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Natural Health

DIY Bath Salts Recipe: Beautiful Natural Herbal Bath Salts

Taking a hot bath is a wonderful way to relax and relieve tension after a long day. Adding mineral-rich salts to your bath can further ease aches and pains, soothe and soften skin, promote detoxification, and calm frazzled nerves all at once! If you’re interested in learning how to make your own DIY bath salts, you’ve come to the right place.

This guide will cover everything you need to know to make beautiful homemade bath salts using natural ingredients like epsom salt, sea salt, herbs, flowers, and organic essential oils. We’ll explore the best types of salt to use, the benefits they offer, and optional additions like colloidal oat powder. I’ll also cover frequently asked questions about bath salts – including usage, storage, tips for easy clean up, septic system concerns, and more.

Whether they’re for self-care or to share as special gifts, homemade bath salts are fun and easy to make. I’ll share our usual DIY bath salt recipe, but the process is very flexible. Feel free to get creative with your own blends! 



Why and how bath salt soaks work


Bath salts are usually made of epsom salts and sometimes other types of salt too, such as sea salt. When added to warm water, bath salts dissolve and release beneficial minerals (magnesium sulfate in the case of epsom salt) into your bath water. 

In theory, bath salt minerals absorb into your skin and help relax muscles, soothe skin irritation, and reduce inflammation as you soak. Warm bath salt soaks can also help improve circulation and stimulate detoxification in your body. Studies are still lacking on the exact benefits of bath salts, but soaking in warm salty water is incredibly relaxing and relieves stress nonetheless!  

Beyond minerals, bath salts may offer additional benefits depending on the ingredients in them – such as the medicinal powers of herbs, skin healing benefits of colloidal oatmeal, or soothing aromatherapy of essential oils.


A ceramic plate is partially covered with bath salts, bath salt and dried flowers are also scattered around the wood table which the plate is on top of. A golden spoon with a few salt crystals and dried flowers frames the top of the image.
In addition to the usual (salt and essential oils) we add colloidal oatmeal powder and organic herbs like calendula, chamomile, and lavender to our bath salts to further their healing powers!


What type of salt is best to make DIY bath salts?


You can make bath salts with only one type of salt (e.g. epsom salts alone), or combine several in your DIY bath salt recipe to reap the benefits of each one – plus add visual interest! Here are some of the most popular options:


  • Epsom salt is the most common type of salt to use in bath salts, and potentially the most therapeutic too. However, epsom salt is technically not a real “salt” at all! Rather, epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral compound made of magnesium and sulfate. Epsom salt soaks are used to promote quick healing and pain relief from a range of issues such as sprains, bruises, ingrown nails, stiff joints and muscles, or fibromyalgia. It’s also used to relieve constipation when taken internally.
  • Sea Salts*. Sea salts are derived from seawater and are mostly composed of sodium chloride. Since they’re not refined or only minimally processed, sea salts retain numerous valuable minerals including magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, bromine, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, copper and silicon. Like epsom salts, sea salt baths can ease tension and stiffness while stimulating circulation and detoxification.
  • Pink Himalayan Salt. As opposed to the sea, pink salt is a rock salt found high in the Himalayan mountains of South Asia. Though it’s about 98% sodium chloride, pink Himalayan salt also contains up to 84 other trace minerals and elements! It’s also really pretty, ideal for adding a pop of color and interest to your DIY bath salt recipe. 
  • Cooking salts. You can also use common cooking salts in homemade bath salts, such as kosher salt, pickling salt or coarse rock salt. These salts are economical, readily available, and contain some trace minerals too. However, AVOID using iodized table salt to make bath salts. Lacking minerals, highly processed table salt doesn’t offer many health benefits. Instead, it adds trace amounts of unwanted iodine to your bath water. 

*Note: Depending on the origin, there are a number of unique sea salts to choose from, such as grey sea salt, Celtic sea salt, Dead Sea salt, and more. Each may offer slightly unique properties (e.g. Dead Sea salt is especially magnesium-rich) but in general, sea salts offer similar benefits in the bath. 


Three white ramekins alined in a triangle, one is filled with pink salt, one is filled with Celtic sea salt, and the other is full of epsom salts. A few dried calendula, lavender, and rose petals garnish the area around the ramekins.


Fine, medium or coarse grind salts for bath salts


Salts come in various grain sizes or “grinds”: coarse, medium, fine, and extra fine. Finer grain salts dissolve fast and easy in your bath, while coarser salts take just a tad longer to dissolve. Yet coarse salts have more surface area and therefore absorb essential oils better, and look pretty cool to boot! All that considered, I generally like to make DIY bath salts with a mix of medium and coarse grind salts. 



