As a parent, safety is always my top priority when it comes to my kids playing on the trampoline. I want to ensure they have fun but don’t hurt themselves or damage the trampoline in the process. Before attempting to make a soapy slip-n-slide, I did some research to find out if using soap on the trampoline mat would be safe.
Based on my research and personal experience, I found that using a gentle liquid dish soap like Dawn is perfectly safe for trampoline mats. The trampoline mat is designed to withstand plenty of impact from jumping, so a small amount of mild soap won’t cause any damage. Harsh chemicals could potentially degrade the mat material over time, but typical dish soaps contain gentle surfactants that are safe for regular use.
I avoided using detergents, bleach, acid-based cleaners, or anything with abrasive particles that could scratch the mat surface. As long as you use a small amount of liquid dish soap and thoroughly rinse it off later, the trampoline mat will be just fine. With the right soap choice, putting soap on a trampoline is perfectly safe.
Choosing the Best Soap for a Trampoline Slip ‘N Slide
Once I determined it was safe to add soap to the trampoline, I had to decide which soap would work best to create a slippery surface. I tested out a few different options:
Dish soap, specifically Dawn, worked better than any other soap I tried. The surfactants in Dawn help it spread easily and foam up with agitation and water. It only took a small squirt of Dawn mixed with water to make the surface satisfyingly slick. The foam allows you to slide, and it rinses off easily after playtime is over. Dawn is gentle on skin and materials, making it ideal for trampoline slip-n-slides.
Thick body washes and shower gels don’t work well for trampoline slides. I tried squirting some soap directly onto the mat, but it just sat in a thick puddle rather than foaming up or spreading out. The texture of body washes isn’t right for creating slipperiness. Stick to liquid dish soaps.
Some parents report using a tiny bit of laundry detergent like Tide on their trampolines. However, most laundry detergents contain added whiteners, brighteners, and harsh cleaning agents meant for washing clothes. I personally wouldn’t risk using heavy-duty detergents, even in small amounts, as residue could gradually degrade the mat material. Dish soap is a gentler option.
This might seem fun since it’s meant for kids, but bubble bath formulas are much too thick and concentrated for slip-n-slide use. They often contain oils and moisturizers as well that could leave an unwanted residue. Foamy dish soap is the best bet.
The Verdict: For creating a soapy slip-n-slide surface on a trampoline, I highly recommend using 2-3 drops of Dawn or other liquid dish soap per sq. ft of mat space. Dish soap foams up easily when agitated but won’t damage the trampoline.
How to Make a Slip ‘N Slide Trampoline
Once I settled on using Dawn dish soap for its high foaming ability and gentleness, I was ready to actually set up our soapy trampoline slide. Here is the full process I use to turn our trampoline into a slip-n-slide:
- Trampoline with safety enclosure
- Garden hose with spray nozzle
- 2-3 drops of Dawn dish soap per sq. ft of mat space
- Old towels or swimsuits (optional)
- Plastic slide or pool toy (optional)
- Make sure your trampoline frame, springs, and mat are in good condition with no rust, tears, or deterioration.
- Remove any debris from the mat surface so you have a clean canvas.
- Check that your trampoline safety net and closure are intact. Secure any loose parts.
- Lay towels or plastic sheeting around the perimeter of the trampoline in case of drips and splashes.
- Have kids change into swimsuits or old play clothes they can get wet and dirty.
Making the Slippery Surface
- Start by spraying the mat thoroughly with water to pre-soak it.
- Apply 2-3 drops of Dawn per sq. ft, pouring it directly onto the wet surface in a zigzag pattern.
- Start jumping! The agitation will work the soap into a thick, slippery foam.
- Add more water and soap in drizzles if needed to increase slipperiness. The foam lets kids slide across the surface.
- For added fun, sprinkle in a plastic slide, pool floatie, or water toy. Then jump and slide around with it.
- Only one child should use the slide at a time. Take turns to avoid collisions.
- Always jump and slide feet first, never head first like a belly flop jump.
- Remove any jewelry, glasses, or loose objects before playing.
- Keep the safety net fully closed and latched while using the soapy trampoline.
- Play in bare feet instead of slippery shoes to avoid falls.
- Limit slide time to 15-20 minutes max, then let the kids rinse off and take a break.
- Rinse off kids and have them change into dry clothes when finished playing.
- Use the garden hose to spray down the mat until the water runs clear and all soapy residue is gone.
