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How do bath bombs work? What chemical reaction is happening?



1/4 cup of powdered citric acid - Andrew has

1/2 cup of baking soda - Morgan

1/4 cup of cornstarch - Morgan

1 teaspoon of olive oil - Genevie

Food coloring - Andrew has

Essential oils - Morgan

Water - Andrew has

Bowl - Genevie

Gloves - Andrew has

Mold (cupcake mold) - Morgan

Procedure:Will be done in classroom

1. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients (citric acid, baking soda, cornstarch). You can use your hands to make sure all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly.

2. Use a spray bottle and small cup to add water to mixture. Do not add too much, just enough so the mixture is compactable.

3. Now add food coloring and essentials oils.

4. Press mixture into the mold. Use a lot of pressure to compact the mixture firmly so there will be no cracking when it drys.

5. Let the bath bombs dry for at least 24 hours. Place in a cool, dry area. If not dry in 24 hours, remove from mold and allow to air dry, until they are completely dry.


Must wear gloves when touching the mixture. The ingredients can cause major irritation to skin in concentrated amounts. Do not inhale or ingest any of the ingredients.

Clean up:

We will wash and rinse all materials used and wipe them clean. We will also make sure that all unused materials are properly put away.


We will take notes and pictures throughout the entire process.

The science behind bath bombs:

A bath bomb shows how acids and bases reactwhen mixed together. In this

experiment, the baking soda is the base and the citric acid is the acid. But the

reaction of this acid-base combination can be controlled by the other ingredients in

the bath bomb. The cornstarch and Epsom salts both act as liquid absorbers to help

keep the baking soda and citric acid from reacting with each other when liquids are

added. They are also helpful if you live in a place with high humidity. Water is the

trigger for the reaction to occur because it dissolves the solids and allows the ions in

the acid and the base to move and collide with each other, causing a chemical

reaction to occur.

More science:

Acid-Base Reactions: When an acid and a base are placed together, they react to neutralize the acid and base properties, producing a salt. The H(+) cation of the acid combines with the OH(-) anion of the base to form water. The compound formed by the cation of the base and the anion of the acid is called a salt.

cation: a positively charged ion. ion - a particle that is electrically charged (positive or negative); an atom or molecule or group that has lost or gained one or more electrons.

anion: atoms or radicals which are a group of atoms, that have gained electrons. Since they now have more electrons than protons, anions have a negative charge.

What is an acid and a base?

Acids and bases are two special kinds of chemicals. Almost all liquids are either acids or bases to some degree. Whether a liquid is an acid or base depends on the type of ions in it. If it has a lot of hydrogen ions, then it is an acid.If it has a lot of hydroxide ions, then it is a base.