How do you fix store bought slime that is too sticky?

Slime is a popular toy that many children and even adults enjoy playing with. It has a gooey, slimy texture that makes it fun to squeeze and stretch. However, store bought slime can sometimes turn out too sticky, which makes it less enjoyable to play with. Luckily, there are several simple methods you can use to fix slime that is too sticky and turn it back into the perfect slime consistency.

Why does store bought slime get sticky?

There are a few reasons why slime you buy at a store can end up being too sticky:

  • Too much borax or activator – Borax is added to slime to help it set and have that rubbery texture. But adding too much borax will make the slime overly stiff and sticky.
  • Evaporation – As slime sits out in the air, some of the liquid inside can evaporate making the slime more concentrated and sticky.
  • Absorbing oils from skin – The oils from peoples hands can get absorbed into the slime over time, acting like a lubricant and making it stickier.
  • Cheap ingredients – Lower quality glues and activators may interact in a way that makes the slime turn out overly sticky.

So those are some of the main culprits for turning perfectly good slime into a sticky mess. But don’t worry, it’s usually an easy fix!

Method 1: Add more glue

One of the easiest ways to loosen up slime that is too sticky is to add a bit more glue to the mixture. This helps dilute the borax or other activators that are making it too sticky. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take your sticky slime blob and place it in a bowl.
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of white school glue or clear Elmer’s glue.
  3. Knead the slime with your hands, squishing the added glue throughout to incorporate it.
  4. Keep kneading until the slime is no longer sticky and has a smooth, silky texture again.
  5. If it’s still sticky, add another teaspoon of glue and knead some more.

The extra glue helps lubricate the slime and loosens up the polymer chains that were sticking together too tightly. This is usually the quickest and easiest way to un-stick slime.

Method 2: Work in some lotion

Another household item you can use to loosen up sticky slime is lotion. Any basic, unscented lotion will do the trick. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Squeeze out a quarter-sized dollop of lotion onto your fingers.
  2. Massage the lotion thoroughly into the entire ball of sticky slime, kneading continuously.
  3. Keep kneading until the slime absorbs the lotion and becomes less tacky.
  4. Add another dollop of lotion if needed and knead some more.

The oils and emollients in the lotion help lubricate the slime molecules and loosen up the texture. Just a small amount works wonders for turning sticky slime into a softer, stretchier material again.

Method 3: Add salt

Plain table salt can also help remove stickiness from slime. Here’s the process:

  1. Pour a teaspoon of salt into your hand.
  2. Dip and squeeze the slime ball into the pile of salt in your palm so it absorbs the grains.
  3. Knead the slime with the salt crystals worked in until it starts to feel less sticky.
  4. Add another teaspoon of salt if needed and keep kneading.

The salt helps bind up some of the moisture that is making the slime sticky. A small amount goes a long way to pulling the overly tacky molecules apart.

Method 4: Work in some baking soda

The next time your slime gets uncomfortably sticky, try working in a bit of baking soda:

  1. Pour about a tablespoon of baking soda into a bowl.
  2. Press and squeeze the slime into the baking soda and coat all sides.
  3. Knead the slime to fully incorporate the baking soda and remove stickiness.
  4. Add a bit more baking soda if needed.

The baking soda absorbs some of the excess moisture in the slime through an absorption reaction. A small amount is very effective at reducing stickiness.

Method 5: Use cornstarch

Cornstarch is another handy household ingredient you can use to fix overly sticky slime. Here’s how:

  1. Sprinkle a few teaspoons of cornstarch into a bowl.
  2. Roll and press the slime ball through the cornstarch so it gets coated.
  3. Keep squishing and kneading until the cornstarch is worked in and the slime is no longer sticky.
  4. Add a bit more cornstarch if needed.

The fine powder of the cornstarch helps dry out the slime and separates the sticky molecules from each other. It’s a quick and easy trick using a common pantry staple.

Method 6: Work in some clay

Modeling clay can also help fix overly sticky slime. Here’s what to do:

  1. Take a chunk of modeling clay about the same amount as your slime blob.
  2. Knead the clay and slime together, squishing repeatedly to incorporate.
  3. Keep kneading until the clay absorbs excess moisture and the slime is no longer sticky.
  4. Add more clay as needed if the slime is still sticky.

