I’m telling you, I could not think of ANYTHING to get Elias, our third son, who turned six today. He doesn’t need any more stuff and I certainly didn’t want to spend any money on more stuff. (I’m trying to get rid of stuff around here!)
The ONLY thing I could think of that he might like for his birthday was bubble bath. He has asked me for bubble bath several times in the past because he knows it is soooo much fun. But I’m not a big fan of the kind from the store (even though they are so cool cause they have Buzz Lightyear on the bottle!). Many of us have very sensitive skin at our house and soaking in a bathtub full of colored chemicals scared me (sorry, Buzz).
And so, I went online and looked for a recipe for homemade bubble bath. I found a great one here! It was super easy to make, cost VERY little and was so much fun to do. I even found this empty maple syrup bottle to put it in! (I knew I was saving that bottle for a good reason!) Then I made a fun label with HIS name on it which he thought was the greatest! (even better than Buzz!)
Here’s the recipe:
Homemade Bubble Bath
1/2 cup shampoo
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a bowl, mix the shampoo and water until well combined. Add salt and stir until it thickens slightly. Use a funnel to pour it into a bottle.
And that’s it!
This bubble bath costs pennies to make and makes a wonderful gift or stocking stuffer. Add a personalized label to make the gift even more special!
very easy! but I wonder what the salt does. Hmmmm?
I believe the salt is used to soften the water.
Like the water softeners that use salt.
How long does it last for? need answer ASAP!
What a super idea! Tell Elias happy birthday for us – I wish we could be there to help celebrate!
And P.S., how is it possible that Elias is SIX? That means Samuel will be SIX in just a few weeks……seriously??!! Total Mama denial goin’ on over here!
Such a cooooool idea–it is neat that the little things mean so much to them much like to us adults. Yet we are led to believe that kids want only more stuff! When actually they crave for more of our time than anything.
That was really creative!
My desk calendar at work is “Life’s Little Instuctions from the Bible” and today’s quote for today fits this to a T! “Remember that it’s often simplicity that gives things their enduring appeal.” Too cool- I may steal your idea for some or all of our six nieces! :-)
Ann at mommysecrets says
Oohh – I love this idea! Thanks for sharing@!!!
For Mary~4boys4me: The salt is a water softener and preservative. Not much in there, but it would make a difference in such a small bottle of bubbles.
My question is what brand of shampoo you are using? It’s nice and clear, and I’d love to see if I can find it here.
Carla = http://www.cottonpickinfarm.blogspot.com
Just another tip…my kids also love bubble baths, but another thing that cons them into the tub is adding a few drops of food coloring to the water. Who doesn’t love to bathe in green water?!
Fun, easy project to do w/ the kids. Like it alot. My son’s name is Elias also and it looks great on the bottle!!!
What a fun idea! I know this post isn’t terribly recent, but I wanted to share this!
My boyfriend and I agreed to have FREE birthday celebrations for each other this year. While searching my fave frugal blogs for inspiration, I found your post. I love the idea, and my boyfriend’s name happens to be Elias also!
These boys are lucky to have such fab frugal ladies likes us in their lives ;)
I wonder if Dr. Bronner’s liquid baby mild or peppermint soap would work in place of the 1/2 cup of shampoo… I know it’s supposed to work in foaming dispensers… just a tbsp or two & fill up with water will do ya.
I bet it would work. I’ve never used Dr. Bronner’s but I’ve heard great things about it. And, as long as it will suds up when you’re washing your hair, it should surely work to create bubbles in a bubble bath!
The Dr. Bronner’s may work but it will most likely NOT remain clear. Most of their products are cloudy when water is added.
Meeting the needs of breastfeeding families
Tasha T says
Thank you for this recipe. I have tried others but they were not as bubbly.
Narali B says
Does it relay work? What kind of shampoo is the best dose anyone know?
What kind of shampoo did you use for your recipes give me ideas please. I also
Can give out an idea it will work well for Christmas gifts and put them
in a bottle and then put a ribbion around it….. even put a tag on it saying
directions or candy cane bubble bath or somthing. Can you use hand soap?
I just used Suave Naturals Coconut Shampoo bc my toddler really wanted a bubble bath and we were out of suds. Works great. I still have half a jar left.
