Help, bath bombs won't harden

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Desirae

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Good day ladies, my name is Desirae and I'm a newbie to the forum and to making bath bombs. I've done so much reading that my eye balls feel like there going to fall out, I've tried many recipes with no success. I've made at least 6 batches of BBQ & so fat not a single 1 has come out right, yet I've followed all the recipes exactly and still they won't harden. I hope someone here can help me with what I'm doing wrong. 1 st I do live in a humid area , Virginia state. I've tried both water and witch hazel in a spray bottle to spritz to help made them damp, and either is to dry or to wet. I've used both food coloring and mica powder for colorants. My molds are clear plastic which I have a horrible time getting them out of the mold&I've done the whole tap on it to get it to release and they don't, I've tried to leave them in the mold for hours and still when I open it it splits in half but yet there hard inside each half. I've gone as far as leaving them in the mold for about half hr then putting them in the freezer for 3 or 4 hrs and they still fall apart. My last attempt they were able to come out of the mold then I put them in the freezer for a fwe hours then took them out and spritz them with alcohol bc I read them helps make them hard, wrong bc where I sprayed them the fizz activated and then theyes fell apart.

Please some one help me, I'm desperate and am about to just give up even though my hubby told me to keep trying. I've ordered the metal type molds (though I don't know how this helps) and I've also ordered kaolin clay bc I was told this will help harden the balls. Is this true? And why are the metal molds better then the plastic?

My recipe is
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup citric acid
Colorant
1 ml fragrance oil

I've also tried adding 1 table spoon shea butter to 1 batch, another batch I tried to use coconut oil, ad these are all variations I've read for other recipes

I've used both water and witch hazel to spritz the items all, and worse thing is I've read that when you squeeze a hand full and if it doesn't crumble in your hand them your good to put it in the mold, but yet when I do, it doesn't harden or if it does it breaks off into each half and bc I can't get it out by tapping on it I end up using a spoon to break it out.

What an I do wrong, and is this even a good recipe to use?
Thanks in advance for any and all advice from you ladies. I'm hoping one day to start a side business but for now I'm only making these to give add gifts but can't when they won't stay together and harden . I have perfected my body butter and am ok at the m&p but plan to use the cp next weekend also the m&p ive used seems to stinks even with EO and FO being used
Desirae
 
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shunt2011

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Hello and welcome!

I think it's your recipe. Generally you will use twice as much baking soda than Citric Acid. I would use a half of the cornstarch if at all and the same for the salt. You will need more than 1T of oil/butter to get them to stick together and I would sprits with alcohol (91%) instead of witch hazel.

Heres a couple threads you may find helpful:

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=60662&highlight=bomb
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=60823&highlight=bomb
 

TeresaT

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You can download "Make it Fizz" by Holly Port (or get the book). I have Kindle Unlimited and have downloaded that to my account. It has a bunch of different tips and recipes in it. I'm not sure it your local library has it, but you can check there, too. I got the tip from one of Ariane Arsenault's videos when she was making bath bombs. Another of my favorite YouTubers is Royal Apple Berry. The lady's name is Kenny (?). She's chatty (sometimes a bit much!) and funny and shares her recipes.. She also gives tips and tricks and freely shares her fails!
 

Desirae

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Thank you so much for the tips, I got the recipe off of you tube and her bb worked perfect so I couldn't figure out why mine weren't holdino together and hardening. I read that corn starch is what makes them hold together, so I take it as, that's not the case? Also I only used the butter to add as a moisturizer, does it have other purposes in bb, and how much should I use? Thank you for the links I will definitely be checking those out.

Do you know why metal molds are better instead of the plastic and will the kaolin clay help with hardening?
 

Desirae

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Hello and welcome!

I think it's your recipe. Generally you will use twice as much baking soda than Citric Acid. I would use a half of the cornstarch if at all and the same for the salt. You will need more than 1T of oil/butter to get them to stick together and I would sprits with alcohol (91%) instead of witch hazel.

Heres a couple threads you may find helpful:

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=60662&highlight=bomb
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=60823&highlight=bomb
One thing I did read, and maybe you can tell me if this is right or not but to first combine the corn starch, Epson salt, butters/oils colors and FO, mix that all up first then add the baking soda and citric acid, this way the oils /butters don't activate the last 2 ingredients . Is this true or false?

