Soap: Sometimes oil and water do mix!

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In this activity (on page 2 of PDF), learners mix oil and water. Then, they add soap and observe what changes! The activity demonstrates how oil and water don't mix, except when soap is added. This is the basis for how soap removes greasy, oily stuff in water. The background information suggests adding food coloring to see whether it mixes with the oil or water. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Clear Jar with lid
  • Water
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Liquid Soap


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, ESI-0206403