Ingredients for Natural DIY Bath Salts 


Homemade bath salts can be as simple or complex as you wish to make them! At minimum, all you really need is salt to create a soothing soak. Yet if you’ve landed on this article, I imagine you’re looking for ideas to spice things up and create more interesting, fragrant, or healing homemade bath salt blends. 

Below is a list of ingredients that we use in our DIY bath salt recipe, though you can easily adjust or omit things as you see fit. I always try to source high-quality organic ingredients… especially for something I’ll be soaking my bits and parts in! This recipe makes about 5 cups of finished bath salts. Scale up or down as needed.


  • 4 cups of salt total, such as epsom salt, sea salt, and/or pink Himalayan salt. I often use three kinds (e.g. 2 cups of epsom salt, 1 cup grey sea salt, and 1 cup pink).

  • ½ cup to 1 cup dried herbs or flowers, such as dried rose petals, lavender, calendula, chamomile, rosemary, mint leaves, lemon verbena, or even dried citrus – just to name a few! Again, I like to mix in a couple different things. To prevent mold, it’s important to use 100% dry herbs or flowers for bath salt blends you intend to store for later use. We use a lot of homegrown herbs, though we also source organic herbs from Starwest Botanicals.

  • ½ cup colloidal oat powder. Colloidal oatmeal is phenomenal for your skin! It’s proven to soothe irritation and itching, add softness, and lock in moisture – therefore alleviating skin conditions such as dermatitis, rashes, psoriasis, eczema and more. I also find it helps make bath salts less oily. I make my own colloidal oatmeal by grinding organic oats into a super fine powder in our Vitamix blender, but here is a great organic colloidal oat powder from a small black-owned business!

  • 2 Tbsp Vitamin E oil. Vitamin E oil is a powerful antioxidant with moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties that improve skin health. Though they’re not quite as potent, feel free to substitute with olive oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, or your other favorite carrier oil of choice.

  • ½ teaspoon (50 drops) up to 1 teaspoon (100 drops) of essential oils total (e.g. 30 drops lavender and 20 drops eucalyptus, one of my favorite combos). Sliding scale based on how strongly-scented you want your DIY bath salts. If you’re unsure, start with less – you can always add more later! I recommend using just one or two scents. See more information on essential oil options below.


A birds eye view image framed at the top by two jars of essential oils and a jar of Vitamin E oil sit next to a wooden bowl of dried lavender flowers. Below that lays two ramekins, one of pink salt and the other of epsom salt. Below that lay two more ramekins, one of Celtic sea salt and the other of colloidal oat powder. A few dried calendula and chamomile flowers garnish the area surrounding the items.


The best essential oils for bath salts


Though not required, plant-based essential oils really enhance natural DIY bath salts and your overall bath experience! Certain scents are very effective at calming nerves or elevating your mood. It’s called aroma-therapy, after all! Beyond the benefits of aromatherapy, various herbs and essential oils offer unique healing properties. For example, lavender has antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, and is known to ease anxiety and calm the mind. Similarly, eucalyptus and rosemary are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and offer a very uplifting scent.

The most popular essential oils for DIY bath salts include: lavender, sweet orange, roman chamomile, tea tree, eucalyptus, bergamot, geranium, sandalwood, cedarwood, jasmine, rose, lemongrass, clary sage, frankincense, ylang ylang, vanilla, and rosemary. Use one scent alone, or try mixing two or three. 

Tip: Balance sweet, woody, or floral scents with a more bright, herbaceous or citrusy scent, such as lavender + eucalyptus or rosemary, chamomile + lemongrass, sandalwood or cedarwood + bergamot, or jasmine + sweet orange. Again, I recommend starting with just one, two, or maayyybe three scents combined.

Avoid using “hot” or potentially irritating essential oils like peppermint, wintergreen, cinnamon, clove, oregano, cassia, and thyme in the bath. 


A birds eye view of two rows of bottles of essential oils. The top row contains larger 100 ml bottles of rosemary, lavender, sweet orange, and eucalyptus. The bottom row contains smaller jars, 30 ml and less in size of cedarwood, ylang ylang, chamomile, bergamot, and geranium. Some dried flowers and dried orange slices garnish the area surrounding the bottles.
I love to use certified organic essential oils from Plant Therapy.



What about baking soda?


Unlike some DIY bath salt recipes, I do not recommend adding baking soda to your bath salt blend unless you plan to use it immediately, or unless you’re using epsom salts only (no sea salt). The combination of baking soda and salt reacts to create carbon dioxide gas which will expand in packaging, and can even break glass jars in extreme circumstances! So, if you do want to include baking soda (which is great for softening skin) then simply add up to a half cup directly to your bathwater as it fills. 


