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Out of Bath Bombs? Use One of These Common Household Items Instead

A bottle of Handcraft Blends Cococut Oil, someone pouring Dr Teal's Epsom Salts in a bathtub, and a bottle of Koita Rice Plant-based Milk.
Handcraft Blends/Dr Teal’s/Koita

Ready for a nice long soak in the tub, but out of your fave bath bomb or bubbles? You don’t have to sacrifice your relaxation time. You probably have something in your kitchen cupboard or pantry that will work just as well.

Nothing’s worse than thinking about taking a nice, hot bath all day, only to get home and find you’re out of your usual supplies. Luckily, many ingredients you probably already have in your home can produce the same effect as your usual bath bomb. Here are a few things you can pull out of the cupboard and turn your bath into a DIY spa!

Epsom Salts or Sea Salt

A woman pouring Dr Teals' Epsom Salts into a tub.
Dr Teal’s

Many doctors support the idea that soaking in Epsom salts helps relax tense muscles and relieve pain. Epsom salts are very inexpensive and often come in large quantities, so you might already have a container hiding in a cabinet somewhere. Dissolve about two cups into your bath for a healthy, relaxing experience.

If you don’t have any Epsom salts on hand, sea salt also works nicely as a bath additive. Some dermatologists actually recommend sea salt baths to treat skin conditions. Just dissolve about a quarter of a cup of sea salt into a tub of hot water.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has become a widespread cooking and skin care staple. As you can imagine, its moisturizing properties and great scent also work well in the bath. Plus, it’s naturally antimicrobial, so it can help clear up body acne.

Add up to a cup of coconut oil to your bath to reap these benefits. If you don’t have coconut oil, check your kitchen for olive oil or another plant-based oil to substitute. However, be careful getting in and out of the tub—oils will make it very slippery.

Oatmeal or Honey

A bowl and wooden plate full of oatmeal surrounded by glass containers filled with honey.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

If you can spare some dry pantry goods for your bath, try soaking in soothing oatmeal. This ingredient soothes irritated skin and is usually inexpensive.

For the best results in an oatmeal bath, blend up a cup of oats in a blender or food processor, and then add the powder to your bath.

If you don’t have any oatmeal, how about some honey? It isn’t just a natural sweetener; it’s also antimicrobial and moisturizing for the skin. Luckily, when mixed with hot water, it won’t stay sticky, either. To help it mix in better, dissolve up to a cup of it in warm water before you put it in your bath.

Essential Oils

Six bottles of Laguna Moon Essential Oils next to the Laguna Moon diffuser.
Laguna Moon

Essential oils smell amazing, and some, like lavender, even promote relaxation. They can make great bath ingredients, but you’ll need to be careful to avoid irritating your skin.

To get the essential oil to mix evenly in the water, combine a few drops of it with a carrier oil like coconut or olive, then stir the mix into your tub. Otherwise, beads of undiluted essential oil can form in the tub and cling to your skin, causing irritation.

When using a new essential oil, always start with a smaller amount to see how your skin reacts to it first. This set of six includes lemongrass, peppermint, orange, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree. You can also use these in a diffuser if you have one.

Baking Soda or Flower Petals

Using plain old baking soda in your bath might sound boring, but it actually feels really nice. Research even suggests it might even protect the skin from fungal infections and itching. You can stir up to two cups of baking soda into your warm bathwater.

If you’re lucky enough to have a blooming garden right now, pluck a few flower petals to add to your bath for a dose of color and a light scent. You can use them fresh, or dry them out and save them for later.

Ginger or Milk

Ground ginger in a bowl.
Olga Ilina/Shutterstock.com

Some people swear by using ginger as a detox bath ingredient to treat illness. While research doesn’t prove that this method works for colds and cases of flu, ginger can make your bathwater smell amazing. To try it, just add a few tablespoons of ground ginger or half a cup of grated ginger to your tub.

You can also use either liquid or powdered milk to create a soothing soak that’ll make you feel like a classic Hollywood movie star. If you’re not a fan of regular milk, you can use a plant-based milk instead, like coconut, soy, or rice.

Just add up to two cups of your milk of choice to the water. This is also a handy way to use up that jug before it goes bad.

Apple Cider Vinegar or Mustard

Some people say that bathing with apple cider vinegar has improved their skin. To give it a try, add up to two cups to your bath. However, take care with this ingredient, because it can also cause skin irritation for some people.

This next suggestion might sound really crazy, but mustard has actually been a beloved bath ingredient in many cultures for ages.

Now, before you go imagining yourself squeezing this condiment straight from the bottle into your tub, stop right there—that’s not quite how you do it. Rather, if you’re curious, add about half a cup of ground mustard seed to your bathwater.


Everyone’s skin is different, so it’s always good to spot-test any new bath ingredients before you go for the full soak. However, if you’re out of your regular bath bomb or bubble bath, you can probably find at least one of these ingredients in your pantry to substitute instead.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »

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