Natural Bubble Bath Recipe for Kids

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Homemade natural bubble bath for kids
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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!



  1. In a small bowl, mix castile soap, glycerin, and essential oil. Pour into a glass jar for storage.
  2. 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
  • lavender
  • mandarin
  • sandalwood

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?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


30 responses to “Natural Bubble Bath Recipe for Kids”

  1. Janice Avatar

    hi, like you, i’m very cautious about using essential oils around my little one. i was wondering if i can add the herbs instead of the EO directly into the bath instead (using a tea bag)? e.g., lavender for sleep, thyme / elder flower for cough / fevers etc?

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      Absolutely. I’ve done that too. Although I find it works better when I brew as a strong tea and pour into the bath since typically more heat is needed than the temperature of the bath water.

  2. Robert Goodman Avatar
    Robert Goodman

    Kathy, as near as I can tell, the reason people recommend liquid castile soap for this is that they have experience with the lather it makes with a small amount of even hard water, and so they think the bubbles will “scale up” in a bathtubful the same way they would with bubble bath, dishwashing liquid, or liquid “soaps” that are actually soapless. With such foaming products and detergents, you don’t have to add a proportional amount into hard water to make the same suds you’d get in a small amount of water in a large amount, but with soap you do. If you think about the ratio of a bathtubful of water to the amount of water on your hands or a sponge when you lather it with soap, you see that it might take a huge amount of soap for a bubble bath if your water’s hard. (Ask any engineer for stories about scale-up and how far off quantitative predictions can be for scaling up!)

    And then they pass along the recipe without trying it, or they have soft water and get adequate results and think it’ll be like that for everybody.

    Another thing is that when they recoil from the preservatives listed on the bubble bath label, they don’t stop to think about the preservatives in the liquid castile soap, because the rules for actual soap products like that don’t require them to be listed. My understanding is that the commonest preservatives used for liquid soap — as in the Dr. Bronner’s products prepared for them by Stahl Soap Co. — are formaldehyde or formaldehyde donors.

    And finally, they think that because it’s soap it’s milder to skin. But if you use enough to make the entire bath sudsy, it’s as grease-cutting as dish or laundry water, and then you’re sitting in it for the entire bath, rather than just washing with soap and quickly rinsing. With bubble bath, you typically just use enough to make suds that float on top of the water, and don’t make the whole bath into a strong enough detergent solution to be just that — detergent (i.e. “cleaning”). There have been bubble baths that claimed to soak you clean, but in the concentrations you’d use I doubt they did significantly better at that than plain water.

  3. Jean Avatar

    Really wish I had read the comments before buying the ingredients and trying. No bubbles, just murky grey water.

  4. Courtney Avatar

    This recipe didn’t produce one bubble, but the water was very murky (milky white). What did I do wrong?

  5. Joanna Avatar

    I wish I had read these comments before making this recipe in my hard water city! Wellness Mama, perhaps adding a warning to the recipe would help others not make the same mistake.

    1. Vicki McClay Avatar
      Vicki McClay

      So disappointing. Not a bubble and the ingredients were very expensive.

  6. Kathy Avatar

    Every recipe I’ve ever included pure Castile soap in has been a massive flop. No bubbles and in this case it made gray water. On its own, Castile soap leaves an oily residue on dishes if used as dish soap and once again — no bubbles. Why does everyone recommend it?

  7. Kristen Avatar

    I made this and I can’t get it to bubble at all. Help, what did I do wrong?
    Thanks Kristen

  8. Robert Avatar

    Here’s from , one of a series of newspaper ads in the fall of 1939 for Lux (soap) flakes in areas of moderately hard water:

    “Use your regular toilet soap for your bath, of course, but, in addition, just sprinkle the gentle Lux flakes in the water. The speedy Lux bubbles soften the water; Your bath feels extra soothing, extra cleansing. And at the end … no hard scrubbing to get rid of nasty black bathtub ring! Just a swish and your tub is clean. What joy to cut down on scrubbing on bathtub backaches! How much daintier your bath seems, too! The amount of Lux needed varies according to the hardness of the water. For water of average hardness, use about 5 tablespoons or a handful of Lux. For harder water, use more.”

    Some of the ads made more to do of the bubbles as an attraction for children to bathe, but bathtub ring prevention was the chief sell. But as I wrote in an earlier comment, the result of using that much soap is a fairly grease-cuttiing bath you might not want to soak in, and would probably want a shower to rinse from. You CAN use soap (castile or otherwise) to make a bath of suds even in hardest water, if you use ENOUGH soap, but that could turn out to be an enormous amount.

    Glycerine has little or no effect maintaining suds in a bath like that. Glycerine is useful in more concentrated solutions used for discrete bubble BLOWING, which is probably how it found its way into the recipe posted here.

  9. Dorothy Avatar

    This didn’t make any bubbles at our house 🙁 Do you think it could have omething to do with our water?

    1. Robert Avatar

      This is the expected result. A bathtubful of most people’s water has enough “hardness” to turn any reasonable amount of actual soap (such as castile) into sudsless curds, and then scum and a ring, instead of bubbles. Easy way to tell: If you take a bath ordinarily with actual soap, when you’re done is the water bubbly, or is it scummy? If it’s scummy, it’ll be that way regardless of whether you put in that amount of soap at the beginning or washed with it during the bath.

      1. Kimberly Avatar

        Wish I would have read this comment before making this and wasting good ingredients. unfortunately, it did not work for me either. Thank you for the info!

  10. Melody Avatar

    Thank you so much! I’ve been searching for a good one because my husband likes bubble baths too 😉 Can’t wait to just make my own! Thank you for giving us all of the details too! Super appreciate it!

