Healthy, Homemade Gifts: Bath Salts

By , SparkPeople Blogger
After a long, tough workout, an equally long, hot bath is just what I crave. If I'm feeling particularly sore, I add Epsom salts, which help reduce inflammation. You can buy expensive aromatherapy bath salts at department stores, but I don't like to shell out cash for something I can make at home.

Epsom salts cost less than $3 for a 5 pound bag at the drug store, and essential oils, though pricey, are used sparingly in these recipes. As a bonus, you can control the quality of the ingredients if you make bath salts at home.

This gift is great for anyone who needs to learn to take time to relax or for someone who has already mastered that skill. (My sister, a stressed-out graduate student, is getting some homemade bath salts for Christmas this year.)

6 cups Epsom salts
2 cups table salt
4 cups baking soda
Large glass jars with lids
Essential oils (peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, etc.)

Mix salts and baking soda together in a large bowl, then add essential oils until the scent of the salts reaches the desired strength. Mix well with a spoon, then place salts in glass jars. (Bonus: Print a custom label for your fancy bath salts.)

Some suggested recipes:
Relaxation: chamomile and lavender; grapefruit, jasmine and ylang-ylang; lavender and mint
Bedtime: chamomile, sage and bergamot; vanilla and lavender
Invigorating: grapefruit and ginger, rosemary and bergamot, peppermint and lemon, basil and grapefruit

Find more aromatherapy recipes here.

What is your favorite scent combination? I love the combinations of lavender and vanilla (when I can't sleep) and lavender and mint.

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Makes me want to take baths again. Report
When I go to bed at night, I'm so tired I just fall asleep, no all that tea wouldn't be necessary. Report
I've made these before! It is really fun to make as gifts. If you have any kind of get-to-gether/party these are super fun to make as a group of friends. Report
What a wonderful idea. Thanks for posting this. I will try it. Report
Great gift idea. I'm sold on lavendar so I would definitely use that if I make this some day. Lavendar's great for making you sleep better! Bought a little lavendar plant yesterday... Report
I make salt and sugar scrubs and bath salts. They are so easy, and the possibilities are endless. I was using extra virgin olive oil for the salt and sugar scrubs, but I recently picked up some vegetable glycerin at a health food store. Michael's has colors and scents in their soapmaking section that you can add as well. My MIL and SILs are getting salt and sugar scrubs as part of their Chirstmas. Wikihow has some how-tos on making bath salts and scrubs too. Once you see how easy and inexpensive it is, you'll never buy from the store again! Report
I have been buying the salts and scrubs. Thanks for a great recipe! Report
I have made bath salts before but this recipe is better. I used Rose oil and Chamomile and gave them as gifts, went over very well. I would make the whole recipe and divide them into smaller jars as gifts, a little goes a long way. Report
What a great idea! I am delighted to find this recipe. I'd also like to see the one for the bath bombs. Thanks! Report
Thanks very much for the great gift idea for my co-workers. Report
I am interested in making the bath bombs. These comments are wonderful. I have never replied on a blog much less any thing else, but so happy that I found this page! Thanks everyone for the information. Report
So easy. I'll have to try making them. Report
I have been making bath salts for years. A great resource for buying supplies is Camden Grey ( as they are pretty inexpensive and have a lot of variety. For my friends who don't take baths, I make shower scrubs instead. The only difference is you take your bath salt recipe but remove the baking soda. Put your salts in a jar and cover with your favorite oil (I usually use sweet almond and avocado). Sometimes I add a little mica to the oil for a shimmer effect. Report
WOW - what a great idea! Thank you! Report
I've been trying to think of cheap homemade gifts to give since my hubby has been laid off. This sounds like a great idea.... Thank you!!! Report
Thank you sooooo much DOWN2SEXY for your invaluable comments!!!
Your comments were helpful in many ways starting - - - off with the differences between essential & fragrance oils. So glad you posted your informative & very helpful blog comments.
Now that we've moved away from the Los Angeles area . . . I have no idea where I'll be able to find a store in the Arkansas, Little Rock area to buy good, pure essential oils.
I used to buy some of them from pharmacies (in So. Calif) but don't know if pharmacies in The Natural State carry them.
Boutique shops/health food stores are few & far between in our neck of the woods . . . . and I seriously doubt I'd find a Metaphysical shop here. Any suggestions?
I made bath salts last year for a few of my girlfriends and relatives. They were a HUGE hit! My favorite scent combo is vanilla and orange. Kind of reminds me of a creamsicle. YUM. Report
Thanks for the recipes! I will try them out. Report
Thanks so much for posting this- I'm out of work and have very little money for gifts, so this is what I will do! Report
This is great.. Thanks I love bath salts... Report
Thanks for the reminder. I made bath salts several years ago as gifts. Since the majority of my gifts this year are going to be homemade, this will be another quick and easy one to do. Report
lavendar aromatheraphy is my fave! Report
I am a 4th grade teacher and have made similar bath salts as Mother's Day gifts. I like the addition of baking soda to this recipe. I used perfume and food coloring. I had the students pick the scent and color. They loved the project. Report
Thank you SparkPeople I am going to make some bath salts for my kids teachers and my in-laws for presents. This is great! Report
Make sure the person you are giving them to has no allergies. I am severely allergic to lavender. Even the smell of it sets me off. Report
I live in a rented place and am sure the previous tenant washed theirs dog in this bath. The bath is make of hard plastic material (plastic retains stuff).
So I never take a bath, only showers. Report
I remember making bath salts when I was in elementary school. I don't think we used any oils, just food coloring, but my mom still loved the gift. Thanks for the memories and also thanks for the recipe. I frequently buy bath salts - from now on, I'll make my own. Report
This seems very easy, thanks so much for the ideas!!! :) I am saving this blog entry for future use. Report
Where do you purchase the oils? I would love to do this. Report
Great gift idea for co-workers & friends. My Mom would love it too! Thanks so much for the great idea and everyone's tips as well. Report
My neighbors are going to love this for Christmas. Thanks! Report
What a wonderful Ideal! Homemade items made with love are always the best presents one could receive on the Holidays! Report
My daughter and I have made a lot of different aromatherapy products and have sold them at craft shows and on consignment at a local shop. I want to offer a little bit of advice here.

