What is that saying about kissing a lot of frogs before you meet your prince? Yeah, well, I feel the same way about homemade bath bombs! In a recent attempt to make some ultra-relaxing bath bombs, I was (unpleasantly) surprised at the number of useless recipes out there. But the good news is that after trying and failing many times, I finally figured out how to make bath bombs—and here’s my perfect, no-fail method!
Let’s just say that it all comes down to the right supplies and one teeny secret ingredient. Here are the secrets to making bath bombs at home!
How To Make Bath Bombs That Work—Every Time!
My issue: if I’m going to invest in a few bottles of citric acid and take the time to lovingly hand craft something, I want it actually to turn out right. I’m not going to discuss the number of batches I attempted (can’t go there—it’s still too soon). But I’m simply going to share what works, so you won’t have to make the same mi$$takes I made.
Let’s start with bath bomb ingredients.
Basic DIY Bath Bomb Ingredients
All bath bombs essentially have three ingredients in common.
I know what you’re wondering: so, what is citric acid anyway? Citric acid is a weak acid derived from citrus fruits and used for things like cleaning, canning, and cooking. It’s a dry acid, and that is what’s needed for making bath bombs that fizz when wet (and not before).
Yes, you can make bath bombs without citric acid using cream of tartar but you’ll get less fizz.
The other half of the fizzing equation, baking soda is a base that interacts with citric acid to create bubbles. Without both baking soda and citric acid, your bath bombs will simply fall apart and dissolve without fizzing.
For a basic bath bomb recipe, combining one part citric acid with two parts baking soda will get you the most fizz.
A liquid is needed to make the bath bombs stick together and hold their shape. This can be water, witch hazel, rose water, carrier oil, or whatever you like.
Just note that anything water-based will set off the fizzing reaction between the baking soda and citric acid. So, keep water to a minimum unless you want a foamy, fizzy mess on your hands. (More on this a little later…)
What other ingredients can I use?
Once you have your basic components taken care of, you can start thinking about optional ingredients. Here are some of our favorite bath bomb ingredients. This list isn’t exhaustive, so feel free to look around your kitchen or pantry for anything else you might want to add to your bath bombs.
Corn starch – helps bind the baking soda and citric acid, thus slowing down the chemical reaction, which helps make them last longer
Salt – Epsom salt and sea salt encourage relaxation, calm skin irritation, and boost circulation
Essential oil – offers soothing aromatherapy benefits
Carrier oil – moisturizes skin
Oatmeal – soothes skin irritation and exfoliates
Dried flowers or herbs – soothes skin and rejuvenates tired muscles plus they just look pretty
Natural colorants – dried beetroot powder, turmeric, and activated charcoal give your bath bombs color while also providing skin-nourishing nutrients. You can also use cosmetic mica, soap coloring, or natural food coloring.
Clay – makes bath bombs harder and helps draw toxins from the skin
How much do I add?
There’s no set rule for how much of each ingredient you should use in your bath bombs. In general, I recommend starting with 1–2 tablespoons of optional ingredients per 2 cups of bath bomb base (the baking soda and citric acid mixture) and going from there. As for essential oils, 1 teaspoon should be adequate.
What bath bomb mold should I use?
There are all sorts of bath bombs molds you can use, many of which are cheap or free. Repurposing old containers is a great way to keep waste out of the landfill.
But if you plan to make bath bombs regularly, you might want to invest in some paid options. Store-bought bath bomb molds will last practically forever and cut down on the guesswork, so you know exactly the amount of baking soda and citric acid in each one.
Personally, I like to make my bath bombs using these metal bath bomb molds. They’re perfectly sized, so you know how many bath bombs to use (one!), and the end product looks clean and professional.
But you can also use:
—Ice cube trays
—Silicone baking molds
—Plastic Easter eggs
—Clean, empty aluminum cans
—Paper muffin tin liners (stack several together to keep their shape)
Why won’t my bath bombs stick together?
Most bath bomb recipes call for water or some other liquid to hold everything together. But there’s one problem: water evaporates over time, leaving you with dry, crumbly bath bombs that won’t hold their shape.
The secret? Use a solid fat.
Coconut oil, shea butter, ghee, tallow, and cocoa butter—any fat that’s solid at room temperature—will help your bath bombs pop out of the mold without crumbling and maintain their shape over time.
Simply melt 2 teaspoons of solid fat and add it to your bath bomb recipe. Mix quickly because it will start to harden as soon as you add it to the cold ingredients. Then press the mixture into your molds. Allow them to cool for several hours, then remove bath bombs from the molds and set aside to continue drying.
No-Fail Basic Bath Bomb Recipe
For basic bath bombs, you’ll need:
Step 1 | Combine dry ingredients
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk well, removing any clumps.
Step 2 | Add liquid ingredients
Next, add your essential oils to the melted coconut oil and then slowly pour in the oil. Spritz the mixture with a little water (you don’t need much!) and stir well.
I didn’t use a measuring glass with a spout, but you should! It will be much easier to control the amount of liquid as it goes in. Stir the liquid into the dry mix as you go, and try to keep the fizzing and bubbling to a minimum.
The mixture should be the consistency of wet sand. If yours isn’t, spray with a little more water.
Step 3 | Fill the molds
Once you’ve added all of the liquid into the dry ingredients and mixed well (using your hands, if needed), you’re ready to fill your molds. You want to overfill each side of the mold so that when you press the sides together, any excess comes out.
Fill your bath bomb molds and press the sides together. If you find the two sides of your bomb aren’t sticking together, you might need dump the mixture back into the bowl and add a tiny bit more water. Then start the molding process over again.