  11. Lisa Avatar

    When I clicked on the link for the safe store bought bubble bath, it brings me to an Amazon page selling sweet orange essential oil for $110. I’m not sure if it’s just me (or why it would take me to that page) or if the link is not working correctly.

    I use a Canadian company called Rocky Mountain Soap based in Canmore, Alberta for shampoo, conditioner and all body soaps and lotions as I have an extreme allergy to sodium lauryl sulfate. I’m not in any way affiliated with the company, just a very grateful customer as everything they sell is natural and free from SLS (and other nasty chemicals). Also, living in Canada, often it is very expensive to buy and ship things from the US.

    But I definitely appreciate new ideas and DIY recipes, so thank you for all your hard work and effort to make these posts available.

  12. Dani Avatar

    I have hard water issue also
    I usually always put baking soda in it to help nitrulize the water for the minion as she loves playing in water but had some open wounds and it seemed to not itratate them as bad

    I’ve mixed this before and it almost never comes out great but I also didn’t do it with baking soda that time
    Would adding baking soda first then more towards the end adding this might help for the bubbles????
    Or is there anything else that could help???
    And if our kids drink this water is it okay??? My kiddo always sneaks some water in while playing. She’s only 22 months lol

    1. Robert Avatar

      Baking soda would be expected to have little to no effect on suds, if that’s your “issue”; as likely to decrease as increase them. Not sure what you’re trying to neutralize in the water with it. Most “hard” waters already have an excess of bicarbonate ion, so adding more isn’t going to bring it closer to pH neutral, if that’s what you mean, but just make it more alkaline. Ordinarily someone with open wounds shouldn’t be immersing them in bath water to begin with.

  13. Kate Avatar

    I’m excited to try this because my kids miss bubble baths so much and I haven’t found anything on the market that I think is safe enough! I’m a little confused about the essential oils though. The recipe says to mix the oil of choice in with the other two ingredients, but then you say that the oils should always be diffused with a carrier oil. So is putting the oil in with the castile soap and glycerin enough to diffuse it or does it need to be added separately with another oil? Thanks!

  14. Emily Avatar

    I like this if I want bubbles in my bath. Wondering what you think of it for kids?
    Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Foam Bath, Peaceful Patchouli and Sweet Orange

  15. Robert Avatar

    Also, alkalinity is not the main reason soap stings eyes, because most pH-neutral shampoos sting eyes about as much as soap — for instance, lauryl sulfate-based Prell. Alkanolamides used in shampoos as foam stabilizers and/or thickeners sting like crazy.

    I’ve never heard of oxybenzone as a bubble bath ingredient. Maybe somebody got it mixed up with sunscreen.

  16. Robert Avatar

    My own bubble bath worked great, though a commercial flop. It didn’t use soap. I also made bubble baths using Ivory Snow back when that was made of soap, and while that worked, there are problems with soap-based bubble baths:

    1. A tubful of most people’s water has enough hardness to require a large-to-huge amount of soap before it makes suds rather than just curds and scum. Until you’ve run all the water in, you don’t know how much soap it’ll take; if you add it while the water’s running, you may get suds that then turn into curds as more water comes in. My experience with Ivory Snow was with NYC’s soft water, but many people who’ve tried recipes such as published here have reported a total absence of bubbles and then a ring.

    2. Soap has a low ratio of bubbles to grease cutting. Bath water sudsy from soap is as grease cutting as dish water. We don’t have that strong a solution on our skin for a long time when we WASH with soap, so many who soak in soapsuds water get itchy or rashy. For bubble bath, you want a high ratio of bubbles to grease cutting. You just want some foam to play with; you’ll wash quickly with soap and shampoo and rinse to get clean.

    Bubble baths made of other surfactants are milder and more effective. I made mine of sulfosuccinates and betaines. I didn’t perfume it, and it smelled nice to me.

      1. Robert Avatar

        Mix 2 volumes 40% diammonium lauryl sulfosuccinate with 1 volume 40% disodium laureth-3 sulfosuccinate solution. Mix 2 volumes of this with 1 volume of alkamidopropyl betaine solution.

        The alkamidopropyl betaine solution can be plain 30% active (35% solids) lauramidopropyl betaine, but preferably a 2:1 (or better 3:2) mixture of 30% active lauramidopropyl betaine and 30% active palmitamidopropyl betaine solution. The palmitamidopropyl betaine solution’s a little hard to get, but adding it makes for a more skin-softening product with cottony foam.

        it may be hard to get any of these ingredients in less-than-commercial amounts. Try reading and asking at either Susan Barclay-Swift’s blog ( or for help obtaining ingredients for toiletry experimentation in hobby amounts.

  17. Debbie Avatar

    I have tried this recipe before, but, because I get fluoridated and hard water in my city, the bubbles last two seconds before leaving me with cloudy water. I did find Aura Cassia brand in the organic section of the store, though, and found this brand to be easier on my skin. I wish there was some thing that would work for my water.

    1. Robert Avatar

      Just about anything that makes suds and is NOT made from soap should work. Soap is even included in some laundry detergents as an anti-foam. For instance, the ingredients of All Free & Clear liquid include sodium cocoate (coconut soap) for “suds suppression”.

  18. Justin Avatar

    I absolutely LOVE your blog! Because of it, I’ve taken the time to invest in and learn the how-to of making all of my own bath care products! I’ve truly saved more money by doing DIYs and have even turned it into a somewhat lucrative side business! Plus the chance to experiment with different scents has been a dream. Who would’ve thought it’d be so easy to make a soap that smells just like a great mug of spiced hot cocoa?! DIVINE!

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