Adding a fizzy, colorful bath bomb to your tub can transform your humble bathroom into a sweet-scented, stress-relieving spa. While it’s a great way to wrap up a long, hard day, if you’re not careful, that bath bomb habit may unleash a new headache lurking just around the corner: a clogged bathtub drain. You might be wondering, “Just how do bath bombs clog drains?” The answer lies in the ingredients, which can vary greatly.
What Are Bath Bombs Made Of?
Bath bombs typically consist of salts, scents, and oils designed to create a fragrant, relaxing, and often colorful bathing experience. Epsom salt (known for soothing sore muscles) and baking soda are common ingredients that typically dissolve in water, but other common additives—including essential oils, cornstarch, cocoa butter, bits of flowers, and even glitter—don’t dissolve well. These additives leave behind residue that may stick to the inside of your pipes. Oils often solidify as they cool, and cornstarch can harden in pipe elbows or curves as it dries. Over time, these deposits may collect soap, hair, and other substances, eventually leading to nasty clogs.
How Can I Have My Bath Bombs and Clean Pipes, Too?
If you’ve heard the expression “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” (which, by the way, actually makes no sense whatsoever!) you may be happy to hear that this saying doesn’t apply to bath bombs—as long as you take a few steps to keep things flowing in the right direction:
- Use barriers to prevent ingredients from going down the drain. Ideally, your tub stopper should include a strainer to keep out large objects. For more protection, place the bath bomb in a nylon sock and tie it shut before putting it in the water. The nylon will allow the good stuff to disperse in the water while keeping most of the clog starters contained.
- If you have your heart set on floating petals and glitter confetti, use sparingly and be prepared for a little extra work. Before draining the water, use a fine mesh net to catch solid material. If possible, temporarily remove the stopper and add an extra layer to the strainer by covering it with nylon material or mesh screen. You may need to weigh the strainer down as the water drains.
- Immediately after using bath bombs, flush your drain thoroughly with very hot water, or use vinegar and baking soda mix to help break up residue before it can settle.
a) Pour 1 cup baking soda into the drain.
b) Add 1-2 cups white vinegar.
c) Cover the drain and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
d) Flush with hot water.
Bath Bombs and Hot Tubs Don’t Mix
Are bath bombs safe for hot tubs? As tempting as it may be to throw a few delightful bath bombs into your hot tub, it’s probably not worth the risk. The additives in the bath bombs can clog up the jets and hoses. The oils and other ingredients may damage sensitive components in the hot tub. Before adding any substances that are not specifically designed for hot tub use, check the hot tub manufacturer’s recommendations. You may void your warranty if you don’t follow their guidelines.
Seek Professional Help for Slow Drains
Do bath bombs clog drains? The answer is sometimes. If you’ve been using bath bombs regularly and you’ve noticed that your tub is draining much slower than usual, you probably already have a clog. Using harsh chemical drain cleaners may not be good for your pipes, and it’s also not good for the environment. Although you might get lucky with a home remedy, your best bet is to call a professional to clear your drain.
Your friendly plumbing professionals at Mr. Rooter® Plumbing are here to serve you. Unlike many of our rivals, we guarantee our work, and we offer upfront, flat rate pricing and flexible scheduling options. If your drain is clogged, waiting will only make matters worse. Call today or schedule an appointment online.
Ready to upgrade your bathroom? Glass Doctor can install a new glass tub enclosure that will elevate your shower and bath experience. All of our friends in the Neighbourly® family deliver outstanding workmanship and service.