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Common Bath Bomb Mistakes for Beginners

common bath bomb mistakes

So you may have attempted to make bath bombs at home before and something went terribly, terribly wrong. Or is that just me? This post will highlight some of the common (or perhaps not so common) bath bomb mistakes, and how to fix them.

DIY bath bombs sound like a fun idea. You see all of the perfect bath bombs on Pinterest and think, I could totally make that! Well if you are here. I am guessing you shared my experience and things did not quite turn out that way.

Disclaimer: This post did not start out being a post about common bath bomb mistakes, but it seems to have turned out that way. My poor husband spent three four FIVE whole days and many trips to the grocery store trying to film and make bath bombs with me. At least our house smells divine!

What are the Most Common Bath Bomb Making Mistakes?

  1. Adding citric acid at the wrong time
  2. Mixture is to dry
  3. Using the incorrect mold
  4. Baking the mixture
  5. Not using mesh strainer
  6. Not letting air dry long enough
  7. Following a recipe
  8. Throwing away a failed attempt

Keep reading to find out how I fixed all these bath bomb making mistakes!

We are all beginners here. The purpose of The Homestead Challenge is to learn from each other side-by-side. So this project would not be any fun if I didn’t show you all of my mistakes. And let me tell you, this one has A LOT of mistakes. My oven almost caught fire. This should NOT normally be a problem when you are making bath bombs.

Watch the Video to See the Common Bath Bomb Mistakes

Oh man. I can’t believe I am showing you my silly mistakes in this video, but here they are!

Bath Bomb Making Attempt 1: The Ever-Growing Gingerbread Men

Problems: Adding Citric Acid before adding wet ingredients, using the wrong mold, baking the bath bombs

bath bombs in oven

The first thing I did wrong was add the citric acid before adding the wet ingredients. This mixture started bubbling immediately with a fizzing reaction! I wasn’t sure of the right consistency, so I thought it would need MORE liquid, so I squirted it with witch hazel.

Then, I tried to pack this bubbly mixture into silicone molds. Bath bombs need to be packed down HARD, so silicone molds are not ideal. Definitely opt for a stainless steel bath bomb mold if you can.

At this point, the mixture was NEVER going to harden or keep its shape. It just kept expanding. So I Googled it… and oh man! The top post was a comment telling me to bake my bombs at 170F for 30 minutes. Maybe this would work if you didn’t already activate the citric acid. But for me, it made the whole thing explode (see above!).

Then the mixture was all over the bottom of my oven and I so very innocently thought I could still make dinner without cleaning it first. Then it caught fire. I had bath bomb coals at the bottom of my oven. I DO NOT RECOMMEND BAKING YOUR BATH BOMBS.

ugly gingerbread bath bombs

This final photo proves that no matter how bad you screw up, all it not lost. These gingerbread men aren’t really sale or gift worthy, but they are cute and they work! I simply put the exploded bits back into the mold and let them air dry in there. Voila! Nothing wasted!

Bath Bomb Making Attempt 2: The Crumbly Purple Gems

Problem: Wet to Dry ingredient ratio was off

common bath bomb mistakes

For my next attempt I got smart and used a metal muffin tins. I also added the citric acid AFTER the wet ingredients. I did not pour more and more liquid on top of them even though the mixture still seemed a bit dry.

I tried a new trick this time… FREEZE the mixture! I froze the bombs in the tin for 30 minutes before I popped them out and then let them dry overnight.

purple gem bath bombs

In the morning, they looked like the beautiful photo you see above. Then I started playing with them and POOF! They crumbled in my hands. This mixture was simply too dry.

Overall, these turned out pretty cute, and they didn’t catch anything on fire… but I still wasn’t totally satisfied with the final result.

Bath Bomb Making Attempt 3: The Grinchy Green Bombs

Problem: Too much moisture, too oily

green lemon bath bomb

These bombs look pretty “bomb” in the photos… but they were still not perfect. I learned from my mistakes. They were not too wet or too dry, but they were too oily.

