How to make bath bombs like Lush
With just a few ingredients you can make an alternative to shop-bought bubble bath that's much kinder to your skin. Learn how to make bath bombs today.
Baths are not just about getting clean. That’s what a quick shower is for, which can be invigorating. But baths are relaxing and luxurious and can be calm rituals in a way that showers just can’t. Sink into the suds with some bubbles, or why not spoil yourself with a fizzy bath bomb? But these can be too expensive to make them a regular option – or perhaps not! Here we’ll show you how to make bath bombs at home, so you can then justify having one in every bath you take, you can also gift them to friends and a family at a fraction of the price you’d spend buying them in the shops. Our how to make Bath bombs guide is easy – we show you step by step how you can make bath bombs at home with our easy to follow bath bomb recipe. You can add whatever scents, colours and extras you fancy, too!
Lush are certainly the store that made bath bombs such popular gift items in the UK. Nobody knows for sure what exactly their signature scent is, but we added rose geranium essential oils to our bath bombs and they smelt quite similar. You can bring added Lush luxury by including flower petals or glitter in your bath bomb – but please use biodegradable glitter to help out our fishy friends! And keep in mind that whatever you add to your bath bomb will likely be left all around the edge of your bathtub when you let the water out, so we’ve not added any to our bath bomb recipe – to keep things serene with the post-bath cleanup, too.
If you like this guide to DIY bath bombs, you might also like our fellow soothing craft tutorials – how to make soap and how to make wax melts.
What do you need to make bath bombs?
The two essential ingredients you need to make bath bombs are citric acid and bicarbonate of soda. These are the two things that react together to make the fizz. Anything else you add, like colour, scent, dried petals, oils or Epsom salts are all bonus extras that make your bath nicer. Some recipes use arrowroot or cornflour as bulkers that stop the citric acid and bicarbonate of soda from reacting together so quickly and slow down the rate at which the bath bomb dissolves in the bath. It’s nice to prolong the experience, but we’d never choose to add arrowroot to our bath, and we’ve heard that cornflour while adding a silky feeling to the water, can contribute to yeast infections – so we’d give both of those bulkers a miss and just enjoy the pure fizz while it lasts!
Epsom salts are designed to go in your bath and are lovely additions to your bath bombs. But watch out for these on rainy days. Including Epsom salts in the mix make the bombs hold on to more water, and they can struggle to harden when there is a lot of moisture in the atmosphere. Make your bath bombs on sunny days, run a dehumidifier, or reduce or omit the Epsom salts when the weather is rainy. Here's what you'll need to make our bath bomb recipe.
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Bath bomb ingreidents
- Makes approx. 6 small bath bombs, or 3 tennis ball-sized spheres
- 300g bicarbonate of soda
- 100g of citric acid
- 50g of Epsom salts
- 5ml of essential oil
- Colour – we used pink food colouring
- Mixing bowl
- Mister spray full of water
- Bath bomb mould – you can buy these, or make your own from upcycling plastic blister packaging. It’s easier to remove your bath bomb from the mould if there is a bit of bend in your mould rather than being rigid plastic. You can also use yoghurt pots, silicone baking moulds or cookie cutters stood on trays. Methods, where you are not working with two halves, are easier for kids to manage – and easier for adult beginners, too.
Check out these great stores where you can buy materials and ingredients online!
This set of epoxy resin colours are great for bath bombs or soap making.
Rose Geranium oil will help you make bath bombs like Lush at home – the smell is similar.
Bicarbonate of soda
Bicarbonate of soda power gives a fine finish to your bath bomb.
Using citric acid powder as opposed to crystals will give you a more even, smoother finish to your bath bombs.
Bath bomb moulds
Silicone moulds are the easiest to remove bath bombs from as a beginner if you want to get that perfect sphere shape.
How do bath bombs work?
You’ve seen their amazing fizzy properties in your tub, but how do bath bombs work? It is due to the power of a chemical reaction! When dry, the citric acid and the bicarbonate of soda (or sodium bicarbonate to give it its chemical name rather than its baking name) are inert and the powders can be mixed together and shaped into your bath bomb. But it is a different story when they are dissolved in water. Add them to water, and the citric acid reacts with the sodium bicarbonate to form sodium citrate and carbon dioxide. The sodium citrate stays in your bath water and you won't really notice it, but the carbon dioxide is released in a stream of bubbles that give you that bath bomb fizz.
Do I need to use citric acid?
Now you know how bath bombs work, you can start exploring what else bath bombs are made of that can still give you that carbon dioxide producing reaction. You don’t NEED to use citric acid, but for the fizziest bath bomb, it is best if you do. But it is possible to make bath bombs that give you that same fizzy, carbon dioxide releasing reaction using bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar instead of citric acid. The benefit of this is that they are both used commonly in baking so super easy to get hold of. Most supermarkets will sell both. You will get a slower reaction than you would with citric acid, so the bath bombs are less fizzy and release their bubble more slowly. Stick with citric acid if you can for a more exciting result. We've used citiric acid in our bath bomb recipe but we have included some alternative bath bomb recipes after if you'd prefer not to use it.
You'll often find citric acid for sale in ecological or zero packaging stores, as it is an environmentally friendly cleaning product as well as a bath bomb ingredient. If you are struggling to find this for sale in your area, you can order it online:
Bath bomb recipe
Now you've got all your ingredients for your bath bombs it's time to get making. Here's our bath bomb recipe! Enjoy.