Also I have seen 1 recipe that called for cream of tarter so 2 questions with that, what's the purpose of cream of tarter ? And where can I find it without having to buy 50 spice jars just to get 1/4 of a cup? My walmart/target/local grocery store only sell the tiny spice container of cream of tarter, do I would literally take about 6 container to make 1/4 cup.
Thank you also is there a huge difference btwn using the 70% as apposed to the 91% you suggested ?
 

Desirae

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You can download "Make it Fizz" by Holly Port (or get the book). I have Kindle Unlimited and have downloaded that to my account. It has a bunch of different tips and recipes in it. I'm not sure it your local library has it, but you can check there, too. I got the tip from one of Ariane Arsenault's videos when she was making bath bombs. Another of my favorite YouTubers is Royal Apple Berry. The lady's name is Kenny (?). She's chatty (sometimes a bit much!) and funny and shares her recipes.. She also gives tips and tricks and freely shares her fails!
Thank you I'll be sure to look those up tonight, thank you for the names
 

shunt2011

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One thing I did read, and maybe you can tell me if this is right or not but to first combine the corn starch, Epson salt, butters/oils colors and FO, mix that all up first then add the baking soda and citric acid, this way the oils /butters don't activate the last 2 ingredients . Is this true or false?

Also I have seen 1 recipe that called for cream of tarter so 2 questions with that, what's the purpose of cream of tarter ? And where can I find it without having to buy 50 spice jars just to get 1/4 of a cup? My walmart/target/local grocery store only sell the tiny spice container of cream of tarter, do I would literally take about 6 container to make 1/4 cup.
Thank you also is there a huge difference btwn using the 70% as apposed to the 91% you suggested ?
I do use cream of tartar. It makes the bomb harder. Also, I just mix everything together well, running it through a fine mesh strainer to make sure all the little lumps are broken up. If using salt, you will want to add that after straining.

Good luck! They can be a bit of a bugger to make. Once you get the hang of it though it's not bad.
 

Desirae

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I do use cream of tartar. It makes the bomb harder. Also, I just mix everything together well, running it through a fine mesh strainer to make sure all the little lumps are broken up. If using salt, you will want to add that after straining.

Good luck! They can be a bit of a bugger to make. Once you get the hang of it though it's not bad.
Do you think it would be better or ok to grind up the Epsom salt and citric acid? I read somewhere that the ball will have a better chance of staying together in 1piece and will also not cause wart? To show up (don't know what warts are) but running both of those ingredients through something like a coffee grinder. Do you think that will be ok to do?
 

MySoapyHeart

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Do you think it would be better or ok to grind up the Epsom salt and citric acid? I read somewhere that the ball will have a better chance of staying together in 1piece and will also not cause wart? To show up (don't know what warts are) but running both of those ingredients through something like a coffee grinder. Do you think that will be ok to do?

Yes, if you have course type Epsom salt or Citric acid, grinding them up can be a good thing to do if you have some issues. But grinding them finely may not fix the issue with warts, though.

Warts can come from different things, like, if the air is a bit humid when you are drying them, warts can pop up like tiny toadstools. Or if the fragrance isn`t enough mixed in, or if you added too much moisture in the recipe.

But grinding the coarse epsom or citric acid is a good idea if you have some issues. Try it and see if it helps, good luck : )
 

Desirae

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Yes, if you have course type Epsom salt or Citric acid, grinding them up can be a good thing to do if you have some issues. But grinding them finely may not fix the issue with warts, though.

Warts can come from different things, like, if the air is a bit humid when you are drying them, warts can pop up like tiny toadstools. Or if the fragrance isn`t enough mixed in, or if you added too much moisture in the recipe.

But grinding the coarse epsom or citric acid is a good idea if you have some issues. Try it and see if it helps, good luck : )
Thank you I will try that. I live in virginia which is a very humid state, 50-80% humidity, so since that has a major impact on the bb, I'm wondering will it work if once I take the bb out of the mold should I put them inside a place like my oven so they can dry to avoid the humidity impacting them and making them fall apart?
 

