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I love a good detox bath to remove toxins from the body and help kids relax (especially before bed) but a bubble bath is so much more fun!
Unfortunately, many bubble baths available at the store contain ingredients that can cause more toxicity. This bubble bath recipe is a great way to give kids a fun bubble bath experience without loading them with toxins.
Why Not Conventional Bubble Bath?
Makers of conventional bubble bath know what they’re doing… those brightly colored fun bottles look quite tempting. They even have cartoon character heads on them! While I can’t blame any kid for wanting them, the ingredient list is not as attractive by a long shot.
According to the Environmental Working Group’s website, which ranks ingredients in personal care products from 1-10 (10 being most toxic), some of the most toxic ingredients in these bubble baths are:
- Fragrance – Concerns include allergies/immune dysfunction, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), and ecosystem toxicity. Score = 8
- Propylparaben – Concerns include allergies/immune dysfunction, endocrine (hormone) disruption, developmental/reproductive toxicity, ecosystem toxicity. Score = 7
- Oxybenzone – Concerns include biochemical or cellular level changes, allergies/immune dysfunction, endocrine disruption, persistence and bioaccumulation (accumulation in the body), developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive). Score = 8
- Imidazolidinyl Urea (a formaldehyde releaser) – Concerns include allergies/immune dysfunction, cancer, and contamination. Score = 7
- Formaldehyde (from imidazolidinyl urea) – Locks in a 10 on the toxicity scale for cancer, allergies, and immunotoxicity.
There are a number of other ingredients found in children’s bubble bath including sodium laureth sulfate (which helps bubbles last longer) that are questionable at best.
Protecting the Skin (and Body)
The skin is our biggest organ and has its own microbiome that is very important to the body. I’m a firm believer that what goes on the skin is as important as what goes in the body (if not more so) since what goes on the skin can be absorbed. If the skin is so susceptible to toxins, it makes sense to keep conventional bubble bath away from kids (and adults too).
The problem that many naturally minded moms run into when their kids want a bubble bath (with the brightly colored bottles from the grocery store, no less) is that kids don’t understand why the answer is “no”. They just want to enjoy a bubbly, sweet-smelling bath (hey, I do too!).
The solution? Make a homemade bubble bath that only contains ingredients that are safe for kids and adults.
How to Make Your Own Bubble Bath
A few simple natural ingredients are all that’s needed to make your own DIY bubble bath:
- Liquid castile soap – Castile soap, a coconut-based soap, is the base of this recipe. On its own, castile soap doesn’t create very many bubbles (and they don’t last long).
- Vegetable glycerin – Glycerin is the ingredient that gives the bubbles a boost. It helps make more suds and also helps the bubbles last longer.
- Essential oils – A natural way to give the bubble bath a nice scent (without yucky chemical fragrances). They can also be used therapeutically (to enhance relaxation, for example).
Kids’ Bubble Bath Recipe
An all-natural bubble bath recipe to make bath time extra fun!
- In a small bowl, mix castile soap, glycerin, and essential oil. Pour into a glass jar for storage.
- Add 1 tablespoon at a time to running bath water until desired bubbles are achieved.
Full disclosure: This kids’ bubble bath recipe can produce a decent suds but it won’t be as bubbly as a conventional bubble bath.
A Note on Essential Oil Safety
Essential oils are highly concentrated substances and can cause harm when used incorrectly. Always dilute them in a carrier oil (water will not dilute them) before using topically. It’s also important to choose essential oils that are safe for children if adding them to a kids’ bubble bath recipe.
Some essential oils that are calming and safe for infants and children are:
- cedarwood atlantica
- clary sage
- juniper berry
Personally, I would avoid using any essential oils in the bath for infants under 3 months and use them sparingly (and diluted) until about 2 years of age. I never add essential oils directly to the bath but dilute them first as in the recipe above.
For a more detailed list of safer essential oils to use around kids, see this helpful post from the Plant Therapy blog, which is endorsed by Robert Tisserand. They even have a line of Kid-Safe blends to take the guesswork out of it.
How Often Can DIY Bubble Bath Be Used?
Since it’s made with natural ingredients, use this DIY bubble bath recipe as often as you like. But be aware that bubble baths (and bathing/showering in general) doesn’t need to be a daily activity for kids, as bathing too often can actually disrupt the skin microbiome and cause eczema and even asthma.
The idea is that washing too often removes microbes from the skin that would otherwise help the immune system develop optimally. Children who haven’t reached puberty yet can get away with one or two baths a week.
Is This Kids’ Bubble Bath Recipe Tear-Free?
Any castile soap, even Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild, is not tear-free. So this recipe is not going to be tear-free (which is a good thing — I’ll explain).
The reason soap irritates the eyes in the first place is that soap has a different pH from the eyes. The eyes actually have a very small window of acceptable pH (7.2-7.4). The pH of real soap is outside that range and will cause some burning if it gets in the eyes.
Tear-free “soaps” don’t actually include soap at all, but this isn’t necessarily a great thing. They contain synthetic surfactants that may be carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and allergens.
My soap strategy: do my best to avoid contact with the eyes and if it happens, rinse with clear water. So far we rarely have any problems.
No Time for DIY?
I love making my own products, but I don’t always have time these days either! Thankfully, companies have come a long way in the last 10 years. This store-bought bubble bath is rated as a top safer choice by the EWG (score of 1). If you try it please let me know what you think in the comments!
Have you tried making your own bubble bath? How did it work?