Everyone can agree that taking a bath is wonderful for both the body and the mind. While taking a shower might get the job done, a soak in the tub actually feels like a treat. And a bubble bath? That is next-level awesomeness!
The kids love it, and you love it, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t include a luxurious bath in your weekly/monthly/whenever-you-can routine. If you’ve been reading Hello Glow for a while, you might already know that we like to make our own stuff around the house—that includes bubbles! And we’re going to show you how to make your own!
Scroll down to learn how to make bubble bath from scratch—no fancy ingredients required. If you’re at a loss for ideas, we’ve gathered 10 homemade bubble bath recipes that are free of harsh chemicals and artificial scents. And did we mention they are totally easy, too?
How to Make Homemade Bubble Bath
You only need three basic ingredients to make bubbles: soap, water, and air. But if you’ve ever tried making your own bubble bath using Castile soap or baby shampoo, you may have been surprised to learn that not all soap creates suds.
In order to get high-quality bubbles, you need what’s called a surfactant, a chemical that adds a bit of stretch, allowing the water molecules to expand and trap air inside. Soap itself is a mild surfactant, but unless it contains added surfactants, it won’t give you that luxurious layer of bubbles when added to bath water.
Once you’ve chosen a soap with a good amount of surfactants, you can start adding extra ingredients to soothe and soften skin. Some of my favorite add-ins include aloe vera, honey, brewed tea, essential oils, and powdered goat milk—but this is a time to get creative!
If it’s something you can put in a face mask or beauty treatment, chances are you can put it in a bath.
The Best Soap for Homemade Bubble Bath
There’s really no way around it: because you need surfactants, you’ll need to use a store-bought soap or strong chemical surfactant to make your own bubble bath.
Mild Body Wash or Shower Gel
I highly recommend using a mild body wash as your bubble bath base for two reasons: it’s made especially for skin and not full of harmful, drying ingredients, and it creates a ton of bubbles.
Stick with a natural-ish body wash, like one from The Honest Company or Avalon Organics.
Shampoo is another great option because it foams really well and is somewhat natural, so it should be safe to use in the bath. Again, choose a brand that’s known for using clean ingredients, without things like parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. My favorite shampoo brands for bubble bath are Alba and Puracy.
If you’ve hung around the beauty scene long enough, you’ve probably heard of SLS (sodium laureth sulfate), a chemical surfactant often used in bath bombs, shampoo bars, and toothpaste. It gets a bad rap because it can easily irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs and should be avoided if you have sensitive skin.
Well, SLSa (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate) is a surfactant that looks and sounds similar but is actually completely different from SLS. SLSa is a safe, non-irritating cleanser derived from coconut and palm oils. At the molecular level, SLSa has a large molecule (unlike the small molecule of SLS), which doesn’t penetrate the skin easily or cause irritation like other surfactants. It’s also the main ingredient in many store-bought shampoos and body washes.
You can skip the expensive shampoos and body washes and add a few teaspoons of SLSa to your next bath for an inexpensive and sudsy good time. Or mix it with water and skin-soothing add-ins for a more traditional bubble bath.
What Soap Not to Use
Some soap fails to form good bubbles, and you’ll want to avoid these when making homemade bubble bath:
Despite what you might have read elsewhere on the internet, Castile soap is a horrible (really horrible!) homemade bubble bath. Because it’s a mild, oil-based soap with very little sudsing ability, you’ll be hard-pressed to get any bubbles out of it. Oh, and it turns the water gray, which makes your soaking experience a little gross.
From my experience, baby shampoo doesn’t create a ton of bubbles, either. That being said, I haven’t tried every baby shampoo on the market, so you may know of one that’s natural, gentle on skin, and able to create a nice lather. In that case, go ahead and test it out in your next bath. Otherwise, stick with one of the tried and true soaps listed above.
No matter how you cut it, dish soap is too hard on the skin to be used in a bubble bath. Even green dish soaps contain ingredients that cut grease and kill germs (aka skin killers), so I don’t recommend adding them to your next bath.
This is where you can make homemade bubble bath truly your own: the add-ins. Any soothing, nourishing ingredients that you would use in DIY bath and body recipes are fair game, as long as they don’t clog your drain.
