Friday, 19 July 2013

Bath bombs galore

In preparing for the green cleaning workshop I was involved with recently, I realised that the chief ingredient in bath bombs is bicarbonate of soda - that trusty eco cleaning staple. I decided to experiment with making them, so that the WI ladies could have a go.

They're really very easy; if we can make them, anyone can! There are a variety of recipes out there, which is testament to the fact that it's probably not a fine art. I went with what looked like a simple recipe and it seems to do the trick - it's smelly (nice smelly, that is) and it fizzes.

Per bath bomb you need:

3 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon citric acid
half a teaspoon of almond oil or coconut oil (we used sunflower oil and that seemed to work fine too)
3 drops of a nice smelling essential oil
water to mix

Mix all the ingredients except the water. Spritz the water into the mixture gradually to mix. It's like making a sandcastle - you want enough water to compact the bath bomb but not enough for it to be too wet and to start fizzing prematurely! You soon get the hang of it after making one bath bomb. Even if your bath bomb seems too wet and starts expanding scarily, it will dry out eventually.

You can buy special bath bomb moulds but we used paper cake cases and either flattened the mixture in or rolled it into a ball.

Similarly you can buy pigments to colour your bath bombs but we used a bit of food colouring and that seemed to work OK.

The weather has been just right for drying rose petals; just pick them and leave them in the sun. You'll need more than you think you do because they shrink drastically.

These were bath bombs that appeared too wet
to start with but turned out OK.

Having stockpiled a load of bath bomb ingredients for the WI event, I teamed up with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust again this week for a 'Green Teen' event in Warminster. They were making 'green' toiletries so bath bombs fitted the bill.

The Green Teens enjoyed making them too, and had a different slant on bath bombs to the WI ladies; according to the teens if you break a bath bomb up and put it in a balloon water bomb the result is fizzingly spectacular! 

I've still got a lot of the ingredients left so no prizes for guessing what my kids are going to be making their teachers for end of school year gifts...

More bath bomb top tips and random facts...

  • Ingredients can be found in hardware shops, health food shops, or online (in the UK) at Summer Naturals or the Soap Kitchen.

  • If you can't be bothered to faff around making bath bombs then just chuck a bit of bicarbonate of soda in the bath for a skin softening spa-like experience! Essential oils and almond oil will add to the moisturising experience. Bicarb baths are also recommended for chicken pox patients and psoriasis sufferers.

  • Some recipes specify cream of tartar instead of citric acid but then your bath bomb doesn't have the nice fizzy effect when you drop it in the bath.

  • Everyone I've spoken to agrees that you don't want too much compostable material in your bath bomb - no point in enjoying a relaxing bath bomb if it then takes you half an hour to clean the bath of lavender, seeds, petals or glitter! And also you don't want your bath bomb to look too much like a fat ball you'd put out for the birds.

  • If you make bath bombs as gifts make sure the recipient knows it is a bath bomb and not a bar of soap...Son had a sad experience a few years ago with an Easter bunny shaped bath bomb that he thought was a soap. He tried to wash his hands and then watched tearfully as poor bunny rapidly dissolved and disappeared down the plug hole.

  • Because bicarbonate of soda is a great 'green cleaning' product, use your bath bomb crumbs or residue to give the bath a quick clean round!


  1. So that's what a bath bomb is. Everyone I know takes a shower unfortunately.

  2. I make these for children's friends presents too- peppermint is good for the boys so they don't seem too girly.

    You can also oil and use biscuit cutters as moulds, though I stick to simple shapes like hearts.

  3. Gosh, I had to google it to figure out what a bath bomb was! I'm laughing because I seem to use baking soda and citric acid for EVERYTHING! I use them to wash my hair, to clean the bathtub, to wash food, and on and on... So when I read your ingredients I was thinking this was some magic thing that would clean your bathtub for you! No such luck, oh well...

  4. There's something about the name "bath bomb" that makes me giggle. At first I thought you were describing how to make a bathtub cleaner that bombed the dirt away, but then I realized it's more a nice addition to one's evening bath. Sounds delightful, if a little violent.


  5. What a great idea, I aso get child like whilst watching a bath bomb fizz. Such fun.

  6. Wellbeing sustenance stores and botanists will offer unadulterated night primrose oil and this can be utilized for back rub and for adding to shower water and so forth. ring bath bombs