They felt very hard at first. Then the next day, I went to photograph them more and poof, they fell apart in my hands (and all over the table, the floor, and everything in between). I used coconut oil here and once my house warmed up enough, the coconut oil melted, and my bombs melted along with it.

winter green bath bombs

I could have stopped here with this post. The photos of the green bombs look pretty awesome, and you would have never known that I made yet another common bath bomb mistake. But I can’t lie. I had to try one more time.

Bath Bomb Making Attempt 4: The Dreamsicle Bombs

ORANGE pine bath bomb

After learning from all of the common bath bomb mistakes, crying several times, and taking another trip to the store, I think I finally found the key to making bath bombs.

Are you ready?…

YOU CANNOT FOLLOW A RECIPE WHEN MAKING BATH BOMBS.

Mind blown.

Making bath bombs is part learning and part sorcery. It truly depends on the humidity in your house, the chosen ingredients, and which way the wind is blowing (okay maybe not that one).

In my final attempt, I used a spray bottle of water to get the desired consistency. You want to get it to the point where the mixture molds together, but not so wet that the citric acid is reacting with the baking soda. It looks like damp sand. Slowly add water until you get to this point and keep testing along the way.

citrus winter bath bomb

List of Common Bath Bomb Mistakes and How to Fix Them

  1. Adding citric acid at the wrong time- Be sure to add your wet ingredients to the rest of the dry ingredients first, then add the citric acid at the very end. This will prevent over expanding bombs.
  2. Mixture is to dry– Remedy this with more water, not more oil. The water helps the baking soda and citric acid react and harden.
  3. Using the incorrect mold– Do not use a silicone mold. Use metal molds or similar that you can tightly pack the bomb into. I recommend putting a tiny bit of coconut oil on the inside of the mold to help the bomb slide out easier.
  4. Baking the mixture- Don’t bake your mixture to speed the hardening process. You can freeze for a small amount of time and then let air dry for 24 hours. Don’t start a fire like I did. In the end, I found that simply air drying was best for my environment.
  5. Not using mesh strainer– Use a mesh strainer to sift the dry ingredients. This makes for a smoother bomb.
  6. Not letting air dry long enough– Don’t rush the drying process. Let air dry in the mold for at least 24 hours. Don’t over handle the bombs until they are totally hardened.
  7. Following a recipe- You cannot follow a recipe for bath bombs. You can get a general idea, but you need to add the right amount of water for your own environment.
  8. Throwing away a failed attempt. 

Whatever you do, don’t throw away your failed attempts. You can still use them! You can crumble or scoop them into the bath just the same, even if they aren’t pretty.

Beginner Bath Bomb Recipe

citrus bath bomb recipe

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Bath Bomb Ingredients

Bath Bomb Supplies

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Mixing Spoon/Fork to whisk
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Bath Bomb Molds

Bath Bomb Recipe

  1. Sift Epsom salt, corn starch, and baking soda into a mixing bowl. Whisk together well.
  2. Add powdered food coloring and continue to stir.
  3. Add in almond oil and essential oils. Stir well.
  4. Spray with 5-10 sprays of water (stir as you spray).
  5. Once well combined, continue to spray mixture with water, one spray at a time, until you reach desired consistency. For me, this was 20 sprays total. It should be like damp sand. It looks slightly loose, but you can pack it together. It will look dryer than you expect.
  6. NOW, mix in the citric acid until totally combined.
  7. Press mixture firmly into metal bath bomb mold.
  8. Remove from mold and let air dry overnight.
  9. Plop in bath and enjoy!
orange zest bath bomb

Why Make Homemade Bath Bombs?

