Do you want to make your own bath products but aren’t sure where to get citric acid for bath bombs? This article will teach you everything you need to know about citric acid.
One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received since posting about homemade beauty products is where to buy citric acid for bath bombs. Unless you come from a canning family, citric acid sounds like something from a chemistry class, not something you want to bathe in.
In fact, citric acid is a common ingredient in bath products. Let’s look at what it is, how it is used in bath products, and where you can get citric acid for bath bombs.
But first, a word of caution.
When I first heard about bath bombs, my stress levels were at an all-time high. I already use essential oils, so the idea of making fizzy bath bombs with a relaxing or energizing scent sounded like heaven to me!
With the help of my two boys, I first made peppermint bath bombs. As we mixed the ingredients, the smell of peppermint filled my kitchen, and it felt a little like a science experiment.
These bath bombs were intended for me and a few homemade gifts, but the boys couldn’t wait to cap off the day’s activities with a spectacular display of bubbles and fizz in their evening bath. They got excited about picking a bath bomb each night, dropping it into a tub of water, and watching it foam until it was gone.
Make enough for yourself and your children, or they will vanish before you can use them! If you want to make your own batch of bath bombs for kids, check out this tutorial.
You’ll find everything you need to know about where to buy citric acid for bath bombs below, so you can start making your own stash right away.
It’s no surprise that Lush’s signature bath bombs have taken the world by storm, given the growing popularity of cruelty-free, handmade bath and beauty products.
Everyone wants to get their hands on those fun, fizzy, and colorful bath bombs, but the high price and limited store locations of Lush have caused many to look for alternatives.
Making your own citric acid for bath bombs isn’t difficult, but finding the key ingredient, citric acid, can be difficult if you don’t know where to look.
We’ve investigated how citric acid works and where to buy citric acid for bath bombs (as well as where to buy citric acid for bath bombs in bulk if you’re a bath boss), so you can start making your own luxurious bath bombs.
What Is Citric Acid?
Citric acid is a naturally occurring weak organic acid found in citrus fruit. Although the word “acid” may sound frightening, citric acid is edible and has many commonplace applications.
Citric acid, for example, is an effective preservative that is added to canned foods to help prevent the growth of botulism. It can also be used as a sour flavoring, an emulsifying agent, and a food additive.
Citric acid can be made from lemon or pineapple juice, but it’s more commonly made from Aspergillus niger — a common black mold — because it’s a cheap, safe, and effective process.
Before we get into where to buy citric acid for bath bombs, let’s define it: the word acid may raise an eyebrow, but citric acid is a common food additive. It is a weak acid that is used to preserve food, add sour flavor to foods, as an emulsifier, and even to descale hard water.
Although citric acid is naturally derived from citrus fruit, it is now commonly derived from Aspergillus niger, a type of black mold.
Is citric acid safe?
Citric acid is generally regarded as a safe additive. When used at full strength, it will have the same effect on your skin as vinegar or lemon juice. Small amounts diluted in bath products should not be a problem.
Why do you need citric acid for bath bombs?
The short answer is that you don’t need citric acid to make bath bombs, but it does improve the fizz. Check out this Scientific American article about the chemical reactions in bath bombs to learn more about the science behind it all.
If you aren’t concerned about the fizziness of your bath, see below for some citric acid alternatives.
Is there a citric acid powder substitute?
Try these substitutes if you don’t want to use citric acid or don’t have any on hand:
- Lemon juice
- Cream of tartar
Note these substitutes give you less (or sometimes no) fizz. If you don’t mind the lack of fizz, here is a tutorial on how to make shower steamers with cornstarch.
Where to buy citric acid for bath bombs – locally
Citric acid for bath bombs can be purchased at a variety of local grocery stores, chain stores, and craft stores. Look for citric acid in the canning section of Target, Walmart, or other similar stores. Citric acid can be found in the soap-making section of Michael’s or other craft stores. When I go shopping locally, the most common brand I come across is Ball citric acid in a 7.5-ounce container. When you’re short on time, buying citric acid locally is convenient, but buying in bulk online usually results in lower prices.
