Whether you make your bath bombs or buy them from the store, all are bound to expire eventually. Some will not expire even after one year, while others are not usable after just a few weeks. Knowing why this happens and what you can do about it will be discussed in this article.
Bath bombs can last for up to six months. It is recommended to use bath bombs within those six months if you want them to be as effective as fresh ones. As time goes on, bath bombs lose their potency, fizziness, and scent.
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Similar to food products, every ingredient in a bath bomb has a fixed shelf life. And knowing the exact shelf life will help you make more efficient use of your favorite fizzy bath items but also help you prevent throwing them away.
We will cover the best methods to increase the longevity of your bath bombs. Additionally, we will also cover how to stay safe while using these bathroom products.
Do bath bombs expire?
To know if bath bombs expire or not, you need to know a little bit about their composition. These fun-packed bathroom products are usually made (at least homemade ones) out of natural ingredients.
Their components include sodium bicarbonate, more commonly known as baking soda, and citric acid. While both these ingredients are long-lasting, this is not the case with other ingredients, such as essential oils.
The fizzy reaction you get by placing bath bombs in the tub is because the acid reacts to moisture. Water in your bath is the perfect source of moisture that triggers the acid when exposed. However, this reactive ability makes the citric acid in bath bombs grow ineffective, at least if your bath bombs are left out in the open and thus not stored properly.
Citric acid reacts to moisture, and this is the same reaction as you would have if you throw your bath bomb in your bath. How fast this happens depends on your location and the humidity of the area. But inevitably, with time, all bath bombs lose most of their potency, and thus they expire.
This is why it is crucial to know every ingredient’s shelf life used in a bath bomb. This is not only because they lose their potency, but herbal and organic ingredients also tend to become harmful. To give you a few examples, fresh ingredients like herbs, flowers, juices, fruits, etc., are part of this list.
How Long Do Bath Bombs Last?
How long do bath bombs last is, of course, the main subject here, but it is equally important to know how you can keep them fresh for as long as possible. The general recommended use-by guideline on bath bombs and bubble bars is around 6 months. But some may be shorter while others might be a little longer. This is highly dependent on ingredients used, such as aromas, oils, and how they are stored. We will cover the topic of how to store them later on in this article.
Another reason customers love bath bombs is their wonderful scent. This is achieved by adding essential oils.
Store-bought versions might include chemical aromas, which may last much longer. Either way, the smell, in either case, will become less alluring over time. The fragrance will fade because essential oils tend to evaporate after some time.
To give you an idea of how long the most common ingredients found in bath bombs last, I made a very short list below:
- Coconut oil has a shelf life of more than one year
- The shelf life of Avocado oil is no more than one year
- Palm oil has a shelf life of 1.5 years
- The shelf life of Castor oil is one year
- Coffee butter has a shelf life of 1 year
- The shelf life of Sweet Almond oil is one year
- Apricot Kernel oil has a shelf life of 6 months to 1 year
- Olive oil has a longer shelf life of up to 2 years
- Canola oil has a shelf life of 1 to 2 years
- Sunflower oil has a shelf life of 6 months
I want to add that there is a possibility that these ingredients may expire even faster when combined with baking soda and citric acid. You should contact the manufacturer of your store-bought bath bombs if you want to know more about specific expiration processes.
How Do You Keep Bath Bombs Fresh? How Should You Store Them?
If you wish to store them for as long as possible, it is vital to store them the right way. For example, using a storage container can let you keep bath bombs for up to 2 years in some cases. However, there is no guarantee that the stored bath bombs will work well or even be usable. Again this highly depends on the other ingredients you’ve added that have a shorter shelf-life.
There are plenty of ways to store bath bombs to retain their freshness. But, whatever method you use, even with the most robust storage, bath bombs won’t be as fizzy if stored for too long.
This is why you should always try using them within the first six months. Now that we covered this topic let’s look at how we store them and what we should avoid at all costs during this process.
The first step to keeping these fun bathroom products fresh is ensuring dryness. Keep them in cool places where moisture is low. This can include basements or cupboards. In case your area of residency is humid, bath bombs will expire quicker. One way to reduce the humidity in the room is with the help of a dehumidifier.
While this seems like a natural location, leaving bath bombs in the bathroom with all your other products is a bad move. Bathrooms have the most amount of moisture and steam in the whole house! Instead, you can use an airtight bulk container for keeping multiple bath bombs together.
In case your bath bombs include fresh ingredients like fruits, essential oils, or flowers, be sure to pack these with much greater care to preserve them well.
Since storage can be tricky at times, I have included a quick guide. You can use any easily available or purchased items to store your bath bombs effectively in the following ways:
- Use plastic wraps to seal your bath bombs in airtight wrapping. Tie a knot at the base after twisting it several times to prevent air from getting stored inside, and use a sticker for sealing it well.
- Shrink wraps are an effective alternative to plastic wraps. They are even more efficient since you can use a heat-sealing method to cut off moisture completely. By using heat from a hairdryer, you can shrink the wrap around the bath bomb without leaving any space.
- A sealable plastic bag or baggy is another effective method of storage. For this to work, you will have to squeeze out all the air before sealing the bag.
Can Bath Bombs Grow Mold?
Most bathroom products like lotions and cosmetics are likely to grow mold with time. This makes you wonder, do bath bombs share the same fate? To address this question, you will have to understand the way mold works and why it grows.
Bacteria and mold grow when there is water in a product. That is why scrubs and lotions are prone to bacterial growth. Even with the use of preservatives, fresh ingredients will grow mold in any product.
It also means that bath bombs containing fresh ingredients are likely to grow mold. And if kept in moist areas, they are even more likely to decay.
In addition to mold, you should also worry about the rancidity of your bath bombs. Rancidity indicates that a product has expired. Mold can occur even if your bath bombs have not expired. In contrast, rancidity occurs only after a specific time period. Rancid products will lose their color, smell, and potency.
Rancidity and mold are often interconnected processes since some ingredients encourage mold, while others go rancid. Bath bombs usually contain a mixture of both kinds of ingredients.
Is It Okay To Use Expired Bath Bombs?
Technically you can, yes. You can use expired bath bombs. However, if you are looking for fizz and aroma, you are sure to be disappointed. Moreover, expired bath bombs are likely to crumble and dissolve without any reaction. Keep in mind that there will be no color added to your bath, either.
In case your bath bomb contains ingredients that cause harm after expiry, it can be risky to use. They can cause skin irritation and be especially dangerous if they enter your body. In the case of store-bought bath bombs, it’s even worse since there may be plenty of unknown chemicals.
If you plan to use expired bath bombs, only proceed at your own risk. I personally would avoid it altogether.
What Can You Do With Old And Expired Bath Bombs?
It might be that this bath bomb you got was a gift from a friend ten years ago has a sentimental value to you. So what can you do with it?
First, I want to repeat that using expired bath bombs in the tub is not recommended.
One way to use them is as a decorative piece even after expiry. You can set up multiple bath bombs in a tray or basket as décor in the bathroom.
Even for decoration, expired bath bombs are likely to lose out on their firm texture and scent. Given that bath bombs also lack scent after expiry, it may be best to discard them if they’re quite old.
By knowing about the expiry and shelf life of bath bombs, you can plan your DIY projects smartly. It’s also a good reason to stop hoarding these precious fizzy treasures and spoil yourself at the earliest. Be sure to use bath bombs soon after purchase or production for the freshest results.