How to Keep Play Doh Fresh (4 Easy Tips)

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How to Keep Play Doh Fresh

Play-Doh is one of the best investments you can make in your child’s creative development. Besides, it is great fun for those of us young at heart.

It is simple to work with, and ideal for helping little hands develop their dexterity and older hands maintain mobility. There is one issue. Play-Doh does harden over to and becomes stiffer the more it is exposed to air.

The purpose of this article is to help you keep your Plah-Doh fresh for the longest possible time so you can have even more hours of creative fun. We will discuss ways to keep Play-Doh fresh and answer a few questions that often come up when discussing Play-Doh.

How to Keep Play-Doh Fresh

Extending the life of your Plah-Doh is relatively easy if you follow these easy tips.

1. Put Play-Doh Away

play doh pieces in table

The most common reason Play-Doh becomes hard and unpleasant to play with is that it is often not put away when playtime is over. Play-Doh is one of the few toys that can be damaged simply by leaving out. Though Play-Doy does dry slowly, it is, in essence, a lump of air-dry clay and will stiffen and then harden if left exposed to the air.

2. Store Play-Doh Properly

As noted, Play-Doh is an air-dry clay. It is mainly made up of flour, salt, and water. Over time the moister in it will evaporate, and it becomes first stiff, then crumbly. To prevent this, store it in an air-tight container.

  • The best container to store Play-Doh in is its original packaging. It has specifically designed to keep Play-Doh fresh.
  • Our next choice would be an airtight container with a snap-top lid like those offered by Rubbermaid or Tupperware. The smaller the bowl you use, the less air it will contain and the fresher your Play-Doh will stay.
  • Next would be ziplock bags. Just be sure to squeeze out as much of the excess air as you can and seal them properly.
  • One final option is to wrap your Play-Doh in plastic cling wrap.

3. Soften Early

water bottle spray

You could think of this as performing preventive maintenance on your Play-Doh. When you have had several hours of fun with your Play-Doh or start noticing it is getting firm, add moister to it.

Adding moister to Play-Doh is an easy process.

Just sprinkle a few drops of water on the clay and then gently massage it in.  Water is the recommended liquid to use to freshen Play-Doh, but people also use essential oils to add a pleasant scent. We have also heard of people adding olive oil but have not tried this method and can’t vouch for its use.

4. Revive Dusty Play-Doh

If you have left your Play-Doh out slightly too long, say overnight, you will need to revive it. The easiest way to do this is by wrapping it in a damp cloth or paper towel and placing it in an airtight container.

Any of the containers used for properly storing the Play-Doh will work for this process. In a few hours to a day, the Play-Doh should absorb enough moister to return to normal. All you will need to do is recondition your clay by massaging it.

massaging clay with small hands

Once revived, you can use it as you normally would. Remember to store it properly the next time.

For more tips on how to save Play-Doh that has hardened, you can read our How to Soften Play-Doh article.


How to keep Play-Doh from drying out?

The best way to keep Play-Doh from drying out is to store it properly. This means placing it in an air-tight container with as little free space as possible whenever it is not being used. Its original packaging is best, but zip-lock bags, snap-top storage bowls, and even cling wrap can be used in a pinch.

How to keep Play-Doh from cracking?

Because of the way that Play-Doh is formulated, it is very difficult to keep it from cracking as it dries. There are a few methods you can try, like retarding the drying process and doing patchwork as the clay dries. You should remember that Play-Doh, while an air-dry clay, was never meant to create permanent works.

Should you condition Play-Doh?

By design, Play-Doh does not require much conditioning. However, kneading, folding, and massaging your Play-Doh will relax it and make it easier to work with.

How to stiffen Play-Doh that is too wet?

Play-Doh that is too wet becomes slick, slimy, and difficult to work with. Luckily, this is an easy situation to correct. If you leave overly wet Play-Doh out in the open air it will naturally lose moister and return to normal over time. A faster approach is to work plain flour into the dough until it stiffens to the desired consistency.