After a long, hard day slaving at the office or dealing with the kids, nothing beats a nice, long soak in the tub. Many people like to jazz up their bath time with a brightly colored, scented bath bomb. While bath bombs are awesome for relaxing and easing away your stress, they may not be so good for your plumbing.
What Are Bath Bombs And How Do They Work?
Invented and patented in 1989 by Mo Constantine, co-founder of Lush Cosmetics, bath bombs are made up of a mixture of wet and dry ingredients that are compressed, molded into a variety of shapes, then dried. They were originally meant to be an alternative to bubble baths and bath salts, both of which can be irritating to skin.
While the exact ingredients of bath bombs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, most typically contain citric acid, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and cornstarch. The citric acid and baking soda are what cause the signature “fizzing and bubbling” effect when the bath bomb is dropped into water, while the cornstarch binds to both baking soda and citric acid, slowing the reaction and causing the fizzing to last longer. Bath bombs also contain other materials, such as scents, essential oils, fat or grease, and flower petals – even glitter can be found in some bath bombs.
As you can imagine, not all of a bath bomb’s ingredients are harmless to your plumbing. Here are some bath bomb materials that can be problematic:
Salt – Salt will usually dissolve in water, but not always, especially if the crystals are large. If salt doesn’t dissolve entirely, you may end up with clogs in your drains.
Oils – These ingredients are usually added to bath bombs in order to moisturize the skin, as well as to provide a fragrant scent. Even a little bit can cause issues with your plumbing, however – the oil can congeal and stick to the insides of your pipes, causing clogs.
Fat/grease – Like oils, fat and grease are sometimes added to bath bombs to moisturize the skin; they also help to maintain the bomb’s shape before it is added to the bath water. Fat and grease don’t dissolve easily unless the water is very hot, and therefore – you guessed it – they can also result in clogs.
Flowers, paper, glitter, etc. – These other materials obviously don’t dissolve in water, and can cause clogs. Even biodegradable ingredients (e.g. flower petals) can cause problems.
How To Use Bath Bombs While Protecting Your Plumbing
Bummed that your beloved bath bombs may be causing plumbing issues? Don’t worry – you can still use them; you just need to take a few precautions:
Use a nylon bag – Before putting it in the water, place your bath bomb in a sealable, fine-mesh nylon bag. The bomb will still fizz, and the bag will help trap the debris, flower petals and other things that may clog your drain. It can even help with the salt that won’t dissolve completely.
Read the fine print – Pay close attention to the ingredients before you purchase any bath bombs, and avoid those that contain oil, grease, or anything else that won’t dissolve easily.
Don’t use them too often – Use them just every once in a while, not every day (or even every week). Yes, we know they’re lots of fun, but your plumbing will thank you if you use them judiciously.
Are you guilty of using bath bombs a few too many times and have clogs in your pipes to show for it? If you’re in the Denver area, call Garvin’s Sewer Service for professional drain and sewer cleaning and to schedule regular preventative maintenance. We can clear your drains and sewers of clogs resulting from bath bombs or other materials that don’t belong in your pipes. We also offer emergency drain cleaning services. If you’re having trouble with your drains or sewers, call us today!