny to never leave it out or unsealed, and wait until it inevitably happens again.

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