—Steeped green tea
—Dried flowers, such as chamomile, lavender, or rose
—Powdered coconut or goat’s milk
—Essential oils (avoid citrus oils, which can cause skin sensitivity)
—Skin oils, such as sweet almond, jojoba, or olive
There’s really no perfect ratio of add-ins to soap, but here are some rules of thumb that will help get you started:
For every 1/4 cup soap base (e.g., body wash), add:
—1/8–1/4 cup liquid, such as milk, rose water, or green tea
—1 tablespoon oil or glycerin
—10–15 drops essential oil
—2–3 teaspoons liquid ingredients, such as honey, vanilla extract, or aloe vera
—1–2 tablespoons dry ingredients, such as seaweed, baking soda, or sea salt
How to Make Basic Bubble Bath
This basic bubble bath recipe can be tweaked by adding your own ingredients and oils. For extra bubbles, just add more body wash.
—1/4 cup natural body wash or shampoo
—1/8 cup water or brewed tea
—10 drops essential oil
—1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
Step 1 | Add the soap
Pour the soap (e.g., body wash or shampoo) into a small bowl.
Step 2 | Combine extras
Add the remaining ingredients. If you would like to make your own custom bubble bath with ingredients you have on hand, add them now. Stir the mixture gently to blend everything together without creating any bubbles.
Step 3 | Create bubbles
Drizzle bubble bath under running water as the tub fills. Add more bubble bath as needed to create more bubbles.
How to Make Bubble Bath with SLSa
Instead of using a store-bought shampoo or body wash, you can create your own bubble bath by mixing SLSa powder with water. A little goes a long way, so one package of SLSa can be used for many, many baths.
—1 cup hot water
—2 tablespoons SLSa powder
—10 drops essential oil
—1 tablespoon glycerin
1. Combine the hot water and SLSa powder in a glass measuring cup or bowl. Whisk until the SLSa is completely dissolved.
2. Add the essential oil and glycerin and whisk again.
3. Drizzle bubble bath under running water as the tub fills and you get the desired amount of bubbles.
How to Create a Lot of Bubbles
By far, one of the biggest questions we get is, how do I make my bubble bath more bubbly?
As I mentioned earlier, bubbles are created when water molecules stretch with the help of a surfactant and trap air inside. So to make an extra bubbly bath, you need to force more air into the soapy water molecules. Here are some tips for getting a ton of bubbles out of your next bath.
1. Turn on the bath faucet as high as it will go. Remember, more air = more bubbles.
2. Pour 1/4 cup of bubble bath slowly into the running water. As the water and soap hit the bottom of the tub and bounce around, it creates more air pockets and larger bubbles.
3. If needed, add more soap before turning off the tap.
4. If the bubbles deflate as you soak, simply turn on the tap for a couple of minutes while adding more bubble bath to revive them.
10 Bubble Bath Recipes to Make at Home
1. Honey Vanilla Bubble Bath
Vanilla is a very relaxing scent that also happens to stir up feelings of intimacy. Valentine’s Day, anyone? Honestly, though, you can make and enjoy this pampering scent all year round.
2. Bubble Bath for Sensitive Skin
Store-bought bubble bath is often full of nasty ingredients that can irritate the skin and cause breakouts. That’s why you should always aim to make your own! This recipe is especially suited for sensitive skin.
3. DIY Natural Bubble Bath
Try this recipe from Paula Parrish. It uses glycerin for big bubbles and lavender essential oil for its calming effect, which makes it perfect for a before-bed relaxer.
4. Homemade Honey Bubble Bath
Live Laugh Rowe’s recipe for honey bubble bath comes with pretty bee printable labels! Make a bigger batch, and gift a bottle or two to your bestie.
5. Calming Homemade Bubble Bath
Made with essential oils, this recipe is more than relaxing—it’s calming and perfect for little ones to enjoy before bed. Needless to say, you’ll enjoy it, too!
6. DIY Bubble Bars
Rather than making bubble bath in a bottle, try making this solid version! Each one is just the right amount for one bath, so you’re never wasting any of it. Plus, they’re highly giftable, if we do say so ourselves.
7. Your Own Homemade Bubble Bath
Our favorite thing about this recipe from Make and Takes is the container: an olive oil dispenser! How cool is that? It keeps well, makes it easy to pour, and it looks nice!
8. Calming Homemade Bubble Bath for Kids
There’s no child that can resist a bubble bath, is there? Not in this household, there isn’t! Try this recipe from Dwelling Happiness right before sleepy time, and bedtime will be at least a little easier.
9. Bubbling Bath Salts
Love multitasking even with your beauty products? This 2-in-1 bath that’s a bath salt, as well as a bubble bath, is for you! Get the recipe on The Idea Room.
10. Relaxing Bubbly Bath Soak
Made with Epsom salt, peppermint, and chamomile tea, this bath soak is as relaxing as it sounds—and it looks absolutely lovely. Placed in an airtight container, it also makes a great gift for the special people in your life.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician with more than 20 years of experience. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.