Mandy, Dr Bronners does not work for bubble bath :( its the only soap we use in our house.. and we put it in the bath to soften the water ( works great for that…) but no matter how much soap you put in the water… no bubbles :(
what kind of shampoo do u use laura. just curious
We use Giovanni 50/50 – Love it!
Narali B says
But is that an expensive shampoo and can you get it in stores or does it
have to be online?
Yes, it’s pricey, but I prefer it because it has fewer harmful chemicals. You can buy it at stores like Whole Foods, but since I don’t have access to stores like that near me, I order it online.
Dusty Lyn says
Can it be ANY shampoo?
Yes, I believe any kind would work!
Dusty Lyn says
Could you use the Johnson&Johnson baby soap? The normality one..
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ll have to try it. I love that it’s so simple. I’ve linked up to your post on my weekly favorites here: http://play2grow.blogspot.com/2011/05/weekly-favorites-for-may-29-2011.html
Wow! Thank you for the receipe!
Molly Grenier says
A reply to cottonpickinfarm, TRESemmè works great if you want a clear after product. P.S. This is an AMAZING idea! Great party favors for my kids birthdays!
Not homemade but natural – BioKleen liquid dishwashing (not dishwasher but sink hand dishwashing) soap is pretty pure & can be used as bubble bath. It even says so on the bottle & it works great. I have a child with eczema, asthma, environmental allergies so we are really pureist but he can bathe in it w/o a problem.
This may be a dumb question, but how is soaking in shampoo chemicals different than soaking in bubble bath chemicals? Admittedly, we rarely use BB here since I have daughters and it doesn’t agree with them (those with girls know what I’m talking about!) but if this is different somehow, I’d be willing to let them try it.
That’s actually a really good question, one I didn’t address in the post. I use a very healthy shampoo that I feel safe using in this bubble bath. Otherwise, you’re right, this wouldn’t be any better than soaking in regular bubble bath! https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/buy-high-quality-shampoo-and-still-save-money
I am trying this right now but yours is clear and mine is not I am guessing its because of the shampoo I have ,but does it make a difference?
The type of shampoo would make a difference in the color, but any type will do! (Yes, I used a clear shampoo.)
Definitely making this. Thanks for the recipe!
Girlfriends Are Like Shoes
Hi! Has anyone ever tried some with “scents” to use as gifts? Just wondering if I could use a peppermint extract… Thanks for this idea! I’m doing a mostly homemade Christmas this year and this is one of the gifts I’ll be making for nieces & nephews!
I will definitely try this, I would think you could use an extract but I
would buy the ones made for soap not the ones for cooking.
Be very careful with extract and essential oils. Peppermint in particular can burn the skin.
The water and salt in the recipe together do nothing, you’d be just as well off using the shampoo directly. What the water does is dilute it — but that’s silly considering you’ll be using it in a bathtubful of water anyway — and what the salt does is compensate for the loss of viscosity caused by dilution and partially make up for dilution of the preservatives. And with all the different shampoo and bubble bath formulas out there, there’s no way to say in advance without knowing the ingredients that any particular shampoo will be less irritating than any particular bubble bath.
Dr. Bronner’s will work if your water is “soft” enough to begin with. You do have to use enough to take up all the water “hardness” before it will make lasting bubbles, and in some waters that can be an enormous, impracticable amount in a bathtubful. However, it will be more irritating when used in this way than other foaming products. Even users who tolerate Bronner’s fine in concentrated form for a quick wash will often report that soaking in a tub of water with enough of the soap to make it sudsy makes them itch afterward.
As you can see from my linked site, I’m an expert on this subject. You have to know about the properties of the ingredients and then do a good deal of testing if you want to be confident that a particular formula will be both adequately foamy and non-irritating for all users, and gentleness to skin doesn’t correlate perfectly with mildness to the genito-urinary tract. But the good news is that most users are not too sensitive, and can use most things.
Narali B says
Hi! Do you have a posting for this? What I mean is can I have a website
so I can make your recipe to? Thank you so much I will cheek soon!
