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I looooove play recipes.  So it always bums me out if people can't get them to work (by the way, I'm always happy to help you troubleshoot any of our recipes if you send me a photo!).  Slimes in particular seem to cause a lot of trouble for folks, so when I was writing our book, I decided to do a bit of investigating.  I learned a ton about what probably goes wrong for those of you who have slimes that don't work - and I also figured out how to fix a slime fail!  I hope this will help those of you who have not had success with slime recipes!

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids
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So first thing's first - the slime recipe that I decided to troubleshoot is the one that uses clear glue (aka PVA) and liquid starch (Sta Flo) since it seems to be the one that causes the most trouble for folks.  (If you are using our laundry detergent recipe, you can follow this same set of directions.  Keep in mind that the laundry detergent is a direct substitute for liquid starch.)  The first interesting thing I learned is that over time the liquid starch will settle.  This was leading to a lot of inconsistency in and of itself.  So the first thing I learned about this slime recipe is:

Always shake your liquid starch container a bit to make sure that it is well-mixed.

Now that you've shaken your liquid starch, let's look at the two ways this slime can go wrong.

First way:  Not enough liquid starch

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

How do you know if this is your issue?  Your slime will be stringy - it will stick to your fingers (see how much is sticking to mine above?) a ton.  As you stir, you'll see little strings of glue grabbing your spoon.  If you grab a section of your slime, it won't lift out in a glob - just a small stringy portion will stretch up.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

Remedy?  Add more liquid starch, approximately one Tablespoon at a time.  Stir well to mix in between each addition of liquid starch.  You'll know you've added enough when you no longer see those strings of glue grabbing your spoon as you stir, and you'll be able to lift all or most of the slime out if you grab a section of it.  After a few minutes of kneading it will be beeeautiful and not sticky.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

Second way:  Too much liquid starch

A slime that's had too much liquid starch added will be stringy, but NOT sticky.  It won't stick to your fingers - it will slide right off.  It won't stick to a spoon or even to itself.  It's just gross looking clumps of goo (seriously SUPER gross).

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

 You can see strands of floating slime, and there will be standing liquid starch.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

How do you fix it?  First, pour off any standing liquid starch.  Then add clear glue approximately 1/4 cup at a time and stir.  Once the slime starts holding together, you will need to knead it by hand.  After adding glue and kneading for 2-3 minutes, it will be just like new!  It will gel even more if left overnight in a sealed bag.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

So what does perfect slime look like?  It holds together and doesn't have any strings of glue or standing liquid starch.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

If you grab it, it moves as one cohesive unit.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

Kneading it for a minute or two will make it gel into a smoother and more uniform slime.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

Because we've noticed that the amount of liquid starch needed varies wildly from slime to slime (depending a ton on what you add to it - food coloring, liquid watercolors, glitter, etc), I really recommend adding whatever amount of glue you'd like (we usually make a slime batch with two bottles of clear glue , but even one bottle makes a pretty solid amount of slime) to a container and then slowly adding liquid starch - about 1 Tablespoon at a time - and stirring between each addition until you have slime that looks like the blue slime pictured in the cup above.  

Once you've made your slime, be sure to knead it for a few minutes to make it uniform (honestly, you can just hand it to your kid to play and that will mix it for you!).  Store it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag when you aren't using it.  It will keep for several weeks.

And don't worry if it bubbles.  That's normal.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

My final awesome discovery was that vinegar will dissolve this slime - just in case you get any on your carpet or clothing!

I hope this helps those of you who have had slimes backfire on you in the past!


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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips on correcting errors..... any tips on removing slime from carpet?!?

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    1. YES! Thank you for reminding me!!! Use vinegar - it will dissolve it. I am adding that to the post right now! :)

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  2. Great tips! We've been making slime since I was a little girl and now make we my kids. Nothing keeps all ages quite entranced like slime!

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  3. Thanks for all the tips, Asia! :)

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  4. I was so happy about this post, because I've had several slime fails and never knew if it was too much starch or glue. (It was too much starch.) Now I have a reference. THANK YOU!

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    1. YAY! I'm so glad to hear it's helpful! I wish you awesome slime next time! :) :) :)

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  5. I haven't yet considered the liquid starch version yet because I have a toddler who will still put things in her mouth. Should I wait until she's stopped doing that or is it safe?

