As bath bomb makers, we have all run into a situation where our bath bombs fall apart. We all know the feeling when you realize the hard work you put in the day before is wasted. You keep them for yourself, and use the pieces, but it just is not the same. There really is one reason this is happening. There is not enough water in the mix. The following is a few ways to help prevent your bath bombs from falling apart.
I always tell people to practice with 3 ingredients:
- Sodium Bicarbonate (ie Baking Soda)
- Citric Acid
You do not want to be wasting any of the other materials here on soft bath bombs. By using these 3 ingredients, you will be able to get the “feel” of what the bath bomb mixture should be when ready to mold.
People will tell you it should feel like wet sand, but really, what does that feel like? How wet is the sand? I have been on beaches and there are all sorts of variations to the wetness of the sand. So, skip all of those suggestions. Get your materials and get to testing.
I would start with:
- 1 Cup Baking Soda
- 1/2 Cup Citric Acid
- Water (spray bottle, dropper, shot glass, etc)
Mix the baking soda and citric acid together. Then add the water. Mix around and see how it feels. Can you squeeze it in your fist and when you open your fist, it still in a ball (or sort of like a ball)? If not really, then add more water. Keep measurements of how much water you are adding. This ratio is what you need to know when you make a larger batch.
And, yes, you need to add a binder agent like water, witch hazel, or alcohol. I have seen plenty of recipes out there making no mention of the water. I have tried everyone of them just to prove them wrong. And, in doing that, I know you need water. If you have no water, then it may seem slightly hard. That is until you squeeze it in your fist and it crumbles. Or you drop it on the floor and dust and powder goes everywhere. You need the binder agent.
So, which is better: water, witch hazel, or alcohol? They all work. Water will give the most fizz, so you need less of it and need to work fast when mixing. Witch Hazel is about 15% alcohol, so there is less fizz at first, but it will still fizz. Alcohol, if a more pure mix of rubbing alcohol, gives the least fizz, but evaporates the most and dries out the mix. Personally, I have used all there. Either by themselves or in some combination with each other. I would say use witch hazel or water. Water is of course free!
So, back to the testing. Make the 1st mix with a certain amount of water, form in molds, and let sit overnight. Make another mix with less or more water, mold, and let sit over night. This gives you a good idea the next day which one is harder. Then test it in water to make sure it still fizzes. Once you decide which recipe is better, make another bath and test the next day. This is just to make sure you are on the right track.
Testing this mix this way does a few things for you. First, it saves you money by only using 3 ingredients. Second, it lets you get a feel for what the mix should feel like when wet. And third, it lets you test how hard the bath bombs are the next morning to make sure you did it right. Once you get this process down, you should not have any more issues with bath bombs falling apart.