Narali B, I don’t understand what you’re asking. You don’t need a Web site to make my recipe, and you don’t need my permission to have a Web site. Are you just asking what my formula is? The description in US pat. 5,336,446 is pretty good; it’s now in the public domain. My current batch, which is pretty old but still usable, was 4 parts 40% diammonium lauryl sulfosuccinate sol’n, 3 parts 30% active lauramidopropyl sol’n (35% solids), 2 parts 40% disodium lauryl (ethyl ether)3 sulfosuccinate sol’n. However, I like it even better if 1/3 to 2/5 of the lauramidopropyl betaine is substituted for by palmitamidopropyl betaine.
Oh, how handy you are, this gives me just the idea to use up the disodium lauryl (ethyl ether)3 sulfosuccinate solution I have on hand.
I followed the recipe using coconut oil & Dr Bronners.
The bubbles did not last more than a few minutes and worse our drain was clogged the next morning by the coconut oil which solidified in the pipe.
After we cleared the drain ( what a stressful day that was ) I tried straight shampoo and it was excellent. The bubbles lasted until bath was over (25 minutes), the scent was nice and it was gentle on both the little ones’ skin.
So…I happy bought 2 Johnsons & Johnson’s bubble baths at Target yesterday. Homemade chemistry? No thanks! I’ll stick to cooking & knitting. Thanks! :)
I added this to my DIY projects this year! I cannot wait to try this bubble bath! I looks so easy and cheap!
Thanks for the idea. I ran out of bubble bath and my 6 yr old daughter really wanted to take one to night. This was super easy to make she even did it herself. She has been in the bath for 30 min and still has a ton of bubbles. This will also be a cheap fun project to do with her friends.
Anonymous girl says
I,know right! I sat in the bathtub for 1 hour and still had bubbles! Cloudy ones but I,think cloudy ones a re more fun! Its a great treat for teens adults and children even my two year old son loves them! :)
will it work if i also add coconut oil? if so how much?
thanks for the great idea btw
I’m not sure, I’ve not tried it that way before.
Don’t add coconut oil. It will solidify and clog your pipes/drain.
Anonymous girl says
Wow I read the recipe and immeadiatly took a bath seriously it really works! And it makes so many bubbles! Next time I give.my.son a bath I will make him these bubbles because he is a fan of bubbles! :)
not leaving my name says
That is such a great, idea once I read it I went straight into my kitchen and made it. That will make a great Christmas present for anyone!!!! Thanks!!
I used a Suave shampo I got for free that was clear and had a good smell. It worked great and it was free.
What if you used baby shampoo? I know a cousin of mine who is of adult age still needs to use this to bathe as she has a very sensetive… well ya know… Would you still get good bubbles?
Baby shampoo should work. I have poured it straight into the tub for my kids for bubbles, and worked just fine.
Don’t you think that “shampoo” is full of chemicals as well? !!
Priestess LeAnne says
Does anyone know of any non scented shampoos out there that I may do this with? As a holistic therapist, this recipe would be a perfect carrier for my clients who like herbal soaks and bubble baths, but hate the residue that steeping themselves in straight up herbs leave on the skin. I have a method of retaining the herbal properties and scent, but I need an unscented shampoo to keep this good stuff smelling nice.
I have always used California baby shampoo and body wash for my sons who are 2 and 5 and both have sensitive skin. There is even a senisitive skin version. It worked really well with this bubble bath recipe, and the bubbles lasted for a long time. The boys loved it.
I just tried it. It took me 2 minutes and totally made my daughters day so much happier. Thank you.
I tried dr. Brokers and it didnt work. However I make homemade soap so I am going to heat the water melt the soap and then add the salt. I think i will be able to get some bubbles plus my soaps etc are all scented without chemicals so I won’t hve to worry about daughter having any issues. I will let you know how it turns out.
Kimberly N says
this makes more bubbles then the store bought stuff!! love love love this!!!
lover of spa things says
I love love LOVE this recipe!!!! i looked on other sites and they all of those recipes seemed so complicated and i didn’t want to run to the store for any ingredients but every normal person in this world has those ingredients, plus the bubbles lasted FOREVER!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! P.S GREAT stocking stuffer- just in time for the holidays :)
Tracy D. says
I tried this with our tea tree oil shampoo but to no avail! Not enough bubbles. Please tell me what great shampoo you all have used. We prefer the natural ones because we’re doing this to avoid chemicals and to save $$. The “natural” bubblebath that I’ve found costs mucho $$. So we really want to be successful with this little recipe! Thanks so much, :).