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    1. No you are completely correct - glue and liquid starch are not things you want going in the mouths of littles. :) I'd recommend using our Edible Slime (which we loooove) until she's solidly grown out of that stage. Here's the link to the recipe for that one:
      http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2013/10/edible-slime-or-gak-chemical-and-borax.html

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  6. any recipes for small amounts?? would like to put ingredents in zip bags and let kids mix by squizing the bags?? will this work??

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    1. Definitely! Just add an amount of glue and add much less liquid starch a little bit at a time until it firms up and isn't sticking to the sides of the bag. Hope that helps!

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  7. is it imperative that you use clear glue, or can the regular glue be used?

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    1. Great question! We've used both, but I like the look of the clear glue best, so I tend to use that most often. Either should work!

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  8. You are truly the slime guru! Queen of Slime :) Thank you for sharing this, I am sure it will be infinitely helpful information. I hate when concoctions don't work out!

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    1. Aw, thank you Suzanne! Me too - it's SUCH a bummer! It's also so sad for me if people try something from here and it doesn't work - this will hopefully remedy that situation! :)

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  9. Hi. I have tried this slime recipe twice with Ellmers glue (which by the way is quite expensive here in Dubai) and 2 different brands of liquid starch (which is not easy to find!), but nothing happens. There is no chemical reaction whatsoever. The glue just looks like thinner, as if you have added water to it. Any suggestions?

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    1. Nooooo!!!!! That is SO frustrating. I would guess that the liquid starch over there has different ingredients. :( I think that in order to work, the liquid starch has to contain "sodium tetraborate". Is that listed as an ingredient in either of the brands you tried? SO SO SO sorry! :(

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  10. Can you give any advice on storing slime to play again another day? Like how to keep, how long it can keep... My kids will play for awhile and then want to stop. It's too expensive to throw away after such a short play time. Thank you

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    1. Yes that information is in the post already. It's towards the end. Thanks!

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  11. Not sure what went wrong. We followed the directions, using clear glue and Glide fabric starch. There was no chemical reaction. We tried shaking and adding more starch, to no avail.

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    1. Ohhh, I bet that Glide does not have the right ingredients. :( Boo! To work the liquid starch must contain sodium tetraborate. I'm so sorry!!!!

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  12. I finally tried making this kind of slime tonight, and reading this post beforehand made it so easy! I actually shouted across my house to Chris, "LOOK, I MADE AWESOME!" The kiddo even played with it after days saying, "I don't like to play with slime," every time he saw a photo of S playing with it. :D

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    1. YAYYYYY!!!!! It makes me so happy to hear all of that! I hope you post it - I am loving the new site so far!!!!!

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  13. I'm 25 with no kids but a same-aged boyfriend and plan to make this stuff. Haha, it's something to do and something to give him and his similarly childlike minded friends to play with.

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    1. Hahhaaha, I love it! It's SERIOUSLY so fun. I'm 34 and I totally love playing with slime still! :)

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  14. Hi! Every time we try to make slime, we wind up making Flubber! It's rubbery and pulls apart instead of being, well, slimy. We've used clear and white elmers glue, stay-flo, and borax. No luck! Any ideas?

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    1. Kneading in more glue will make it less solid! Hope that helps. :)

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  15. Hi, i love your blog. I have been searching for your borax recepie but cant find it. I have tried other recepies but the result is like a sponge. Which is great if you want to do spongebob :) but i was going for slime... Do you have any tips?

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    1. We don't use borax at all - I find it much easier to use liquid starch or detergent, so those are the only slime recipes we use, but if you look at the Ultimate Guide to Slimes, there are several borax recipes from other site. That's very strange - if your slime is too firm, knead more glue in, about a Tablespoon at a time. That should fix it!

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  16. I cant find liquide starch in my country, i have tried 5 Times' but i'm not giving up! Thank you for an inspiring blogg.

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    1. Thank you! And I hope you find something that works soon!

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  17. I madefor the first time yesterday and it didn't work...I used the exact obedient and measurements but added food coloring during the mixing stage...it turned out ínto gel clumps with some liquid around it? Any suggestions?

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    1. Yep! You have too much liquid starch. Add more glue and that should fix it! :)

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  18. are the colors just regular food coloring and glitter?

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    1. We used glitter liquid watercolors, but you could use food coloring and glitter!

