For years, I’ve been watching bath bomb makers test their experimental recipes on the perfect bath bomb. Of course, there are one or two basic recipes floating around on the internet that have been copied dozens of times and posted everywhere. So why is it that so many of these bath bombs fail, while when other people make them they come out spectacular?

There are two ways a bath bomb can be a dud. Either the bomb doesn’t hold together, stays soft, or crumbles away, or the bomb gets firm but drops into the bath tub with no fizz at all.

I know, you’ve heard the reason many times. It’s the humidity. If you live in a very dry climate, you will be one of the lucky bath bomb makers. However, if you live in a humid environment, forget about it. Well, in my experience it’s true to an extent, but it might not be the reason your bath bombs aren’t turning out perfect.

If you’re like me, I saw the first DIY bath bombs online several years ago, and I ran out to the walmart, collected my ingredients, and then found some globe shaped plastic christmas ornaments. I shuffled through the recipes, and made the first sure fire combination that I was sure would be perfect. In 24 hours, I had a half dried sandy ball that I could barely keep together as I was carrying it upstairs to the bathroom. Once I plopped it into the tub, it sank to the bottom with very little action. It slowly degraded from a sphere to a lump and soon the water in the tub was slick with the slowly releasing oils making little circles on the top of the water. Not what I wanted!

Well, humidity wasn’t the problem! It should have been common sense, but it took me a while for it to click. I made two alterations and my bath bombs have been perfect ever since.

First let’s get to the basic bath bomb recipe. This is the basic starter recipe that you’ll find just about all over the web. There are a handful of good versions out there, and this is only one of them.

  1. 2 cups of Baking Soda
  2. 1 Cup of Citric Acid
  3. 1/2 Cup Epsom Salt
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. Grape Seed Oil
  5. A spray bottle of Witch Hazel
  6. 1/4 oz. Fragrance Oil
  7. Light Colorant Mica
  8. 1 tsp. Poly-Sorbate 80

OK, let’s first break down the actual recipe. The baking soda and the epsom salt are the part of the bath bomb that will soften your skin in the water. The citric acid is the part that will activate in the water and fizz when the bomb is doing its water dance. The grape seed ol, with hazel, and fragrance will bond the ingredients without activating the citric acid. Finally, the poly-sorbate 80 will disperse the oils in the water and prevent them from making those little circles on the top of the water. This will also prevent the slickness that can get left behind in the tub.

Mix all of these ingredients together, beginning with the dry ingredients first. Add the wet ingredients and with gloves on mix everything with your hands until the texture turns to sand.

Solution Number 1:

Ready to pack you bath bomb into a plastic Christmas sphere shaped ornament? Big mistake! The best bath bombs need a press. Sorry, I know you probably can’t run out to Walmart to get one of those right this minute.
You really aren’t going to get the same result with a hand held bath bomb mold. A press makes all the difference in the world. That extra pressure and leverage does something that your elbows just can’t do.

This doesn’t have to be a fancy air pressure or automatic machine. It can be a manual hand level press. If you still aren’t ready to invest in a table top machine, try another solution. Try using a hard metal cupcake tray. Pack your bath bombs tightly in a metal tray and set them aside to dry. When you’re ready to unmold them, flip them over on a sheet of wax paper and lightly tap with a rubber mallet until they release. This will give you a tightly packed bath bomb closer to the result you’ll get with a press.

Solution Number 2:

The citric acid you use makes all the difference in the world. Yes, your citric acid might be a dud! Do you pick up your common supplies at the grocery store or Walmart. Sorry to say, but that isn’t the same as buying it from a soap supply company. The citric acid is likely to already been deactivated. When you’re buying it in the baking section of a grocery store it may have already been exposed to humidity, and it may have been sitting in storage for several months. It’s still perfectly fine for baking, but not so much for fizzing up your bath bombs.


  1. Hello, can I please use any other liquid ( water) instead of witch hazel? As I don’t have it. Thanks

    1. Author

      Unfortunately, witch hazel will not activate the citric acid, but just about everything else will.

Leave a Reply