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:
—1 cup baking soda
—½ cup citric acid
—2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
—Water in a spray bottle
—¼ cup Epsom salt (or any other dry ingredients you prefer)
—1 teaspoon essential oil
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":
—20 drops lavender
—5-10 drops jasmine
—5-10 drops thyme
—5 drops sandalwood
If you're looking for a good early morning wake-up call to stimulate the senses:
—15 drops lemon
—5-10 drops peppermint
—5-10 drops rosemary
—5-10 drops eucalyptus
If you're making room for one more in that big bathtub to spice things up:
—20 drops clary sage
—20 drops geranium
—10 drops lavender
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
CBD Bath Bombs
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.
Black Bath Bombs
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.
Hidden Ring Bath Bombs
These DIY Hidden Ring Bath Bombs hide a fun surprise inside - and they smell absolutely lovely too.
Glitter Bath Bombs
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!
Colorful Coconut Oil Bath Bombs
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!
Turmeric Bath Bombs
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.426
I tried this recipe twice and the mixture wasn't wet enough to actually hold itself together. I added 1 tsp of water and so far so good. Waiting overnight to see if it cracks or not.
Natalie Ann Redman says
Sucha a great guide!
Kelley Missler says
Omg! Thank you for sharing this recipe! My daughter and I have tried few different recipes and this is the first one that actually worked for us. It was so simple ! They turned out beautifully and smell amazing! We even used your scent combinations! My daughter is so excited now instead of selling lemonade she's planning on selling bath bombs. Lol
April Williams says
I have never left a comment before and I have tried several bath bomb concoctions and failed miserably. I was honestly expecting the same , I am making, of all things popcicles yes long and narrow and hard to slip out. THEY DID. they are perfect. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
My problem is they don’t come out of the molds after the next day . What can I do different. Thank you Jacqui
I made the same mistake when I started. Take them out soon after you mold them
I have figured out that you can put the baking soda and cornstarch in a food processor with drops of food coloring to easily get your desired color before mixing with the other ingredients. I use my nutribullet with the coffee grinder blades in small batches at a time.
They just keep swelling..... like huge! Lost the shape.
Mine crumbled into a powder so I’m not sure what to do now to try over? Do you?
Has anyone perfected this recipe yet?
avery jett says
How many bath bombs does this make?
Does anyone know why my bath watwr is very oily once the bath bombs are done fizzing?
Because there is oil in the recipe but not an emolcifier. Water and oil do not mix without one. Professional bath bombs have poly20 or 80 in them to prevent the oil slick thing from happening. It also helps keep the dyes from staining you or the tub.
Reva Amundson says
I have used this recipe several times. I've used witch hazel, tried using a little more so, I have done everything I can think of. They just aren't working for me. I want to make this recipe work for my shop, but might have to find another. PLZ HELP
Christina C says
This was super helpful! My bath bombs keep cracking as they dry, only over a period of time though. When they come out of the molds they're perfect and I never have problems with them sticking in the molds or crumbling when they come out, but as they dry they get very large cracks. I use the same recipe as above, so would spritizing with witch hazel help this problem? Or should there be less liquid intionally? The bath bombs still work fantastic but I'd love to have them look prettier for gifting.
I'm new to this so any advice at all helps! I currently leave them on a cookie sheet type of pan to dry overnight. I live on the east coast of Canada so our winters are fairly dry so I doubt that humidity is playing that big of a roll but I could always be wrong of course!
I'm also going to experiment with my first batch of silicone molds next week so any advice on how to get the bath bombs out without damaging would be greatly appreciated!!
Thank you everyone!
I have the same problem. The recipe and method above produces bath bombs that come out of the molds fine and look lovely, but after being stored in an airtight container for a few days they go really crumbly. I would really appreciate any advice to troubleshoot this!
Erin Eubanks says
I have shrink wrap that I put mine in once they're dry. It keeps the shape and the scent and they're cheap and a great way to gift them
Put them in the freezer for 10-15 min and they just peel out
I am in the same position. Have you perfected it yet?
Christina de Sa says
Thank you so much, Im so tired of making bath bomb powder, because my bath bombs are always breaking .
Did you use liquid citric acid or powder
How long do you leave these in the molds? Do you just shape then plop out on parchment to dry?
I also had a problem with them swelling & losing shape. They look like a big blob. They'll probably still work, but not pretty or gift worthy as I was hoping.
