Your Bath Bomb Questions Answered

Finally, your bath bomb questions have been answered.

I’ve gathered all the questions I have received over the years about making your own bath bombs. Trust me, there have been many. And I seem to be hearing a lot of the same questions on repeat.

That’s why I’ve concocted this FAQ guide to help you with your bath bomb making journey. With these helpful tips following a bath bomb recipe will never have been easier.

To make it as easy as possible for you to find the answers you need, here’s a list of the questions that we’ll be answering in this article:

  • Can You Make Bath Bombs Without Citric Acid?
  • Where Do You Buy Citric Acid?
  • Can You Make Bath Bombs Without Corn starch?
  • Can You Replace Corn starch in a Bath Bomb Recipe?
  • Can You Make Bath Bombs Without Epsom salt?
  • Will Homemade Bath Bombs Stain my Bath Tub?
  • Do You Need Polysorbate 80 (Poly 80) to Make Bath Bombs?

Didn’t find the question you were looking for in this list? Let us know in the comments or send me a message on instagram @healthy.happy.ina!

1. Can You Make Bath Bombs Without Citric Acid?

Short answer: Yes. The most common substitute is cream of tartar.

Let me Explain:What you see when you drop a bath bomb in your tub is a reaction between baking soda, citric acid and a large amount of water.

The citric acid powder you use in a classic bath bomb recipe is an important part of getting that iconic bath bomb fizzing experience.

The only real alternative is cream of tartar.

How To make Bath Bombs WITHOUT citric acid. This easy recipe is made with cream of tartar. Tutorial by The Makeup Dummy

Here’s a recipe to make Bath Bombs with Cream of Tartar.

Baking soda and cream of tartar will also react when you drop it in a tub filled with water.

The effect however is different to what you expect from a bath fizzy. The bath bomb will create a reaction where tiny air bubbles form and the bath bomb start to bubble like crazy.

It’s different sure, but still beautiful and fun IMHO. The real fun begins when you combine baking soda, citric acid and cream of tartar. It gives you the most amazing fizz, bubble and foam effect!

If you want to make bath bombs without citric acid and cream of tartar there’s another DIY trick. You can use lemon juice, which naturally contains citric acid.

Here’s a recipe to make Bath Bombs with Lemon Juice.

How To DIY Bath Bombs with lemon juice and WITHOUT citric acid or cream of tartar! Tutorial by The Makeup Dummy

Don’t expect the same results from a bath bomb made with lemon juice. It’s a fun project, but it won’t give you the same fizz effect as the original recipe.

2. Where Do You Buy Citric Acid?

Short Answer: The easiest way is to shop online. You can also find citric acid at the canning aisle/baking aisle in some supermarkets and in some craft stores.

Let me explain: Because citric acid isn’t a common household ingredient, a lot of people just think ‘thanks, next’ when seeing a bath bomb tutorial.

It’s actual more readily available than you might think and can be find at a lot of larger supermarkets. It’s used for canning and preserving food for example.

Some craft stores will also sell common beauty making supplies, like melt and pour soap bases, colorants, fragrance oils and citric acid powder.

The citric acid powder you buy is a very concentrated form of a natural compound found in fruits for example. Invest in a 1 pound bag, store it in a cool, dry place and you can make a new batch of bath bombs whenever you need them!

3. Can You Make Bath Bombs Without Corn starch?

Short answer: Yes.

Let me Explain: We already know you don’t need corn starch in a bath bomb recipe to make them fizz. Corn starch has a special function in bath bomb recipes. When water or another liquid comes into contact with your bath bomb mixture, the corn starch will absorb some of that liquid and it is less likely to set off a reaction in your mixing bowl.

This really helps you if you’re a beginner.

Once you drop the bath bomb in a large tub of water, the reaction will be just as impressive as when you leave it out.

More experienced bath bomb enthusiasts might experiment with their mixtures. For example they might use a 1:1 ratio citric acid to baking soda. Or use different ratios within the same bath bomb to make the bath bombs spin.

4. Can You Replace Corn starch in a Bath Bomb Recipe?

Short answer: You can leave it out or use arrowroot powder instead.

Let Me Explain: Just like in the kitchen, arrowroot powder will have a similar effect to corn starch. Another alternative I’ve heard of is tapioca starch but I haven’t tried this myself just yet.

5. Can You Make Bath Bombs Without Epsom salt?

Short answer: Yes.

Let me explain: It always surprises me that a lot of people think they have to include epsom salt in their bath bomb recipe.

Epsom salts are not necessary to make the bath bombs fizz.

It’s a nice extra to have bath salts floating in your bath water and the salt will add some sparkle to your bath bomb. But that’s it.

If you’re a fan of bath salts, here’s a recipe for Bath Bombs with Epsom Salt.

DIY Colored Epsom Salts bath bombs Tutorial by The Makeup Dummy

6. Will Homemade Bath Bombs Stain my Bath Tub?

Short answer: I’ve never had a bath bomb stain my bath tub.

Let me Explain: So far I’ve used liquid food coloring, liquid soap/bath bomb coloring, mica powders and natural colorants to color my bath bombs. None of them have stained my bath tub.

When you’ve added an oil or butter to your bath bomb recipe the oils or butters might stick to the sides of your tub and the color might stick to it.

You can easily wash this off with a soft sponge, some water and maybe a little bit of soap.

7. Do You Need Polysorbate 80 (poly 80) to Make Bath Bombs?

Short answer: You don’t need it, but I’ve heard great things about it!

Let me Explain: One of the main reasons why most people want to make their own beauty products is because they want to use simple ingredients they can pronounce. Polysorbate 80 sounds very scientific (read: synthetic), but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. Polysorbate 80 is a common ingredient and also has food grade varieties.

The liquid poly80 helps the oils and butters you add to your mixture dissolve in the water. This will stop them from hanging on to your bath tub.

Result: your bath tub becomes less slippery and the colors you’ve added to the mixture will wash down the drain.

I haven’t used it myself yet, but it’s definitely something I would like to try in the near future.

Have a different question in mind? Let us know in the comments!

Your Bath Bomb Questions Answered

5 Comments

  1. Kristy Sandler 18 February 2019 at 09:54

    Hi Ina, this answers all the questions I had about bath bombs without a deep dive into (boring) chemistry. Hadn’t heard about Polysorbate 80 before, so thanks for the heads up on that. Will give it a try 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Makeup Dummy 18 February 2019 at 18:42

      So happy I can help! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Scarlet 27 February 2019 at 15:02

    It is good to know that you can make bath bombs without citric acid but the citric acid is very good for your skin too- full of antioxidants so I will still try to use it when I can!

    Reply
  3. Noel Seeley 17 March 2019 at 19:29

    Is there a foolproof way to unmold bath bombs? I can’t get them in one piece half of the time

    Reply
    1. The Makeup Dummy 20 March 2019 at 20:14

      Good question! Using flexible silicone molds is the easiest way to get good results. Other than that it depends on the issue you’re having. If they crumble, try adding more liquid next time. If they stick to the mold, firmly push both sides together for a few minutes and then take the bath bomb out of the mold to dry instead of leaving it overnight.

      Reply

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