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Kids will be amazed at this simple hand washing science demonstration that reminds them visually that using soap when washing hands literally makes “germs” scatter.

This magic pepper and soap science experiment is super fun and incredibly easy to do! Add it to your preschool or early elementary science lesson plans.

Yes, dish liquid is great for washing dishes, but there are so many other fun uses for soap. In the classroom I loved using this quick science activity to demonstrate the importance of using soap while washing hands.

With this simple science demonstration you can give kids a vivid visual that will help them remember to use soap each time they wash their hands.

Setting Up the Soap and Pepper Experiment

Our kids were able to set it up with no help from us. All they needed was a few household supplies.

Supplies Needed:



Dish Soap

Black pepper


To start, get a plate and fill it with enough water to reach the edges, but not overflow it.

Add dish soap to a small bowl for the kids to dip their fingers into later.

Liberally add pepper to the water. Experiment with different amounts of pepper to see if using more or less will change the outcome of the experiment.

Now the kids will dip their finger in the soap and immediately touch the water in the center of the plate. They should see the pepper move quickly from the center of the plate to the edges.

The Science Behind This Experiment

When you add dish soap to the water it lowers the surface tension of the water. The water molecules try to stick together and move away from the soap while carrying the pepper with them!

This also gives a great visual as to why they should use soap to wash their hands. You can talk about pepper being a representation for the germs on their hands and how the soap causes those germs to scatter.

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