Are Bath Bombs Bad for Septic Tanks?
Bath bombs are the newest trend in bath products. They’re usually a mixture of natural ingredients, like sea salt and essential oils, that you mix with water to create a difficult-to-resist bath bomb.
Once you mix all your ingredients, pour them into the mold and leave it to set up while running the tap over it a few times.
While there are wide beautiful varieties of bath bombs available, you may wonder if you should buy them to use in your tubs.
Yes! They could get stuck in the septic tank and cause a blockage, could contain toxic substances like mercury or lead which could leach into groundwater and seep into the soil releasing toxic fumes, and finally the chemicals used to create them can be harmful and dangerous when mishandled with water.
Some of the chemicals used to make bath bombs are plastic, which can cause damage to septic systems and wreak havoc on your health.
Phthalates, a component found in some bath bombs, are present in most plastics and have links in several studies to hormone disruption.
Bentonite clay is another popular component of this natural product used to create the “fizz” in your tub. Topical studies have shown that Bentonite clay can cause skin irritation and damage if allowed to leach into the water.
Harmful chemicals are also found in some bath bombs. People have identified formaldehyde and ammonium acetate as possible ingredients on several websites selling bath bombs as potential carcinogens.
Other fragrances and concoctions pose toxicological threats as well.
The effects of these toxins on the environment are also a concern. Many substances leach into groundwater, raising concerns about local water quality and pollution of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and molds.
What are Bath Bombs?
Bath bombs are a fun and affordable way to enjoy the benefits of a relaxing bath. They are cheap, easy to make, and incredibly customizable, but not all bath bombs are equally created.
If you’re trying to break into the bath bomb world, there are a few things you need to know.
Bath bombs are also known as gemstones or just bubbles in short. They come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes marketed for specific uses like relaxation or detoxifying your body.
They are usually vegan, but you can find some with a small amount of beeswax. The quality of the inherent ingredients and their mixing and baking procedure will impact the end product.
It starts with a basic bath bomb recipe to fill your tub with a cloudy, pearlescent foam.
There are various ways to do this, but all recipes contain the same essential ingredients: borax, citric acid, Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), and essential oils.
We use borax as a mold release agent, and maybe the part you need clarification on is if it’s safe to use. The recipe generally calls for a half cup, which can be challenging to find.
You can buy a box of 20 Mule Team Borax online. It is a natural mineral mined from the earth and used in many DIY recipes like homemade laundry detergent.
The citric acid helps break down the borax as a mold release agent. You can find it in the baking section of your local grocery store.
Be careful not to confuse it with other types of citric acid, like anhydrous citric acid. You should not confuse them because they are different compounds with different purposes.
What Products Can You Not Use with A Septic Tank?
|Latex Products||Digesting these products produces an average of two liters of liquid effluent daily. |
To deal with this, there is a need to maintain a minimum 7.5 ft depth in the drain field, and to circulate, the pump capacity must be greater than 5 gallons per minute.
-With use, the Latex can begin to break down into microscopic pieces, which will clog the filter and make it difficult for the septic tank to function optimally.
|Certain Insulations||These products are typically used for roofing, underlayment, and other purposes which require a thick layer of insulation. |
Once in the septic tank, these products can reduce the water holding capacity of the septic tank.
– This reduces the filtering capability of the tank, which can lead to clogging or liquid backing up into the plumbing system.
Clogging is 5x more likely than liquid backing up, and you must deal with it immediately.
|Grease and Oil||These products can cause severe clogging in the septic tank, mainly if they have not been appropriately disposed of.|
|Medical Waste||Items such as bandages and syringes do not break down easily in the septic tank and can easily clog.|
|Non-Flushable products||You must flush or dispose of non-flushable products by putting them in the garbage bins. |
However, these items can clog the septic tank and cause serious problems.
|Antibacterial Soap||Antibacterial soaps contain chemicals that can cause the septic tank to run slower and require more treatment or clog entirely.|
Septic Safe: 5 Alternatives to Bath Bombs
|Baking Soda||A small handful of baking soda stirred into a mug of hot water can approximate the bubbly qualities of bath bombs, although it won’t produce any color or scent.|
|Epsom Salt||Epsom salt is another common ingredient in bath bombs which also soaks up moisture and makes skin soft after a relaxing soak. |
However, this is often only apparent hours or even days after the bath gets taken, when the skin starts waking up from its long winter nap.
Still, a tub full of warm water and some Epsom salt is one of the best ways to relieve sore or achy muscles.
|Bath Salts||There are two types of bath salts, Epsom salts, and sea salts. While you will find sea salts sold at many natural health food and bath products stores. |
Epsom salts are easy to come by in almost any location where the store-brand variety is available.
You may steep most bath salts in a teaspoon of water for about fifteen minutes, though some may require longer.
Placing bath salts in a tub full of warm water is another alternative to bath bombs.
|Essential Oils||The scent of the essential oil in a bath bomb often complements the unique aroma of the bomb itself. |
However, they can also add an emotional element to the experience or make it more pleasurable.
You must consider the bath bomb’s ingredients and the oils that go into them when choosing which are safe to use.
|Decorative Solids||When it’s drawn, you can add decorative solids such as baby oil or bath salts to a bath. |
This can make for a simple yet fun addition to the experience
How To Avoid Bath Bomb Damage in Your Septic System
- Avoid Bath bombs that contain solid particles like glitter and dye.
Solid particles are hard to flush, and they can cause blockages in the pipes. It’s easy to pass these bath bombs through the sewer system and end up in someone’s septic tank.
- Make sure your bath water is tepid, not hot (use warm water when showering). Hot water hardens oils in the skin, and oils can solidify in the pipes and cause clogs.
While you may have to take a colder shower to avoid a mess, it will help your pipes stay unclogged. Additionally, avoid making use of bubble baths. Bath bombs are better.