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  19. My slime isn't slimy at all. :( It looks like hard-boiled egg whites, and isn't stretchy unless you stretch it VERY slowly. It's also difficult to put it back together, for lack of better terms, after you "snap" or "break" it. Help?!

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    1. Too much borax! Add some glue and knead it in...leave it for 15 or so minutes if it's not combining well. That should do the trick. :)

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    2. Yep! It takes the form of borate ion in water and the reaction between that molecule and the polyvinyl alcohol (the key ingredient in glue) make slime. You can get the borate ion a few different ways - from Borax, from Sta Flo, or from certain laundry detergents. Adding more glue should fix it right up for you. :)

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    3. It turned out that I needed water, actually! (Originally, the recipe I used just called for Sta-flo & Elmer's glue.) I tried adding more glue first, which did make it a little more stretchy, but it still was still too "solid". Thanks so much for helping me diagnose the problem, though! I wonder why my glue & liquid starch didn't react the way, it seems, everyone else's did. Hmmm...

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    4. That's very strange! Adding more glue has always fixed that problem in the past. Glad that water worked though!!! It must have diluted the borate ion just like adding more glue does!

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  20. I made my first batch of slime yesterday - to great enthusiasm from my 2-year old :-) I'm in the UK so used the Almat Gel from Aldi, and it worked a treat, apart from the gel seems to evaporate really quickly so that the slime gets really sticky within a couple of minutes of handling it. Adding more Almat fixes it for a few minutes but it's as if the heat from our hands makes it sticky as we play with it.

    I've kept it in an airtight pot overnight but still this morning it was sticky again and needed yet more Almat gel kneading into it. My hands are starting to smell like I work in a launderette!

    Any thoughts on how to fix this?

    (sorry for multiple post, lost the second paragraph)

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    1. Hmmm, not super sure, but what about adding a squirt of Almat to it when you store it....maybe it would absorb slowly while it stored and make it less sticky the next time you took it out? Hope that helps! :)

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  21. Asia I live in Mauritius and I don't what type of detergent to use.

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    1. If you email me brand names that are available where you live, I am happy to look into it for you. You can send them to me at funathomewithkids@gmail.com.

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  22. The first time i made this is came out great! i tried again using blue liquid watercolor and the color keeps coming off on my hands, etc. What did i do wrong??

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    1. Weird! And booo! Maybe too much liquid starch? Try adding a little more glue and then have it sit for about 30 minutes. Let me know if that does the trick - if not, I'll investigate more!!

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  23. I have made this. It is fine the first day. I store it overnight in a Ziploc baggie and the next day it looks as if the starch separated. The slime is solid but gets sticky quickly if I drain the liquid of. I tried kneeding it in the baggie but it doesn't remix. Any suggestions please?

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    1. Huh! I have never heard of that. If the starch separates, that usually means there's too much of it, so draining it off should fix it. I'm honestly stumped! I think I'd drain the liquid off and then put some starch on my hands and the table before I played with it to keep it from getting too sticky. I wish I had a better answer for you!

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  24. Hmm, thanks for the troubleshoot, however mine doesn't look like either problem. :S Mine just looks like no reaction has taken place Like foamy, thick glue. I used the Almat Bio gel that was recommended for England and added it very very gradually until I'd used what I feared was too much. This is my second failed slime attempt, last time I wound up with watery green glue. Maybe slime and my family are not meant to be. :(

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    1. Yes, the Almat can be very finicky. :( It looks like liquid when you add too little AND when you add too much, which is annoying. Have you checked out Sarah's recommendations in this post? http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2014/07/make-slime-with-laundry-detergent.html Sorry it's giving you so much trouble.

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  25. I just made this and want to know if it is right. I added detergent until it started cleaning the bowl when I stirred. I pulled it out and kneaded it until it was homogenous. It looked right, but it was still pretty sticky. My palms stayed clean but residue built up between my fingers. Is that right? I put it in a bag and added a bit of detergent and it fell apart, so I know I was near the right mix.

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    1. If it's a little sticky, but almost right, you can always add some detergent or liquid starch to your hands before handling it. That will keep it from sticking to you. :) Hope that helps.

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  26. Hi. I'm not sure why it didn't work. I used 2 bottles of elmer's glue & added liquid detergent (perwoll) 1 tbsp at a time. I have used about 150 ml of the detergent and it still did not come together. It's just liquid. I really want to do this for my son. I hope you can help me. Ty.