Step 4 | Dry and remove from mold
Let the bath bombs dry for 24 hours before removing them from the mold. Gently twist the top and bottom sections in opposite directions to release. If they don’t come out easily, then heat the mold for a few seconds with a hair dryer. Then place the bath bombs on parchment paper and let them continue drying for another 24 hours.
How to store bath bombs
Like most other homemade beauty products, bath bombs are sensitive to the elements. Too much moisture can make them sweat and fizz, while not enough can make them crumbly.
To store your homemade bath bombs, I recommend wrapping them individually in plastic wrap. Place them in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid and store them somewhere that’s dry—not the bathroom. The moisture in the bathroom can make even the best bath bombs lumpy and crumbly in a matter of days.
If stored properly, your homemade bath bombs should last about 6 months.
How to use bath bombs
Ok, this one isn’t rocket science! But to get the most foaming action add your bath bomb while the hot water is still filling the tub.
However, if you want the aromatherapy benefits more than a colorful bath, then add the bath bomb after the tub is full and you’re in it—that way all of the relaxing scents won’t dissipate before you get to enjoy them! And if your molds are small, you might need to add more than one bath bomb to your soak session. Here’s our complete guide to using a bath bomb.
Homemade Bath Bombs FAQs
Why do my bath bombs start fizzing as soon as I add the wet ingredients?
The water used in bath bomb recipes can kick off the fizzing reaction and cause your bath bombs to swell. It’s usually not a problem if you add the wet ingredients slowly enough.
But for whatever reason, some people experience a bigger fizzing reaction than others. Either reduce the amount of water in the recipe or skip the water altogether and add an extra teaspoon of coconut oil.
Why does my bath water feel oily after using these?
At room temperature, the coconut oil in these solidifies and helps hold the bath bombs together. But when you drop ’em into a hot bath, the oil melts and gets released into the bath water. Since oil and water don’t mix, the oil floats on top of your bath water, nourishing and moisturizing your skin.
How can I keep my homemade bath bombs from cracking as they dry?
When filling your mold, it helps to overfill it a bit and press the sides together as tightly as you can. You can also try adding a little more coconut oil.
If all else fails, try adding 1 teaspoon of kaolin clay per cup of dry ingredients. Clay absorbs moisture and will help your bath bombs hold their shape batter.
Do I need to purchase bath bomb molds, or can I use things I already have?
You definitely don’t need to buy bath bomb molds if you don’t want to. You can use empty plastic craft ornaments, muffin tins, plastic Easter eggs, the bottoms of empty plastic bottles (just cut off the tops), silicone baking cups, ice cube trays—you name it.
How do I color my bath bombs?
We’ve used turmeric, dried beetroot powder, chlorella, and activated charcoal to give bath bombs color while also providing skin-nourishing nutrients. You can also try a few drops of vegetable-based food coloring (see this recipe). A tiny pinch of silver mica is a fun addition to the very top of your bath bomb, but avoid large amounts of mica because it can be hard on the lungs.
Can I use citrus oil in my bath bombs, or will it cause my skin to burn when I go outside?
Citrus oils can cause photosensitivity issues if you’re not careful [source], but that shouldn’t stop you from using them altogether. When using citrus essential oils in bath products, dilute them in the coconut oil (or other neutral carrier oil, such as almond, jojoba, or argan oil) before adding to the bath bomb mixture and only use a few drops at a time. Also, make sure to wear extra sunscreen or long sleeves next time you go outside.
What essential oils should I use?
Some essential oils are better than others for use in the bath. Roman chamomile is a popular choice for a pre-bedtime bath soak or try one of these options:
If you just need to chill after a long day of being everyone’s “person”:
If you’re looking for a good early morning wake-up call to stimulate the senses:
If you’re making room for one more in that big bathtub to spice things up:
Not Sure Where To Start? Try These Easter Egg Bath Bombs!
Easter Egg Bath Bomb Recipe
Make your own colorful Easter egg bath bombs for a fun, fizzy and fragrant bath experience. Just use natural food coloring and plastic egg molds to color and shape your bath bombs. You can also use mica to color bath bombs.
1. Mix all of the ingredients together (minus the food coloring) in a big bowl.
2. Separate out a small bit of the mixture into another bowl and add a few drops of food coloring. It will fizz a bit but don’t worry. Mix in the color with your hands.
3. Then pack the mixture into each side of an open plastic egg. Close the egg and shake it to help it form the egg shape.
4. Take the top part of the lid off and let the eggs dry for overnight. Then gently pry the bath bombs from the bottom mold and dry another day.
5. To use, just drop an egg in the bath and watch it fizz! The water will turn the color of the egg you use.
More DIY Bath Bomb Projects
These CBD bath bombs combine the relaxing effects of CBD with the skin-soothing and hydrating effects of lavender essential oil, Epsom salts, and coconut oil.
With soothing essential oil and activated charcoal, these black bath bombs are just what you need to calm irritated skin and get a relaxing soak too.
These DIY Hidden Ring Bath Bombs hide a fun surprise inside – and they smell absolutely lovely too.
These DIY glitter bath bombs are super simple to make – and so much fun to use, you might not want to get out of the tub!
Not only are these beauties pretty to look at (insert heart eyes emoji here), but they’re super easy to make. No breaking, crumbling, or sticking!
Make pumpkins and fun Halloween shapes with a copycat Lush Turmeric bath bomb recipe that includes anti-inflammatory turmeric and coconut milk powder.
No time for a bath? Try a Shower Bomb!
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician with over 20 years of experience treating patients. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.