Swelling bath bombs are the result of too much liquid causing the reaction or fizz to take place.
My first batch did that, I was told by a friend of mine who does this for a living that I probably added too much liquid . She suggested leaving it overnight to dry and then crumpling it all up with my fingers to make fairy dust . I put it in a jar and just tied some ribbon around the Jar. It was by far my best screwup because I absolutely loved it . I used honeysuckle for my scented. Amazing smell, couldn't keep my nose out of the jar.
Erin Eubanks says
Leave then in the mold. If you pull them out they lose they're shape, fast! I still haven't gotten mine down ?
I've tried leaving mine in over night but it gets stuck and expands.
I've molded it and taken it out right away. It worked good until it started drying and has bumps all over it. Plus isn't fully hardening.
Ann Klein says
Heat oven to 170, put balms in oven; close door & turn off heat. Let sit in oven for 40 min
I tried this last night & it helps dry/set them more quickly
I see that your bath bomb is shaped like a plastic easter egg? Can you use the ones you buy at Wal-mart? Just wondering if I need to purchase molds or can I use something I already have? Thanks, Connie
I've made some with plastic easter eggs. Also I've used 2 really small bowls and wrapped with rubber band after..
Hi, I love this recipe and I have tried it but my bath bomb cracks after a few days. It was all looking good when I remove it form the mould but the it crack after it has completely dried out.
Can you please advise me on this?
I'm having the same issue. I just tried this recipe today. Looked AMAZING when I took it out of the mold, but now that it's been drying for 6ish hours it has huge cracks in it. It's still in 1 piece but the cracks are crazy :(
Hm, try adding a tad bit more water. Hope it helps!
With sikicone moulds you have to.lwave the bomb mixture in till they are completly dry usually around 24hpurs and then take them out place them in airtight storage and u can keep.in freezer till ready to.use
Skip the water. And when you mix your ingredients, make sure is moist enough t clump. Spray it with witch hazel (spritz, and not pour) .
I am not a scientist, but I have seen many recipes that include water, and that is not necessary, of there is humidity in the air, that is why it will swell, and probably can have the citric acid to react more quickly. As soon as they are dry. Wrap them in sarah wrap, or shrink plastic.
Personally I mix all my ingredients, including the liquid, except the citric acid. When they are well mix, I pour the acid at the very end.
How long after they dry do you wrap them?
I have tried 4 different recipes with no luck yet.
If I were to use lemon juice to substitute for the citric acid would I have a similar reslut?
I haven't had luck with substitutes. I've used lemon juice (and even with an extremely slow pour) the reaction between the liquid and the baking soda begins all the fizz leaving you nothing for the tub. I've also tried Cream of Tartar without good results either. Citric acid is rather difficult to find, but we've had luck at our local hardware store since it is used for canning.
Bulk apothacary carries citric a in several quantities at great prices
The vitamin store or craft store. If there is a Mother Earth where you are they have it as well. Referring to citric acid.
Love this photography work!
I love this!
I'd always heard that adding citrus oil to a bathtub was a bad idea because of the potential to burn or cause sunburns. I hope that I am mistaken, because I would love to take a big lemony bath.
Would anyone who knows more than me like to chime in on the topic?
Citrus EO is photosensitive (sensitive to sun) so I wouldn't add it to something you would be wearing on your skin (lotion) and be in the sun for a long period of time. However... make that lemon bomb! Just don't go over the recommended amount. Then you may have a problem ;)
As long as you dilute any citrus essential oil you should be fine! I usually dilute mine with a neutral carrier oil like grape seed or jojoba oil to get those skin softening effects with no irritation!
Also definitely don't add water to your bath bombs, rhays going to prematurely set off the fizzing reaction. Instead, once all your other ingredients are mixed spritz (not pour) witch hazel until you've reached a damp sand consistency.
You can also use a harder oil then coconut to get a harder bath bomb and a light spritz with witch hazel on the outside helps the shell form, just don't saturate them. Also, if you lay a folded towel under your parchment paper you'll avoid any flattening on the underside of your bath bombs
The molds can be anything from silicone ice cube trays, a little tricky to work with as a novice, the make-your-own-ornament plastic pieces, or even left over empty plastic Easter eggs! I use the do it your self ornament pieces since you can get them with seasonal themes in case you want to gift them to friends and family.
You forgot to say where we can purchase molds for the bombs......