The clay absorbs moisture through the slime, helping dry it out. The thicker clay also helps separate out the sticky molecules as you knead it.

Method 7: Add some hand sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help de-stick sticky slime. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Squirt a small dollop of hand sanitizer into your palm, about the size of a quarter.
  2. Rub it thoroughly over the surface of the slime blob, coating all sides.
  3. Knead the slime to spread the hand sanitizer throughout and work it in.
  4. Keep kneading until the slime is no longer sticky.
  5. Add another dollop of sanitizer if needed.

The alcohol in the hand sanitizer helps dry out the slime by dissolving the excess moisture. It’s an easy fix with a product many people have at home already.

Method 8: Use rubbing alcohol

You can also use a bit of rubbing alcohol to loosen up sticky slime:

  1. Pour a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into a small bowl.
  2. Dip and squeeze the slime into the alcohol, making sure it absorbs some.
  3. Knead continuously, letting the alcohol dissolve the stickiness.
  4. Add another tablespoon if needed and keep kneading.

The alcohol breaks down and evaporates the excess moisture in the slime, taking away that overly sticky texture. Just a small amount works great.

Method 9: Dry it out

Leaving overly sticky slime out to dry can also help remove excess moisture and stickiness. Here are two ways to do this:

  1. Air dry – Leave the slime blob out on a plate or drying rack overnight. The air exposure will dry it out.
  2. Oven dry – Place slime on a baking sheet and bake at 175F for 15-20 minutes until dried out. Keep an eye so it doesn’t over-dry.

Drying the slime helps evaporate away any excess moisture that is causing it to be overly tacky and sticky. Allow it to fully cool after drying before playing with it again.

Method 10: Store it properly

To help prevent slime from turning sticky again after fixing it, make sure to store it properly between play times:

  • Seal it in an airtight container or zipper bag.
  • Squeeze out excess air before sealing.
  • Keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sun.
  • Only play with it for a short time before sealing it up again.

Proper air-tight storage will help stop moisture from evaporating out of the slime or new oils and dirt from getting worked in during handling. Follow these tips for long-lasting, non-sticky slime!

What to do if nothing works

In some cases, store bought slime may become so overwhelmed with stickiness that it cannot be salvaged. No matter what you try, it remains a permanently sticky mess. When this happens, it’s best to just discard the slime and start over with a new batch. Trying repeatedly to fix the same blob will just lead to frustration. Toss it and begin again for the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to knead slime to mix in add-ins?

The best technique for kneading slime is to press, squeeze, and roll it continuously between your palms. Stretch it out and fold it over itself repeatedly to thoroughly incorporate any added ingredients. Knead for at least 2-3 minutes to make sure it is evenly mixed.

Can you fix slime by just putting it in the fridge?

Simply refrigerating slime may help temporarily, but it is not a long term solution. The cold can make it firmer for a short time, but once back at room temperature it will likely become sticky again. You need to use an additive like those described above to permanently fix the texture.

Why does slime get sticky after playing with it awhile?

As you handle slime, the warmth and oils from your hands get worked into the slime, which can make it more sticky. Dirt and dust can also get incorporated which absorbs moisture. Try washing hands before play, playing in short bursts, and storing in an airtight container to prevent this sticky build up over time.

Can you use regular rubbing alcohol or does it have to be 70%?

You can use any percentage rubbing alcohol to help de-stick slime. 70% alcohol will evaporate a bit more quickly vs 90% since it has more water mixed in. But both concentrations will work to dissolve excess moisture from the slime.

Is there anything you shouldn’t use to try to fix sticky slime?

Avoid using anything acidic like vinegar or lemon juice, as these can break down the slime bonds even further and make it too liquidy. Oils and petroleum products like baby oil can also make slime too slippery and sticky. Strong chemicals like paint thinner or ammonia will degrade the slime as well.


Slime turning sticky is a common problem, but luckily has some easy solutions. Try adding a bit of glue, lotion, salt, baking soda, cornstarch, clay, alcohol, or drying it out. Proper storage between play times can also prevent it from becoming sticky again. With a few simple tweaks, you can turn sad sticky slime back into a fun and stretchy toy in no time. Never let a blob of overly tacky slime go to waste again and enjoy hours of squishy playing.

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