A refreshingly cool bath in summer is just as pleasant as a steamy bath in winter. But you may have heard that bath bombs don't work in cold water. It's understandable that you don't want to waste these delicious treats, so you need to know if this is true or not.
Technically, bath bombs work in cold water because the reaction between baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) and citric acid is still happening. However, in cold water the bubbling reaction is so much slower that it may seem like it isn't working. When making DIY bath bombs, you can adjust the ingredients so they react faster in cold water.
How do bath bombs work?
Let's discuss the chemistry behind bath bombs, how it's affected by temperature, and how to make your bath bombs more reactive in cold water.
Main components of the bath bomb
Bath bombs contain three main ingredients. These are baking soda, citric acid, and cornstarch.
These ingredients are inert in their unused form, which is why aBath bombcan be made without immediately dissolving into a frothy fizz.
Chemistry is bubbles
The fizzing of a bath bomb is due to an acid-base chemical reaction between the basic baking soda and the acidic citric acid. This reaction is triggered by adding water.
In water, the baking soda and citric acid dissolve into reactive ionic components and interact with each other in a two-part reaction. When combined, baking soda, citric acid, and water release carbon dioxide and sodium citrate. It's the carbon dioxide that's the star of this show.
Carbon dioxide is a gas at normal temperatures. So when it's created by this reaction in the bathwater, it rises to the surface and escapes into the air in rapidly forming bubbles — or bath bomb fizzes. It essentially carbonates your bath water, turning it into a kind of soda.
The purpose of cornstarch in the bath bomb
The explosive bubbling of theBath bombis part of the experience, but you don't want it to end too soon. This is where the cornstarch comes in. Cornstarch slows the reaction so it lasts longer.
Bath Bomb Embeds
Many bath bombs contain an "embed" in the center. These are mini bath bombs made with just citric acid and baking soda, but no cornstarch. Theembedsreact faster than the bath bomb that contains it. The result is an extra bubbly, swirling bath bomb.
You can use embeds to create yoursbath bombsbubbling and spinning like crazy. But there's a secret to how to place the embeds to get the most dramatic effect. Watch the video above for details.
Heat speeds up the bath bomb reaction
Heat is one of the most common catalysts in chemistry. Catalysts are things that accelerate the rate of a reaction. The reaction can take place without the catalyst but will do so at a much slower rate.
So, heat catalyzes the reaction between baking soda and citric acid in the presence of water. But why?
Heat is energy. When you heat the water molecules, you give them more energy. This energy makes them move faster and faster, increasing the frequency with which they bump into each other and other substances in the water.
In this case, those other substances are baking soda and citric acid, and the jabs trigger the dissolution of those two ingredients into their reactive forms.
As a reaction between these twoBath bombIngredients occurs faster, carbon dioxide gas is produced faster, decomposes the bath bomb and causes the bubbling.
Even air can make a bath bomb work
As mentioned earlier, heat is just a catalyst for the reaction between baking soda and citric acid in the presence of water. Without heat, the reaction still takes place, but at such a slow rate.
Even the water in the air triggers a reaction. For this reason, bath bombs in the bathroom cabinet lose their fizz over time if they are not kept tightly closed. Learn more aboutwhen unused bath bombs expire.
Bath bombs work in cold water... but slowly
In a cold bath, the rate of reaction can be so slow that so little carbon dioxide gas is produced over time that it appears as if no reaction is taking place at all.
Sometimes cool water still produces a noticeable fizzing reaction, but it's not as satisfying as a hot water reaction, and the bath bomb products can clump on the surface, which doesn't look or feel as nice.
Secondary bath bomb ingredients in a cold bath
Most bath bombs aren't just made withBackpulver, citric acid and cornstarch. They usually have additional or secondary ingredients such as:essential oil, salts, butter, creams, etc.
Bath bombs are usually designed to work in warm to hot water, so you need to consider how cold water affects secondary ingredients as well. While these secondary ingredients can be wonderfully used in bath bombs that are dipped in a warm or warm waterWhirlpool, in a cold water bath you want to avoid them:
Avoid bath bombs with lots of essential oils
Essential Oleare expensive, so they can increase the cost of a bath bomb. A cold bath does not release the essential oils as well as hot water. Also, there is no vapor in which to disperse them. As a result, you largely lose the aromatherapeutic effect of bath bombs with essential oils.
Don't use bath bombs that contain a lot of salts
Many bath bombs contain salts.Epsom saltare very healing, howeverother bath saltswith larger crystals such as Himalayan and sea salt are also often used in bath bombs.
If you place a high-salt bath bomb in a tub of cold water, the salt crystals won't dissolve as well as they do in hot water. That means you're sitting on prickly salt crystals and getting some very unwanted peeling!
Avoid bath bombs with lots of butter
Buttery bath bombs don't work very well in cold water because it requires heat to melt the butter. The solid fats clump on the surface of the bath, which isn't nice to look at or feel, and it also prevents them from being absorbed by your skin.
How to customize your bath bomb for cold water
If you love bath bombs, chances are you've already tried your own DIY. Maybe now you only use bath bombs that you make at home. However, if you don't have the faintest idea how to do itMake your own bath bombs, I've got you covered with this beginner's guide. You will learn how to make a basicBath bomband also get more advanced recipes to try as you level up your skills.
Either way, you can tweak your regular recipe a bit to make it more cold-friendly.
Add more citric acid to increase effervescence
Increase the citric acid to baking soda ratio to try to increase the effervescence. You can play around with this a bit (put on your mad scientist hat!) until you find the perfect coldBath bomb recipe.
Reduce the amount of cornstarch to increase fizz
Remember we said the purpose of cornstarch in a bath bomb is to slow down the reaction? This isn't necessary for a cold water bath bomb, so you can either reduce the amount of cornstarch you use or eliminate it from your recipe altogether.
BONUS: Try Swim Bath Bomb this summer
If your bath bombs are as valuable to you as they are to us, you might not want to risk using them in cool or cold water. In that case, why don't you give that awesome?summer swimming poolBomb test in a warm bath?
You may not be lying in cold water, but the sight, sound, smell and overall experience of this bath bomb will make you feel like you're swimming down at the beach - is there anything more refreshing than that?
Does a bath bomb work in cold water?
You probably shouldn't be saving your favorite bath bombs for a chilly summer swim, but instead play around with your own favorite DIY recipe and see if you can find a refreshing version of it for cold water. Just think of all the cool baths you "have to" take to try out your experimental bombs!
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