Enjoy my writing and art? Want to see more? Support my work on Patreon or donate with PayPal.
Bath bombs are a wonderful thing to add to your bath water. They release a wonderful scent and can add moisturizing ingredients to your soak. Unfortunately, most bath bombs sold commercially, and even most homemade ones contain citric acid which is harmful to people with sensitive skin. I have a niece with eczema, so I decided to do some research and try to make a bath bomb that would be safe for her as well as enjoyable for others. This recipe is the result.
2 cups baking soda
1/2 cup cream of tartar
1 cup unscented Epsom salt
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tsp scented oil (I used orange and bubble gum)
molds or ice cube trays
Makes 20-24 ice cube sized bombs
In one bowl, mix together your dry ingredients. Make sure they are well combined.
In another bowl, mix together your wet ingredients, including the food coloring. I found that 12 drops gives a nice pastel, add more if you want a deeper color. For the orange color I used 5 drops of red and 7 drops of yellow. Add about a teaspoon of water to the wet bowl.
Pour the wet into the dry a bit at a time and mix well using a whisk. Don’t mix with your hands.
Add all the wet and keep mixing. You may need to switch to a large spoon. The goal is to get a texture that’s like wet sand and will pack tightly. Grab a small amount and press it in the palm of your hand. If it can be easily broken, you’ll need to add more moisture. Add water a half teaspoon at a time and mix it in fast so it doesn’t start the chemical reaction. When you can make a firm ball like in the photo that takes a bit of effort to crush, you’ve got it right. Make it only as wet as you need it, too much or too little moisture will ruin the batch. Mix, crush and stir a lot to make sure the moisture is distributed evenly.
Use your finger to apply a thin layer of grapeseed oil to the inside of your molds, on every internal surface. Put just a little, you don’t want so much that it runs, just enough to keep the bombs from sticking. Wash your hands. Lay some wax paper on your counter to prevent a mess.
Put on your gloves and start packing your molds. *Don’t use flexible silicone molds! They’ll flex and the bombs will shatter.* Whatever mold you use needs to be hard so that you can really pack the bombs. I used an ice cube tray. Use your spoon to put a bit of mix in each spot and press really hard. You’ll have to add more mix several times and pack each layer down tight.
Once the bombs are packed, use your spoon to level off the molds and make sure everything is packed tightly. Really pushing it in there is key. It’s going to take some effort. My hands and arms got tired, but they need to be really tight. This is why silicone molds won’t work, they deform under the pressure.
Now it’s time to unmold the bombs. Put some wax paper on a cookie sheet, turn your molds upside down and give them a good whack to loosen the bombs. It may take several taps, bangs and jiggles to get them out. Just be careful not to get too rough. Eventually, they’ll drop out. If you used too much oil, you’ll see it on the surface and you can gently blot the bombs. Let them sit out for about an hour before putting them into a wax paper lined airtight container. Store in a cool place.
These smell amazing and they work quite well. Most people make them far larger than I do, about double the size, but I made them smaller to give more control. One cube is a really light scent, two is stronger. I’ve used some and they smell really nice and when the oil releases into the water it makes your skin really soft. This recipe doesn’t fizz as vigorously as you might expect, but they do bubble and work well. They take about 5-7 minutes to break down totally. Some people might not like the lack of fizziness, but it was important to me to have something that people with sensitive skin could use safely.
I linked all of the ingredients to Amazon listings, which is where I bought some of my components. However, some things can be gotten a lot cheaper at your grocery store. I got the baking soda locally for $2, the Epsom salt for $4 and the grapeseed oil for $6. It depends on what your stores carry though. I made sure to link to the exact brands I buy, because I know for certain that they work and are good products.
I was wondering if its possible to subtitle the grapes oil with regular vegetable oil for lining the tins.
As I mentioned in my other response, vegetable oil is not a good choice.
i was wondering if you could substitute vegetable oil instead of grapes oil in the bath bomb.
Vegetable oil is not good for your skin. If you can’t get grapeseed oil (which is at most supermarkets) you could try safflower or virgin coconut oil.
What is the cream of tarter for? Does your niece still use these?
The cream of tartar combines with the baking soda to make the fizz. It’s far safer on sensitive skin than citric acid, which is used in most other recipes. It’s not quite as fizzy, but it won’t burn delicate skin. As for my niece, she and her sister used all of the ones I made for them. I used all of mine too. 🙂
Can this work with other recipes? I’m planning on using olive oil in mine and following a different recipe which doesn’t include grapeseed oil. I also have coconut oil. I’m using a different recipe but substituting the citric acid with cream of tartar
I can’t guarantee how well the substitution will work in other recipes, but you can give it a shot. I’d recommend trying a small batch to see how it works.
I used your recipe instead and substituting the grapeseed with coconut oil. They came out of the tray perfectly but when used in the tub they sank to the bottom with almost no fizz 🙁 I should increase the fragrance too
I wonder if the oil made a difference? Too much moisture can do it too. I know this recipe isn’t as fizzy as regular ones, but the two batches I made worked quite well. As for the scent, that’s personal preference. I like milder aromas, but you can totally add more if you like it potent.
I always use silicone molds and I have never had any issues with the bath bombs I made in them…
I’m very glad that they work for you.
Thank you! I just used a commercial bath bomb on my son and now he has a rash! ? He loved the little fizzy (and the treat inside the bomb) so I was looking for something milder I could make. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!
You’re very welcome!
Hi! Thank you so much for this recipe! It was easier than converting a different recipe from the UK which was in grams. I subbed coconut oil instead of grapeseed and it worked out fine! I had to add one more tsp of water. Otherwise, followed your recipe exactly. Fizzed well, not quite like citric acid based ones, but much better for my daughter’s eczema!
thank you for this recipe because i have VERY sensitive skin