Now, on to the easiest part… aside from soaking that is!


Instructions to Make DIY Bath Salts


  1. First, add salts and colloidal oatmeal to a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.
  2. Next, drizzle over the vitamin E oil (or other oil) and then the dry herbs or flowers. Mix again.
  3. Add your chosen essential oils and stir until everything is evenly combined.
  4. Finally, package your homemade bath salts into aitight storage containers of choice, and enjoy your soak! Keep reading for tips on storing and using bath salts.


A glass mixing bowl full of pink salt, epsom salt, Celtic sea salt, and colloidal oat powder.
A close up image of a glass mixing bowl containing a pile of each dried calendula flowers, lavender flowers, and rose petals, sitting atop a bowl of salts.
A close up of DIY bath salts after mixing. A variety of salt is visible along with calendula, rose, and lavender flowers make up the mixture.


How to store bath salts


Store homemade bath salts in an airtight container. Sealable bags, a glass container with swing-top lid and gasket, or mason jars with tight-fitting lids work great. Store in a cool, dark, dry location. A good storage container should prevent moisture intrusion and clumping as well as keep in the aroma of the essential oils, helping your bath salts stay nice and fresh.

If you’re going to share your homemade bath salts with others, be sure to add a label that lists all of the ingredients! This way, the recipient can know what to expect and be aware of any potential allergens.


A flip top glass jar containing DIY bath salts which have calendula, rose, and lavender flowers within. A few dried flowers are scattered around the surrounding area along with a glass mixing bowl partially full of the remaining mixture.


How much bath salts to add to the bathtub


Add anywhere from ¼ cup up to 2 cups of bath salts to a standard size bathtub. Unless I need intense relief, I tend to lean more on the light side since the ingredients we use are high quality (read: not exactly cheap). If I want a little extra oomph, I toss in an extra half cup of plain epsom salt in addition to my “special” DIY bath salts. 

Do not put bath salts in whirlpool tubs, hot tubs, or other tubs with jets unless the manufacturer specifies that’s okay.


A tub is being filled with water as a wood tray straddles the sides of the tub, a lit candle and a book sitting atop it.


How to add bath salts to your bath


There’s really no “wrong” way to add bath salts to a bath! However, if you’re using homemade bath salts made with essential oils and hope to bask in the aroma, I suggest waiting to add the bath salts until the tub is nearly full of warm water. Then stir the water around with your hand to help them dissolve. 

Essential oils are volatile (meaning they evaporate easily, especially when heated) so their aroma tends to dissipate more quickly than synthetic fragrances. If added to the bath too early, the smell can be quite faint by the time you’re ready to climb in! Close the bathroom door to keep the lovely scented steam in too.


How to make bath salts less messy


Some folks like to add bath salts directly to the bathwater. Soaking while rose petals swirl around you can certainly feel luxurious! On the other hand, some people may not like the feeling of floaties touching them as they soak. Or, want to deal with the clean up. For a mess-free, floaty-free bath salt experience, simply put your bath salts in a “tea bag” to steep! 

Add bath salts to a small reusable cotton drawstring bag, or fashion a steeping satchel out of organic cheesecloth and a hair tie or string. Hang or hold the teabag in the water near the downspout as the tub finishes filling. The salt will still dissolve and seep into the water, while the bag contains the herb and flower floaties. As an added bonus, the herbal tea bag doubles as an exfoliating wash cloth!

If you don’t steep your bath within a tea bag and they contain large flower or herb bits, you may want to use a mesh drain strainer to catch debris as the tub drains at the end of your bath.


A large muslin mesh bag sits atop a wooden bath tray. A white ceramic bowl sits next to it partially full of the DIY bath salts that are within the muslin bag as well.


How long to soak in bath salts (and how often)


To reap the maximum benefits from your bath salt experience, allow yourself to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. You can use bath salt soaks up to three times per week in times of need. 

It’s difficult to “overdo it” when it comes to bath salts, though too much could lead to dry skin in some sensitive individuals. Frequent bath salt soaks could also change vaginal pH levels, making a more hospitable environment for yeast infections or irritation. 


Should I rinse off after a bath salt soak?


That’s up to you! A strong bath salt soak (using 1 to 2 cups of bath salts) could potentially leave skin feeling dry later, depending on the other ingredients in your bath salt recipe. You may also want to rinse off if your bath had herbs and flowers floating around that are now stuck to your skin. Since I usually steep my herbal bath salts in a tea bag (and my tub is separate from my shower) I personally don’t feel the need to rinse off afterwards. 