- Don’t flush anything that can clog up your pipes, not just bath bombs
Most things you flush down the toilet will end up in a septic tank at some point, so keep that in mind when you’re disposing of items down the toilet.
Remember: Only flush tissue and use baby wipes during designated “flushable” times (when your city or county has declared a “flushable” day).
- Don’t put your used bath water down the toilet
Use a garbage Can or a compost bin instead. Using a garbage can or a compost bin may be your only option if you’re looking for an alternative way to dispose of your bath water.
Why Bath Bombs Aren’t Septic Safe
- Some Bath bombs boast insoluble salts that can block pipes.
- They can also harbor mold, which could be a respiratory irritant.
- Some contain traces of nylon or polyvinyl chloride, which are both carcinogenic.
- Bath bombs coated with cocoa butter may not dissolve in water and can leave an oily residue on surfaces they touch.
- You can use the same bath bomb repeatedly, which can cause the container to break and the contents to solidify.
- Some bath bombs contain perfumes or alcohol, which can cause skin irritation or burns.
- Some are FDA-regulated homeopathic ingredients that are not safe for human consumption.
- While bath bombs may be pretty and fun, they can be expensive at $5-$12 each, and you can make your own for less than half the price.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Septic?
Yes! Essential Oils like Tea Tree, Lavender, and Orange are Safe Alternatives for everyday house cleaning and can help maintain a Healthy Septic System too.
They can increase the effectiveness of your Septic System by keeping the film on top of the water clean, so you don’t have as much debris in your septic tank.
Essential oils also aid nutrient uptake and inhibit bacteria growth within and around filters. They also have a natural disinfectant effect which helps fight harmful bacteria.
The oils are an all-natural alternative to harsh chemicals that still do not provide the same capability for care or safety as essential oils.
The one thing to keep in mind is that your Septic System may be a little more sensitive to the “benefit” of essential oils.
If you have issues with odor or dirty water, it might be a good idea to use something else. Certainly, if you have a Septic System that has been acting up, adding essential oils can help eliminate any issues quickly and safely.
The essential oils best treat to a septic tank are Tea Tree, Lavender, and Orange. These three essential oils create a safe environment for you, your family, your pets, and the septic system.
How To Properly Dispose of Bath Bombs
Shred and store
This is best for solid bath bomb types, such as Ballistic Bath Bomb Candy, Bizwax and Fizzers, and other solid bath bombs.
Unwrap the desired amount of dry product from the original package and throw it in a plastic bag or Tupperware container.
Then wrap the plastic bag with a label such as “Bath Bombs” or any other label you wish to use.
If you want to be fancy, add a few drops of essential oils like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, or whatever your heart desires.
These will help the product last longer, and the scent will make it easier to find in your stash.
This method is suitable for storing bath bombs if you use them less than once per month. 5 – 10 drops per bathtub.
This is a perfect method for bath bombs that are loose and dry, such as Ballistic Bath Bomb Candy, Bizwax Fizzers, or other loose bath bombs.
Unwrap the desired amount of product from the original package and add it directly to your bathtub or shower. This method works best with products used daily.
Which Bath Bomb Ingredients Can Be Problematic for Septic Tanks?
Fats and butterfat are the main ingredients used in bath bombs that can harm your septic system.
You must refrigerate if a bath bomb comprises almond oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, or shea butter fat. Bath bombs made with these fats will not dissolve in water.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Another bath bomb ingredient you should not use if you have a septic system is sodium Laureth sulfate (SLS). This softening agent is highly toxic to the bacteria in your septic tank.
SLS can cause damage to your septic system and result in blockages and even failure of your system.
Also known as Disodium 5’-ribonucleotides and disodium edentate, this type of preservative is highly toxic. It interferes with the normal function of your septic system.
It can kill the bacteria in your septic tank. You should not use disodium EDTA and avoid it as much as possible.
Another bath bomb ingredient you should not use if you have a septic system is sodium chloride (salt). This ingredient can cause leaks in your septic system if there is sufficient salt in your bathwater.
We use petroleum in many bath bombs to give them a hard, smooth texture. If you own a septic tank, you should never use petroleum-based ingredients in bath bombs.
People once thought it might be safe to use mineral oil or petrolatum as long as you did not mix them with other ingredients, but recent studies show that even products with these ingredients can harm your septic system.
Are Bath Salts Better Than a Bath Bomb with A Septic Tank?
|Ingredients||Most Bath salts boast natural ingredients such as Epsom salt, sea salt, and bath beads.|
|Bath bombs primarily contain sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda.|
|Safety||It’s generally reported that bath salts are safer than bath bombs because they do not contain scents or oils that may cause allergic reactions like many soaps found in some bath bombs.|
|Prices||Bath bombs are more expensive than bath salts due to the many ingredients they need to work properly.|
|– According to Phillips 66 (a company that sells one of their products), a 15 oz. Bath Bomb costs around $2.00 if purchased at a local drug store.|
|Performance||– A bath salt takes around five minutes to work, while a bath bomb can easily take half an hour.|
|Messiness||A bath bomb is messier than a bath salt because of its popping and fizzing during use.|
|Effectiveness||Bathing with bath salt is more effective than a bath bomb because the salts that go into the water absorb into the skin quickly.|
|– Bath salt users often state that they feel their skin is soft and clean.|
|Use||– Bath bombs may seem more fun; however, some users find them to bring on aches and pains due to the popping sensation they induce during use.|
Septic tanks can break down some of the substances that go into them but more often than not, they digest solid waste and deposit it elsewhere in your home, such as a septic drain field.
Since bath bombs and their ingredients are specifically created for humans to use for fun and relaxation, they may damage a septic tank if not disposed of properly, which could result in costly repairs.