Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Easy Science Experiement: Milk + Dyes + Soap

This is a science experiment I did with my kids AGES ago...when my kids were so much smaller.   I loved how ARTSY this science experiment was.

It's fun and fairly simple. You will need:
  • A shallow pan or bowl
  • Milk
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
Fill the pan with milk. Drop several drops of different colored food coloring in different places in the milk. Then, squirt a small drop of dish soap in the middle of the dish soap. The colors will start to swirl as the dish soap reacts to the protein in the milk.  Like this...

Isn't that cool!  Of course, if you want to keep this "artwork" to hang on your wall then you'll have to take some pictures like we did.  I love how this also caught the reflection of the lights above our table.  Pretty cool!

Use red, yellow, and blue food coloring to help teach younger children what colors are created when those colors mix.

The blogger from Tots and Me commented that she tried this experiment with milk with different fat contents (1%, 2%, Whole, etc.) and that it does change the reaction.

I found this description of what causes the colors to swirl on
"The detergent lowers the surface tension of the liquid so that the food coloring is free to flow throughout the milk. The detergent reacts with the protein in the milk, altering the shape of those molecules and setting them in motion."
So, what is "surface tension?"   You can learn more about it and do an easy experiment to find out here.

You can read an even more detailed description at the bottom of's Magic Colored Milk Science Project Page.


You can follow up/review this info while cleaning. When cleaning a greasy pan have children observe what happens to the grease when you fill a pan with water and then add a drop of dish soap (the grease will go to the edge of the pan). Talk about how that's the same thing that happened when we did the milk experiment.   Talk about how soap works to help get rid of grease.  

Shared on Little's Learning Link-up, Throwback Thursday


  1. Very cool!! My kids always loved that experiment too. Thanks for linking up at Homeschool Highlights!

  2. We just loved that experiment! It was so fun.

  3. My kids loved that experiment as well. I think my younger two just did it again at co-op last week in their Chemical Reactions class. They actually hadn't remembered doing it before, as it has been several years. Personally, I thought it was fun too, I had never done it. And we experimented with different fat contents of milk, and there was actually a difference, which was sort of cool.
    Thanks for stopping by and linking up on Littles Learning Link Up at Tots and Me

    1. I didn't know about the different fat contents reacting differently! I'm gonna add that as a suggestion to the post!