Can bath salts expire?


Salts themselves (epsom salt and sea salt) do not expire. Similarly, homemade bath salts will not “go bad” but they’ll be the best quality if used within a year or two. The other ingredients added to DIY bath salts such as oils, colloidal oatmeal, or dried herbs may have a “best by” date or degrade in quality over time. 


A package of Homestead and Chill herb and mineral bath salts is sitting atop a wooden bath tray. Some salt is scattered around at the base of the package while three crystals adorn the area around the package as well.
“Uplift”, one of the bath salt blends we offer in our shop.


Are bath salts bad for septic systems?


No, bath salts should not harm your septic system. (For the record, I used to permit septic systems for the county!) In general, highly salty water isn’t great for septic systems. For instance, most septic experts advise against discharging water softener backwash (brine) into septic tanks. However, the water from an occasional bath salt soak has a very dilute salt concentration in comparison. 

Plus, epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) aren’t actually a true “salt”, remember?  Epsom salts are completely harmless to septic systems. In fact, some septic professionals actually suggest adding epsom salt to septic systems. They claim that they help the system run more efficiently and encourage healthier plant growth in the drainage field. So, fear not!

If you plan to use bath salts routinely (e.g. once a week or more) and have a septic tank, use a 2:1 epsom salt to sea salt ratio. Or, use just epsom salts alone to make homemade bath salts.


Are bath salt soaks safe during pregnancy?


If you’re pregnant, talk with your doctor before using bath salts. While warm (not hot) baths are generally safe during pregnancy, it’s unclear if adding bath salts is recommended. Many sources say that natural bath salts made with epsom salts are okay to use while pregnant, and can provide much-needed relief from the discomforts that go hand-in-hand with pregnancy. Yet it’s suggested to exercise caution with essential oils while pregnant, and avoid them entirely during the first trimester. It’s also important to avoid bath salts that contain artificial fragrances, phthalates, or other chemicals.


A small wooden tray sits atop a dark walnut slab of wood. DIY bath salts fill up the small wooden tray while excess has overflowed around the outside of the tray, onto the walnut table. An array of pink, epsom, and Celtic sea salt is visible amongst dried orange peel and dried lemon verbena. A couple crystals are set amongst the loose bath salts.


And that’s how to make your own beautiful, natural DIY bath salts!


I hope you found this tutorial to be both insightful and inspiring. As you can see, making homemade bath salts is quite easy to do, flexible, and perfect for self-care and thoughtful gifts alike. Have fun getting creative and making your own! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments. Also please consider leaving a rating or review below. Happy soaking!


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5 from 2 votes

DIY Bath Salts Recipe ~ Beautiful Natural Herbal Bath Salts

Learn how to make beautiful homemade bath salts using natural ingredients like epsom salt, sea salt, herbs, flowers, and organic essential oils. Perfect for self-care or a thoughtful DIY gift to share, bath salt soaks help alleviate stress, tension, sore muscles, inflammation, and more.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups salts of choice, such as epsom saltsea salt, and/or pink Himalayan salt. I often use three kinds (e.g. 2 cups of epsom salt, 1 cup grey sea salt, and 1 cup pink).
  • 1/2 to 1 cup dried herbs or flowers, such as dried rose petals, lavendercalendula flowers, chamomile, rosemary, mint leaves, lemon verbena, or even dried citrus – just to name a few! (do not use fresh herbs or flowers as they may mold in storage)
  • 1/2 cup colloidal oat powder
  • 2 Tbsp Vitamin E oil (sub with olive oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, or other carrier oil of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp (50 drops) up to 1 teaspoon (100 drops) of essential oils of choice – such as 30 drops lavender and 20 drops eucalyptus. Sliding scale based on how strong you want the scent. I recommend using just one or two scents.

Instructions

  • First, add salts and colloidal oatmeal to a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.
  • Next, drizzle over the vitamin E oil (or other oil) and then the dry herbs or flowers. Mix again.
  • Add your chosen essential oils and stir until everything is evenly combined.
  • Finally, package your homemade bath salts into air tight storage containers of choice.
  • Add 1/4 cup up to 2 cups of bath salts to warm water once the bathtub is nearly full and stir in to dissolve OR for a floaty-free soak, put the bath salts in a small reusable cotton "tea bag" or cheesecloth and steep them that way.



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One Comment

  • Courtney

    5 stars
    Great article! I am always looking for homemade gifts and more uses for the lavender I grow. Thank you for sharing such well written and information packed articles.

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