- Let the mat air dry completely before using again for regular jumping.
FAQs About Making a Trampoline Slip ‘N Slide
I get a lot of questions from readers about how to make a soapy trampoline slip-n-slide properly and safely. Here are some of the key questions and my experiences:
Is any special treatment needed for the trampoline frame/springs?
If you have an older trampoline with a non-galvanized frame, it’s a good idea to sand off any rust, clean with alcohol, and apply a rust-resistant spray before using water on it. Modern galvanized steel frames resist rust. But you can still use a water-repellant sealant for added protection if desired. The springs shouldn’t need any special treatment.
How much soap do I really need per square foot of mat?
For most dish soaps, 2-3 small drops spread per square foot of mat space is plenty. You don’t need huge amounts. More important is thoroughly wetting the mat first so the soap spreads evenly. Add more soap in small amounts if needed.
Should I put soap directly on the mat or mix it first?
I’ve found it easiest to just apply a few drops directly onto the wet surface in a zigzag pattern, then let the jumping agitation work it into a lather. But you can also mix a diluted soap solution in a bucket first and apply using a spray bottle for even coverage.
Is a covering or tarp needed under the trampoline?
It’s not mandatory, but I do recommend laying towels or plastic sheeting around the edges to catch any drips and splashes. Otherwise you may end up with a ring of mud under the trampoline after use. A tarp also helps protect surrounding grass or landscaping.
How long will the soapy slipperiness last before I need to reapply?
With quality dish soap and adequate water, the slipperiness lasts a good 15-20 minutes even with active jumping by multiple kids. After that, you’ll notice the foam starts thinning out and mat traction returns. Just spray with more water and add a few more drops of soap to reactivate the slippery effect.
What’s the best way to rinse residue off the mat when finished?
I find the easiest approach is to use a pressurized garden hose with a spray nozzle. Adjust to a concentrated stream and systematically spray across all areas of the mat until the runoff water is completely clear and soap-free. Let the mat air dry before resuming normal trampoline play.
Safety Considerations for Trampoline Slip ‘N Slides
Adding soap and water introduces some extra safety considerations to keep in mind. While soapy trampoline slides are fun, take steps to prevent hazards:
- Only one child should use the slide at once to avoid collisions
- Jump and slide feet first to avoid face/head injuries
- Remove jewelry, eyeglasses, shoes – anything that could cause harm
- Keep the enclosure net closed and locked while slippery
- Take turns to avoid hyperactive roughhousing
- Limit slide time to short intervals before taking a break
- Rinse off immediately after playing to avoid cold or flu
- Check the frame/mat for damage before and after use
- Always supervise children when the trampoline is slippery
With preparation, common sense precautions, and responsible supervision, a soapy trampoline slip-n-slide can provide hours of safe summer fun! Just use the right soap and take safety seriously.
My Top Soapy Slip ‘N Slide Trampoline Tips
After many trials and experiments making soapy slip-n-slides with my kids, here are my top tips:
- Use Dawn – it foams up incredibly with minimal soap needed
- Thoroughly wet mat first before adding soap
- Apply soap in a zigzag dribble pattern rather than dumping in pools
- Have kids wear swimsuits or old play clothes they can get soaked
- Take turns – one jumper at a time avoids collisions
- Reapply more soap+water in 5-10 minute intervals to refresh slipperiness
- Try adding plastic slides, rafts, or pool noodles for extra sliding fun
- Rinse immediately after use and let the mat fully air dry
- Check that the trampoline frame, springs and mat are in good shape beforehand
- Keep hydrated in the summer heat and wrap play sessions up after 20-30 minutes max
With some creativity and safety awareness, a soap slip-n-slide trampoline can lead to hours of bouncing, sliding, screaming fun this summer! Just use caution, common sense, and the right soap formula. Share your own tips in the comments below!
To conclude, can you put soap on a trampoline to make a slippery slide? The answer is yes, as long as you use the right kind of soap! Through extensive personal testing, I’ve found Dawn liquid dish soap to be harmless and highly effective at creating a slick foamy surface for trampoline slip-n-sliding. However, body washes, laundry detergents, and other heavy-duty formulas could potentially damage the mat material over time and should be avoided. With some basic safety precautions and responsible supervision, a soapy trampoline is a fun way to bring classic summer vibes to your backyard. Gather up your swimsuits, the garden hose, and a bottle of Dawn – it’s slip-n-slide time on the trampoline! Let me know your experiences in the comments.
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