Why Is Citric Acid an Important Bath Bomb Ingredient?
The fizzing effect of citric acid for bath bombs is one of their most appealing features. The fizziness is caused by the reaction of two key ingredients, baking soda and citric acid, with the water. As the bath bomb dissolves, this reaction produces carbon dioxide gas and causes bubbles to erupt.
You can substitute cream of tartar or lemon juice for citric acid when making bath bombs, but citric acid produces a more impressive fizz.
Is Any Citric Acid Specifically Made for Bath Bombs?
No. Any food grade or non-food grade citric acid for bath bombs labeled safe for external use can be used to make bath bombs.
Although some citric acid may be marketed specifically to those who enjoy making bath bombs or other personal care products, there’s no reason to buy from those retailers rather than others who may have a better price or a more convenient size for your needs.
Citric Acid Safety
Citric acid, despite being an acid, is relatively mild and generally safe to use. Nonetheless, consuming large amounts of it can result in abdominal pain and a sore throat.
Always buy food-grade or non-food-grade citric acid that is labeled safe for external use when purchasing citric acid.
Finding Local Stores That Sell Citric Acid
Before you turn to online ordering, you should look into nearby brick-and-mortar retailers.
A few places where citric acid is generally available for purchase are:
- Baking supply stores
- Craft/hobby stores
- Grocery stores and supermarkets (look in the kosher or food canning supply sections)
- Health food stores
- Pharmacies or drugstores
- Restaurant supply stores
- Stores that sell cheesemaking supplies
- Wine/beer making supply stores
- You can also use the NOW Foods store locator to find citric acid locally.
- Bulk Apothecary
- Bulk Foods
- Duda Diesel
- National Chemicals
- The Sage
- Soap Goods
See store descriptions given earlier in the article for details.
Other Uses for Citric Acid
It’s often more cost-effective to buy citric acid in bulk, but this means you’ll have a lot of leftover product after you’ve finished making your bath bombs.
To make three to four small bath bombs, most recipes call for about four ounces of citric acid.
If you have any extra citric acid after making your bath bombs, there are plenty of other things you could do with it. Citric acid is commonly used for the following purposes:
- As a snacking ingredient, such as homemade pop rocks or mozzarella.
- In recipes, use as a lemon substitute.
- As an additive to soft drinks to provide a tart, refreshing flavor while balancing the sweetness. Citric acid is used in beverages in greater than half of the world’s production.
- For household cleaning, such as removing dishwasher stains or descaling hard water buildup in an electric tea kettle.
- To create your own dishwasher powder.
Yes, it is safe in the proper concentrations (and any skincare product containing citric acid uses this ingredient in safe concentrations – otherwise, they could face serious consequences). Citrus scrubs are frequently marketed because citrus fruits contain citric acid.
Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits, but synthetic versions derived from a type of mold are commonly used in foods, medicines, supplements, and cleaning agents. While mold residues from the manufacturing process may cause allergies in some people, citric acid is generally considered safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I find citric acid for bath bombs?
Citric acid can be purchased at a variety of local grocery stores, chain stores, and craft stores. Look for citric acid in the canning section of Target, Walmart, or other similar stores. Citric acid can be found in the soap-making section of Michael’s or other craft stores.
What kind of citric acid do you use for bath bombs?
Granular Citric Acid is typically easier to use for beginners. To improve the look and finish of the bath bomb, use powdered or very fine Citric Acid, but be careful not to use too much water or they will ‘grow’ before hardening.
Can you buy citric acid in the supermarket?
Where would you find citric acid in a grocery store? Citric acid can be found in the grocery store’s Canning section. Citric acid is frequently used as a preservative in canned foods, so check there first. The Canning section, however, should not be confused with the Canned Goods aisle.