Why You Cannot Make a Bath Bomb at Home Without Baking Soda


You may have seen a recipe for bath bombs that doesn’t call for baking soda. You might be wondering how they can make a bomb without the basic ingredient of baking soda? Well, I am here to tell you it is not possible. The reaction between citric acid and baking soda produces carbon dioxide gas which is what makes the ‘bombs’ fizzy in water. Without this reaction, it cannot be called a bath bomb!

It is possible to make a bath bomb without citric acid and finding a replacement, but the baking soda is the key that holds everything together that make a bath bomb a bath bomb.

Let’s see why this is so important

Baking soda is actually a type of salt as is made by mixing molecules of Carbon, Sodium, Hydrogen and Oxygen. All pretty potent stuff. You can see why when you introduce some citric acid and H2O into the mix, how things get pretty wild.

You can not make a bath bomb without baking soda as it is required to react with the citric acid. When both of these ingredients react with one another with the help of water, they change chemically and form sodium ions, citric acid ions, carbon dioxide gas, and water. Carbon dioxide gas is also normally found in our air.

These molecules are not so much the ingredients as creating an ingredient themselves. Sodium Bicarbonate is the correct name for the product.

In the UK Baking soda is also known as Bircarbonate of Soda.

Are there alternatives for Baking Soda in Bath Bombs

There really are no alternatives to baking soda for bath bombs because it is an alkaline salt that is required to make the carbon dioxide gas that is created in the reaction and thus provides the fizz in a bath bomb.

If you do not create carbon dioxide, you don’t get fizz and without fizz, your bath bomb is going to dissolve slowly in the bath with no reaction whatsoever.

I mean feasible you have a ball of powder, that could release essential oils and milk powders, some suds, [if you wind the water up a bit], but the ‘Bomb’ bit, that fizzes and get the bath bomb to spin, is not going to be there and will probably lead to a pretty disappointing bath time experience all in all,

I’ve not actually tried this but it has just dawned on me that without baking soda, the density of the mix might be heavier and the bath bomb would sink!

Ah, Man!!< This is not going to be a good bath bomb at all! It’ll just be a slowly dissolving lump of something on the bottom.

In fact, it is the chemical reaction between the baking soda and the citric acid hitting the bath water makes the bath bomb fizz, in turn, speeding up the dissolving process. Chances are, without baking soda, your non-baking-soda-bath-bomb is not even going to dissolve, and sit on the bottom of the bath looking as sad as you will be sitting there in tepid water without the sign of a single bubble!

If you want to make a bath bomb, it will require baking soda. End of story!

But what about Sesquicarbonate?

What about what?

Sodium sesquicarbonate is a common ingredient in bath salts, swimming pools, and other household uses. It is also used as an alkalinity source for water treatment and to replace the trisodium phosphate in heavy duty cleaning.

Ok, so there is one alternative, but the chances are if you do not have baking soda in the house, you almost certainly do not have any sesquicarbonate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_sesquicarbonate and if you are thinking about running out to get some, you might just as well get some baking soda while you are there, negating the needs for the tricky to say https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_sesquicarbonate sesquicarbonate anyway.

The fact is, the product is not so far removed from baking soda in molecular structure anyway and will already be found in many cosmetic products including bath salts.

Although it is quite off-putting when you hear these chemical names that you are not familiar with suddenly crop up.

So yea, you can make bath bombs without bicarbonate of soda, but you’ll have to use something that is about as close to bicarbonate of soda that you could possibly find

Bath Bomb Recipe Including Baking Soda

This is a simple recipe to make bath bombs at home using Baking soda. As discussed, you are not going to be able to make this recipe up without the main ingredient, and there is no replacement.

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 3/4 tablespoon water
  • 12-15 drops essential oil
  • Bath bomb molds

Mix the dry ingredients together to begin with and remember, the longer you take over this part of the method, the better the final result will be. Never underestimate the importance of a really good thorough mix of the dry ingredients.

Then mix the wet ingredients [not the water], so your carrier oil, coconut or almond is best, but olive oil will do, and the essential oils.

Introduce that to the dry mix and combine, and then spray the water finely, slowly and carefully to assist with the mixing yet further.

Depending on the size of mold you use, you should get a nice batch of 6-12 bath bombs.

Leave them to dry for 24-48 hours, and you are good to go.

So, we didn’t find a realistic alternative to bath bombs without baking soda, so you’ll have to get some but there’s a real simple recipe there to get you going again when you have restocked.

Bomb Guru

A bathbomb enthusiast who happened to be in the birthplace of bath bombs as they were born. My passion remains to this day

Recent Posts