Love a nice bubble bath?
Me too, and even though I have this recipe for all natural sweet citrus bubble bath I rarely indulge in a bubble bath. It probably goes back to a traumatic incident in childhood when my mom took away my favorite bottle of Mr. Bubble.
Remember Mr. Bubble? Big pink bottle of foaming solution that you added to your bath? Mr. Bubble made bath time fun! But even back then the ingredients in bubble bath were causing a stir. Sadly, not a lot has changed.
Bye Bye Bubbles
The ingredients list on most bottles of bubble bath reads like an MSDS sheet. It’s like the who’s who of chemical compounds to avoid. Here are three:
artificial fragrance- I’m growing a little weary of this one. Synthetic fragrance manufacturers don’t have to disclose the hundreds of chemicals that make up their signature scents because it’s a “trade secret.” You can bet at least one of the ingredients is going to be phthalates.
Phthalates are the chemical compounds that help to disperse the fragrance into the aerosol or solution it’s mixed with. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and some are known carcinogens- cancer causing agents.
sodium laureth sulfate- when used in combination with other chemicals, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate can form nitrosamines, a deadly class of cancer causing agents. SLS is one of the most popular ingredients for makeup, shampoo and conditioner and toothpaste.
disodium edta- here’s one we’ve not encountered before. It’s a penetration enhancer. Helps to get the compounds in the bubble bath (shampoo, body wash) deeper into your skin [Source]. Great if you’re using all natural ingredients. Not so great if we’re talking formaldehyde as part of the artificial fragrance.
May I Stop Now?
I’m feeling nauseas. Is this toxin soup really what you want to be bathing your baby girl in? We can do better, and for less. How about we give this sweet citrus bubble bath a try?
It’s all natural, color optional (the industry calls that “dye free’ and we pay extra for it. smeh) and it smells great.
What Makes it Special?
We get the bubble power in this recipe from something a little closer to home; plain ol’ white sugar. Yes, another recipe to try to get you to use up that over-processed white sugar in your pantry. The sweet citrus fragrance comes from all natural essential oils. This is the brand I use.
A note about citrus & ylang ylang essential oils: Citrus oils are photo reactive. They can enhance the effects of UV rays on the skin. If you are using a personal care product that contains citrus oils, plan on staying out of the sun for at least 12 hours. 24 if you’re using bergamot oil.
Ylang Ylang is not recommended for pregnant women or anyone who is under treatment for or who has been advised that they have low blood pressure.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe shared by Easy Aromatherapy Recipes, who recommends you let your bath concentrate cure for 24 hours before use. I used my version of this bubble bath immediately, then again after 3 weeks, and saw no noticeable difference.
DIY Sweet Citrus Bubble Bath
- 2 oz liquid castile soap
- 1/4 tsp. white sugar
- 1 tsp. vegetable glycerin
- 5-10 drops bergamot essential oil
- 4-8 drops orange essential oil
- 1-2 ylang ylang or lavender essential oil
- soap coloring
- Combine ingredients in glass bowl until blended completely.
- Add soap coloring if desired, 1-2 drops at a time, mixing thoroughly.
- Store in glass container until use.
Having Bubble Trouble?
Making DIY alternatives to our favorite personal care products is fun but it’s not an exact science. Most all-natural ingredients swap easily for their chemical counterparts, but sometimes we’re left a little flat. DIY laundry soap and DIY bubble bath are two products we can make at home that won’t quite measure up to their commercial counterparts. That’s because we aren’t adding commerical surfactants to our suds. It’s those additives (see SLS above) that give us the big bubbles, and big troubles.
In addition to the lack of surfactants in our DIY products, water hardness plays an important role too. We’re on a well here at the Ranch and our water is high in iron content. To say it’s hard is an understatement. To really get a good lather we need to soften our water. If the water in your area is also full of heavy metals and minerals, you won’t see a lot of bubble action from a DIY recipe unless you soften the water first.
I encourage you to stick with your home made concoctions. Add your bubble bath concentrate to running water and maybe add a little baking soda to take the hard edge off your water. Just don’t give up. Fewer bubbles is a decent trade to not absorb sodium laurel sulfates into your skin.
Want to know what’s in your favorite bubble bath?
Visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. Enter your favorite personal care product into the search bar to get its EWG hazard rating.