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    1. Hi, Perwoll is not on our above list of detergents that work. I suspect it does not contain the correct ingredients to make slime.

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  27. I am making this for a Harry Potter birthday party this weekend for my 10-year-old. My boys and I practiced the recipe from the polka-dot slime (we used 80 ml "Ogre mucus" and 20 ml "Unicorn Blood" as a medium for "pygmy puffs") Everything turned out great, but we had a little trouble cleaning our hands well afterwards. What do you recommend? Thanks!!

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    1. Hah! Love it! Vinegar will dissolve slime, so some watered down vinegar should do the trick. If the slime is sticky itself, be sure to add more liquid starch to take care of it. (You can also try adding liquid starch to your hands and that should loosen any slime stuck there if you'd rather use that over vinegar). Hope that helps! And happy birthday to your son!

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  28. hi. im in spain, here they dont have fornil in lidl just tandil so i bought that but it's called "detergente liquido" and I used 50g just to try and added the detergent drop by drop and now it's just watery glue. :( any ideas? thanks

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    1. Only certain detergents work. To my knowledge Tandil does not work, so it won't react and you will only have watery glue. :( Sorry!

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  29. Hi. Please help. Our slime looks like glue...but feel like we added to much corn starch. Sticky to the hands but also more than a solid. I used 1l of cold glue and plenty of corn starch..it just don't seem to turn into slime!

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    1. It won't work with cornstarch. You have to use Sta Flo liquid starch - sorry!

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  30. HI. Please help me. I do my slime using liquid detergent not liquid starch. i use liquid detergent like dynamo. But when i pour my glue into a mixing bowl and add some food colouring then i mix it but when i pour my dynamo it makes my slime really melt. Can you help me? What problem that you think that make my slime really melt?

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    1. You have to use a detergent containing borax or boric acid. To my knowledge, Dynamo doesn't contain the correct ingredient. Here is my post about which brands of laundry detergents work: http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2014/07/make-slime-with-laundry-detergent.html

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  31. Thank you for trying to help us figure this out! I can't get mine figured out - the slime looks right, texture wise, but it's just super solid, not stretchy at all. I can stretch it a tiny bit, and then it snaps. We used Elmer's Glue and Sta Flo, although the Sta Flo says it's concentrated, so I'm not sure if that's the right one to use or not?

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    1. I would try adding more glue. It may be that somehow it got too much borax. Try kneading in some extra glue and let it set for about 20 minutes. Let me know if that doesn't do the trick! :)

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  32. thank you so much now i know how to fix it !!!

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  33. Hi - I have just followed the recipe using Almat Bio Gel (as per the ingredients list on the post by Sarah) I have experienced a curdling mixture. None of the pictures on this post represent my mixture. I have googled some more, and am wondering whether there is a typo on the ingredients list, as there is NO sodium tetraborate in Almat Bio, and I understand that this ingredient must be present for successful slime? Therefore, do I need Almat NON-BIO??? Feeling deflated as I bought exactly the ingredients listed and now have 3 deflated little ones, and a lot of wasted glue, detergent and glitter, :( Help please, x

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    1. No it's not you! For some reason the UK version is WAAAAY tricker than the US. If you add too much OR too little, you get the curdled mix. It only makes slime in the middle. :/ The best advice I can offer UK folks is to try again with very small amounts and go ridiculously slowly to see what the right balance is. I'd take a few spoonfuls of PVA glue, and then add tiny tiny amounts of Almat (that you've given a good shake to first) and stir well in between each addition. If you go verrrrry slowly, you should be able to hit the slime point that lies in between too little and too much Almat. I hope that helps! I'm sorry it's so tricky!

      (Oh, and to answer your question anything that converts to a borate ion in the presence of water works. Sodium tetraborate, borax, boric acid, etc all work)

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    2. Thanks for your reply. I checked the ingredients list on the BIO version of the detergent there is absolutely no mention of any 'borax/borate' derivative at all. Nest time I'm in Aldi, I'll check the ingredients of the NON-BIO to make double sure the right one has been listed here? :)

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    3. Oh interesting! Though if it curdled I think it's got the right stuff. Are all the ingredients listed? If you'd be willing to type them out I could see if there's anything that sounds right.

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