There are several reasons I wanted to learn to make my own bath bombs:

  • Clean Ingredients- I like knowing where my stuff comes from… especially if I am going to be soaking in it! By using pure ingredients, I can be sure that I am not taking a toxic bath (or worse, letting my son take a toxic bath!). I only ever use essential oils when making bath products, never fragrance oil. Natural ingredients are also often better for those with sensitive skin.
  • It’s Cheaper- Okay, so it’s kind of cheaper. It is not cheaper than buying Dollar Tree bath bombs or a giant holiday set of conventional bath bombs. But it IS cheaper than buying high quality bath bombs from places like Whole Foods or LUSH.
  • It’s Fun– These were fun to make (even the failed ones). This would be a great project to do with kids.

Bath Bomb Scent Combinations

No matter the final consistency of the bath bomb, I was still pretty happy with all of the scent and color combinations that I chose. Here are some good winter combos:

  • Gingerbread Men: Cinnamon for coloring, vanilla, orange and cinnamon essential oils for scent
  • Purple Gem Bombs: Purple plant based food coloring and colored salts, clove and nutmeg essential oil for scent
  • Grinchy Green Bombs- Green mica powder for coloring and Eucalyptus, Lemon, and Cedarwood essential oils for scent.
  • Dreamsicle Bombs- Orange mica powder for coloring, Tangerine Oil and Pine Needle oil for scent

How to Store Final Bath Bombs

Once you finally get it right, you will want to store your bath bombs in a dry place in an airtight container to avoid them getting humid and expanding!

What else can I add to my bath bombs?

There are so many other ingredients you can add! Here are a few favorites:

  • Shea butter
  • Crystals
  • Flower petals
  • Cocoa butter
  • Jojoba oil
  • and any other scent combination you can dream up!

I truly hope you have a spa-like experience at home with your DY bombs, or that you gift them to a friend! It’s bath time!

Pin It for Later!

common bath bomb mistakes pin

Print It for Later!

How to Make Bath Bombs

How to Make Bath Bombs

Yield: 2-3 Bombs

Materials

  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Citric Acid
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 TBSP Almond Oil
  • 20 drops Essential Oils of Choice
  • Spray Bottle of Water
  • Coloring of Choice
  • Colored Salt (optional for dusting)

Tools

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Sift/ Mesh Strainer
  • Bath Bomb Mold

Instructions

  1. Sift Epsom salt, corn starch, and baking soda into a mixing bowl. Whisk together well.
  2. Add powdered food coloring and continue to stir.
  3. Add in almond oil and essential oils. Stir well.
  4. Spray with 5-10 sprays of water (stir as you spray).
  5. Once well combined, continue to spray mixture with water, one spray at a time, until you reach desired consistency. For me, this was 20 sprays total. It should be like damp sand. It looks slightly loose, but you can pack it together. It will look dryer than you expect.
  6. NOW, mix in the citric acid until totally combined.
  7. Press mixture firmly into metal bath bomb mold.
  8. Remove from mold and let air dry overnight.
  9. Plop in bath and enjoy!

Are you totally fed up with making bath bombs and want an easier DIY bath product? Try making this super easy DIY Cranberry Sugar Scrub with lemon or this DIY herbal infused body oil to renew your zest for DIY!

You might also be interested in…

DIY Beeswax Candles

DIY Chamomile Bath Salts

About the Author:

I’m Brittany, totally modern and mainstream turned crunchy mama!

Read more here about how I went from a totally incompetent cook and hyper-consumer to striving to live a more meaningful life from scratch.

I can’t wait to share my modern homesteading journey with you and I hope I inspire you to join along!

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9 Comments

  1. Is mica safe to use? It’s definitely mined in the most unethical way. Mostly child labour in India. Guess the plant based colouring is a better choice

    1. Hi Mansi. Mica is skin safe and often has shimmer if that is something someone would want to add to their products. I also find that it mixes in a little easier and because it is not wet, doesn’t change the product formula. It is definitely important to source the powders ethically, though! Thank you for bringing that up! There are a few brands that use ethical supply chains. Madmicas is one.

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