There are few things better after a long day than sinking into a tub filled with hot water and fragrant bath salts. It’s even better when the bath salts are homemade at a fraction of the price you’d pay in a store!
Out of all the bath and body crafting I’ve done, making bath salts is the easiest. You don’t have to worry about chemistry like bath bombs or melting anything like when you make bath melts.
Overall, they’re the simplest and cheapest bath items you can make at home. That also makes them great gifts! With a little bit of prep and some help from Dollar Tree, you can get all your holiday or birthday gifting done in an afternoon.
Bath Salt Ingredients
If you’re really feeling lazy you can just dump a handful of Epsom salts in your tub, straight from the bag. If that’s your goal, you don’t need to be here.
But I’m glad you are! So let’s make some bougie bath salts on a budget.
The bulk of your bath salts will be made with salt, groundbreaking I know. But it doesn’t have to be boring!
You can use Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) or sea salt (sodium chloride) for your bath. You can even mix them!
If you decide to mix them and you want to avoid the separation that naturally occurs when you mix a tiny particle with a chunky one look for larger grains of sea salt.
I’ve been using pretzel salt, which has nice large grains and you can buy it in giant bags which is great for making bath and body items.
When it comes to fragrance the sky is the limit! You can use essential oils or fragrance oils, as long as they’re skin-safe you’re good to go.
I have quite a few bottles of fragrance oils from Nature’s Garden for my candle-making exploits so that’s what I tend to reach for but I’m not against an eucalyptus soak when I’m feeling under the weather.
Learn How to Make Soy Candles
Legit fragrance oil companies are very upfront about where you can safely use their products and how much you can add. Look for the IFRA certificate for the exact amounts allowed:
Some of my favorite fragrance oils for bath items are:
- Jack Frost – a mix of vanilla & mint perfect for the holiday season (I used it in my Lump of Coal Bubble Bars and Santa Claus Bath Salt Ornaments)
- Pumpkin Cheesecake – not only does it make the best pumpkin candle, it’s also skin-safe!
- White Tea & Bergamot – a delicious and relaxing spa scent (I used this in my Basic Bath Melts)
I usually use fragrance oils because they’re more fun and I have a ton of them but I turned this batch into my ‘oh no it’s winter and my kids are in public school and I’ll be sick until May’ batch with some sinus-clearing Eucalyptus essential oil.
When it comes to personalizing your bath salts, color is an easy way to mix things up! I like to add colors mostly because it’s easier to tell different varieties apart.
Everything you use needs to be (say it with me) skin-safe. Do not use colorants or dyes meant for candles or fabric.
The easiest way to color bath salts is with a powdered mica or liquid soap dye. I tend to cycle through hobbies and I prefer to use mica because I know it’s going to be fine if I don’t get around to using it for a few months (or years).
For this batch, I used some liquid Lime Green soap colorant from Nature’s Garden. It looked really dark in the cup but turned into a super bright lime in the salt.
Your colors will always be darkest in the cup so don’t panic if your blue or purple looks black!
You also have natural options like activated charcoal powder for black, green clay for green, or turmeric for yellow. If you decide to this route I recommend finding a soap supply company, not only will you save money buying large quantities but you’ll also know you’re getting the right stuff.
The main additive that I use is an emulsifier called Polysorbate 80. It’s a vegan liquid that allows oil and water to mix.
In your bath, that means your fragrance oils, moisturizing oils and colorants (especially mica) will be dispersed into the water instead of just floating on top.
The natural colorants I mentioned above often have additional properties you may want in your bath. I am not a doctor so I won’t be promoting anything from a healing perspective but you can certainly look into it!
You can also make foaming or bubbly bath salts by adding surfactants.
Learn how to make Foaming Bath Salts
Bath Salts Supplies
You don’t need anything especially fancy to make bath salts but you do need supplies earmarked for crafting that will never again be used for food.
Most of my bath and body supplies come from the Dollar Tree. I tend to use glass and metal over plastic in my kitchen so it’s easy enough for me (and my kids and fiance) to remember what gets used for what.
It also helps that most of the kitchen supplies from Dollar Tree are bright red. I use:
- Large Plastic Mixing Bowl with Handle
- McCormick Measuring Cups
- McCormick Measuring Spoons
- Small Paper Cups
The only disposable thing I use is the small paper condiment cups. I use them to mix the fragrance oil with the colorants and polysorbate 80.
It’s also really helpful to keep paper towels on hand to clean up any spills.
Measuring vs Weighing
When you look up bath salts recipes almost all of them require weighing ingredients over measuring. It’s much, much more precise to use a scale.
At the same time, not everyone has a kitchen scale and that shouldn’t be the only thing to stand in your way from making your own bath supplies!
Unlike cosmetics or edibles, you have a lot of wiggle room before you get into unsafe territory. The most dangerous (more like irritating) ingredients you’ll be using are the fragrance oils.
- 2 cups of Epsom Salt
- 2 cups of Sea Salt
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Fragrance or Essential Oil (about 50-100 drops)
- 1/2 teaspoon Polysorbate 80
- Optional - Mica or Liquid Soap Dye
- Large Mixing Bowl (one used only for crafts, not food)
- Small Paper Cup
- Combine Fragrance Oil, Mica, and Polysorbate 80 in a small cup
- Add the Epsom and sea salts to the bowl
- Pour in liquid ingredients and stir until fully combined
- Transfer to a sealed container or plastic bag
- Allow the bath salts to sit for several hours so the salt can absorb the oils
- Add a cup of bath salts to a warm bath for a fragrant and relaxing soak
I used Lime Green FUN Soap Colorant from Nature's Garden & a mix of Eucalyptus and Spearmint essential oils for fragrance
Check out my DIY Bath & Body page for more ideas or start here: