How to Use a Bath Bomb

March 11, 2024

Although bath bombs are great accessories for making your home bathtub feel like part of a luxurious spa, it’s important to know how to use a bath bomb properly if you want to avoid creating any plumbing problems. Unfortunately, these risks aren’t heavily marketed, so you can be forgiven for thinking that bath bombs really aren’t a big risk factor—and the truth is, they don’t have to be! But as with anything else you put down your drain, residue from a dissolved bath bomb should be treated carefully.

The big points you should keep in mind are the ingredients, your frequency of use, and the temperature of the water you use them in. Here are 3 things you should know about bath bomb usage.

1. Use Bath Bombs with the Right Ingredients

Although bath bombs dissolve when you put them in water, they don’t break down completely. There is always some kind of residue that gets released. You want to avoid bath bombs that contain large or non-dissolving particles, such as petals, seeds, or glitter. These materials may not break down easily and could contribute to clogs in your plumbing.

Additionally, while small amounts of oils and butters are often used in bath bombs for moisturizing effects, excessive use could lead to residue buildup in pipes over time. This can potentially contribute to clogs (more on this later).

Finally, some bath bombs may contain artificial dyes that can stain or leave residues. While this might not directly harm your plumbing, it could contribute to discoloration in your pipes or fixtures. 

To ensure that a bath bomb is safe for your plumbing system, look for products that contain ingredients known to dissolve easily. Baking soda, citric acid, Epsom salt, and cornstarch are all common ingredients that dissolve easily and are not high risk when it comes to your plumbing. Plant-based colorants are also safe, as are fragrances from essential oils.

2. Don’t Use Them Too Frequently

Remember how we talked about the oils and butters in bath bombs? These can leave residue and buildup on your pipes. In small amounts, it shouldn’t be a problem. But if you use bath bombs daily (or even more often), this residue can lead to buildup, and buildup can lead to a clog. These clogs can be made worse if non-dissolving particles in the bath bombs, such as petals, get stuck in the sticky buildup, which will reduce the flow of water through your pipes even more.

When you do use your bath bombs, you can reduce this risk by allowing water to flow freely down the drain for a few minutes afterward, which helps carry away any remaining particles or residue. Between every few baths with a bath bomb, use a soft sponge or cloth to scrub the surfaces of the bathtub, especially around the drain area. This can help loosen and remove any remaining particles.

Consider using a small amount of mild soap or a gentle cleaning agent to assist in breaking down any residue. Be cautious with the use of cleaning agents, especially if they contain harsh chemicals that could impact plumbing.

3. Use Them in Hot Water Only

We know very few people are out there taking long cold baths, but this is worth noting: If you are going to use a bath bomb, use it only in hot water. Using hot water can help dissolve any leftover oils or substances. When oils or butters are exposed to cold water, they can harden and lead to more buildup.

Ingredients like baking soda and citric acid will react more quickly and vigorously in warmer water. In fact, this is important for the desired effect of the bath bomb, as the heat will help these components dissolve faster, which creates that fizzing and bubbling effect. 

However, it’s important to note that bath bombs should always be used at a temperature that is comfortable for you. If you have especially sensitive skin, very hot water can lead to irritation and dryness.

Unraveling the Essentials of Bath Bombs

Standard plumbing advice is to minimize any foreign substances that go down your drain—it’s bad for your plumbing system and it’s bad for the environment. However, with a little bit of proper care and precaution, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the luxury that a bath bomb has to offer.

If you do start to notice problems, however, addressing them earlier rather than later can stop them from developing into an emergency. If your bath bombs are causing your bathtub to drain slowly, stop using them and seek the assistance of a certified plumber who can advise you on how to proceed.

Our team at Donovan Waterworks is standing by for all your plumbing needs. Reach out to us today by calling 410-240-5299.

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