MySoapyHeart

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Thank you I will try that. I live in virginia which is a very humid state, 50-80% humidity, so since that has a major impact on the bb, I'm wondering will it work if once I take the bb out of the mold should I put them inside a place like my oven so they can dry to avoid the humidity impacting them and making them fall apart?
That may work, although I haven`t tried that myself. I don`t live in a super humid climate, although it can get humid when it rains a lot. So those who have had problems with the humid climate doing these may offer more help as to what is best to do. Bathbombs can be finicky to make, and humidity does not help. But I would think a cold oven may be a good place to dry them : )
 

TBandCW

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Switch out the amts for baking soda and corn starch. 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup cornstarch. I don't grind up anything or put through a mesh. Extra work and I actually like to see the epsom salt crystals.
Note that I live in a very dry climate, my other piece of advice is to rotate your bath bombs while drying. That helped a lot with warts and drying evenly.
 

Desirae

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That may work, although I haven`t tried that myself. I don`t live in a super humid climate, although it can get humid when it rains a lot. So those who have had problems with the humid climate doing these may offer more help as to what is best to do. Bathbombs can be finicky to make, and humidity does not help. But I would think a cold oven may be a good place to dry them : )
Then I week definitelytry it. Also, I see your quote says something about a zap test. What exactly is that? I've been using m&p for learning to do soap, plan to give my hand at cp. I read here you have to use a plastic that has a 1 or 5 on it, c any reason for that? I always though of plastic as being plastic just the number indicated the number of times it's been remade. Anytricks to know about that will make this an easy process for my 1 st time doing cp? I've already got all my supplies, only I bought a water pitcher to do the lye and water mix in add I saw some one on you tube use just a normal water pitcher. Any advice would be helpful to make my 1st experience a good one rather then a complete failure
 

lsg

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You might try adding a little melted cocoa butter.
 

shunt2011

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Then I week definitelytry it. Also, I see your quote says something about a zap test. What exactly is that? I've been using m&p for learning to do soap, plan to give my hand at cp. I read here you have to use a plastic that has a 1 or 5 on it, c any reason for that? I always though of plastic as being plastic just the number indicated the number of times it's been remade. Anytricks to know about that will make this an easy process for my 1 st time doing cp? I've already got all my supplies, only I bought a water pitcher to do the lye and water mix in add I saw some one on you tube use just a normal water pitcher. Any advice would be helpful to make my 1st experience a good one rather then a complete failure

You may want to post your question in the lye soap forum. Rather than start a new topic within a topic. You will likely get more answers. Also if you read back at least 10 pages in the beginners forum you will find a lot of great information.
 

MySoapyHeart

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I see your quote says something about a zap test. What exactly is that? -
I read here you have to use a plastic that has a 1 or 5 on
it, c any reason for that?
I bought a water pitcher to do the lye and water mix in add I saw some one on you tube use just a normal water pitcher. Any advice would be helpful to make my 1st experience a good one rather then a complete failure
Desirae - have you read threads in the beginners forum? When I was new here, I read everything I could find in there, and so very much of the info I found there gave me most of the answers I needed. Don`t miss out on the threads and topics in there, so much usefull stuff in there : )

Also, Shunt then also advised you to start a new thread, that is a good idea, you will perhaps get more answers : )

That said - if it is ok by the mods that I post my reply anyway, I would like to. Because I was almost done typing a reply : P

Desirae, don`t let my answering you stop you from making a new thread with your questions, if you have some that you can`t find in the forum, ok?


Zap test
is to check if the soap has active lye in it, which means that the saponification is still going on. For that test you simly wet your finger with water, rub the soap gently and then let your finger touch your tongue. Feel a zap? Lye still active. It stops zapping after the lye has done its job. Btw - If you get zapped with soap that has still active lye in it you will know! It feels like the zap you feel if you put your tongue on the end of a battery. Hence the very accurate name of the test - ZAP, lol.

You may encounter both new beginners or hardcore, long time soapers, that swear by a special chemical called Phenolphthalein. This chemical will turn pink if there is any active lye present. But I personally feel this is just an unneccesary thing and waste of money, when you much quicker can do the zap test that doesn`t involve buying expensive stuff like that. Others may disagree of course.

If you are unsure of anything just ask and you can be certain that someone will help you along the way, when you are ready to make your first CP : )

Glass is not a good idea for lyewater.
Reason is that over time the lye will etch the glass with tiny microscopic tears, and one day those tears will cause the glass to suddenly break.
Very bad if the glass container is empty at the time. Catastrophic if it has lye water in it...

