All About the Bath Bomb – Baking Soda Edition

Bath Bomb - Baking Soda

How is baking soda made?

This takes me back to the laboratory studying physical chemistry, which has a reputation as one of the hardest chemistry courses due to its physics thermodynamics comparison…. But I digress. So, let’s jump into the basics of baking soda!
Sodium bicarbonate (aka Baking Soda) can be obtained in pure form from the Earth. However, there are a couple of different processes to obtain and make baking soda which are not so natural. Baking soda is made by a chemical reaction, and it starts in Green River, Wyoming. Trona ore is mined in Green River, which is the start of producing baking soda. Once mined, the trona ore undergoes chemical reactions and refinements to create soda ash. Surprisingly, the majority of the baking soda in the United States and a quarter of the world starts in the mines at Green River, Wyoming!
Once the soda ash (aka washing soda, sodium carbonate) is created, it then undergoes another chemical reaction with carbon dioxide and heat to create sodium bicarbonate and sodium detergents.
Pure sodium bicarbonate is mined as nahcolite from areas in Colorado and other locations throughout the world. Companies like Bob’s Red Mill (whose baking soda we use in our bath bombs) choose to offer this pure form of sodium bicarbonate as opposed to companies like Arm & Hammer, which chemically produce their baking soda.

What about organic baking soda?

Some certified organic certification organizations will allow certification since baking soda is mined naturally. However, it would be no different than calling a rock certified organic. If you see this on a label, know that it is a ‘green-washing’ marketing ploy. This includes bath bombs, bath salts, and other mineral ingredient-based products.

Do all bath bombs contain baking soda?

The simple answer is yes. To make a bath bomb fizz you need three main components, a negatively charged bicarbonate, a positively charged hydrogen (typically from citric acid), and water. When these three combine, it forms chemical reactions, one in which releases carbon dioxide and provides the fizz of the bath bomb experience. Scents and natural oils release along with the carbon dioxide, providing the user a delightful bath time experience.
Jena Thompson, Chemist & CEO

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