Scented Bath Salts




Introduction: Scented Bath Salts

I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design an...

Bath salts make great teacher gifts (or gifts for anybody else who might need to relax at the end of a long, hard day). They are easy enough for children to make themselves, but unlike framed toddler artwork (or a mug with your kid's mug shot), a teacher can either re-gift this or use it up. No clutter! When you make several batches with different scents and colors they present beautifully. 

Step 1: Ingredients & Containers


1 1/2 cup epsom salt
A few drops of food coloring (preferably the gel type)
1 tsp jojoba oil
1/4 tsp essential oil

Epsom salt can be found in any pharmacy. It could be replaced with some fancy schmancy dead sea salt, but really, you might as well flush your money down the toilet... the pricy alternatives make no discernible difference whatsoever, except as a marketing gimmick.

Jojoba oil has a very long shelf life and is well tolerated by practically everybody -- but it can be replaced with a number of oils including grapeseed, avocado, sweet almond, or even mineral oil.

Essential oils can usually be found in health food stores (even though they are NOT to be eaten!) and sometimes in pharmacies. Different oils will give the salts different properties: peppermint and orange are invigorating, lavender is relaxing, eucalyptus is great for head colds, etc. I used to think the various healing qualities of essential oils was about as serious as horoscopes, but I have lost some of my skepticism since I've begun experimenting with them. They won't heal you, and should not be considered a cure or medication, but different scents will definitely influence how you feel.

The container can be any recycled clear glass or plastic jar with a proper air tight cover. The containers I used in the intro picture were made from a clear plastic tube (designed to cover fluorescent lights) I bought from a hardware store, then chopped into pieces.

Step 2: Instructions

In a small bowl or teacup combine the oils and food coloring (don't worry about mixing them together), then mix in a few tablespoons of salt to absorb all the oil and color.

Combine the colored scented salt with the rest of the Epsom salt, stir till the color is uniform, then pour into your container.

If you prefer fizzy salt add up to one cup of effervescent powder (a mix of equal quantities of baking soda and citric acid). You may need to add a few extra drops of color and essential oil, but do not add more jojoba oil or the mix might clump -- in fact, over time, fizzy salt will probably clump anyway, but it will still be perfectly usable.

(See my alka seltzer instructable for notes on citric acid)

Step 3: Use It!

Pour approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup into the tub as it's running and allow it to dissolve before jumping in.


use as decoration for my  cure for the common cold.

This recipe, along with many many others, is part of a book I'm working on called Make Anything, a handbook for saving money, living green and having fun with trash.



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    33 Discussions

    Does the food coloring come off in the bath water?

    1 reply

    The bath salts do not color the bath water in any noticeable way... by the time your bath is full, the food coloring is much too diluted.

    Can I hire you to make something specific for me using these methods? if so email me at

    1 reply

    I didn't see this comment till today... PM me about your project if you're still looking for help!

    Im using food extract, like McCormick's. The flavors are raspberry, mint, and vanilla extract. It works just as well without jojoba oil and expensive oils.

    2 replies

    Food grade is not the same as skin safe.

    Yes, I suppose you could omit the carrier oils, but they do help make your skin feel nicer after the bath, and they also make it easier to mix in the color. Extract can be used for scent too, but you need to use a lot more for an equal effect -- and they can be expensive too, so I'm not sure if you actually end up saving any money.

    Can you use a fragrance oil in place of a pure essential oil? A friend wants a tropical scent she found online and it's a decent product, but it is clearly labeled fragrance.

    2 replies

    Be sure it is skin safe. A fragrance oil meant to make your house smell nice is not.

    Yes, you can. As for any chemical (and essential oils are chemicals too) you need to stop using if if you have an allergic reaction, but if you like the scent and your skin tolerates it, then it should be perfectly safe to use in your bath.

    Sorry, I only saw your comment now... You have to make the effervescent powder, it's one part citric acid, one part baking soda.

    Does the salts work just like a bath bomb? and does the food coloring dye your skin?

    1 reply

    It doesn't fizz like a bath bomb unless you add citric acid and baking soda (this is described in step 2). And no, the food coloring does not die your skin, or even give the bath water much of a color, it's far too diluted by the time the bath is full.

    Awesome - very interesting and amazingly simple. Thanks!

    Different ones for each color, and they're marked: orange, a combination of geranium and yiang yiang, eucalyptus, lavender and the last one is not an OE but a perfume: chocolate

    Idea for Container!
    At Ikea they have small spice jars called Rajtan, in the kitchen section.
    They are perfect for this. Sold in sets of four. I'm giving a set of 4 salts (each a different flavor) using the Ikea packaging to protect the jars. They are glass, and meant for spices, so they keep it air tight. Perfect!
    I found them to preserve my beach collection :)

    Merry Christmas!

    1 reply