Weight out your bicarbonate of soda, citric acid and Epsom salts and mix them all together. Add your essential oils and mix in. Add your colouring and mix in. These will likely form clumps in the dry ingredients, so crumble these with your hands (wearing gloves), as you would if you were rubbing flour into butter, until you have evenly distributed them through your dry ingredients.
Using your spray bottle, mist a few squirts over water over your ingredients and mix in with your hands. You want to add enough water to dampen the ingredients so they start to be able to stick together, but not so much that they start the fizzing reaction you want to save for the bath water.
When the mixture feels a little like damp sand, and you can mould it into a clump into your hand, it is time to start shaping it into your moulds. You want to work quickly to avoid the mixture drying out before you have shaped it.
Overfill both halves our your bath bomb mould (or repurposed blister packaging!) and press the two halves together firmly. You want to have to compress the mix into the moulds, so make sure both side are overfilled as you push them together. Then gently ease the ball out and leave to dry undisturbed for at least 30 minutes, and ideally a few hours.
You can keep it sitting in the bottom half of the mould if you have more than one mould, this will help keep the base stable as it dries. But we have had success using just a single mould and removing the bomb each time – it just needs a more delicate touch, and a bendable mould, not a rigid one. With rigid moulds, greasing with a little coconut oil or other body-friendly colourless oil, or silicone spray can help the bombs release once they are dry.
If you are left with a few crumbs of mixture on your bowl, or if you have sprinkles on your working area, collect up these little bits to use as fizzy bath salts!
If you are making bath bombs with kids, it is easier to make a simple shape without having two halves to push together. We are using cookie cutters stood in bowls. Try to avoid any complicated shapes with sharp points like stars, as these are likely to crumble off your bath bomb. We’re using a flower and a circle. Grease the inside lightly with coconut oil to help your bombs release one they are dry Press the mixture down inside, and covering your shape with your hand, invert to remove the extra mixture from outside the cutter. Leave to dry overnight – these will take longer to dry inside the moulds.
Once your bath bombs have fully hardened, remove them from the mould if still in place and store them in an airtight box or wrap in cellophane to gift, ready to release essential oils, Epsom salts and bubbles into your next bath! Popping a silica gel sachet into the box if you have any will help keep them in tip top condition until they go into the bath.
Bath bomb kits
For those who prefer to try a kit, here are a few options to try, as well as some brilliant bath bomb moulds to give you fun shapes!
FabLab Bath Bombs Kit
This kit offers great value and is not just for kids! You get moulds, chemicals, tools, glove and pipettes, as well as packaging materials for gifting, in a handy pack. Great for getting you started!
Limino Store bath bomb kit
We love the quality of the bath bomb moulds and the colours included in this kit, which comes with 3 different sized spherical moulds, gloves, colours and instructions. But we are sad to see no chemicals are included. It's a good professional choice if you have a good eco store near you that can supply your citric acid and bicarbonate of soda.
Bath bomb recipe supplies
If you are looking to bulk buy citric acid and bicarbonate of soda, here is a good price on the two packaged together - to replenish your kit!
Bath bomb moulds
Bath grenades, anyone? These silicone moulds will add detail and fun shapes to your bath bombs, but are not complicated enough to cause crumbling
Alternative bath bomb recipes
Since this is ultimate guide to making bath bombs at home we thought we'd include some of our favourite bath bomb recipes from around the web.
Coconut bath bombs
Make coconut-scented bath bomb wedding favours with Delicious Living's tutorial.
Mini bath bombs
We've got to try these mini macaroon-shaped bath bombs by Elle Sees. They'll show you how to make bath bombs with their simple tutorial. Aren't they just the cutest!
Green tea bath bombs
Learn how to make bath bombs in all sorts of fragrances and colours using your favourite brew with the Idle Wife. You know what every bath bomb filled bath needs? A candle! Check out our best candle making kits so you can make your own.
See Kate Sew's bath bombs
It's a good idea to store your freshly made bath bombs in an airtight container, but if they're a present or likely to be used soon then store them in this pretty DIY wash bag by See Kate Sew. Why not make some reusable makeup pads to give alongside your bath bombs? We've got a free reusable cotton pads tutorial just for you.
More ways to make bath bombs at home
With just a few ingredients you can make an alternative to shop-bought bubble bath that's much kinder to your skin. Plus, learning how to make bath bombs makes it easier to keep track of the ingredients used in beauty products. The fizzy bath balls are simple to make using generous helpings of essential oils and baking soda all mixed up and put in cupcake tins or various bath bomb moulds available to buy online.
Prepare a batch for a friend or treat yourself to a sweet-smelling, rainbow-coloured daily dunk. Store in an airtight jar – the fresher the fizzier! Looking for more homemade bath products to make at home? We have a DIY cuticle oil project and we show you how to make lavender oil! Make sure you also check out our natural lip balm tutorial too. Using your own bath bomb recipe? Join the Show & Tell on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #molliemakes.
Hannah has worked on Gathered for 3 years, since our launch in 2019. At school Hannah learned to knit collaborating on dorcas blankets – now she edits our knitting section. She inherited her love of stitching and embroidery from her talented grandmother, and her passion for thread led her to be Editor of The World of Cross Stitching for six years. Card making is a more recent passion, developing from her position as editor of Cross Stitch Card Shop. She loves using kinetic techniques to make cards that move – she was editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine for over four years, creating loads of card making video tutorials at www.youtube.com/PapercraftTV.
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