I do not recommend buying your oils at Michaels or other craft stores. Unless it is different in other locations, the oils sold at craft stores are fragrance oils, not essential oils. Fragrance oils are essential oils that are diluted by some carrier substance. Depending on what they use as the carrier, it could actually be bad for your skin. Aside from that, the fragrance oils break down rather quickly, so the scent will not stay fresh as long. The therapeutic effect of the oils is also reduced.

You can find and buy essential oils online, but there are a lot of not-so-reputable sites selling what they claim to be pure essentials. Personally, I don't trust buying oils from sites that also sell vitamins and herbal supplements.

I highly recommend using only pure essential oils in aromatherapy products. I buy mine at a metaphysical shop and at a local health store (similar to GNC, but I don't think GNC carries essentials). Pure essential oils are more expensive than the fragrance oils, but you'll use far less of them and stored properly they will retain their strength for a very long time. Most true essential oils are packaged in tinted bottles (usually brown) and not in clear vials. That's because the tinted bottle protects them from sunlight which breaks them down.

I would also suggest that before picking an oil or a combination of oils to scent your bath salts, you should go online and do some reading about those particular oils. You can learn a lot that way about the benefits of certain ones and things to avoid with others. Most are harmless, but some can aggravate certain health conditions.

For example, the combination of rosemary and peppermint is an awesome combination to use if you suffer from severe headaches. However, people who have seizure disorders like epilepsy should not use this combination of oils because both are very strong olfactory stimulants and could trigger a seizure. Rosemary, in particular, is a great oil, but you should read up on it before using it, because it's powerful and can produce side-effects in certain indivduals.

Essential oils should never be used directly on the skin at full strength. You'll be fine working with them and using them in your bath salts, but you should wash your hands thoroughly after working with them. IDK about you, but when I mix bath salts, I have to get in there with my hands...LOL.

My favorite combinations of fragrances for bath salts are lavender mixed with sage (for relaxation), rosemary and peppermint (for when I have a headache or feel really stressed out), lilac and eucalyptus (for a pick-me-up), and a combination of balsam, cedar and frankincense (for those cold winter nights when a hot bath is really just soothing). That last combination is not one that most ladies would pick, probably. It does appeal to a lot of men, though, and y'know their muscles could use a good soak sometimes, too. I also like that one for a foot soak.

Bath salts made from the recipe provided here are inexpensive and far superior to what you can buy in a store - unless, of course, you buy the ones my daughter and I make. LOL No, seriously, the really expensive bath products you can buy retail usually contain preservatives. Personally, I would rather have an all-natural product. That's what started me and my daughter making our products. Report
What a great gift idea! This year it's a homemade Christmas,money is very tight for us! Bath time gift baskets,gift baskets of homemade cookies,and homemade applebutter and jams, Perfect!!! :) Report
Thanks for the great link!! Report
My daughter made me something similar a few months ago to help clear up excema on my hands & psoriasis on my elbows. It was fantastic for smoothing rough spots on my feet too. She made peppermint, lavendar & vanilla so I could have it in the kitchen, bathroom & shower. I love them all & especially like that my dermatitis conditions are cleared up!

She bought containers at the Dollar Store.

It is a combo of Sea Salt, Olive Oil & Scent (amounts to the consistency you like & the # of containers you want to fill). Report
I will try this. I love lavendar. You can buy oils through Puritan's Pride. Report
My first year of teaching, I had very low level students (Trainable Mentally Handicapped). I taught them to make something very similar the first week of school. They measured, stirred, poured and packaged little containers with the school logo (Lincoln Trojan Foot Soak). They then distributed the containers in the teacher and staff mail boxes on the first Friday with a little poem about get off your feet with this little treat. It was a great hit. Students also took home containers for their mothers and themselves. Report
SPINNYBOO request they are on my SparkPage in a blog Report
I have been struggling to think of what to do for christmas presents since $ is close to extinct. THANKYOU!!!!!!!! Report
I would love to give a gift like this as well as receive one. It seems to be a very inexpensive way to give a great gift. Thanks~!
I definitely want to try this, but I'm going to cut the recipe down, maybe using 1/4 of it. I think that will still make quite a lot. This recipe should be easy to cut down. I have a homemade malted hot cocoa mix I make that creates a huge batch (10 pint jars, each holding 6 servings!), & that's a bear to try to cut down! Report
I love bath salts! I had no idea they could be so easy to make. Great gift idea! Report
I took a course a few years ago and learned how to make BATH BOMBS ... like the ones they sell in stores for $6.00+ ... and they cost about 50-75 cents to make.

If anyone is interested ... SparkMail me (and if enough interest, I will put it into a blog) Report
Awesome! We are members of a warehouse that sells oils. I'm so looking forward to trying these! Report
I love the idea of using this as baby shower favors! I love vanilla and might try it combined w/ lavendar sometime! Thanks for the recipe! Report
I can't wait to try this. Thank you! Report
My favorite smell (we scent our our bathroom liquid soap) is lavender and bergamot. Report
Great ideas! Thank you so much! Report
I made these one year, I used perfume in mine, ( jeanette, musk or something like that ) I love the lavender and vanilla idea. I will have to try this
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