Not only do homemade bath salts make a great do-it-yourself project to pamper yourself with a little self-care at home, they also make the perfect DIY gift for just about any occasion.
Plus, they’re pretty simple to make!
Soaking in a hot bath is one of the best (and easiest) ways to relieve tension and reduce stress. New research out of England even suggests that soaking in a hot bath for 20 minutes can have similar benefits as gentle exercise  – just another reason to love taking long hot baths.
Homemade Bath Salts Benefits
I’m a huge fan of homemade bath salts because they’re:
Inexpensive – Um, have you seen how much bath salts cost lately?! My goodness. Making them at home will save you a ton of money. (See below!)
Healthy – I use only all-natural ingredients here and avoid any type of colorings. The natural pink hue of the Himalayan sea salt is all you need!
Soothing – The magnesium in the Epsom salt can help ease muscle tension, while the sea salt and baking soda can make the bath more pleasant (more on that below).
Beautiful – Put your homemade bath salts in a glass jar next to your bathtub for a beautiful decoration that has a function, too.
Great for Gifts – Putting in the time and effort to make a beautiful, wonderful smelling gift for someone just makes the gift even better.
Homemade Bath Salts Are Cost-Effective
All in for bath salts recipe (about 5 cups total), I paid about $1 or less for each ingredient averaged out! That’s roughly $5 or less per batch.
Here’s a breakdown of the cost of ingredients (in my area):
$5 for an entire bag (at least 12 cups) of Epsom salt (Whole Foods 365 brand)
$4 for the pink Himalayan sea salts (Thrive Market brand)
$3.50 for a 2-cup bag of dried Pakistani rose petals, only 2 tablespoons are in the recipe (Savory Spice Shop online)
$1.50 for a box of baking soda (Whole Foods 365 brand)
I already had the essential oils, but I think they are around $15-20 each and last forever
Homemade Bath Salts Ingredients
Epsom Salt (aka magnesium sulfate) technically aren’t salt at all. But for the purposes of bath salts, we call Epsom salt “salt.” Epsom salt dissolves nicely in hot water and releases magnesium and sulfate ions, which many believe is absorbed through the skin, thereby helping relieve muscle tension. There haven’t been any scientific studies on this, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it works.
Coarse Sea Salt
Another addition to your homemade bath salts can be coarse sea salt. Coarse sea salt works best if you don’t want the salt to fall to the bottom of the jar. Salt makes the water more buoyant for a pleasant bath experience in the bath, and many believe that the minerals in sea salt are beneficial to your body. Similar to the Epsom salt above, there aren’t any specific scientific studies on this, but again, anecdotal evidence suggests that it works. We do know, however, that salt makes your body more buoyant in the water, making for an overall nice experience.
I love the coarse pink Himalayan sea salt from Thrive Market because it’s beautiful, high-quality, and a great price. Some people like to use Dead Sea Salts as the salt from the Dead Sea is thought to be extra-rich in minerals. It can be pricey, but if you can find it or have some on hand it works great here.
Baking soda helps dissolve oils on your skin and makes a great addition to a hot bath. Make sure you’re using baking soda (it’s cheap!), NOT baking powder. It also helps absorb some of the essential oils to keep your bath salts smelling great.
This is the fun part! Essential oils work on a sensory level to make your homemade bath salts even more pleasing. You can use any combination of essential oils that you like. Lavender is known to be calming, while eucalyptus is known to be soothing. I generally combine lavender and sweet orange essential oils. If I were sick with a cold or the flu, I would make this with half eucalyptus and half lavender for a “get-better-fast bath.”
Dried Flowers (Optional)
You can also add a few tablespoons of dried flowers to make your homemade bath salts even more beautiful. I generally do not add these if I’m making them for myself for regular use as it’s an extra thing I need to clean up in the tub after the bath, but they really do make a beautiful addition to this if you’re giving it as a gift. I use the dried Pakistani rose petals from the Savory Spice Shop online.
Nourishing Skin Oil (Optional)
And finally, you can add a few tablespoons of a neutral oil that you would put on your skin, such as sweet almond oil or coconut oil. I personally prefer to NOT add oil to my bath salts as it creates a ring around the tub, but some people are into it. You do you. I’d rather use the oil on my skin after the bath to keep it out of the tub. Adding oil also shortens the shelflife of your bath salts because oils can spoil. If you add oil, use your bath salts within three months.
How to Make Homemade Bath Salts
I give you the full recipe and method below that you can save and print to refer back to later. In general, you’ll mix 3 cups of Epsom salt with about 1.5 cups of coarse sea salt and 1/2 cup baking soda, then add 15-20 drops of essentials oils and mix. Store in a cool, dry place and use about 1/2 cup in each hot bath. Again, print the recipe below.
IMPORTANT! Baking soda in glass jars can develop high air pressure in humidity or at high elevations. A reader mentioned that a glass jar of her bath salts exploded after sitting in her cabinet in a glass jar. This hasn’t ever happened to us and we’re glad she’s ok. We researched this and found out that on very rare occasions, the humidity in the environment (or other factors such as elevation) can interact with and activate baking soda, which will cause air pressure to build in an airtight container. We recommend punching a few holes in the top of your lid if you’re going to store this in a glass jar or air-tight container to avoid exploding bath salts. Or, store these in a plastic bag or container that is not air-tight to prevent air pressure from building up.
I love these homemade bath salts with either all lavender essential oil or a mix of 10 drops each lavender and sweet orange essential oils. You can choose any scent or combination, just use 15-20 drops total of the essential oils. If you make these bath salts, let us know and leave a star rating in the comments below to help other readers in our community.
3 cups plain Epsom salt
1.5 cups coarse sea salt (such a pink Himalayan sea salt)
1/2 cup baking soda
20 drops essential oils of your choice (I like 10 drops lavender and 10 drops sweet orange)
optional: 2-3 tablespoons dried flowers if they are easy to get
optional: 2 tablespoons almond oil or coconut oil if you like oil in your bath salts (I prefer none)
Mix all ingredients in a large glass bowl using clean hands or a clean spatula. Store in glass containers until use; mason jars work great (but be sure to punch a few holes in the lid to prevent air pressure from building up*). Or, store in plastic bags or containers that allow some airflow. Store in a cool, dry place up to 6 months (3 months if you use oil).
Enjoy about 1/2 cup to 1 full cup in each hot bath for a wonderful and relaxing bath. This recipe makes about 5 cups total, which should last you about 5-10 baths total.
Wonderful Scents + Combinations for Homemade Bath Salts:
If desired, you can change the ratio of salts in your homemade bath salts. You can use all 4 cups Epsom salt, or 2 cups Epsom salt and 2 cups coarse sea salt, or 4 cups total salts based on what you have to work with. I really like the combination of 3 cups Epsom salt with 1 cup coarse pink Himalayan sea salt, but use what you have to work with.
Tip for Easy Clean Up
When I make this for myself for home use, I skip adding extra skin-nourishing oils (I still use essential oils) and skip the flowers for easier clean up in the bathtub.
*On very rare occasions, the humidity in the environment can interact with and activate baking soda, which will cause air pressure to build in an airtight container. A variety of conditions such as humidity and elevation can cause this. We recommend punching a few holes in the top of your lid if you’re going to store this in a glass jar or air-tight container to avoid exploding bath salts. However you store them, just be sure that the container allows for some airflow.