We use Giovanni 50-50. Love it!
Would love to try this. Except the 50-50 Giovanni cost 19dollars for 3pk. comes to around $3.18 per recipe. Is there any other organic/chemical free shampoo that will cost less then that?? thanks:)
You can use whole foods 365 shampoo. Lot less money and just as safe is the Giovanni.
I don’t know if you’ve tried the 365 shampoo … We found it difficult to get it to lather in our hair! I can’t imagine it would be very effective as bubble bath?
I heard about dishwasher soap in the bubble bath
Would that work? Also could you add scents?
I’ve not tried that before so I’m not sure! :)
You mean the detergent you’d use in an electric dishwasher? Absolutely no good in this application.
If you mean detergent you’d use for washing dishes by hand, then OK. In fact some dishwashing liquids used to advertise themselves either as as mild as bubble bath or actually useful for that purpose. However, many of them are not as sudsy these days as they were then.
You can often compare the ingredients with those of bath foams, because some of these hand dish detergents label themselves as antibacterial hand soaps. Ajax is now more or less like many bubble baths and hair shampoos used to be formulated. Milder and possibly sudsier, although more expensive, would be to mix Clorox Green Works and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day hand dish detergents. None of them are as mild and densely foaming (lathery) as my sulfosuccinate and betaine based formula, but some are pretty good.
My son Loved it and so did I :)
THANKS for sharing!
After a long week, I was looking forward to a nice, long bubble bath. So, I started the water in the tub and reached for my bubble bath…only to find out I was completely out!! And no backup bottle in the pantry. :( Google to the rescue! Your site was the first suggestion to my “homemade bubble bath” search. I emptied my stash of hotel shampoo bottles, added water and salt and…enjoyed a nice, long bubble bath! Thanks a bunch for sharing.
I’m probably gonna make the water with tea in it
I guess what Narali B. and Melissa were looking for was a recipe using only ingredients they’re likely to already be familiar with and available as such at retail. Well, if you want to make stuff like the pros you have to start with the ingredients the pros use, which are listed on the package. If you’d like to know more about making toiletries using chemicals from scratch, related in a way suitable for DIY, try blogspot.swiftcraftymonkey.com . You may be able to approximate these things using shampoo, hand dish detergent, hand wash, etc. that you might already have around the house, but the only way you’re going to get it exactly the way you like is to get individual ingredients, some of which may be practically unobtainable in small quantities. Even the pros frequently use mixtures as ingredients in these toiletries; that’s why you sometimes see in an ingredients list several ingredients grouped together in parentheses or with “and” between them — it means the maker bought a commercial mixture of them and used that mixture as an ingredient.
Note that most of the commercial makers of such toiletries don’t do the chemistry to synthesize the ingredients, but just buy & mix them. DIYers who make their own soap or biodiesel fuel are doing more chemistry than are most makers of bath foams, shampoos, etc.
Sorry, I meant swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com . It’s Susan Barclay-Swift’s site. The URI I gave above goes to some other site that seems to be squatting or glomming onto her name.
I’ve noticed that a lot of home recipes getting around are overly complicated for what they do. The ones for bubble bath that call for shampoo plus water & salt or glycerine are no better than just using the shampoo in the bath water directly. The only advantage I see of pre-diluting it would be if the shampoo is so thick it doesn’t dilute fast enough in the bath water.
this is a great idea. money is tight right now and it occured to me today that i could always make things for the holidays. my question is would it hurt to add food coloring to the bubble bath? and if i were to make some for say my 1 year old niece would it be ok?
I avoid food coloring, but I guess a little bit in this wouldn’t hurt too bad.
Can you use Pantene Pro V? Its a nice clear shampoo i use?
I haven’t tried it, but I would imagine it should work. :)
Hi! I was wondering if it is very bubbly.
I have been using pretty much this same recipe since 1990. The year of first born… I used the MASS amounts of Johnson & Johnson shampoo and would treat myself.
Now with the grand kids living with me I have such a variety of mason jars with scents.
Baby Moisture Wash
Oh I love it.