The reason for using plastic
with the correct number is that the #5 plastic will not melt, react to, or be affected by, the high level af alkaline lye.

Containers that can be used in soaping (soap batter and lyewater) has the code 5 in a triangle symbol, and PP letters.

You asked if I had any advice to when you start up? Just one: Don`t bite over more than you can chew, and start slow with simple, inexpensive ingredients. It will be soap anyway.

Start with a simple recipe, no colors and no fragrance. Get to know the stages of the soap batter, how it behaves.
Oh, and one last thing:
Line up everything you are going to use, have them handy. Keep papertowels etc. ready to wipe up spills etc. I could go on and on, but will stop here.
 

Desirae

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Desirae - have you read threads in the beginners forum? When I was new here, I read everything I could find in there, and so very much of the info I found there gave me most of the answers I needed. Don`t miss out on the threads and topics in there, so much usefull stuff in there : )

Also, Shunt then also advised you to start a new thread, that is a good idea, you will perhaps get more answers : )

That said - if it is ok by the mods that I post my reply anyway, I would like to. Because I was almost done typing a reply : P

Desirae, don`t let my answering you stop you from making a new thread with your questions, if you have some that you can`t find in the forum, ok?


Zap test
is to check if the soap has active lye in it, which means that the saponification is still going on. For that test you simly wet your finger with water, rub the soap gently and then let your finger touch your tongue. Feel a zap? Lye still active. It stops zapping after the lye has done its job. Btw - If you get zapped with soap that has still active lye in it you will know! It feels like the zap you feel if you put your tongue on the end of a battery. Hence the very accurate name of the test - ZAP, lol.

You may encounter both new beginners or hardcore, long time soapers, that swear by a special chemical called Phenolphthalein. This chemical will turn pink if there is any active lye present. But I personally feel this is just an unneccesary thing and waste of money, when you much quicker can do the zap test that doesn`t involve buying expensive stuff like that. Others may disagree of course.

If you are unsure of anything just ask and you can be certain that someone will help you along the way, when you are ready to make your first CP : )

Glass is not a good idea for lyewater.
Reason is that over time the lye will etch the glass with tiny microscopic tears, and one day those tears will cause the glass to suddenly break.
Very bad if the glass container is empty at the time. Catastrophic if it has lye water in it...

The reason for using plastic
with the correct number is that the #5 plastic will not melt, react to, or be affected by, the high level af alkaline lye.

Containers that can be used in soaping (soap batter and lyewater) has the code 5 in a triangle symbol, and PP letters.

You asked if I had any advice to when you start up? Just one: Don`t bite over more than you can chew, and start slow with simple, inexpensive ingredients. It will be soap anyway.

Start with a simple recipe, no colors and no fragrance. Get to know the stages of the soap batter, how it behaves.
Oh, and one last thing:
Line up everything you are going to use, have them handy. Keep papertowels etc. ready to wipe up spills etc. I could go on and on, but will stop here.
Thanks a million for the info, I will go check those threads you mentioned. Appreciate your help. Have a great weekend
 

Desirae

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You may want to post your question in the lye soap forum. Rather than start a new topic within a topic. You will likely get more answers. Also if you read back at least 10 pages in the beginners forum you will find a lot of great information.
Can you give me the link to be able to do that, I tried to figure out how to start a new post but didn't see anything that was obvious
 

penelopejane

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Can you give me the link to be able to do that, I tried to figure out how to start a new post but didn't see anything that was obvious
Go back to the main forum page for the "beginners" or "lye based" or "Bath and body" posts and you will find a blue "new thread" button on the top left corner. Click on that.

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=19

Just FYI you can delete most of a post you reply to but you have to keep th it's between the brackets at the beginning and end of the post. That way the person knows you've replied but doesn't have to scroll through their post twice. It is a pain to do on a mobile but easy on a computer!
 
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Desirae

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[Just FYI you can delete most of a post you reply to but you have to keep th it's between the brackets at the beginning and end of the post. That way the person knows you've replied but doesn't have to scroll through their post twice. It is a pain to do on a mobile but easy on a computer![/QUOTE]
Thanks for both pieces of info, I guess it's obvious I'm totally new to the whole forum thing, this is completely out of my realm of what I do online, usually I'll read through them but this is the 1st time ever posting to one. Thanks for all of your guys help
 

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