Are Bath Bombs Bad for Your Plumbing?

Bath bombs can be a fun and relaxing way to spice up your bath. But could they also be harming your plumbing?

If you or someone in your life regularly takes baths, you probably know all about bath bombs. A few years ago, bath bombs seemed like just another trend. Now they’re a well-known and commonly used part of bath time routines in homes around the world.

Bath bombs infuse bathwater with fragrances, oils, and fizzy bubbles that create a spa-like environment in any bathroom. But could the ingredients in bath bombs quietly damage your plumbing? Here, we’ll take a look at what bath bombs are made of, and whether they have any potentially harmful effects on your pipes.

What’s In a Bath Bomb?

The typical bath bomb features three core ingredients: baking soda, citric acid and corn starch. That combination creates a chemical reaction in your bath, causing the water to fizz.

While those basic ingredients are common to all bath bombs, there can be a lot of variation with other additives. Some are made with perfumes and scented oils. Others come packed with dye and glitter that change the color of your bathwater.

Can Bath Bombs Damage Your Pipes?

The three main components of a bath bomb will not damage to your pipes— at least, not on their own. Baking soda, citric acid and corn starch are absolutely fine to put down your drain. They’re safe for human skin, so there’s almost no chance they could cause any real structural damage to your pipes. Your kitchen sink probably handles worse things every day.

On their own, bath bombs are pretty harmless. But adding things like oil and glitter to a drain that already handles human hair and shampoo residue is a recipe for a quick clog.

“When you mix the hair and soap scum that builds up in bathtub drains with the minerals and oils in bath bombs, it will accelerate the countdown until the drain needs to be snaked out,” says Enoch Heise, a licensed journeyman plumber and trainer for Legacy Plumbing. “Furthermore, any of the substances that don’t dissolve (like glitter) only make this worse.”

How to Safely Use Bath Bombs

If you frequently use bath bombs, you should regularly clear out your drain with vinegar and hot water to prevent clogs from developing over time. Try to avoid bath bombs with glitter and other unnecessary additives. A bath full of glitter may be fun, but it doesn’t really serve a purpose and could lead to plumbing complications down the road.

Here’s one smart way to enjoy bath bombs while minimizing the risk of a clog: Wrap them in nylon before throwing them into the tub. Putting them inside the toe of a pair of nylon tights or dress socks will help contain any chunky or leftover residue, keeping it from going down the drain.