Easy Homemade Detox Bath Bombs
I’m sure about your kids, but my kids LOVE bath bombs. They discovered this affinity this fall on a trip to Virginia where my mother-in-law gave them one each as a gift upon leaving. It never ceases to amaze me what children will be fascinated by, but even in the packaging, these totally captivated their attention. When we used them a week or so later, they were completely hooked. My oldest son had Bath Bombs on his list for Santa, right near the top!
I satiated this craving for a while with Trader Joes, who sold a 4-pack of bath bombs around the holidays. However, I knew that wasn’t going to last forever. After getting my sons these ones from Amazon for Christmas (where I forgot to read the fine print & realized way too late that the toys were not a part of the bomb but instead loose in the box), I started to get a bit anxious. I didn’t know what ingredients were in these and the colors were so bright for some of them that it couldn’t possibly be natural. Kids skin is sensitive and it absorbs a lot, so I don’t like to use bath products with my children if I don’t know what’s in them or how they were made (that’s why I’m a big fan of MadeOf baby products). Wholistic, organic bath bombs are REALLY expensive (as much as $10/$15 each), and since the bath bomb obsession was encouraging my kids to have fun together in the bath (and I had all these tiny toys from my lazy amazon purchase), I decided the path forward was to make my own.
For years I’ve been reading about the benefits of a detox bath for little ones, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make detox bath bombs using some of the amazing essential oils that my husband got me for Christmas (more on these in the ‘ingredients’ section). I majored in chemistry back in the day, so I knew they had to involve a powdered acid (citric acid) and a powedered base (baking soda). I turned to the internet for the rest of the ingredients.
It turns out that making these easy homemade bath bombs is relatively inexpensive. I bought the ingredients for the ones I made on Amazon for less than $40, my first batch made 8, and I’ll be able to make at least 3 more batches from what I bought. I chose to use all organic & natural ingredients, so you could in theory make these for even less money. I’m pretty thrilled with this result & won’t go back to buying them myself. I’m excited to experiment with other scents and salts, too.
What You’ll Need:
1 Cup Baking Soda
This is the ‘basic‘ component of easy homemade bath bombs – no viable substitutes!
1/2 Cup Citric Acid
This is the ‘acidic‘ component of easy homemade bath bombs – no viable substitutes.
1/2 Cup Natural Salt
This ingredient is the ‘detox’ of the detox bath bomb. Salientated water helps to pull toxins from the body and at the same time it decreases the surface tension of the water, which allows more of the minerals in the bath to absorb through your skin. You can use bath salts for this, natural salts, Epsom salts…. there are loads of options. I decided to use Himalayan salt for this first effort for the trace minerals and because my family doesn’t have issues with sodium, but I’ll use Epsom salts going forward because they’re less expensive and magnesium has a lot of health benefits (and there’s no actual sodium in Epsom salts).
1/2 Cup Arrowroot Powder (or Cornstarch)
This is the ‘binder‘ ingredient of the detox bath bomb – it’s actually optional but it will help the whole thing hold together much more solidly. I chose arrowroot powder over cornstarch because corn is known as an inflammatory food and I didn’t think adding a potentially inflammatory ingredient to a detox bath was wise, but you’re not actually ingesting it so chances are it’s fine!
(OPTIONAL) Natural food color
Some people advise using powdered beets or tumeric to color your bath bombs. I used powdered tumeric because it has anti-inflammatory qualities, but I won’t do it again. Unless the ingredient completely dissolves in water, it’s not worth adding. You’ll be scrubbing rings out of your bathtub every day if you don’t heed my advice!
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil, but this one works just as well.
2 Tablespoons Carrier Oil
I used one tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil and one tablespoon Trader Joe’s Sunflower Oil (this is MUCH CHEAPER than jojoba oil), but you can really use any carrier oil you want for this. Acceptable oils include jojoba, sunflower, avocado, grapeseed, and almond (but don’t use almond oil if you have nut sensitivities).
1 Tablespoon Water
You can also use witch hazel if you want them to harden more quickly. Water was fine for me.
5-10 Drops of Essential Oil
Essential oils are really powerful and should be used with caution and respect. For this reason, I am in LOVE with Scentsable Health essential oils & have followed their facebook group for years. Shannon (who is a local Cleveland mom!) spends considerable time and energy trying to educate people about safe essential oil use. Don’t use an oil you’re unfamiliar with for a bath bomb – the potential averse reactions aren’t worth it. I used one of Shannon’s relaxing blends for my bath bombs.
Aluminum Bath Bomb molds
For DIY Detox Bath Bombs, you need a bomb mold. Some people use plastic molds, but I prefer the aluminum ones.
1) Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Again I recommend only using ingredients that dissolve, but you can see the burnt color here from the tumeric I used.
2) Melt the coconut oil. After you’ve melted it, add the carrier oils, water, and 5-10 drops of your essential oil (if you decide to use one).
Be careful when using essential oils – they’re potent and there’s a lot of misinformation out there on what’s safe for you & your family. You can inadvertently cause potentially severe issues using the wrong oils, and many aren’t kid safe. I encourage you to do your research and exercise caution and respect for these extremely potent and powerful tools.
3) SLOWLY pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, then stir to mix them.
This step will bubble and fizz a little (especially if the water has separated from the oil), but it won’t last very long. I used a plastic spoon for this step, but quickly switched to my hands.
4) Using your hands, nead the mixture until it starts to clump together as pictured.
This is the fun step. If you’re sensitive to any of the ingredients, you may want to wear gloves, but nothing involved is actually toxic (in fact, I’ll be making our next set of homemade detox bath bombs with my four year old, who is SO excited to try this fun project).
If your bath bomb mixture is a little too dry, add a bit more carrier oil.
5) Fill one side of your mold by packing the mixture into it, creating a small mound. If you want to add a toy into your bath bombs to ‘reveal’ itself, here’s where you do that, too.
You want each side of the mold to be packed slightly higher than the mold, If you’re including a toy, make sure you pack the bottom of the mold firmly, place the toy, then cover the toy so there’s a small mound before trying to fit the mold together.
6) Push the two sides of the mold together over the bowl and, applying pressure, rotate them together to remove the excess material and compress the mixture inside. The excess should fall into the bowl.
There were several times where I had to re-pack the mold. Don’t get discouraged!! Tapping the filled molds gently on a hard surface (or tapping the top gently with a spoon) will help to dislodge the mixture from the mold and form the bombs.
7) Gently pull off one half of the mold, then the other.
If it crumbles or gets stuck half in the mold, dump the mixture back into the bowl and start again. I found that I often packed the mold too tightly, so packing it more loosely but slightly higher fixed that problem for me.
8) Set them out to dry overnight – they’ll be ready to use the next day!
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